Guidelines to help begin, refine, and successfully scale your content marketing strategy.
It’s no secret: the landscape of consumer/creator interaction has been leaning hard on digital content generation and online transactions for some time now.
Projections even point to customers managing 85% of their relationships without talking to a human by the year 2020. The days of person-to-person commerce are getting shorter, and both everyday shoppers as well as B2B marketers are branching out and digging into business blogging and ecommerce storefronts.
Fortunately, building an effective online content marketing strategy isn’t difficult. Following a few simple-yet-invaluable guidelines can help you create a solid content foundation to build onto and scale over time.
Put Your Content Strategy on Paper
It’s essential to create a physical blueprint of your content marketing strategy, no matter how bare-bones it may be in the beginning.
Sometimes, the most effective way to get started is to literally pull the calendar off the wall and start filling in the blanks. Aligning organizational goals with content creation over a 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month period not only gives the entire team an action plan to work from, it also serves as a brainstorming and forecasting tool. Which holidays, seasonal trends, or industry-specific landmarks can you create content around? Are there sales or Top 10 lists that can be tailored to weekends or warm and cold weather traditions?
Department brainstorming sessions can turn into nearly-finalized editorial calendars within a few hours, but putting things on paper (either physically or digitally) is where ideas turn into strategies.
Content Generation & Creating Leads
Actually nailing down quality content topics and moving forward with a successful strategy takes work, and throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks can backfire. For the sake of productivity, you must be smart about your content creation. Here are a handful of tried-and-true methods to get the content engine running:
- Exploring different mediums: While blogging may be the go-to platform for businesses creating content, there’s also a world of diverse media worth tapping into. From quality video marketing to easy-to-understand infographics, finding an effective way to communicate ideas and best relay content can go beyond the traditional blog post.
- Subject matter experts: Industry expert testimonials add authenticity to content and can help build trust in your organization. Interviewing subject matter gurus or leveraging second-hand information from well-known figures within a particular field can effectively elevate almost any kind of content.
- User-generated content: Community interaction and online social sharing can literally define an organization (YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter). Many businesses are taking advantage of user-generated content. Anything from product reviews, customer feedback, and guest blog posts can be used to your advantage.
- Evergreen content: A buzzword in marketing circles, evergreen content comes in many forms. This includes any infographic, list, or tutorial that can be utilized over and over again. Not everyone is an industry expert or creative professional. Content created to teach basic principles or share complicated information in an easy-to-understand format can continuously appeal to a broad audience.
- Recycle: When done well, recycling and repurposing content already created can be a strategy in itself. In fact, trying to find better ways to repurpose content is one of the top five priorities content creators will focus on in 2016. Try breaking down an infographic and turning it into a blog post or doing the same with each individual step in a 10-step process.
Content Planning and Assigning Work
Once initial blueprints are on paper, content has been brainstormed, and at least some kind of strategy is in place, it’s time to fine tune that editorial calendar and delegate content creation. Who’s writing what and when is it due? Nail down the details and start cranking those content creation gears. Schedule interviews, set aside time for video production, and share marketing strategies with all departments involved in special promotions or sales materials (graphics, copywriters, inventory, etc.).
Monitoring Progress with Data Gathering and Analysis
Determining ROI and testing content strategy success can’t be done without detailed data gathering and marketing analysis. Set performance goals and monitor trends and visitor spikes to decipher what works and what doesn’t over time. Daily, monthly, quarterly, and even yearly benchmark analyses can be utilized to tailor messages and refine content marketing for optimal success.
Establishing Scalability for the Future
Creating successful content synergy with scalability and growth potential takes time. Through blog posts, website SEO, physical and digital signage, social media, automation, B2B communications, and any number of personal-yet-universal marketing strategies listed above, it is possible to create thriving content in our ever-evolving, consumer-based landscape.