Using SWOT Analysis for Clever Content Strategies

In terms of business analysis techniques, a thorough SWOT analysis is possibly the best means of identifying the feasibility of an impending venture or project.  This analytical tool is used for the identification and categorization of internal and external factors. Strengths and weaknesses in SWOT analysis are termed as internal factors while opportunities and threats are termed as external factors. Potential ventures are only considered as serious possibilities only when the strengths and opportunities outweigh the weaknesses and threats.

SWOT analyses, flexible as they are, can be conducted for the following:

·         a situation

·         an organization

·         a project

·         a new venture

·         a country

·         a nation

·         individuals

While some factors in the SWOT analysis are internal to the venture being undertaken, others are external. Internal factors, quite naturally, involve the internal operations and resources of the organization including the strengths and weaknesses inherent to the project/ venture. External factors, on the other hand, relate to the external environment and elements on which the organisations have no influence, including opportunities and threats.

In order for a SWOT analysis to be carried out correctly, it necessary to focus on internal factors (strengths and weaknesses) before moving on to the external factors (opportunities and threats). This is a fairly straightforward strategy as it is of the utmost importance that you should have a full understanding of the inner workings of your company before considering the world outside.

Internal Analysis: Strengths and Weaknesses

A full internal analysis of your organization will always include its culture, expertise, resources, and unique qualities within the marketplace.

Strengths

A company’s strengths are the basis on which success can be made and sustained. They are, in short, the qualities which enable a business to achieve its goals; adding value or offering a competitive advantage. These qualities should be considered from an internal perspective as well as from the viewpoint of customers and competitors.

Your strengths refer not only to what you are well-versed in or what you have expertise in, but also the traits and qualities your employees possess (individually and as a team) as well as the distinct features that give your organization its consistency. Your company’s strengths include human competencies, process capabilities, financial resources, products and services, customer goodwill and brand loyalty.

In order to discover your business’ strengths, you may wish to consider the following key questions:

·         What advantages does your organization have?

·         What do you do better than anyone else?

·         What unique or lowest-cost resources can you draw upon that others      can't?

·         What do people in your market see as your strengths?

·         What factors mean that you "get the sale"?

·         What is your organization's Unique Selling Proposition Add to My Personal Learning Plan (USP)?

Weaknesses

Weaknesses will prevent a company from achieving its full potential. Essentially, any factors within the company which do not meet your expectations can be considered a point of weakness. These should be addressed immediately, and if not eliminated, they should be minimized as much as possible.

Weaknesses in an organization could refer to depreciating machinery, insufficient research and development facilities, narrow product range, poor decision-making, high employee turnover, wastage of raw materials, etc. Any of these problems can place you in a negative light and provide your competitors with the advantage they need to climb to the top.

To discover where your company’s weaknesses lie, it is necessary to ask the following questions:

·         What factors that are within your control detract from your ability to obtain or maintain a competitive edge?

·         What areas need improvement to accomplish your objectives or compete with your strongest competitor?

·         What does your business lack (for example, expertise or access to skills or technology)?

·         Does your business have limited resources?

·         What are people in your market likely to see as weaknesses?

·         What factors lose you sales?

External Analysis

External factors to consider in your analysis include the environment in which your organization operates in, your market, the economy, and all of the 3rd parties involved in the day to day running of your business.

Opportunities

Opportunities arise when an organization can benefit from conditions within its operational environment. These opportunities enable you to plan and execute strategies that secure higher profitability rates and as such gain a competitive advantage. More often than not, these opportunities present themselves for a limited amount of time and should therefore be snapped up as soon as they arise. There is a delicate balance to be found in selecting the targets that will best serve the clients while getting desired results.

Opportunities often arise from changes in:

·         Technology

·         Markets

·         Government Policy

·         Supply methods

·         Social Patterns

·         Population profiles

·         Global offerings

·         Lifestyle

The followings key questions need to be considered:

·         What opportunities exist in your market that you can benefit from?

·         What interesting trends are you aware of?

·         Is the perception of your business positive?

·         Has there been recent market growth or have there been other changes in the market to create an opportunity?

·         Is the opportunity ongoing, or is there just a window for it? In other words, how critical is your timing?

Threats

Threats arise when conditions in your external environment jeopardise the reliability and profitability of your business. Threats are uncontrollable, particularly when they relate to the aforementioned weaknesses within your company.

