When strategized properly, content is what generates traffic, grows your audience and drives conversions.
What’s the best way to leverage content (and how) in order to produce measurable results for your business or agency?
This boils down to the strategy you set in place, the type of content you’re producing, what channels you’re publishing on, and ultimately, how you’re tying it back into your goals and targets.
In this short guide, we’ll be walking through the 7 fundamental steps to putting a content strategy in place that will actually produce the results and traction you’ve been looking for.
Why have a content strategy?
Before we get into the how, let’s start with the why…
You could have the highest quality content in the world, but still not be generating the results you’ve been looking for. Don’t get me wrong, the quality of the content you produce is a very important factor, however, it is far from the only thing you have to worry about.
A large percentage of businesses and agencies will make the mistake of hiring amazing content creators, then not having a plan in place to make the most out of the work they’re producing. This leads to aimlessly uploading across social channels, garnering alike here and there, but ultimately not achieving much. By having a concrete plan set in place, and keeping everyone in the business involved in social media on the same page, is absolutely crucial.
Are you ready to kick your content marketing into high gear and produce the results you’ve seen elsewhere?
Let’s dive right into it…
#1. Identify Your KPI’s
What are you looking to get out of your content marketing efforts?
While most businesses have a vague idea (more sales, more traffic, etc.) of what they’re looking for, it’s crucial that you set actionable goals that are specific, yet realistic.
Listed below are some typical goals that marketers tie into their content strategies:
- Increasing revenue as a direct result from the content you publish
- Getting high-quality leads, which will help you meet your revenue goals.
- Driving more traffic to your site, as increases in traffic go hand in hand with increases of other metrics (like sales).
- Reduced marketing costs, as your content becomes more effective and streamlined.
- SEO benefits, which ultimately drives more traffic to your site.
- Increase in engagement, to build up the credibility and overall audience on your social pages.
It is unrealistic to hyperfocus on all of these goals at first. Therefore it’s a good idea to pick two or three that most aligns with your business’s current focuses and tie these back into your overall content strategy.
#2. Establish Your Target Audience
If you don’t know your target customer, as in, where they hang out online, what their preferences and interests they have, what demographic they’re in, etc, it becomes very hard to know what type of content to create to effectively reach and sell to them.
The key data points that you need to know about your customer are the following:
These data points can be easily found if you already have a presence on other platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and even your Google site analytics. When you know you’re customer better, it will help you to more effectively know:
- The kind of content your target audience responds to
- How your content helps them
- What will make them care about it enough to take action
#3. Study Your Competitors
This is an extremely important step that many marketers overlook…
How are you going to create a successful content strategy, if you’re not aware of what’s currently working and what that looks like?
Create a list of the top 10 competitors in your industry, and take notes. Look across all of their social platforms, and note the types of content they’re cheating on each, and which is generating the most engagement.
For example, you may see that detailed infographics on Facebook and Instagram are receiving significantly less engagement than high-quality pictures of customers interacting with the products.
It all boils down to knowing and keeping up with what your target audience is responding to, as this is exactly the type of content you’ll want to produce and double down on.
#4. Identify Your Target Channels
It may seem like a good idea to have an updated presence on all platforms, and while this is true in theory, it’s not practical to spend time and energy on certain channels that you’re customers just don’t use.
It all depends on the type of business you’re running, and where your target customers are. Use the information that you collected in Step #2 to ultimately discover this.
For example, if you’re marketing an e-commerce product to college students, chances are you’re going to avoid LinkedIn and Facebook, and focus on Instagram and Twitter. However, if you’re running a B2B product or service, the bulk of your customers might be on LinkedIn and Facebook.
By deciding from the start of your content marketing journey, where you’ll be publishing your content and focusing your efforts, you’ll ultimately be saving a ton in resources and time.
#5. Create a Content Calendar
A major component to your content strategy will be knowing exactly when and where your different types of content will be published.
The easiest way to accomplish this is through a social media content calendar. What a content calendar does is allows you to layout your social media posts on a monthly basis, based on the type of posts, which platform you’re publishing to, and the time you’re posting.
This not only allows you to create and schedule your content well ahead of time, but also keeps the whole social media/marketing team on the same page when it comes down to creating and tracking content.
This helps ease confusion amongst the marketing team and makes posting more effective and streamlined.
You can easily create a calendar like this through Google sheets, or if you’d prefer, there are countless online calendar solutions like Asana or CoSchedule, if your needs are more customized.
#6. Content Creation
Now that you know your audience, know what type of content they respond to, the best platforms for reaching your audience, and have your posting schedule laid out, it’s time to dive into the fun stuff!
Figuring out your content production process is essential to having your marketing strategy operate smoothly. You’ll need to know who will be creating your content on a consistent basis. Options typically include:
- In-house content creators
- Specialists in video creation, copywriting, or graphic design
In house creators are typically the most cost-efficient and easiest channels of content production, however, depending upon your needs and current resources, there are countless other options available to assist you.
#7. Share & Refine
The last, but most important step that comes after creating your content, is actually sharing it. It’s up to you to decide how you share it, whether it’s manually uploading across platforms, or utilizing a social media scheduler like Hootsuite, or Buffer.
It’s also important to note your sharing strategy for non social media related content like blog posts or E-Books. For content types such as this, it’d be a good idea to utilize other channels such as E-mail marketing or search ads.
Once you have created your schedule and have the resources available to produce the content, start posting and stick to your schedule for 30 days.
After the first month is up, go back and review your results. Content strategies don’t stay linear, they evolve and change depending on how your audience responds to what you’re publishing. After seeing the first month of results, you should be able to have a good gauge on what’s working based on the goals you had set in Step #1. If some areas of your content did not perform as well as you expected, you now have the knowledge and power to make those changes accordingly.
Content, when produced and used correctly, has the ability to improve all aspects of your business. We’re living in an online and social media-driven era, where the bulk of traffic and sales are coming from pieces of content that businesses and agencies create.
There’s never been a better time to revamp your content marketing and begin to achieve the results you’ve always dreamed of.