Every digital marketing strategy depends on a number of elements to ensure its success.
For a comprehensive campaign, you’ll need to consider how you’ll approach email marketing, paid search, social media posts, and reputation management, to name a few.
And while all of these are important, there is one thing that takes precedence over everything else: content.
Regular posting of fresh, insightful content is a proven way to improve brand awareness, build trust, engage with your audience, and drive action — but any old content won’t do the trick.
You need quality content that serves a purpose. And to do that, you need a strategy.
A content strategy, also known as a content plan, is a set of tactics used to create, implement, and manage marketing information, materials, and collateral. You can think of it as your marketing battle plan.
And like any good plan, it should be detailed and comprehensive, starting with the type of content you will post, when and where you will post it, and who is responsible for each element.
Here are five things you can use to take your content strategy to the next level.
1. Think like a publisher
You know your brand inside and out, which is good, but it also comes with some issues.
For one thing, because you are so familiar with it, it becomes easy to take certain knowledge for granted, often without realizing it. Unfortunately, this can easily frustrate your audience.
The simplest way to get around this is to think like a publisher. In other words, identify what your audience is looking for and find content that engages with it. Here are some tips for doing this:
- Build your content team. You already have a lot of experience in your organization. Use it. Your team can include marketers, product team members, public relations specialists, and IT and customer support reps.
- Define roles and responsibilities. Everyone on the editorial team should have a specific role in creating strategy and delivering content. Ensure that everyone knows what is expected of them at every step of the creation and management processes.
- Build workflow. Write down exactly how your process works to make sure everything goes through the right channels for approval. This may include repeat brand specialists, executives, or the legal team.
- Collect comments. A lot of companies neglect social listening, and that’s wrong. You must actively participate in the conversations customers have about your brand. It’s also a good idea to keep track of trending topics, which can provide opportunities for your brand.
- Consolidate your digital efforts. General marketing and paid media should reinforce each other. Partner with the paid media team to ensure your message is consistent and identify places to amplify your effectiveness.
- Invest in the right CMS technology. Using a high-quality content management system (CMS) allows you to put the latest technology to work for you. Platforms like WordPress, Shopify, and Squarespace can greatly simplify your workflow and help you manage the entire process from conception to publishing. With the right CMS, you can manage your content across channels without having to write a single line of code.
2. Make sure everything fits with your sales funnel
Conversions are the name of the game. In most cases, this means sales, but it can also be clicks, newsletter sign-ups, or any other marketing-related goal you can think of.
There’s a lot more to content marketing than sharing a viral video from your desk, a blog post about the state of your industry, or linking to an infographic you’ve created.
Yes, it’s those things, but it’s also about telling a story. It should have an emotional connection that helps change the target’s actions, thoughts, or feelings about your brand. And research is just a small part of that.
All your online and offline marketing needs to align with your Brand listing It corresponds to a step in the sales funnel.
This means that all of your content — whether it’s a social post, photo, new blog, or even a press release — counts. They all need to work together to move your goals further along the sales journey.
Doing so successfully means having a solid strategy in place before you start.
3. Refine and document your editing process
Whether you create all the content yourself, use a team of people, or outsource to freelancers, it is important that every piece of content goes through the same editing process.
The first step to this is to evaluate your process. Do multiple sets of eyes look at everything for errors, typos, and the like? Sometimes it is difficult for writers to spot their own mistakes.
Optimize your process and then document it with step-by-step instructions. There should never be any confusion about where a piece of content is in the build process, what is being executed at this step, and what is going to happen next.
Always make sure you keep your brand in mind. When deciding on content, don’t neglect the fonts, images, and tone that your audience will expect from you.
If your tone shifts from business professional in one piece to familiar tone in the next, you’ll leave your audience scratching their heads.
Additionally, you want to make sure that all of your content sticks to your narrative. Make sure every creator is aware of things like:
- positioning Your brand narrative should include the pillars on which your content is built.
