For a digital marketing strategy to work, it needs several different parts.
For a well-rounded campaign, you’ll need to think about how you’ll do things like email marketing, paid search, social media posts, and reputation management.
And while all of these are important, one thing is more important than anything else: content.
Regularly posting new, exciting content is a proven way to increase brand awareness, build trust, engage your audience, and get them to take action, but just any content won’t do.
You need content that is both good and useful. And it would help if you had a plan to do that.
A content strategy also called a content plan, is a set of methods used to create, implement, and manage marketing information, materials, and collateral. Think of it as your battle plan for marketing.
And like any good plan, it needs to be detailed and complete, down to the type of content you’ll post, when and where you’ll post it, and who is in charge of each part.
Here are five things you can do to improve your content strategy.
1. Think like a writer or editor
You know everything there is to know about your brand, which is good, but it also causes some problems.
When you know something so well, it’s easy to take it for granted, sometimes without even realizing it. Unfortunately, this makes it easy for your audience to get angry.
Think like a publisher is the best way to get rid of that. In other words, figure out what your audience wants and find content that gives it to them. Here are some suggestions on how to do that:
- Put together your content team. You already have a lot of knowledge in your company. Use it. Your group could have marketers, people who work on the product, PR experts, customer service reps, and IT people.
- Set up who is responsible for what. Everyone on the editorial team should have a specific job in making a plan and putting out content. Make sure that everyone knows what they are supposed to do at each step of creating and running the project.
- Set up processes. Write precisely how your cycle works to ensure everything gets approved through the proper channels. This could mean contacting brand experts, executives, or the legal team.
- Ask for comments. Too many businesses don’t listen on social media, which is wrong. You should join the conversations that customers are having about your brand. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on what’s popular, as this can open doors for your brand.
- Unify your digital efforts. Marketing, in general, and paid media should work together to help each other. Work with your paid media team to make sure your message is clear and to find places where you can boost its impact.
- Spend money on the right CMS tools. When you use a sound content management system (CMS), you can make the most of the latest technology. Platforms like WordPress, Shopify, and Squarespace can help you manage the whole process, from coming up with an idea to put it online. With a suitable CMS, you don’t have to write a single line of code to manage your content across all channels.
2. Make sure that everything fits into your sales funnel
The goal is to get people to buy something. This usually means sales, but it could also be clicks, newsletter signups, or any other marketing-specific purpose.
Content marketing is more than just sharing a viral video from your office, a blog post about the state of your industry, or a link to an infographic you made.
Yes, it is all those things, but it is also about telling a story. It needs to make people feel something that makes them act, think, or feel differently about your brand. Search is only a tiny part of that.
All of your online and offline marketing needs to be in line with your brand story and correspond to a step in your sales funnel.
All of your content is important, whether it’s a social media post, a photo, a new blog, or a press release. And everything needs to work together to move your sales goals forward.
And to do this successfully, you need to have a solid plan before you start.
3. Make your editing process better and write it down
It’s essential that every piece of content goes through the same editing process, whether you make it all yourself, with a team, or by hiring freelancers.
The first step is to look at how you do things. Is everything being looked over by more than one person to ensure there are no mistakes, typos, or other problems? Writers sometimes find it hard to see their own mistakes.
Fine-tune your process, and then write down detailed, step-by-step instructions about how to do it. There should be no question about where a piece of content is in the creation process, what is being done at each step, and what will happen next.
Keep your brand in mind at all times. Don’t forget the fonts, images, and tone that your audience has come to expect from you when deciding what to write.
If you switch from a business-like tone in one piece to a more casual one in the next, your audience will be confused.
Also, you should ensure that all of your content fits your story. Make sure every person who makes content knows things like:
- Positioning: The pillars of your content should be part of your brand’s story.
- Your values: What do you care about as a brand? Civil rights, the environment, etc.
- What do people think of your brand? What do the media say about it? What about the neighbourhood?
- Interests of the audience: What do your customers talk about when not using your brand?
- How has your content performed in the past? What kinds of content have worked for you in the past? What hasn’t happened?
- What are your prospects looking for when they search? What words and phrases do they use?
- Customer Support: What are the most common problems that your customers keep bringing up?
Once you know your brand’s story, it will be much easier to create an effective content strategy and change customer behaviour, close more sales, reposition your company, or change how customers think about your brand.
Make sure you give your team the proper training on this new process.
And because there’s always room for improvement, you’ll want regular refreshers and continuing education programs based on the latest best practices.
4. Look over, update, and replace
Nothing lasts forever, but if you can make content that stays relevant for a long time, you can keep getting traffic, clicks, and engagement for months or even years. Some pieces will only shine brightly for a short time.
It’s up to you to figure out what needs to be taken away, what needs to be replaced, and what needs a minor update.
Review the content you already have to see what’s still valid and what needs to go. If you use statistics or links to other content, make sure to check them every so often.
Some content, called “evergreen content,” will always be necessary. It’s not something you can just set and forget, but it needs much less maintenance than trending topics.
How do you know what kinds of videos, blog posts, and guides on how to do something will stay popular? Of course, with research.
Look at your current traffic, study your competitors, and check out industry resources.
What topics keep coming up repeatedly, no matter how long ago they were first written about? Use the tools for keyword research to find words and phrases that have been searched for a lot over a long time.
Either stay away from the news, trends, or technologies that could be easily replaced (that article about the PlayStation 5 might be popular right now, but it won’t get as much attention when the PlayStation 6 comes out) or make them with the idea that they won’t last as long.
Choose images that make sense and are less likely to look old.
Most importantly, make sure it helps. Suppose you have a blog post with step-by-step instructions on how to ride a unicycle. In that case, people looking for information on how to start riding a one-wheeler will still find it helpful in 10 years (barring massive changes in unicycle technology). Many kinds of educational materials can be beneficial for a long time.
And once you’ve posted a good piece of content that will always be useful, keep promoting it. As long as it is still valid, it will continue to get clicks.
5. Reach out to people
Your content strategy shouldn’t just focus on your website.
Guest blogging is a great way to get more people to know about your brand and to get backlinks, which will help your traffic and SEO ranking.
Also, if your guest post is on a site your audience trusts, they will see you as an expert and believe what you say.
Use the people you know to find ways to promote both of your brands. Reach out to industry sites and people who have a lot of influence to build a relationship that will help both of you.
You can take advantage of this and improve it with tools like social media, so include it in your content strategy.
Not only should you share your content and blog posts, but also those of other people in your circle. You probably don’t want to link to businesses that are direct competitors, but you can connect to anyone else.
Make sure to tag the articles, authors, and people mentioned.
Does your industry have events, conferences, or trade shows that many people go to? This is a great place to get your content seen and shared.
Run a booth, give a talk, or have someone hand out business cards and other information. This gives you a chance to get more attention and lets you link back to your digital content, which brings more people to it.
And since we’re talking about digital content, make sure your content links to other valuable and worth linking to sources. This makes it possible to create links that go both ways.
And if you can get a direct, unique quote from an expert, that’s even better.
A good plan is the first step to making good content
Putting together a good content strategy takes some work. You won’t be able to write it down on paper in 15 minutes. Instead, you’ll need to do some research.
The more work you do upfront, the easier it will be to create and use content when it comes.
Think about who you’re trying to reach and what they want. How can you give them the most value while getting the most people to see you?
Make sure your strategy is built around unique content that you can use across platforms to build relationships, promote your social media presence, and improve your SEO rankings.