5 Tips For Developing Killer Content
Do you create content as part of your marketing strategy? If so, here are a few key concepts to consider. Creating content takes a lot of time, so you want to be sure your goals are in alignment with your company goals and marketing strategy/goals.
- Stop Trying to Sell! Focus on Value Instead
How does your content or blog post add value to your target audience? If you are unable to answer that question in 5 seconds ⏰ then you shouldn’t post it. Period.
Depending on your industry, value comes in all different shapes and sizes. If you’re a hairstylist, it could be showing a beautiful photo of the latest hairstyle you created for a client. Are you in the service industry? Your value could be provided through a video teaching your viewers a skill or offering them something that inspires or motivates them to do something. If your business sells products, your value can be offering special PROMO codes, early access to new products, even providing unique ideas on how to use your products, or how to get even more use or value out of them.
Whatever your business, you must know who your target audience is and what they value. Figure that out, serve value up consistently and watch your followers grow!
- Develop a Content Strategy
Seriously. Write it down. At a minimum, include: what type of content will you focus on, outline your promotion strategy, i.e. how do you intend to get people to see it; what metrics will be used to measure and how will you analyze them?
Depending on what report you read, only 30% to 40% of companies actually document their content strategy, despite research that proves having a documented strategy equals better results!
Your strategy should be specific and define what you want to accomplish, i.e. what are your specific content goals? This is important so that all team members have an understanding of what the goals are which will help you get there. And if you are a one-person marketing department, it will keep you focused and on track.
- First and foremost, define your audience. Please. Who are you trying to reach? If you don’t define who your target audience is, chances are high that your content will not reach them.
- Outline and define what your content goals include: articles, blog posts, podcasts, webinars, videos, infographics, white papers and/or case studies. What topics will be covered? Who will be responsible for writing and/or coordinating these content pieces? Spend time researching specifically what is important to your audience. Google Trends https://trends.google.com/ is a great tool to use for this purpose. Include at least some multimedia content like videos. And follow the 80/20 rule: 80% focused on added value, education, information or fun topics and 20% focused on topics related to selling, or tied directly to what you sell.
- Identify what your promotion strategy is and how much you will spend. What channels will you use to promote and amplify your content? What platforms will you use? Be specific: social media, email, online publications or other channels.
- Be clear about how you will measure your content performance and success. What metrics will you track and how will you analyze them? Things to consider tracking: engagement (likes, shares, comments); post-performance (which posts performed the best?); overall reach; new followers; traffic to website
- Decide whether you will measure content ROI. This is difficult, but not impossible. Before you attempt to track content ROI, be sure your content strategy is a well-run machine. Why? Because it needs to happen consistently, according to plan, and have very specific goals before this will make any sense.
There is no right or wrong way to do it. Start where you are and adjust as needed.
- Create and Maintain an Editorial Calendar
Your calendar should include: who, what, where and when.
When developing your #content strategy, it is essential to create and maintain an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar is your roadmap to success when managing content. No matter where you are in the content creation process, whether you are just starting out with developing your strategy or you have been doing it for a while, an editorial calendar helps you keep track of everything. It helps you keep all those little or big details from getting lost in the shuffle.
Think of your editorial calendar as command central for content ideas, development and management. This is where you will keep track of the who, what, where and when related to content. You’ll track content topics, ideas for future topics, who is responsible for what, your links, a timeline for keeping track of where content will be posted and when, key words for SEO and other related activities. As you can see, there are a lot of details to keep track of, so this is why it is imperative to keep it all organized.
There are many tools you can use to help you create an editorial calendar. A spreadsheet (Google, Excel) is certainly adequate to capture and store everything you need to track of and works just fine. There are also several tools available with ready-made templates that you can use and modify to fit your specific needs. I have used HootSuite, Asana and Smartsheet. They all get the job done. I can’t say I have a favorite as there are features I like in each one. Some are a bit more complex and require some time to get used to, i.e. there is a learning curve. The most important thing to remember is that for content strategy, it works best when you instill in yourself, or your team, the discipline to create and maintain an editorial calendar. It really is an essential piece of the process. You’ll see your efforts flourish when you do it.