- your values What are the important issues for your brand? (civil rights, environment, etc.)
- Imagine What does the media say about your brand? What about the community?
- audience interests What are your customers talking about when they don’t interact with your brand?
- historical performance What type of content traditionally works for you? What did?
- search behavior What are your targets looking for? What phrases do they use?
- customer support – What are the recurring support issues that you keep hearing from your customers?
Once you define your brand narrative, it will be much easier to craft an effective content strategy and change customer behavior, whether that means closing more sales, repositioning your company, or changing the way customers think about your brand.
Make sure you invest in properly training your team in this new process.
And since there is always room for improvement, you’ll want to have regular renewal programs and ongoing education programs built on the latest practices.
4. Review, update and replace
Nothing lasts forever, but if you can create the type of content that will have a long shelf life, you will be able to generate traffic, clicks, and engagement for months or even years. Other pieces will burn brightly for a short period of time.
It’s up to you to decide what needs to be removed, what needs to be replaced, and what just needs a little refresh.
Review your existing content to see what is still relevant and what needs to be removed. If you use stats or link to other content, be sure to check back on those stats on a regular basis.
Some content, known as permanent content, will remain relevant for a very long time. It’s not something you can set and forget, but it does require a lot less maintenance than the popular themes.
How do you know what kind of videos, blog posts, and how-to guides will still be relevant? With research of course.
Review your current traffic, analyze your competitors, and check out industry resources.
What kind of topics come up again and again, no matter how long ago it was posted? Use keyword research tools to find words and phrases with high search volume over a long period of time.
Either completely avoid news, trends, or technology that might be subject to substitution (this piece on PlayStation 5 may be hot right now, but it won’t generate much traffic once PlayStation 6 hits the market) or create it with the understanding that it will have an expiration date shorter.
Choose appropriate and less appropriate images to look old.
And most of all, make sure it’s useful. If you had a blog post offering a step-by-step guide to riding a unicycle, people looking for information on getting started with one wheel would find it as relevant in 10 years as they do today (barring some massive changes in unicycle technology, that is). Many types of educational content can remain relevant for a long time.
And once you post good evergreen content, keep promoting it. As long as it remains relevant, it will continue to generate clicks.
5. Use your network
Your content strategy should include more than just your domain.
Guest blogging is a great way to increase brand awareness and build backlinks, which will help both your traffic and your SEO ranking.
In addition, if your guest post is on a site that your audience trusts, it will automatically give you authority and credibility in their eyes.
Use your connections to find opportunities to cross promote your brand. Connect with industry websites and influencers to build a mutually beneficial relationship.
You can use platforms like social media to leverage and improve on this, so include that in your content strategy.
Share not only your own content and blog posts, but those of other people in your field. You probably don’t want to be associated with direct competitors, but anyone on the sidelines is fine.
Be sure to tag the publications, authors, and people mentioned in the article.
Does your industry enjoy popular events, conferences or trade fairs? This is a great place to generate exposure and promote your content.
Run a booth, give a speech, or just have someone on hand to hand out business cards and literature. Not only does this give you an opportunity to increase exposure, but it also provides opportunities to link back (and thus generate traffic) to your digital content.
And speaking of digital content, be sure to include other relevant and link-worthy sources in your content. This opens the door to creating mutual bonds.
And if you can get a first-hand, unique quote from an expert, even better.
Good content starts with a good strategy
Developing a good content strategy takes a bit of work. It’s not something you’ll be able to write down on a slip of paper in 15 minutes, but instead it will require you to do some research.
In general, the more work you put in up front, the easier it will be when it comes time to create and implement content.
Remember your goals and think about what they are looking for. How can you provide them with the highest value while simultaneously maximizing your exposure?
Make sure your strategy is built around unique content that you can leverage across platforms to boost your social media presence, improve your SEO rankings, and build relationships.
- 7 content marketing strategies for large organizations you need to know
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- Content Marketing: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners
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