Contingency plans should be put in place to combat threats when they arise. Not many businesses can survive being taken completely by surprise.

Major sources of threats are the following:

·         Competitors reducing prices

·         Supply costs increase

·         New Technology

·         Government regulations

·         Economic downturns

·         Changes in consumer behavior

Benefits of SWOT Analysis

In addition to the cost-effectiveness of conducting a SWOT analysis, the following benefits are well worth looking into:

·         Wide Range of Applications:

SWOT analysis can be used to conduct competitive analysis, strategic planning or any other study.

·         Promotes Discussion:

    SWOT analysis promotes discussion. It is important that you have your employees on the same page.

·         Provides Visual Overview:

     A SWOT analysis is usually presented as a square, each quadrant representing one factor. This visual arrangement provides a quick overview of the company’s position and encourages dialogue.

·         Offers Insight:

    SWOT analysis can be used to gain insight about the market, giving you a better understanding of your competition.

·         Integration and Synthesis:

    SWOT analysis gives the analyst the opportunity to integrate and synthesize diverse information, despite it being qualitative or quantitative in nature. SWOT analysis organizes information that is already known, as well as information that has just been acquired or discovered.

·         Fosters Collaboration: SWOT analysis fosters collaboration and encourages open information exchange between a variety of functional areas in a firm that would otherwise not collaborate or interact much

Using SWOT Analysis for Content Strategies

A SWOT analysis is the ideal catalyst for targeted content strategies. The main reason for this is simply the fact that a two-step process (data collection and categorization) is all you really need to fuel various different types of marketing content for your business.


Your content strategy can be evaluated according to the following framework:

Strengths

·         List 3-4 major internal strategic strengths of your current content marketing efforts.

·         Identify what has been working well for you so far (eg. a well-defined blogging strategy)

·         Identify your expertise in certain subjects

·         Identify potential partnerships that could assist in promoting your content to generate traffic

Weaknesses

·         List 3-4 major internal strategic weaknesses of your current content marketing efforts.

·         Identify holes in your resources

·         Identify problems with tracking your ROI

·         Identify where your focus is lacking (lead generation vs closing deals)

Opportunities

·         List 3-4 major external opportunities that exist for anyone working within your market.

·         Are there paid distribution opportunities worth looking into?

·         Are any platforms looking for specific content that you are able to create?

Threats

·         List 3-4 major external threats that exist for anyone working within your market.

·         Is your content easily replicated by competitors?

·         Do your competitors have better resources than you do?

 

·         an organization

·         a project

·         a new venture

·         a country

·         a nation

·         individuals

While some factors in the SWOT analysis are internal to the venture being undertaken, others are external. Internal factors, quite naturally, involve the internal operations and resources of the organization including the strengths and weaknesses inherent to the project/ venture. External factors, on the other hand, relate to the external environment and elements on which the organisations have no influence, including opportunities and threats.

In order for a SWOT analysis to be carried out correctly, it necessary to focus on internal factors (strengths and weaknesses) before moving on to the external factors (opportunities and threats). This is a fairly straightforward strategy as it is of the utmost importance that you should have a full understanding of the inner workings of your company before considering the world outside.

Internal Analysis: Strengths and Weaknesses

A full internal analysis of your organization will always include its culture, expertise, resources, and unique qualities within the marketplace.

Strengths

A company’s strengths are the basis on which success can be made and sustained. They are, in short, the qualities which enable a business to achieve its goals; adding value or offering a competitive advantage. These qualities should be considered from an internal perspective as well as from the viewpoint of customers and competitors.

Your strengths refer not only to what you are well-versed in or what you have expertise in, but also the traits and qualities your employees possess (individually and as a team) as well as the distinct features that give your organization its consistency. Your company’s strengths include human competencies, process capabilities, financial resources, products and services, customer goodwill and brand loyalty.

In order to discover your business’ strengths, you may wish to consider the following key questions:

·         What advantages does your organization have?

·         What do you do better than anyone else?

·         What unique or lowest-cost resources can you draw upon that others      can't?

·         What do people in your market see as your strengths?

·         What factors mean that you "get the sale"?

·         What is your organization's Unique Selling Proposition Add to My Personal Learning Plan (USP)?

Weaknesses

Weaknesses will prevent a company from achieving its full potential. Essentially, any factors within the company which do not meet your expectations can be considered a point of weakness. These should be addressed immediately, and if not eliminated, they should be minimized as much as possible.

