How do you maintain a steady stream of original content that brings in traffic and conversions?
This is the question that plagues many content managers and writers. The truth is that a content strategy should always precede a content plan.
Studies have shown that effective content marketing can bring up to three times the traffic of regular marketing – so why not bank on it? A content plan is often flawed and incoherent without a content strategy to back it up. Let’s take a look at how you can set up your own content marketing strategy for successful content creation.
Benefits of a Content Marketing Strategy
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to establish some context. Most marketers prefer creating content based on a loose plan and hope for the best. This is the wrong approach to content marketing since it can backfire in a matter of days.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at several concrete benefits of implementing a content marketing strategy into your content creation process:
- Better workflow and performance of your writers
- More traffic, content interaction and conversions
- Establishing your brand as an industry authority, worthy of following and listening to
- Better ranking in search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing
- Better understanding of your own brand, products and long-term goals
Set Growth Goals
A content strategy represents the planning phase of a content marketing process. All the planning, scheduling and decisions take place in this marketing segment. The first order of business in creating an effective content marketing strategy is to set adequate growth goals.
What do you hope to accomplish with your newly created content?
Do you want to bring more organic traffic or convert existing visitors into customers?
Once you know what goals you want to pursue, it’s important to set realistic KPIs and deadlines for them. These will provide your content creators and SEO department with the space to brainstorm about new content ideas.
Focus on the Big Picture
Petty worldviews should never find their way into content marketing and planning. Don’t try to decide what content you should publish tomorrow or the day after. Instead, build a roadmap of content which you will create as time goes on.
An effective content marketing strategy benefits from knowing what milestones you are chasing. The big picture should always lead to something groundbreaking for your brand. This vision can be anything from expansion into retail to bring in collaborators and influencers.
Recent surveys show that 60% of marketers publish new content at least once a day. This level of commitment is important when developing a marketing strategy for your company website. Every element on your content marketing strategy roadmap should reflect the bigger goal you set out to accomplish. Anything that doesn’t contribute to that goal should be put aside for later reevaluation.
Represent your Brand
A content marketing strategy should always reflect the brand it aims to represent. For example, if your company’s focus lies in children’s toys, the content you create should also focus on that product. According to recent surveys, 90% of companies use content marketing to generate traffic. However, there is a right and wrong way to do so.
Branding your marketing content is just as important as representing your company during a formal meeting or a public interview. Placing unrelated content into your strategy for the sake of SEO and exposure will bring down your reputation.
A fleeting sense of exposure is not worth the price of selling your reputation out. Create a content marketing strategy that reflects your brand’s values and identity just like any product or service under your umbrella. That way, you will create a sense of cohesion with your brand which will ensure better brand loyalty and industry authority.
Delegate and Differentiate
The trick to differentiating content once the strategy goes through is in delegation. Optimally, you should never trust a single writer to be in charge of your entire content marketing creation. This leads to burnouts, content saturation and an overall drop in quality after some time.
Instead, create a team of writers who you can rely on and delegate work to. Their job descriptions shouldn’t vary too much. The teamwork and common goals involved in their work however should. A team of qualified writers will be able to come through on any content marketing strategy you come up with provided that you have clear instructions.
This trend is further proven by studies that show a shift in priorities when it comes to content creation. It’s no longer enough to SEO optimize content and hope for the best. A good briefing with clear do’s and don’ts goes a long way in making sure that the content is always fresh and original.
Reshape and Republish
Content managers often overlook the significance of republished content. A general consensus often comes down to original content which takes priority over republished articles. However, optimising older content for current trends and making it relevant again can go a long way in a content strategy.
If you repurpose already existing content and publish it again, you will save a lot of time and effort in pulling in new readers. Your content creators will have more time to breathe and come up with original content in the meantime.
Republished content is a cheap and easy way to extend your content marketing strategy and make sure that you make the most of what you have created so far. It should be noted however that a plain copy/paste process will never work in your favour. Studies show that 75% of readers value consistency and reliability in their content.
Google’s SERP will flag your content as plagiarism and frequent visitors will notice that you have posted something that they already saw before. Only republish content which can be repurposed to be relevant in current day and age with up to date keywords and SEO standards. Only then will this strategy make sense in your content marketing efforts.
Stick to a Story
As with branding, an overarching story is important in a content marketing strategy. The goal of your content should always be reflected in any content piece that gets published during a content cycle. The proverbial “story” in this case is the campaign or the marketing goal you are pursuing during that time.
It is highly important to give direct, understandable and relatable calls to action (CTA) to your readers. Mixed messages will confuse casual readers and alienate the regular recurring customers. Develop a sub-brand for your content marketing or split the content you create into distinct categories. That way, it will be easy to distinguish content from different content cycles that preceded it.
Track & Analyse
Like every aspect of content marketing, the strategy you build has an expiration date attached to it. This is a positive thing however, since you are able to reevaluate and redefine your goals more easily. It is important to track the effectiveness and RoI of your content marketing strategy from the moment you put content creation in motion.
You can track the performance of your content strategy through a dedicated platform or manually if you prefer to have more control.
Does the strategy you came up with make sense or is it confusing your writers and readers alike?
What are the bottlenecks which can be overcome by the time the next content cycle comes around?
Questions such as these can help you refine a unique content strategy custom tailored to your specific brand and industry.
The Value of Content (Conclusion)
When all is said and done, a content marketing strategy is only as good as the content it produces. Make sure to have a vision for your content before you start developing a concrete plan. The benefit of working in a digital content industry is that nothing is ever set in stone. Don’t be afraid to redefine your strategy as time goes on since it should always reflect your current goals.