This is usually where the motivation dies out and it gets put on the ‘too hard’ pile.
Do you want to know the truth? You’re not going to have any extra time 3 months down the track and your budget may grow but so will the demands from other areas of business. I won’t lie, it isn’t the easiest area of marketing to master. But the longer you put off starting the further your competitors will be in front.
And you can throw the “I don’t have the budget….’ excuse out the window! Content is designed to be a money saver, as I’ve said previously when compared to Paid Search, Content Marketing gets three times more leads per dollar spent and Small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without. So what are you waiting for, let’s get started!
(If you’re starting from scratch you can skip this step)
Perhaps you have dabbled with writing blog posts in the past or you have filmed and uploaded a few videos to YouTube. Whatever you have done, I want you to pull it all together in a spreadsheet I like to call your ‘Content Repository’. Your spreadsheet should include:
- Content Type
- Link to video/upload/blog/where it is in dropbox ect.
- Persona targeted
Now I want you to create another column and mark against each piece of content:
Evergreen: this content is still relevant and up to date
Needs updating: this piece of content needs to be reworked before it could be used again
News: this is for event write-ups, announcements and opinion pieces on timely news events
Take the time to analyse the content you have already created under each category and look for gaps, unanswered questions, unexplored topics. Think about what you already have that could be easily reworked and also what value are you currently missing that you could create from scratch. It will surprise you how many assets you have that can easily be reused, repurposed and reposted.
You’ve laid your cards out on the table and you can clearly see where you are right now with your content strategy. No cards on the table? Well, it’s time to start from scratch!
Creating a great content marketing strategy really revolves around understanding why you are creating content, who you are creating it for, how you will distribute it and where it fits in your customer’s journey. If you haven’t already please read my Crash Course in Retail Content Marketing and Content Marketing in 2018: Trends an Tips for Time-Short Retailers,
I would recommend blocking out at least half a day for an intense drill-down of your content marketing strategy. I would also recommend not doing it alone. Whether you are part of a team or the sole creator and distributor of your content, buy-in from other areas of your business is vital. Get as many relevant people involved as possible so you have plenty of brain-power and more people to bounce ideas off.
Here’s a sample agenda for your content marketing drill-down:
- Present an overview of your current content assets
- Use analytics to determine what your top 10 highest performing pieces of content were over the past 6 months to a year – What made these pieces successful?
- Define / Redefine your buyer personas down to the minute details and use analytics (where possible) to understand what content each personaengages with
- Write down every event, public holiday, product launch, announcement etc you can think of (try not to miss any!) for the next 6 months (Break this down into quarters and then individual months)
- Allocate keywords/themes to each of these events as well as any relevant offers such as ticket sales, email subscriptions, discounts etc
- Now start planning pieces of content that you will drip-feed to your audience in the lead up to these events.
NOTE: Only you can identify and prioritise the importance of your events. The greater the importance of an event the earlier you will start with your drip-fed content.
- Identify where existing content could be used and where new content would need to be created.
Note: It’s helpful to have an ongoing list of planned content for each month. This will help you determine the workload and prioritise where necessary. Don’t overload yourself by assigning too much content to be created to a certain month
- Once you have all of your event-based content planned to take a look at your workload and determine where you could be creating extra content. This is where you will draw from your list of content gaps and unexplored topics. Don’t overload your schedule as there’s always going to be last minute news and announcements you will need to make
- Set goals around your major events such as X amount of ticket sales or X amount of new email subscriptions these goals will keep you motivated to create killer content
Without a plan, the thought of pumping out content can be paralysing. So now that you’ve poured your brain out into a spreadsheet it’s time to get started with the fun part, creating your content! Try your best to stick to the content schedule you outlined in your strategy drill-down, but don’t let it confine you, it’s there as a guide to keep you on track but if a great idea pops into your head there’s no reason you can’t fit it in.
You should focus on spending more time distributing your content than creating it (aim for a 60/40 balance). Find the right workload for you at aim to remain consistent, for some people this me writing one blog post a week, for others, it may be 3, plus a video and an infographic. It all depends on the time you have to commit and there is no right or wrong.
It’s really important that you understand the role search engine optimisation plays in enhancing your content for the web. Have a read of our SEO blogs to gain a better understanding of how to create SEO-friendly content.
In my next blog, I will share with you some tools for creating, distributing and tracking the success of your content!