- Identify Your Distribution Methods
It is important to identify and develop multiple distribution methods for your website and/or blog. Work at finding influencers in your industry that specialize in outreach and that offer partnership opportunities and work to develop and maintain content distribution relationships with them. This should include link building with influencers and well-known websites in your industry through guest blogs, multi-media content like videos, educational webinars, reports or white papers and other valuable resources that provide value to your target audience.
By developing relationships with influencers in your industry who share the same target audience, you will gain access to their readers and followers when they share your content on their platforms. This helps position you as an expert and also creates relevance with the search engines which is super critical to search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine ranking. Over time, if you maintain your strategy of regular connections with influencers and creating links back to your website from these experts, this is one of the most essential things you can do to market and build awareness of your website.
- Analyze Your Content
If you are serious about content marketing, you’ll perform regular analyses of your content a few times per year. Why? You want to ensure your content is effective. In other words, you want to ensure you are delivering content that provides value to your audience. Also, things change in the business world frequently, depending on many factors. So, you’ll want to check in from time to time, to assess how your content is performing compared to what’s happening to your business and your audience/industry.
Performing a content analysis allows you to diagnose content and measure it against certain qualities, such as:
- Consistency with business goals and priorities
- Relevance to target audience
- Optimization standards (is it findable?)
- Adherence to branding guidelines
- Target audience reach
- Clarity and readability
Like all things in marketing, your content should be guided by real research. There’s plenty out there. By taking the time to perform a strategic analysis of your content, the probability of meeting your content strategy goals increases exponentially.
Common issues that are easily forgotten or overlooked by companies with their content:
- Outdated information or material
- Branding style inconsistencies
- Missing or incomplete meta descriptions
- Missing or broken links
- Changes to business practices or policies that impact content
- Weak or missing calls to action
- Opportunities to improve search engine optimization (SEO)
On the other hand, companies that consistently push out content, make their content good or great through periodic analyses:
- Drive website traffic and conversions
- Build awareness of their brand with their target audience
- Educate their customers
- Build trust and loyalty with their target audience
- Foster deeper relationships with their customers
- Build credibility and authority
- Move potential buyers more quickly through the sales funnel
- Position you as an industry expert
Decide What To Analyze
Before you measure anything, it is important to be super smart about what you measure, and understand that numbers don’t always tell the full story. You’ll need to look at several metrics to gain a good understanding of what the numbers are telling you.
For example, your new content campaign drove 50,000 new visitors per month. If you set new visitors as one of your main metrics, then you may consider this a big win! But your company’s focus KPI is sales and you didn’t experience any new sales transactions from these new 50,000 visitors. Well, then, your content wasn’t effective. To measure smart, be sure to make your metrics goal-oriented. Think about what you want to achieve with your content and then what metrics will indicate how well you’re doing in pursuit of those goals.
If you’re not sure which organizational goals to set for your content marketing, here are seven good ones to consider:
- Sales transactions
- Secondary conversions (download whitepaper, e-book or other value-added material)
- Multiple website visits
- Chatbox interaction
- Visibility and ranking increases
- Social engagement
- Website traffic metrics
How Often Should You Analyze Your Content?
Content should be monitored on an ongoing basis. However, you should always do a deeper analysis a couple of times per year, or especially before you launch a new marketing campaign, or consider changing your strategy. You might even consider analyzing competitor content if you notice they are launching a new campaign, or have had success with a recent one. It can aid in exploring new ideas and assessing whether they are a good fit for your business.
Here is a great resource to get started with content analysis, offered by CopyPress.com – The Ultimate Guide to Content Analysis
Don’t Get Lost In the Weeds
It’s easy to do, even for marketing professionals. There is so much data available through Google Analytics and other popular analytics tools, it can make your head spin. So, before you get overwhelmed with all the data available to analyze, first identify what is important to analyze, as it relates to your content strategy and your business. Then, be diligent about focusing on those metrics. It is not necessary to analyze everything. Not only is it extremely labor-intensive, it is not effective. You may never get anything done!
Remember to be consistent. Don’t ease up on analyzing content. Things change frequently and that is why building a good content strategy is so essential. When you analyze your content on a regular basis, good content becomes great content. Over time, great content delivers powerful results and vital brand awareness for your business.