Have Clear, Measurable Goals for Your Content Marketing Strategy and Document Team
Most content marketing writers use this time of the year to review what has worked for building our brand and look at what we can improve over the next year. I thought it would be a good time review some tips for building a consistent content marketing strategy.
Most of us are familiar with the results of the 1979 Harvard MBA Study that focused on written goals and making plans to accomplish them. There have been dozens of similar studies since, and they can all be summarized the same way — “Folks with written, specific goals and a plan, tend to successfully accomplish them. Those that don’t- won’t.”
When you and your content marketing team focus attention on the steps needed to meet your brand’s content marketing goals, it directs attention to behaviors that will accomplish the goal and away from the behaviors that could sabotage, or delay reaching your goals in the stated timeframe. When you are vested in reaching a specific, documented, goal, you seek out the most effective means for accomplishing the set of tasks needed to achieve it. Successful content marketers document their content marketing strategy in some way, and they review the plan on a regular basis.
Have you and your team defined your brand’s primary content marketing goals for 2016?
This year our site content will:
- Draw more targeted traffic
- Generate high-quality sales leads
- Convert a higher percentage of leads into customers
- Improve subscriber retention
- Help up-sell existing subscribers to paid product offerings
- Increase awareness of our brand
Content marketing goals like these will require a specific strategy for each objective. It is critical to prioritize your top three goals, then with those goals in mind develop a content marketing strategy for each. Give yourself a specified timeframe to reach your content marketing goals. Document each goal, the content marketing strategy you intend using, and the timeframe you have given yourself to reach those goals. Documentation of your content marketing strategy is critical to your success.
“Content Marketing is the practice of creating relevant and compelling content in a consistent fashion to a targeted buyer, focusing on all stages of the buying process, from brand awareness through to brand evangelism.” — Joe Pullizzi Content Marketing Institute, November 2011
Your Content Marketing Strategy Must Have a Strong Business Case
Whether you are a team of one, working on a startup as both the owner and site manager, or are part of a content development team for a small or midsize business, you need to justify the expenditure of time, talent and treasure to reach your stated content marketing goals. A simple business case is just a written argument, developed to convince a decision maker to approve/justify a proposed project or undertaking, on the basis of its expected financial benefit (ROI).
An effective business case document is short and to the point.
- State the issue/problem
- State what you intend to do to solve it
- State the estimated time and resources need for the solution
- State how the time and resources invested will solve the stated issue (i.e. Draw more targeted traffic to your site)
- Project the ROI for effectively solving the stated issue or problem
A business case for a documented content marketing strategy is really part of the “Plan — Do — Check — Act” cycle. You will need to check your results and modify your content approach to meet your goals within the targeted time frame.
“Publishing Or Perish” Isn’t Just for College Professors Any More
The most important rule of successful content marketers is “push publish” as often and on as regular a schedule as possible. Sites that publish daily generate more traffic than those who publish weekly or monthly. There are scores of recent studies that back up that statement including one from Hubspot that correlated publishing frequency to the generation of leads — “…16+ blog posts per month received about 4.5-times more leads than brands that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.”
The best example of the ‘push publish school of brand building’ is Chris Lema. It is impossible to think about WordPress, and not associate it, in some way, to Chris Lema. His bio states that he is a ‘daily blogger’. Lema has branded himself as a storyteller. For years, wherever two or more gather in the name of WordPress, there was Chris Lema— speaking at Meet-ups, WordCamps, and other conferences building a following, one story at a time. He built a successful consultancy business one blog, one video, and one Podcast at a time. Chris is a brilliant, funny guy — but, he is also a disciplined content publishing machine who has a plan and follows the plan.
Re-purpose and Reuse Existing Content
If just the thought of producing publishable content on a daily basis makes you want to breathe into a paper bag, it is time to think differently.
If you write, you also edit. Years ago one of my mentors told me to never trash copy I deleted from an article. Rather, I should keep this deleted copy in “Slush File” organized by topic. That way, when I need to produce something and I’m stuck for an idea, I just look through my Slush File and find a few paragraphs that didn’t fit in a previous piece, but are the perfect ‘seedlings’ for a new article or blog.
Many of us produce a series of blogs on a specific topic. Successful content marketers develop a planned approach to transforming their existing content into multiple media forms. That series can now be re-purposed into an eBook, a video tutorial, a Podcast or a WordCamp presentation. By practicing the Repurpose / Reuse formula you can keep your content engine is constantly running, with content that engages your audience and attracts subscribers who are willing to be customers. Developing and producing good content takes time and money, so an experienced content marketer recycles that investment in as many ways as possible.
If you focus on these four points you can develop and produce an effective content marketing strategy that will attract site visitors, entice them to becoming site fans and very possibly convert then to brand clients. Go forth and push publish.