Are you struggling to develop a digital content strategy that takes your marketing campaign to the next level? Good, because that’s literally the title of this article.
Well, you're not alone. In a world full of mass content creation, marketers are asking themselves how they can create more structure around their content strategies to more accurately and effectively measure success.
You've gathered with your marketing team and decided it's time to talk about revamping your strategy. You're stoked, you're motivated, but you're a bit overwhelmed. Where do you begin?
Step 1 // Where are we?
Your goal is to create a bridge between where you are right now and where you want to go. Keeping this in mind, we recommend beginning by conducting a solid content audit. One of the best ways to do this is to make a chart or diagram that breaks down the amount of energy going into each marketing effort, and how much ROI you've gotten from it. If you're spending 10 hours a week on writing blog content but your blog has only brought in 2 leads this quarter, this is something to note.We recommend the following as a good place to start to analyze your content to determine what’s working and what isn’t:
- getting a list of all the keywords you rank for in search engines,
- all of the blog posts getting significant traffic and conversions,
- all of the active email lists,
- all of the live high-level web pages,
- all of your social media accounts
HubSpot, and other tools like it, are great for tracking direct conversion of blog posts, keywords, emails, landing pages, and other inbound marketing efforts. Yes, we use HubSpot, because they are pretty awesome and they help us serve you better. No, they didn't pay us to write this.
Once you understand where you are, you can take a look at where you want to be in terms of competition. If you're stumped for ideas, we encourage you to take a look at the content you admire from your competitors and how/why it is successful. Who is leading the market on content rich blogs? Who has a social media campaign that is a magnet for super-users? Record your findings, and with everything you observe, break down what specific tactics your competition is using to achieve these results. A competitive audit is a great way to do this. We are definitely NOT saying to copy their work. Take the some good ideas and tactics and implement them in a way that makes sense for you.
Step 2 // Where do we want to go?
After a thorough content and competitive audit, it's time to officially record your goals. Make sure your goals are measurable using KPI's (key performance indicators). To determine your goals, you need to understand what your company wants to achieve with marketing. Once you figure that out (e.g. more customers), figure out tangible ways of recording this progress and write these tangible goals down as your objectives. (e.g. 1,000 new Facebook followers in four months, a 50% increase in leads from blog posts, 2,000 company frisbees given away).
While you do this, ask yourself these questions:
- How does good content accomplish these goals?
- How can we measure whether or not our content is aligned with these goals?
Don't go crazy writing down 100 objectives that you'll never have time to achieve. Make your strategy realistic and attainable so that you can truly stick to it and be accountable for it.
After establishing your objectives, the next logical step is to establish personas. Who you target with your content will shape your entire campaign and get you to achieving the goals you just listed above. In this step, you really need to focus on the main points of the persona you are creating the content for. What is the problem you are trying to solve? If you don't already have well researched, accurate buyer personas, check out our blog post.
Step 3 // How do we get there?
Moving forward, the next step is to match up your goals to your strategies. Make a list of what action steps you are going to use to achieve your goals. Every step should be directly linked to an end goal in order to ensure you are always linking current action steps to future objectives.
For example, you have checked out the competition and see that they do a great Twitter Chat on Fridays that really helps identify super-users. You want to implement a similar event. To record this on your content strategy, describe the event (Twitter Chat on Friday) and then right next to it, write the end goal it is working towards (cultivating 100 new advocates by March 1st).
Next, write the specific action steps your team will need to take to ensure it succeeds. They might look something like this:
- Marketing emails promoting the Twitter Chat will get 10 new clicks per month
- Marketing team will record each email address that clicks on the Twitter Chat and will personally reach out to any person who submits a question
- Questions and answers will be broadcasted on Twitter and Facebook
This list will not only serve as a guide for your team members, but next time you are making an updated content strategy, you will have a built in checklist to record whether you completed the action steps, and whether or not these action steps achieved the expected results. Which, at the risk of sounding impartial, is pretty awesome.
Step 4 // Make it Happen
Finally, it's time to implement your strategy. Promote! Promote! Promote! (Repetition helps you remember, remember, remember.)
For example, for every new blog post:
- Post to relevant social media accounts
- Notify the email list
- Reach out to friends who’ll love the article
- Reach out to influencers mentioned
- Reach out to influencers on the topic
- Answer questions on Reddit and Quora
- Add a Google Alert for long-term promotion
The Grand Finale
Every marketer on your team should use this content development strategy as a daily guide to stay on track with each marketing effort. Staying focused and tied to your strategy is the best thing you can do as a marketer. If it works, you'll know why and how. If it doesn't, you'll be able to pinpoint where energy is being wasted and how to fix it. With a solid content strategy, you're on your way to creating real, valuable data that will serve your company for years to come. Just make sure your content always ends strongly. Like that movie where the guy was dreaming the whole time. That was a really good one.
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