We could extol the virtues of content marketing all day. But your content is only as good as the content strategy you have in place to make sure all the awesome content you know you could make actually gets made and posted to the right channels.
Content strategy is no easy thing, but we have a few tips for how you can create your own. Read on!
With all the possibilities that content provides (Blog articles! Email campaigns! Infographics! Video!), you might be tempted to try all of the things. But don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you can hold yourself accountable to a high level of ambition, so be it; but be honest with yourself about what you and your team can reasonably handle on a consistent basis (more on that later). So start small. For example:
- 1 blog post a month
- 1 email newsletter a month
- Facebook posting 1x week
- 1 video per quarter
Decide what works best for you and start listing it out. But set reasonable goals. Tailor your content strategy to fit the needs of your business and what you can honestly handle.
Figure Out How It All Works
Whatever it is you want to tackle, figure out how it works first and then get really good at it. Hence why you should start out small! When you start with one blog post per month, for example, you can devote the time you need to understand what goes into getting that article created and what it takes to excel at creating it. Not only do you not want to stretch yourself too thin, but you also don’t want your output to be less than awesome. This goes for the actual implementation of your strategy, too: who’s doing what? Is there an approval process? Delegate tasks and set deadlines. Hold people (or yourself accountable) for meeting those deadlines.
And none of this is to say you have to make your content so perfect to the point that you’re never satisfied with it, or that you’re so hesitant about Facebook that you never post to it. When you start small, however, you can take the time to understand what it is exactly that you intend on doing.
Look at Your Calendar & Pencil It In
The next step would be to look at a calendar and look at your content strategy from a monthly overview perspective. You could plan it out by business quarter. It could be for the month ahead. Above all, look at your calendar and see what you’ve got coming up. Relevant events, holidays (even the silly Internet ones), selling cycles, promotions, etc. If you’ve already decided the type of content you want to produce, you can help you identify what topics you want that content to cover. Then start scheduling!
Have a promotion in July? Start penciling in when the blog post/web page copy needs to be written, edited, and published. When will you announce the promotion on social media or in an email campaign? What assets would you like to create for that? Would a social media contest be a good way to promote it? A calendar will be one of your greatest allies in the quest for content strategy success.
Identify What’s Not Working and Stop Doing It
Over time, your content strategy will evolve. You might be able to add on a few more blog posts or tackle another social media platform or send out an additional email. At this point, though, it’s equally important to identify what’s not working and stop doing it. Maybe you got little engagement on your weekly motivational quote on LinkedIn. Maybe that one email headline that you thought was hilarious resulted in fewer people opening it. Give yourself a little time to figure out what works and what doesn’t, then adjust your strategy accordingly.
Make It a Priority
Consistency is key to a successful content strategy, both for SEO and audience engagement purposes. Google loves content that is added consistently to a site. Your audience will come to expect content…or they’ll forget about you. When creating your content strategy, keep this in mind.
In order to be consistent, your strategy has to be someone’s priority or it simply won’t happen. We see it time and time again: someone starts out ambitiously, they plan out a bunch of content and they stick to it…for a little bit. Business gets in the way and other things take priority. What started out as a consistent effort falls by the wayside. Before you know it, it’s been six months since you last posted on your blog or made an update to Twitter. Yeesh. But it happens.
At the end of the day, having an excellent content strategy is one thing. Implementing it is another thing entirely. But don’t get discouraged if you fall off the boat from time to time. Identify what’s not working and stop doing it. Wipe the slate clean and strategize anew. Consider hiring a content production team to help you. Just don’t give up!