You do have a content marketing strategy, don’t you? If you can’t remember, or if you’re pretty sure but can’t remember the log in for your company’s Facebook account to check, it’s time to get to work.
And if you’re in the situation where you’ve just been asked to create a content marketing plan, well this article is for you, too. We’re going to look at 5 things you can do, starting today, to jumpstart your content marketing strategy.
1) Editorial calendar, what is it and why do you need one?
Think of your editorial calendar as the dashboard for your content marketing strategy. This is where you and your team (even if the team is you for now) go to see what’s on deck, who’s doing what, and when it’s all due to be published.
Having all of this information in one place is key for several reasons:
It removes the stress of trying to keep multiple parties on the same page. Your graphic designer can see what they have coming due, your editor can find out who’s producing what content so they can reach out directly, and your manager can keep an eye on the whole gang to ensure things keep moving forward.
Having a solid schedule that everyone involved knows is how you guarantee your content is going up on a regular schedule, which is the best way to ensure your audience is seeing it, since they become accustomed to your schedule and tune in to see new content. If you don’t deliver on time, even once, you risk losing them.
2) Set your goals early, and make them SMART
This is true no matter what stage you’re at, whether reassessing the direction of your existing content marketing strategies, or creating a new one from scratch. Lay out your goals, lay them out early in the process, and make sure they’re SMART goals.
Maybe you’ve been going for a while now, but something just feels...off, about the direction your campaign is going. Maybe you’re just not seeing the conversions you envisioned and you’d like to know why. Or maybe you’re seeing your trajectory veering off course from the mission you set out 6 months ago and need to get back on track. Did you outline your goals on day 1? No? Do it now.
The SMART goal framework is a convenient way to ensure your goals are in line with your mission, as well as a quick way to do a check-in with existing goals to make sure you can meet them. SMART means:
Specific - this is your who, what, when, where, and why for the goal. Define the goal with names, numbers, dates, and times.
Measurable - what are the metrics you’ll use to judge the effectiveness of this goal? How will you know when you hit them?
Attainable - Are you being realistic? Can this goal be met in the timeframe defined above? If you’re shooting for growing your customer base by 10x in six months, you might want to rethink things.
Relevant - Are these goals appropriate for your content team to be working on? Does the goal align with your campaign objectives? Mission statement of the company?
Time-bound - Does the goal have a start date and an end date? If not, set these parameters now, or you risk your team getting distracted and your content calendar schedule not being adhered to.
3) Align your marketing goals with those of your sales team
Both teams are working toward the same ultimate goals, right? Customer development and retention should be top of mind for both teams, so making sure the goals you laid out above line up with the goals your sales team is working toward is the best way to ensure you aren’t working at cross-ends.
The challenge here arises when marketing says, “we’re bringing in so many leads, sales can’t keep up.” Then sales fires back with, “your leads aren’t high enough quality to be worth our time.” Marketing’s end goal is to make sure sales provides consistent information throughout the customer journey, and sales needs to know that marketing is remembering to treat the customer like a person, not a statistic or demographic.
To truly engage your customers, on their level, you need to work together with sales to align your broader goals.
4) Use social media, correctly
There are currently north of 2 BILLION social media users in the world, chances are your audience is part of that crowd. If your social media voice doesn't match up with your content voice, you’re missing a potentially HUGE market segment. A quick realignment can work wonders for your overall reach, engagement, and conversion from these channels.
There are two keys to a working social media strategy:
Listen. Intently. Start by monitoring your audience, your followers, and your own feed. Listen and take notes on things like when your audience is active on the channel, what they’re sharing, and who they’re sharing it with. You may find out that LinkedIn lights up during lunch break on the US east coast, while your Twitter followers are mostly in continental Europe and are most active during the evening commute. This kind of information is crucial to setting out your editorial calendar and scheduling your posts to these platforms.
Be interactive. Social media outlets are built around the idea of interaction individuals/accounts. Make use of this engagement opportunity, reply to comments, share content from your followers, retweet that meme (the appropriate ones, at least). This puts a human face on your corporate image and puts your employer brand on prominent display.
5) Prune irrelevant or low performing content
This will seem backwards to some, and that’s OK. It does seem antithetical to content creation to turn around and hack it. There are two primary reasons you’ll want to get past that feeling and make the cuts.
First, as you evaluate your campaigns and compare your metrics month over month, you’ll find content that just isn’t performing. If your average post is converting at a rate of 5%, and you find an article that’s sitting at 1%, take a closer look at it. If you can tweak the CTA, or make other quick changes that bring it’s numbers into line, fantastic, do that. If not, consider cutting it so you can focus your visitors eyeballs on the pieces that are bringing in the customers.
Second, SEO comes into play here. With some recent changes to their algorithms, Google has started tracking underperforming content and counting it against the domain it’s on. That means your SEO juice can be hurt if you have irrelevant content just hanging around. The only way to get this content out of your ranks is to cut it.
Using these 5 ideas to jumpstart your content marketing will get you and your campaigns on the right track. You’ll see results in your metrics, your site visits, and your conversions in no time!
Click below for a free inbound marketing checklist to help with your content marketing efforts!