There are two ways to go about content marketing: you can periodically send out random content, or you can have a thoughtful strategy. Which one do you think performs better time after time?
Having a content plan is incredibly important, as it can help you tailor content to your audience, as well as receive higher engagement. It may seem like a lot of work at first, but over time your strategy will pay off by allowing your marketing plan more flexibility to build your brand in other ways.
Content marketing is about systems + cycles
Content marketing is a way to attract people to your brand. However, instead of pushing your products and services on them, they find you through search engine optimization, meaningful content, and then come to you for your expertise. As much as it sounds like a crazy pipe dream, with regular posting of content, you can grow as an expert in your field, meaning potential clients will find you more trustworthy. This strategy is the basis for inbound marketing, and although the plan takes time and commitment, your content becomes one of your brand's most significant assets.
Content marketing runs on a system of creation - publication - promotion, which you repeat over weekly, monthly or yearly cycles. How you go about planning a content marketing strategy is all down to what you want to get out of it.
You should also think about how your brand and its current ecosystem will take to content marketing. It may be that you have to move budgets or people around a little to achieve what you need to achieve. Your brand can even help to improve your inbound results, so don’t lose sight of your brand’s missions and goals.
What do you want to achieve? More customers? More followers? Maybe you simply want to show off your expertise. Write down your goals as part of your content marketing strategy, so it’ll be easier to review your success in the long run.
You want to create content that hits on key, relevant aspects of your industry. For example, as a web design and digital marketing agency, UNINCORPORATED’s blog focuses on relevant subjects like Top Web Design Mistakes That Make Users Cringe and How Website Performance Impacts Conversion Rates And SEO — speaking to clear and delineated audience personas.
Think about how you can use keyword, audience, and persona research in order to come up with relevant content topics that you can drip-feed into an editorial strategy.
When and where?
How long your cycles last depends on what goals you want to achieve. Generally, a steady stream of content will help you to gradually grow and rank higher over time on search engines.
If you set a goal of renewing your content monthly, your plan should look like this: over the first month, you collect and write content. Decide whether you want enough for one article a day, a week, or a month. By the end of that first month, having collected your content, take a day to sit down and schedule them to go live over the month, as well as promoting them on social media, and considering how you'll optimize your website with the content.
Most content management systems allow you to schedule posts to go up well in advance. Aim to post at regular intervals. Additionally, your content management system should give you a URL for where your content will be posted—use this to schedule promotion on social media.
By using scheduling tools to get everything out for the next month all at once, you’re condensing the amount of time you spend fiddling about with posting content over the month, leaving you with a more clear cut plan. If you use a content management system like Shopify or WordPress, you can choose to publish new content at the dates and times you specify.
Putting your strategy into action
Unless you have a brain the size of a planet, you will definitely need a way of tracking deadlines for creating content and when your content and social media posts go live. Coschedule can provide you with a free editorial calendar to help ease the process.
Additionally, depending on how much content you need to write, you need to decide who is going to do it. Are you going to write all the content yourself, or are you going to collect it from a team of contributors? Writing everything yourself has the added advantage that you know everything will be how you want it, however, you may not have enough time to do it all. The choice is yours!
Keep in mind that the most important thing is regularity. While it’s your choice how often you want to publish content, it’s best to do it at regular intervals, whether that’s once a day, once a week, or once a month.
Time to review
One of the most vital aspects of a secure and effective content marketing strategy is to review your progress every time you sit down for another month of scheduling. Make note of the following:
- What posts did people respond to the most?
- What days and times were people more likely to view your website?
- What method of promotion was most effective for drawing traffic to your website?
These three things can help you build up an image of what your audience likes and doesn’t like, so that you may tailor your content in the future to get better results. Making improvements based on audience response is what makes this strategy effective—without it, you might as well be shooting off content into the dark, in the blind hope that you hit your target.
Google Analytics is hands-down the best way to monitor the traffic your website is getting. You’ll be able to see exactly how many users are on your website at certain times, what country they’re from, and what kind of device they are using.
Not only that, but you’ll see which of your posts are the most popular, meaning you can find elements of the best articles to use in your future posts, e.g. keywords, topics and tone.
If you’re thinking of investing in a new startup, or you’ve just founded your own, it’s worth doing this research beforehand to determine how your future content strategy might look like from a financial perspective,
It’s not always easy to be a bootstrapper and still create excellent content; you will have to commit to regular blogging, content campaigns, and even paid advertising — which can be expensive. Factor content marketing into your business overheads when you’re looking into making the leap into entrepreneurship.
While content marketing may just be one part of your overall marketing strategy, it can be a great way to better your standing in the industry. With each cycle of creation to publication to promotion and back again, you will build up an audience and therefore a solid client base.