If you've spent some time in the world of online marketing, you’ve probably heard the phrase, content is king. But while content is the ultimate way to market your business, simply posting a few blog posts won’t automatically yield kingly results.
What does that mean for your business? Good question. I’ll explain...
The Content Marketing Institute discovered that marketers with a documented content strategy were more effective than those who relied on verbal planning. Since you’re reading this post, it’s safe to assume that you’re already interested in creating a formal content strategy. And that means you’re already a step ahead of your competition!
Care to gain even more of a lead? Consider each of the following five things as you document your content strategy.
Deciding what to write about is one of the toughest parts of any content strategy. Your business must continually come up with new and engaging topics that are relevant to your target audience. So, how do you decide what fits that criteria?
Find out where your audience hangs out online. Explore forums and social media groups. Read through comment threads and see both what they are concerned about and how they speak. A few of my favorite sources of questions include:
You’re looking for questions that you can answer. Once you’ve found it, document the question as a content idea for your strategy. Then, when it’s time to create content, answer the questions with high-quality, research-rich content.
Remember back in the late 90’s when the idea of digital marketing was still foreign to most businesses? Back then, any website would do. Just being on the web made you way ahead of your time.
Fast forward a few years, and Internet users came to expect a higher caliber of design, storytelling and transparency. And it must ring true in everything from your website color scheme to the words you choose.
That’s where strategy comes into play. Your exact goal will vary based on your overall business goals, such as increasing brand awareness or generating increased revenue.
Refer back to these objectives while developing your content. It’ll help you align your initiatives and ensure everything works toward your overall vision.
Creating an editorial calendar is the battlefield where your strategy comes together.
Editorial calendars allow you and your team to view everything that needs to be created, manage due dates and collaborate. I like using Google Calendar to create an editorial calendar because it allows for increased collaboration and flexibility.
But there are plenty of other software options as well.
I generally build two sections to my calendar: one for production and the other for publishing. That way the team can keep track of data at each stage in the process.
When I say “content marketing,” most people automatically jump to blogging. And while that format is popular and needed, it’s not the only type of content your business will benefit from producing. Explore different media formats to see what clicks with your audience:
Different industries tend to gravitate towards a specific format. In your strategy, make sure to document your hypothesis for the format you’ve decided to pursue. If you experiment and it does well, keep going!
Outreach is an important part of generating interest in your content. In the strategy stage, create a list of influencers in your industry. This includes community managers of social media groups, bloggers and leaders.
Since you’re going to be aware of upcoming content weeks or months before it’s published (thanks to your stellar editorial calendar), you can start building relationships in advance.
One of my favorite things to do is ask influencers if there are any tips they’d like to include. Then, when the content is published, I’ll let them know about it. And because they’re included in the content, it’s much easier to ask them to share it with their audience.
Crafting a content strategy is an important part of leveraging content to actually grow your business, instead of sitting idly on your blog. It’s important that you or your favorite digital agency partner regularly put in the time and effort necessary if you want to see real results.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and make it happen! Leave a comment if you plan to document your content strategy for 2016. I hope to hear from all of you!