5 Tips to Improve Your Content Strategy

Every digital marketing strategy relies on many elements to ensure its success.

For your overall campaign, you need to think about how to handle email marketing, paid search, social media posts, and reputation management, to name a few.

While these are all important, one thing takes precedence over everything else: content.

Posting new, insightful content on a regular basis is a proven way to increase brand awareness, build trust, engage with your audience, and drive action—but any old content won’t work.

You need high-quality content with a purpose. To do this, you need a strategy.

A content strategy, also known as a content plan, is a collection of strategies for creating, implementing, and managing marketing messages, materials, and collateral. You can think of it as your marketing battle plan.

As with any good plan, it needs to be detailed and comprehensive, down to the type of content you will be publishing, when and where it will be published, and who will be responsible for each element.

Here are five things you can do to take your content strategy to the next level.

1. Think like a publisher

It’s a good thing that you know your brand inside and out, but it also brings some problems.

On the one hand, because you’re so familiar with it, it’s easy to take certain knowledge for granted, often without even realizing it. Unfortunately, this can easily frustrate your audience.

The easiest way to eliminate this is to think like a publisher. In other words, identify what your audience is looking for and find content that addresses it. Here are some tips for doing so:

  • Build your content team. You already have a lot of expertise in your organization. use it. Your team may include marketers, product team members, PR specialists, customer support reps, and IT.
  • Establish roles and responsibilities. Everyone on the editorial team should have a specific role in developing strategy and delivering content. Make sure everyone knows what is expected of them at every step of the creation and management process.
  • Build workflows. Write exactly how your process works to ensure everything is approved through the right channels. This may include loops from brand experts, executives or the legal team.
  • Gather feedback. Too many businesses ignore social listening, and that’s a mistake. You should actively participate in customer conversations about your brand. It’s also a good idea to keep track of trending topics, which can provide opportunities for your brand.
  • Unify your digital work. General marketing and paid media should be mutually reinforcing. Work with your paid media team to ensure your message is consistent and identify where you can improve your performance.
  • Invest in the right CMS technology. With a premium content management system (CMS), you have access to the latest technology. Platforms like WordPress, Shopify, and Squarespace can greatly simplify your workflow and help you manage the entire process from conceptualization to launch. With the right CMS, you can manage content across channels without writing a single line of code.

2. Make sure everything fits into your sales funnel

Transformation is the name of the game. In most cases, this means sales, but it can also be clicks, newsletter signups, or any other marketing-specific goal you can think of.

Content marketing is more than just sharing a viral video of your office, a blog post about the state of your industry, or a link to an infographic you created.

Yes, that’s all that stuff, but it’s also about storytelling. It needs to have an emotional hook that helps change how the target acts, thinks or feels about your brand. Search is only a small part of it.

All your online and offline marketing needs to work with your brand narrative and corresponds to a step in your sales funnel.

That means all of your content—whether it’s social posts, photos, new blogs, or even press releases—counts. All of these need to work together to further your goals in the sales process.

Doing this successfully means having a rock-solid strategy before getting started.

3. Refine and document your editing process

Whether you create all the content yourself, use a team, or outsource it to a freelancer, it’s important that every piece of content goes through the same editing process.

The first step is to evaluate your process. Is everything checked by multiple sets of eyes for errors, spelling mistakes, etc.? Sometimes writers have a hard time spotting their own mistakes.

Refine your process, then document it with detailed step-by-step instructions. There should be absolutely no confusion about where a piece of content is in the creation process, what happens at that step, and what happens next.

Be sure to always keep your brand in mind. When deciding on your content, don’t ignore the fonts, images, and tone that your audience expects from you.

If your tone shifts from one business-professional to the next casually familiar, it can confuse your audience.

Also, you want to make sure everything fits your narrative. Make sure each content creator is familiar with the following:

  • position – Your brand narrative should include the pillars your content is built on.
  • your values – What issues are important to your brand? (civil rights, ecology, etc.)
  • insight – What does the media say about your brand? What about the community?
  • audience interest – When your customers are not engaging with your brand, what are they talking about?
  • historical performance – What type of content is traditionally right for you? what not?
  • search behavior – What are your goals looking for? What phrases do they use?
  • Customer Support – What are the recurring support issues you hear from customers?

Once you’ve nailed your brand narrative, it’s much easier to develop an effective content strategy and change customer behavior, whether that means closing more sales, repositioning your company, or changing how customers perceive your brand.

Make sure you invest in properly training your team on this new process.

And because there is always room for improvement, you need to regularly review and build a continuing education program around the latest best practices.

4. Review, refresh, replace

Nothing lasts forever, but if you can create content types with a long shelf life, you’ll be able to generate months or even years of traffic, clicks, and interactions. Other debris will burn brightly for a short time.

It’s up to you to decide what needs to be removed, what should be replaced, and what needs only a slight refresh.

Review your existing content to see what is still relevant and what needs to be removed. If you use statistics or link to other content, please ensure that you verify these regularly.

Some content known as evergreen content will continue to remain relevant for a long time to come. It’s not something you can set and forget, but it does require less maintenance than a hot topic.

How do you decide which types of videos, blog posts and how-tos will remain relevant? Of course, through research.

Browse your existing traffic, analyze your competitors, and view industry resources.

What types of topics keep popping up, no matter how long ago they were posted? Use your keyword research tools to find words and phrases that have high search volume over a long period of time.

Either completely avoid news, trends or technologies that could easily be replaced (that piece on the PlayStation 5 might be hot right now, but it won’t generate much traffic once the PlayStation 6 hits the market), or create with an understanding of it It will have a shorter shelf life.

Choose visuals that are appropriate and not easily outdated.

Most importantly, make sure it works. If you had a blog post with a step-by-step guide to riding a unicycle, someone searching for information on getting started with a unicycle would find it as relevant in 10 years as it is today (unless in unicycle tech, ie). Many types of educational content can remain relevant over time.

Once you’ve posted a great piece of evergreen content, keep promoting it. It will still generate clicks as long as it’s still relevant.

5. Use your network

Your content strategy should include more than just your own domain.

Guest blogging is a great way to increase brand awareness and generate backlinks that will help your traffic and SEO rankings.

Plus, if your guest post is on a site your audience trusts, it automatically gives you authority and credibility in their eyes.

Use your network to find opportunities to cross-promote your brand. Connect with industry websites and influencers to build mutually beneficial relationships.

You can leverage and enhance this using platforms like social media, so include it in your content strategy.

Share not only your own content and blog posts, but those of others in your field. You may not want to link to a direct competitor, but anyone on the periphery can.

Be sure to tag the publications, authors, and people mentioned in the article.

Does your industry have a popular event, conference or trade show? This is a great place to generate exposure and promote your content.

Run a booth, give a speech, or just have someone on hand to hand out business cards and literature. Not only does this give you the opportunity to increase your exposure, but it also provides an opportunity to link back (and thus generate traffic) your digital content.

Speaking of digital content, make sure you include other relevant and link-worthy resources in your content. This opens the door to creating reciprocal links.

It’s even better if you can get a direct, unique quote from an expert.

Good content starts with a good strategy

Developing a good content strategy takes some work. This is not something you can jot down on a piece of paper in 15 minutes, but requires you to do some research.

In general, the more work you put in up front, the easier time it takes to create and implement content.

Remember your goals and consider what they are looking for. How do you provide them with the most value while maximizing your exposure?

Make sure your strategy is built around unique content that you can leverage cross-platform to boost your social media presence, improve SEO rankings, and build relationships.

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Featured Image: ZoFot/Shutterstock

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