how to spread the word about your organization.
As an organization, you invest an incredible amount of time and energy into honing your craft and working hard to provide great value for the people that rely on your brand. You think about how to serve your audience better, provide excellent service, and be the best option for consumers among all of your competition. All of those efforts are critical to your success.
On the other hand, you cannot grow your audience, brand, and earnings if people don’t know who you are and what you do. Effective content marketing ensures that the hard work you are putting in gets maximized.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to achieve excellent content marketing so that you can get the most out of your hard work.
Content planning is more than just deciding on topics and scheduling posts. First, it’s important to define what you want your content to accomplish. Goal setting sets the direction for your content marketing strategy and gives you anchor points to measure your success. These goals also provide a level of accountability and motivation.
short-term and long-term goals.
Make sure to create both short-term and long-term goals for your content marketing efforts. Only setting long-term goals can leave you feeling discouraged, like you’ll never achieve them. Instead, we want to include short-term goals as well. Short-term goals are smaller goals within a shorter time span that ultimately work towards your long-term goals.
Not only will short-term goals keep you on track and give you a boost of energy when you achieve them, but they’ll also provide valuable opportunities to evaluate. If we check in on our short-term goals and realize we aren’t making the kind of progress we expected to, we can evaluate how to make changes that will optimize our efforts.
When setting short-term and long-term goals for your content plan, make them SMART:
Specific - Describe exact numbers, timeframes, platforms, etc.
Measurable - Goals should be easy to evaluate.
Attainable - Make goals that are challenging but realistic.
Relevant - Create goals that are relevant to your organization’s growth.
Timely - Give yourself a specific amount of time to see results.
By creating clear, quantifiable goals, you will be able to keep track of your content marketing success accurately.
the next step
Once your goals are set, you have a foundation on which to build the rest of your content marketing strategy. Your goals gave you the end results that you are working towards. Now that you know where you are going, the next step is to figure out how to get there.
Auditing Your Content.
A content audit is essentially taking an in-depth look at how the content you currently produce and distribute is performing. When you do your audit, make sure to keep your target audience and goals in mind. This will keep you on track and give you an idea of how to evaluate which content to keep and repurpose.
Why Content Audits Are Important
The two main reasons to perform a content audit are to save money and identify ways to optimize your content strategy.
Creating new content will cost money. Whether you do it yourself or outsource, new content is an investment. By auditing your content, you can rediscover forgotten assets that are reusable after they are refined to fit your new content strategy.
Taking a good look at your current content may help you identify a gap in your relevant content coverage. By finding that gap and filling it, you make your overall content marketing more effective.
How to Audit Your Content
Keep track of your content details (we use Excel for this, but use whatever works for you). For each piece of content you will record:
Content Title - What you call it.
Content Format - Blog, video, slideshow, etc.
Buyer Journey Stage - Awareness, Consideration, Decision
Buyer Persona - Who is the content targeting?
Performance - How did it do on social media, page views, etc?
establishing a content creation process.
One of the most difficult aspects of executing a great content marketing strategy is finding a way to put out quality content on a regular basis. It’s easy to fall into the trap of producing only when it’s convenient, or when the need for it becomes extremely pressing.
There are so many things to consider in the day-to-day process of running a successful organization that consistent content development is easy to fall through the cracks. This is where it’s extremely valuable to identify and put into practice your content creation process.
Tips for a Successful Content Creation Process.
- Make a timeline and plan ahead. Ideally, a quarter in advance. This allows you to stay ahead while also ensuring that you have time to evaluate and optimize your strategy throughout the year based on how things are going.
- Plan for how frequently you’ll publish content. You may have heard that best practice dictates posting blogs weekly. This is only true if you have a goal to increase your website’s SEO through blog posts. If that isn’t one of your current goals, then don’t stress your team out by trying to crank out posts weekly.
If you’d like more tips on content creation, visit our blog.
Steps to Include in Your Process.
- Generating topic ideas
- Outlining content
- Writing posts or creating content (videos, eBooks, etc.)
