Content marketing is another essential piece of any marketing strategy. While social media and email play very large roles in helping any brand market themselves, content still reigns supreme. People don’t always realize that content comprises everything that a company does; eBooks, videos, pictures, and blog posts are all content. Each piece plays its part in helping advance the overall brand strategy and allows a business to meet its goals.
There is a bit of a danger with content, however. Virtually anyone can create a piece of content at any time. But not every person can create a piece of content that serves a purpose. Every content element has to advance the overall strategy for a marketing campaign. Blog posts that don’t tie back to your original goals or video that doesn’t advance your cause are not helpful. They create confusion and can erode public trust in your company. To avoid these missteps, you need a solid content strategy and you need to maximize the value of every piece of content that you use and create.
Here are twelve steps you can use to get the most out of your content strategy.
Have Your End Result In Mind
This is one of the biggest traps that marketers can fall into. Their minds can think of an amazing video they want to shoot or a blog they want to write without thinking about what that content is going to do. If you are running a campaign to get more clicks to a brand’s website how does this video or blog play into that?
Before you create anything, think about what your end goal is. Do you want more customers to respond to your call to action? Are you trying to drive sales of a particular item? Is the desired result website views? Know exactly what you want to happen and then craft your content around that end goal. Everything you make and share needs to support the goals of your campaign. Once you know what you are trying to accomplish, you can better create content that will help you meet your objectives. If you plan your own actions, you stand a better chance that your readers will take those same actions.
Make Sure Your Content Brings Value To Your Clients
Creating content is a lot of fun. A content marketer that loves their job wants to create content all the time. But you can’t create pieces of content just for fun. Everything you do needs to have a purpose and resonate with your clients. Even if TikTok isn’t your favorite personal medium to use, if that’s where your customers are online, you better be too. Everything you do and create requires you to have your customers in mind. Your ideal persona is who you think of when you create content.
Be Strategic About The Amount Of Content You Create
Creating content is fun. If marketers didn’t love to create content, they would be in the wrong line of work. But there is a cost factor involved with every piece that is created. That cost could be in terms of materials or it could be for the amount of time spent working on the piece. This is why you have to be strategic about the content you create. Don’t just spend each moment of the day coming up with your next vlog or Insta Story unless it is needed. Every piece of content you create needs to have a purpose and you waste resources and time when you create unnecessary content.
Stick To The Brand Guidelines For Content Creation
Every company and brand has guidelines that govern what they do and say. These guidelines can cover everything from font size and color to tone of the message. For a content marketer, these can seem restrictive sometimes. However, these guidelines are in place for a reason. All of these guidelines and details were developed during the branding process. Each piece helps reflect the image and the message that the brand wants to convey to its customers. Any marketer working on a project must adhere to those guidelines.
Moving away from those guidelines can send the wrong message to the brand’s audience. Moving away from what their base knows can also stir confusion and cause customers to turn away from the company. Additionally, if the company is part of a highly regulated industry (for example healthcare and medical professions) those brand guidelines may be required by law. Changes could make the company incur penalties or even cause them to violate the law.
If there is something you are having an issue with, check with company executives before you make any changes that are outside of the guidelines. Who knows, maybe the brand will agree with you and make changes to its guidelines?
Determine What Your Primary Objective Is
You can’t create content until you know what you hope to accomplish from it. Are you trying to drive sales? Website views? Get customers to click on your call to action? Make sure you know what you want before you start creating content. Once you know that, your content can reflect those goals and will better support your objectives. If your objective is sales, you can then draft an email campaign that showcases the items you are focused on and you will have a way to measure these results. Without this knowledge, your content may look great, but it won’t support your overall goals.
Don’t Forget To Measure Your Results So You Can See If You Were Successful
This is the step that many of us tend to overlook and forget. Once you execute and launch your campaign you need to see if you were successful and what your ROI is. To do that, you have to have a system in place to measure your results. You also want to be able to see what parts of your campaign worked well and what needs improving for the next time. Without any type of system, you could be creating content that doesn’t hit the mark and drive any results for your company.
