Many businesses fall into the trap of creating content without a strategy. It leaves them scratching their heads as to why that fantastic blog or email, the one that took countless hours to make, has yielded no results.
Content can be the marketing miracle it’s cracked up to be, but only if you know what a content strategy is and why you need one. So let's get started.
- First things first: What is a content strategy?
- Make the most of your content
- Reach your goals
- Define success
First things first: What is a content strategy?
From brand tone to how you'll distribute and share your content efforts, a content strategy has it all.
It outlines what content you'll create and when. It also dictates how it'll be shared, who with and what your markers are for a successful piece of content.
Ultimately, it helps you prove ROI and learn more about your audience. The clear, mapped-out approach gives content creation and distribution structure. This saves you from falling into the trap we mentioned before - creating content for content’s sake and wondering why you aren’t seeing results.
Your content strategy should include various content types so your audience doesn’t get bored with what you produce. Some key types to include your strategy are:
- Social media posts
Make the most of your content
So, you’re making great content, but are you making the most of it? Without a content strategy, the answer is almost definitely no.
Content strategies aren't just about creating good quality content, but it’s also about allowing that content to shine. You must ensure it reaches people and doesn’t get overshadowed on your website.
Pruning and getting rid of lower quality pieces of content is much better than allowing old or underwhelming, outdated content to continue to sit on your site.
What if you have a blog that was great three years ago, but is now out of date? If the blog’s subject and purpose are still relevant, it’s time to go back and bring it up to scratch.
Repurpose outdated content with a good foundation and bring it back to life. Use updated stats and ideas from your industry to breathe new life and functionality back into the copy. Also touch up the tone, format and images or videos included, too.
This saves you time creating a new version of your blog and prevents you from having to chop all older, lower-quality content from your website. It also means you don't need to hit reset on the metrics either. Make a note of the data, optimise your content and analyse again in a few months to see the difference.
Doing this also reduces the number of dead links on your social media or in emails. Meaning if someone discovers an old post with a link to the blog, they’ll now find new and more engaging content instead of an error message.
A content strategy follows the entire journey of a piece of content, from its inception to it needing to be re-worked or axed in years to come. This journey absolutely needs to plan for the distribution of your content. Otherwise, how will people see all of the amazing resources you’re creating?
Making the most of your content is about using and promoting the content and how good the content is. Without a distribution stage worked into your content plan, you may not have any content at all.
Look into fresh takes on email marketing, social media and other digital marketing means for sharing your content far, wide and to the right audience and plan for how to use them.
Reach your goals
To reach your goals, you first need to know them. What do you want to accomplish through content? How does your content fit into your wider marketing goals for your current campaign or even quarter?
Taking the time to create content SMART targets based on your broader marketing objectives and formalising them in a content strategy will hope you cut down on wasted time creating content that doesn’t fit your goals. Without goals and a strategy, your content is directionless and not as effective as it can be.
When creating a marketing plan, you should start with what you want to achieve and working backwards to determine how you can accomplish this, using your buyer personas and journey as a guide. Within this process, think about your content and how specific content can help reach these goals.
Don’t just think about the subject of the content either. Think about the type of content and how you’ll distribute it. Make goals for each of these steps in the creation, distribution and return on your content.
Now you’ve defined your goals; you need to measure them. Identifying which parts of your content strategy (and overall marketing plan) are working is a vital tool in any marketer’s arsenal. Analysis and data are the bread and butter of any successful marketing activity.
Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Using analysis allows marketers to avoid repeating the same mistakes, wasting time and resources on routes proven not to work.
Having oversight of your content strategy and giving it direction makes analysing the results easier, as you’ll know what content was posted when and with what intention. From this, you can prove ROI, improve future activity and gain more insight into your audience’s behaviours and expectations.
Key tools for analysing the outcomes of your content and determining ROI include:
Now you know why you need a content strategy, maybe you're stuck for ideas on what type content to fill your strategy with? There are so many marketing fads and trends around what will work best for your business can be difficult.
To help you get some clarity and find the answers you need, we’ve created a free resource. Your time is precious and expensive, don’t waste it doing research we’ve already done for you!
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