For your website to rank well with search engines and engage your target market, it really needs to be injected with plenty of original high quality content, not only at the creation stage but also at regular intervals throughout the year.
This process should also be very strategic – i.e well planned, timed and orchestrated, and based on measurable goals. Without a written content marketing strategy, your website could just sit there without having much of an impact at all.
Developing a strategy is not difficult, but it does require some forethought and good planning.
Tips for creating a content strategy
- Set clear and measurable goals – this involves determining what it is you hope to achieve. Examples might include greater product awareness, an increase in website traffic, higher sales conversions, more e-newsletter subscriptions and so on. Make these goals measurable – 50 new subscribers in the next 60 days, for instance.
- Know your audience – any form of marketing requires empathy, in the sense that you need to stand in another’s shoes and see from their perspective. Know who your audience is – what makes them tick, what they like and are interested in, and what their purchasing habits are. Knowing your audience well will inform you on content topics and the tone of voice to use – for example whether academic, business-like, conversational, or humorous.
- Types of content – these might be blog articles, social media posts linked to your site, media releases or videos. Again this will depend on your goals and understanding your audience’s needs and desires.
- Channels for sharing and amplifying content – while website content is used for marketing, it needs a little marketing itself. This can be done through social media, e-newsletters, paid ads, emails, a virtual fax service that enables you to send a fax online, or specifically designed tools such as Outbrain Amplify.
- Timing – you may need to decide on a timetable for content creation. While you don’t want to underwhelm your audience, you don’t want to overwhelm them either by bombarding them with constant information. Decide on a workable schedule – such as one blog article per week or fortnight for example. A content calendar can be a very useful tool for this.
- Measuring results – since you’ve made some nice measurable goals, make sure to take the time to monitor the results to see how you are faring and refine your strategies if required.
- Other tips – consider creating a free e-book on a relevant topic for your audience to download from your website, or offer a free webinar on how to make the most of your products.
Using a content calendar
Much like a calendar you use to organise your household, a content calendar can make life in your business easier. It should ideally contain the date the content is required, the topic, the language style, any keywords to be included, the category, any tags, a publish date, the name of the person responsible for creating it, and any other pertinent information.
Using a calendar can help you get organised, make sure everyone in your organisation is aware of what needs to be done when, and who is responsible, and frees up your brain for more strategic matters.
An alternative might be to create all required content ahead of time, for the next six or 12 months for example, and put it in online file storage for access when required.
What not to do
- Don’t make your strategy all about sales – even if higher sales conversions is one of your goals. You should use content primarily to connect with your audience, to offer them value and generate interest, and not specifically to get something from them.
- Don’t use tricks to get better search engine rankings – this might have worked at one time, but not these days. Use of keywords is important, but don’t overdo it.
Developing a content strategy might be about serious business, but it can also be creative and fun. So get organised, get busy, and enjoy the process!
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