- Editing content
- Publishing on website and social media accounts
Assign team members to the roles they will fulfill in your organization's process. Even if the same person is in charge of multiple steps, it’s important to distinguish who is doing what.
Ensure that each person knows when they are expected to complete their task. Plan your content deadlines and stick to them.
Generating Valuable Content.
One of the keys to generating more valuable content is to create pieces that grow on their own once released. Producing this type of content will save your organization time and money down the road by getting more value out of each creation.
That may sound complicated, but we’ll outline four steps to generate valuable content below.
1. Find Your anchor content.
Every organization has a type of content that is a perfect match for its marketing goals and target audience. This is your anchor content.
Think of your anchor content as the trunk of a tree. A good piece of anchor content is extensive enough to convey effective information and carry its own weight. It should also be high quality from start to finish. From that piece of anchor content, you’ll be able to identify sections to expand on through shorter blog posts, social media updates, and other “quick bit” reads. These form the “branches” of your content tree.
2. Build out your anchor through shorter content.
Blog post content is where most of your search engine traffic will come from, so search engine optimization (SEO) is vital to guarantee you’re getting the most ROI out of your efforts. Your blog, email, and social content is the best way to engage in ongoing, buzz-worthy conversations with your audience and establish your viewpoint and messaging angles.
Once you’ve identified a solid content anchor, you can outline your anchor content and use that outline as a planning guide for your short-form content.
3. Build content equity, then cash it in.
The best part about an expanded content catalog is that it quickly becomes your most valuable asset. A good, content-driven marketing strategy will yield plenty of reusable pieces that can be repurposed and reposted.
Think of this as cashing in on the equity you’ve built up—once you’ve created great content, the hard part is over!
4. Send high-performers on a star tour
A successful marketing strategy always relies on data and metrics, so you should never be in doubt about which pieces of content are pulling the most weight. The very best performers in your content catalog are your all-stars. Send those stars on a tour by re-publishing them in high-traffic venues. You can start with your own accounts on sites like LinkedIn, Medium or SlideShare
Promoting your content on social media.
It’s more important than ever to be social media savvy. These days social media has become a brand battleground, and if you don’t participate you fall behind.
Fortunately, using social media to promote your content is easier than ever as long as you’re able to successfully hone in on your core audience. Both organic and paid content promotion can be beneficial in different scenarios—you’ve just got to know when and where to use each one.
Organic Content Promotion.
You may be aware that many corporate marketing efforts focus on using paid social media techniques to reach their audience. However, there’s still plenty of room for organic social media content promotion, and for many types of marketing, it can be more effective.
The key to good organic content promotion is to deliver compelling content that drives your readers to engage—either by viewing the content, or by performing follow-through actions like signing up for a newsletter or clicking through to a site.
organic content promotion best practices
- Use media assets whenever possible.
You will be more likely to grab your followers’ attention since it is more visually appealing than a block of text.
- Appropriately format content for each platform.
Each platform has its format for successful posts.
- Post at the right times for each platform.
Take a look at your page’s insights to find out when your users are active on the platform.
paid content promotion.
Using paid content promotion can be a good fit when you need to reach highly specific audiences, or when you need a more regimented method for handling your budget and ROI (return on investment) requirements.
What You Need to Successfully Promote Content on Social Media
- A flexible budget to account for varying click-through rates and other engagement metrics that change how much your ad campaigns might cost.
- A timeframe that’s long enough for your campaign to make an impact, while staying within budget.
- A highly specified target audience, so you can ensure each advertising dollar is likely to yield the maximum impact.
Whatever method you choose, the most important points to remember are these: Find your audience, track your audience, then optimize your content promotion to maximize its impact for each individual platform.
work smarter, not harder.
Content marketing does not have to be time-consuming or difficult. Hopefully this guide helped you understand how you can simplify your content marketing strategy and still have it be successful.
Need a place to get started on working out the planning, generating, and promoting of your content? Our workbook guide walks you through each step and all you have to do is fill in the blanks!