Weaknesses in an organization could refer to depreciating machinery, insufficient research and development facilities, narrow product range, poor decision-making, high employee turnover, wastage of raw materials, etc. Any of these problems can place you in a negative light and provide your competitors with the advantage they need to climb to the top.

To discover where your company’s weaknesses lie, it is necessary to ask the following questions:

·         What factors that are within your control detract from your ability to obtain or maintain a competitive edge?

·         What areas need improvement to accomplish your objectives or compete with your strongest competitor?

·         What does your business lack (for example, expertise or access to skills or technology)?

·         Does your business have limited resources?

·         What are people in your market likely to see as weaknesses?

·         What factors lose you sales?

External Analysis

External factors to consider in your analysis include the environment in which your organization operates in, your market, the economy, and all of the 3rd parties involved in the day to day running of your business.

Opportunities

Opportunities arise when an organization can benefit from conditions within its operational environment. These opportunities enable you to plan and execute strategies that secure higher profitability rates and as such gain a competitive advantage. More often than not, these opportunities present themselves for a limited amount of time and should therefore be snapped up as soon as they arise. There is a delicate balance to be found in selecting the targets that will best serve the clients while getting desired results.

Opportunities often arise from changes in:

·         Technology

·         Markets

·         Government Policy

·         Supply methods

·         Social Patterns

·         Population profiles

·         Global offerings

·         Lifestyle

The followings key questions need to be considered:

·         What opportunities exist in your market that you can benefit from?

·         What interesting trends are you aware of?

·         Is the perception of your business positive?

·         Has there been recent market growth or have there been other changes in the market to create an opportunity?

·         Is the opportunity ongoing, or is there just a window for it? In other words, how critical is your timing?

Threats

Threats arise when conditions in your external environment jeopardise the reliability and profitability of your business. Threats are uncontrollable, particularly when they relate to the aforementioned weaknesses within your company.

Contingency plans should be put in place to combat threats when they arise. Not many businesses can survive being taken completely by surprise.

Major sources of threats are the following:

·         Competitors reducing prices

·         Supply costs increase

·         New Technology

·         Government regulations

·         Economic downturns

·         Changes in consumer behavior

Benefits of SWOT Analysis

In addition to the cost-effectiveness of conducting a SWOT analysis, the following benefits are well worth looking into:

·         Wide Range of Applications:

SWOT analysis can be used to conduct competitive analysis, strategic planning or any other study.

·         Promotes Discussion:

    SWOT analysis promotes discussion. It is important that you have your employees on the same page.

·         Provides Visual Overview:

     A SWOT analysis is usually presented as a square, each quadrant representing one factor. This visual arrangement provides a quick overview of the company’s position and encourages dialogue.

·         Offers Insight:

    SWOT analysis can be used to gain insight about the market, giving you a better understanding of your competition.

·         Integration and Synthesis:

    SWOT analysis gives the analyst the opportunity to integrate and synthesize diverse information, despite it being qualitative or quantitative in nature. SWOT analysis organizes information that is already known, as well as information that has just been acquired or discovered.

·         Fosters Collaboration: SWOT analysis fosters collaboration and encourages open information exchange between a variety of functional areas in a firm that would otherwise not collaborate or interact much

Using SWOT Analysis for Content Strategies

A SWOT analysis is the ideal catalyst for targeted content strategies. The main reason for this is simply the fact that a two-step process (data collection and categorization) is all you really need to fuel various different types of marketing content for your business.


Your content strategy can be evaluated according to the following framework:

Strengths

·         List 3-4 major internal strategic strengths of your current content marketing efforts.

·         Identify what has been working well for you so far (eg. a well-defined blogging strategy)

·         Identify your expertise in certain subjects

·         Identify potential partnerships that could assist in promoting your content to generate traffic

Weaknesses

·         List 3-4 major internal strategic weaknesses of your current content marketing efforts.

·         Identify holes in your resources

·         Identify problems with tracking your ROI

·         Identify where your focus is lacking (lead generation vs closing deals)

Opportunities

·         List 3-4 major external opportunities that exist for anyone working within your market.

·         Are there paid distribution opportunities worth looking into?

·         Are any platforms looking for specific content that you are able to create?

Threats

·         List 3-4 major external threats that exist for anyone working within your market.

·         Is your content easily replicated by competitors?

·         Do your competitors have better resources than you do?