Use A Content Calendar And A CMS To Schedule What To Publish And When
Content can become overwhelming if you don’t keep yourself organized. There can be a lot to take in and manage depending upon what type of account you are working with and the level of complexity it requires. To keep yourself organized and to avoid feeling overwhelmed, use a content calendar. These calendars can let you know what needs to be accomplished and on what day (and even what time). For social media content, these calendars can even remind you about any social postings you need to schedule.
To build off of this point, it is also wise to invest in a content management system. A CMS is a powerful tool that will take your content planning to the next level. These systems integrate your website and your other digital channels into one place where you can review and analyze your data. These tools allow you to schedule your content and review metrics all in one place.Without a CMS, you will have to bounce from channel to channel to see the metrics on your content’s performance.
It’s Ok To Reuse And Repurpose Content When Needed
The phrase “everything old becomes new again” doesn’t just apply to fashion. It can apply to content as well. Think about a blog post that you wrote a few months prior that performed well. It obviously resonated with your customers. Why not find how to use that material in a different way? Would it work as a photo series or a how-to video? Could you take the material from it and turn it into a Q&A session with your customers? All of these are terrific ways to repurpose existing content so you can work smarter not harder. And you know the chances of success are good because it worked once before.
Make Sure The Message Is Cohesive Across Your Channels
Each channel you share your content on is highly nuanced. The message you share on each one should not be. Any material you share on LinkedIn should complement any tweets you send on Twitter or any videos you put on YouTube. Make sure your message stays consistent even though the method of delivery changes. If your audience is more youthful and that is the tone you have struck, that needs to carry through in everything you do. All your videos, blog posts, photo captions, need to convey that same feel. If the message becomes disjointed, your audience will notice. This can cause you to lose sales and your audience can lose trust in your brand.
Tailor Your Content To Meet The Needs Of Your Audience
Your content must resonate with your audience. You can’t accomplish this if you don’t know who you are creating content for. Use your buyer personas as a guide for creating your content. The information used to construct those personas will prove useful to you in developing and tailoring your content. If you don’t know what makes your audiences tick, you can’t make content that will resonate with them. And if your content doesn’t resonate, you can’t meet the goals of your marketing campaign. Every campaign wants to drive the customer to take some kind of action. You want your content to make your clients do that. To accomplish this goal, you have to know who you are marketing to and what triggers them to take that next step.
Set S.M.A.R.T Goals For Your Campaign
When people first see or hear the phrase “Set SMART goals for your campaign”, the natural reaction would be to think is there any other kind? Who wouldn’t want a smart goal for their campaign? In this case, however, smart has a dual meaning. You absolutely want the classic definition of “smart” for your campaign. But you also want to set S.M.A.R.T goals as well.
Use the word smart as an acronym for any goals you want to set. Any goals you set for your content marketing campaign must be specific (S), measurable (M), attainable (A), relevant (R), time-bound (T). For example, setting the goal of increasing website visits during your current campaign meets the criteria of a S.M.A.R.T. goal. Setting the goal of making your website the premier destination on the web for social media content is not. It sounds very fancy and authoritative, but it isn’t specific nor is it something you can measure. It may not be attainable, and it is not time-bound. Who knows if it is relevant? Those who consume our content determine what is relevant, not the marketers. Without using these guidelines, it becomes very difficult to measure your campaign to see if it is working.
Make Sure Your Content Goals Meet Your Company’s Needs
Content marketers love to do their jobs and create content. However, this content needs to meet the needs of the brand it is being created for. Video is a very popular medium and quite successful for creating and relaying content. But not every person on the web wants their content in the form of a video. Pay attention to your target audience to make sure they are receptive to video content. On that same note, consider if video is the right method of delivery for the point you are trying to make. Not everything needs to be delivered in the newest and hottest mode of communication. Sometimes, a blog post will meet the need just as well as anything else could.
Without a content marketing strategy that pops, your content is nothing more than just words and pictures that lack context and meaning. To get the maximum results from your content just take these simple steps and incorporate them into your next marketing campaign. You can rest assured that using these tips will make sure you get the most from your content marketing strategy.