In today’s digital world, content is king. And no, we don’t mean just the content that you create and curate.
We mean all content. From online articles and product descriptions to social media posts and website banners.
Well, without content, none of these other marketing channels matter.
So, before you begin your content marketing journey, it’s important to consider how you plan to approach this effort. Specifically, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
What types of content will I create?
There are hundreds of categories for content, from e-books and webinars to social media posts and website content. Simply put, you have an unlimited canvas with which to promote your products. You don’t want to limit yourself to one or two content types.
It’s also important to note that not all content is created equal. Some types of content, such as e-books and webinars, require a significant time investment and may take more than one sitting to complete. While a product demo or a simple blog post can be achieved in under ten minutes.
So, if you’re planning on generating a significant amount of content for your organization’s website, consider investing in an authoring tool such as Weebly, HubSpot, or WordPress.com.
How will I distribute my content?
You have two options here: You can either choose to share your content online or via other digital channels.
With so much content available online, the idea of distributing your content via traditional paper media, such as magazines or newspapers, simply doesn’t make sense. Instead, you want to focus on establishing yourself as an authoritative voice in your industry. And to do that, you need to make sure that your content is reaching as many people as possible. So, rather than relying on a select group of magazines to gain recognition, you want to establish yourself as a thought leader who is known for producing high-quality content that is both useful and interesting.
Now, there are a variety of ways to distribute your content, from viral email campaigns to content placements, to branded websites and more. But, before you begin your content marketing journey, it’s important to determine the method that will enable you to reach your target audience.
Am I only promoting one type of product or service?
Unless you’re a specialty retailer or brand, you’re probably promoting a variety of products and services. Your target audience is far more likely to be interested in a variety of topics rather than just one.
For example, if you’re a real estate professional and your target audience consists of other real estate professionals, you might want to focus on real estate-related content. But if your target audience is business owners in general, you might want to explore topics such as business development or marketing strategy. Plus, if you want to be seen as an expert in your industry, you need to make sure that your content is relevant to as many people as possible. This is why broad, topic-based content is far more effective than product-focused content. As an example, if your product is a travel plugin and you’re trying to promote your product using blog posts, make sure that those blog posts are relevant to travel planners as well as travel enthusiasts. In this case, you might want to explore topics including both consumer and business trends in the travel industry as well as in-depth interviews with industry experts.
How will I measure the success of my content marketing strategy?
Just like with any business endeavor, you need to measure the success of your content marketing strategy. Fortunately, at this point, you have hundreds, if not thousands, of potential metrics from which to choose. From page views and social media followers to referral traffic and email sign-ups.
The key is to find those metrics that are most relevant to your organization. For example, if you’re a real estate agency and you want to see how much traffic you’re getting from your website’s real estate articles, then analyzing your web searches is the best way to go. But, if you’re trying to determine the effectiveness of a digital advertising campaign, then looking at conversion rates, click-through rates, and the like are the best way to go. It depends on what you’re trying to measure.
To create a content strategy, follow these steps:
1. Define your target audience.
The first step in formulating a content strategy is to consider who you’re trying to reach with your content. Regardless of the type of content that you create, there is always someone whose opinion or perspective you want to gain. And, to do that, you need to identify your target audience and decide which ones you’ll aim your content at. In the real estate industry, for example, you might want to target real estate agents, brokers, and other industry professionals. A travel agency might want to target travel planners, frequent flyers, and other stakeholders.
Once you’ve defined your target audience, review the type of content that you’ll create. If you’re unsure, ask yourself:
“Does this content seem like it would be useful to people in my industry?”
If the answer is yes, then go ahead and create the content. If the answer is no, then it might not be the best fit for your organization and you should consider creating content for a more targeted audience or taking the content in a different direction.
2. Create a content calendar.
Your next step is to create a content calendar, setting aside specific dates on which you’ll publish content.
Ideally, you’ll want to set aside a couple of weeks to a month to focus on content creation. From there, you can either choose to flesh out content gradually or you can choose to publish a high-quality content batch at once. While there are pros and cons to both strategies, it’s important to consider what works best for your organization.
For instance, if you have a lot of content that you want to create but you don’t have the time to do so, then publishing a batch of content at once gives you the advantage of getting it out there faster. As a result, this content may reach more people in your target audience and generate more interest in your organization. And, since you set aside time to prepare the content, you’re more likely to run into less trouble.
3. Generate content ideas.
Once you’ve set aside specific dates on which you’ll publish content, you can begin to think of content ideas. You don’t want to limit yourself to just one or two topics, as you have an unlimited canvas with which to promote your products. Plus, it’s important to have a variety of content to give the reader a sense of diversity. So, rather than focusing on just one or two ideas, generate as many concepts as you can. You can use a tool like Contentidea to help you come up with unique, high-quality content ideas.
4. Evaluate each idea.
Before you begin writing, it’s important to go through your content ideas and eliminate those that don’t seem promising. For instance, if you have an idea for a webinar on employee engagement, but you determined in Step 2 that that topic wasn’t relevant to your target audience, then it might not be the best idea for your organization. However, if you have a great idea that is both relevant and of high quality, then it’s worth exploring the possibility of organizing a webinar around that topic.
5. Create content maps.
Creating a content map is another important step in formulating a content strategy. A content map is a visual representation of your content schedule, detailing the types of content that you’ll publish on which days and the approximate length of each piece.
Anchoring your content map to an editorial calendar is key to ensuring that your content is consistent and that you don’t end up with unexpected gaps in your schedule. Plus, you can use the map to identify key content pieces that you may want to repurpose for different platforms or formats, such as email newsletters or online brochures.
6. Create a content strategy presentation.
Your final step in formulating a content strategy is to create a presentation that details your strategy. This presentation, commonly referred to as a “slide deck”, will be used to pitch the content strategy to senior management.