Creating a content strategy is easy.
But creating a consistent long-term content strategy? Well, that’s another story.
The truth is it is difficult for marketers like you not to stray from your schedule. In fact, Altimeter, found that 70% of marketers lack a consistent or integrated content strategy.
So how do you follow through with your content goals? What tactics can you adopt to ensure that you continue along the straight and narrow path without being distracted?
In this article, we’ll teach you the five techniques you’ll need to know to transform your content marketing game.
1. Set Content Marketing Goals
A good way to start is to set goals.
Think about your long-term vision and short-term motivation. How will you achieve this goal? By creating specific goals and objectives and putting them down on paper, you can publish content that can help you achieve your specific goals.
Here are a few examples of goals and objectives:
- Increase total number of website visits per month by 15%
- Increase conversion rates for call-to-action content by 5%
- Increase number of leads generated from each piece of content by 10%
When you’ve defined your objectives, you can brainstorm blog topics, visuals and videos that are aligned with it. This way, every piece of content that you’ll post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube will help you achieve your goals and generate awareness, leads, sales, or customer delight.
2. Perform a Content Audit
After you’ve defined your objectives, the next step is to perform a content audit. For starters, a content audit involves enumerating the content that you already have and identifying their content title, buyer’s journey stage, marketing funnel stage, format/type, buyer persona and topic.
Here’s an example of a content audit from Hubspot:
Performing a content audit is a crucial part of your content marketing and social media marketing strategy. It ensures that any content that you’ll generate in the next few months will not be duplicated.
In addition, a content audit allows you to determine the old blogs posts that you should link back to, repurpose or reshare. By doing so, you’ll inculcate the discipline of continually improving your website architecture.
3. Perform an Event-Based Audit
Next, you have to perform an event-based audit. This consists of taking into account the time, event or upcoming projects, theme, keywords, blog post topics, and inbound marketing campaigns that need content.
Doing so allows you to identify your team’s tasks for the upcoming months and create content that’s in line with your buyer’s journey.
Here’s an example of an event-based audit from Hubspot:
In the image above, you can clearly see that the content team took into account their plan for each blog post, over a three-month period. Try to imagine if only the month and the title of the content were included in the document. If this were to take place, the content team’s output might not consistently reflect the theme that the campaign was specifically created for.
4. Brainstorm Content Topics
While it’s next to impossible to think of an original idea, there are tools and strategies that you can use to identify the topics that you should write about.
To find out what your readers want, ask them to answer a survey. Here’s a few examples of survey questions to help you get started:
- What types of articles and stories do you currently visit at [website] to look at or read?
- Which type of products (eBook, online course, whitepaper, blog post) do you like to see more or less of?
- What topics surrounding [topic or industry] is not adequately covered online (that you would like to be covered)?
- When you visit [your website]’s Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/LinkedIn accounts, do you like the frequency of content being covered?
- What additional content would you like to see on [ website ]’s Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/LinkedIn in the next few months?
Another tool that I like to use is Feedly. Here, you can follow keywords and publications and determine the topics that are popular, and the ones that aren’t.
In the image below, you’ll find a screenshot of my Feedly account. In the publications I’ve labeled as “marketing” the article titled, “19 technical SEO facts for beginners” garnered more than 500+ shares in the last 14 hours.
5. Conduct Weekly Team Meetings
Creating a content marketing plan is easy, but following through can be another story altogether.
Sometimes your designers need more time to create the visuals for your Facebook post. On other occasions, your writers may be so busy with press releases, marketing collaterals, and other copy projects that they neglect your content strategy. As a content leader, these situations can negatively impact your consistency and performance.
The good news is that while some problems are inevitable, others can be eradicated by planning for and conducting weekly team meetings. To conduct these meetings fast and efficiently, you’ll need to create a meeting agenda.
Here are good examples of team agendas from the Harvard Business Review.
The sample agenda is divided into the following columns: topic, preparation and process.
Imagine that your topic is your content marketing strategy for the last week of August. During that time, some of your writers may not be able to meet their deadlines because they’re busy with another client.
To solve this problem, you can assign their content to other writers, or post an infographic created by your design team instead of the usual blog post. This way, you’re not behind.
You can also use these meetings to follow-up on deadlines. Interestingly, a former study by the Harvard Business School found that managers who repeatedly reminded their team (or nagged) them to finish their tasks were more effective.
Do you have any other tips for brainstorming a long-term content strategy? Let us know in the comments below.