Boost Your Content Marketing Strategy with These 4 Steps

By Andrew Wilson

Content Marketing Definition

Content is a fundamental part of any small business marketing plan. Your content is what attracts new individuals to your small business, builds relationships with your audience, and positions you as a subject matter expert in your niche.

But what if you're putting out a steady stream of content, and it's not bringing your business the results you're expecting?

Is Your Content Marketing Strategy Working?

You're putting out content, but it all sinks. You feel frustrated and exhausted. Your content creation efforts aren't amounting to anything, and a feeling of failure sets in. It can get to burnout where you don't even want to think about producing content.

To make content marketing work, you must take an organized approach and systematize. It's not enough to simply send material out on the Internet and expect results.

Here are the steps to organizing your content strategy to see your desired business results.

 

Boost-Content-Marketing-Strategy-Infographic

 

Step 1: Decide What Your Business Wants to Be Known For

Your audience will come to know you for the topics and areas your content covers. You'll become a “go-to” expert when they need help and a constant presence in their social media feed. This is why you need to think carefully about what image you're putting out and the reputation you're establishing.

When getting organized, the first place to start is to decide what you'd like to be known for. Choose a handful of topic areas that you'll write and produce content about consistently. These topics will become your pillar content and synonymous with your brand, which will help you build relationships with the right people.

Brainstorm a list of all the subject areas you might want to be known for. Consider:

  • Things you've written about in the past
  • Topics related to your business
  • Areas that reflect your natural strengths and expertise
  • Questions you often answer for your customers or audience members
  • Subjects you're passionate about and can talk about all day long

To get better organized, create categories for topics that are related. You may want to develop major categories and sub-categories under each to give you a good picture of your expertise and what you want to talk about.

Narrow your list to three topics that best reflect what you'd like to be known for.

Next Steps:

  1. Make a list of all of the topics you've written about in the past, or you like writing about
  2. Narrow your list down to those that:
    1. Are most interesting to you
    2. Best reflect your natural strengths and expertise
    3. Are most related to your products or services
    4. You want to be known for

Step 2: Organize Your Existing Business Content

You don't have to start from zero and create all new content. You can take advantage of the content you already have on your computer by updating it, reworking it, or repurposing it. This saves you time and leverages the work you've already done. In addition, some old content you have could still be valuable to your audience.

Start by organizing your existing material into categories. Since they'll mostly be files on your computer, create folders by category and drop the files into these folders. You can use these folders to organize future material you develop as well.

For example, in writing about Sales and Selling, you might organize your material by skillset. Or, it may make more sense to separate content into sales tools, tips for negotiating, methods for mastering sales webinars, etc.

If your business content is about cleaning and de-cluttering, you might separate content by areas of the house. Or, you could have a folder for cleaning tips, one for storage solutions, and one for product reviews.

Things can get messy, and the key to organizing is to keep things simple and effective. Three content categories with three sub-categories are an excellent place to start. Try not to create too many sub-categories for each category. You can increase or decrease as necessary.

Make sure you also take inventory of everything you have online. As you look at this content, consider whether you should leave it up or not. There may be material that doesn't reflect the topic areas you identified above.

For example, you want to establish a reputation as an expert in family finance, but you have old articles and videos with golf tips floating around the web. If someone sees these golf tips, it might create a disconnect in their mind and hurt your branding. The golf material could also be a distraction since you no longer focus your efforts there.

Once you have everything in its appropriate folder, you'll be better organized and have a clear picture of the material you already have.

Next Steps:

  1. Organize the content on your computer into a few key categories by folder
  2. Create sub-categories for each major category
  3. Look for any content you have on the web and add this to your folders
  4. Remove any web content that might distract or interfere with your branding.

Step 3: Plan Your Content Marketing Goals and Prioritize

The next step is to define your content goals. Nail down what you expect your content marketing to achieve for your business. Some examples would be:

Lead Generation.

You could bring people into your sales funnel to market to them.

Relationship Building.

The purpose of your content could be to offer helpful information to your existing audience to deepen your relationship.

Sales.

Your marketing material may lead directly to sales.

Brand Awareness.

You may be putting content out there to build awareness of your brand.

Membership Growth.

The goal may be to grow your email list or website membership.

Once you've clarified the specific goal or goals for your efforts, you can decide which type of content will work best to achieve these goals. For example, if you want to bring people into your sales funnel by building an email list, you can use a free report or another lead magnet to get people to sign up for your list.

If you're building brand awareness, a good strategy would be to produce short helpful videos that you can post to YouTube and share on social media.

Make your goals as specific as possible. If you're trying to generate leads, decide how many and in what timeframe. For sales, set a precise figure. If it's brand awareness, choose some metric as an indicator, like new followers on social media or mentions online. Always set a timeframe for each goal.

Next, take your content and prioritize what will best help you reach your specified goals. For the top priority content, what is often known as pillar or cornerstone content, choose pieces that are highest in quality or the most effective. These “greatest hits” should show you at your best. Think of these as the pieces you'd like people to see first to make the right impression.

Once you've identified these key pieces, decide where your other work will fit into your overall marketing scheme. For example, if you've chosen something as a lead magnet to get people on your email list, you can select blog posts to repurpose into email messages to send your subscribers.

Next Steps:

  1. Clarify your content goals for the next three months
  2. Choose the five pieces of content that show you at your best and do the most to help achieve your goals
  3. Decide where your other content will fit into your overall strategy for reaching your goals.

Step 4: Develop a Content Management and Creation Strategy

Now that you've identified your best work, it's time to put a solid system in place for creating and organizing everything.

Start by creating a content management calendar. You'll use this tool for publishing and creating your materials.

Decide with what frequency you'll publish. This could be something like two blog posts per week, six tweets daily, or a video weekly. The exact frequency doesn't matter as much as being consistent. If you start publishing a post a week, your audience will come to expect it.

As you start posting content, you may discover that your audience wants more or that publishing less is better suited to your goals. Try to find a sweet spot by watching your audience's response. Posting too much can wear your audience out, and they might stop paying attention. Too little, and they may forget about you.

You should also bear in mind your capacity. If you commit to too rigorous a schedule, you'll burn out, and the quality of your work will suffer. Decide how much you can produce each week and stay within that.

Once your publishing calendar is decided, you can figure out when and how often to create content. For example, if you choose to publish every Friday, you must finish each piece by Thursday. You can then work your way backward and decide when you need to get started.

There are two options for creating content:

  1. Batch-create content in single sittings
  2. Get into a flow of regular production

For the first option, you might set aside an afternoon each week to create the bulk of that week's material. The advantage is that you'll get it all done at once and not find yourself struggling to meet deadlines.

If you choose the second option, you'll prevent burnout by checking in daily and working. But you must ensure you do it faithfully, or you'll fall behind.

Regularly dig up old articles or blog posts and see what you can do with them. You can save some time by repurposing and updating your old content. Put this into your calendar as well.

Examples of repurposing include:

  • Updating with new information or removing information that's no longer relevant.
  • Taking bits and extending them into full pieces. For example, you have an article with ten tips on getting the perfect shave. You can turn each of these into a blog post.
  • Alternatively, take whole pieces and make a smaller piece. If you have ten articles on things to do in London, you can turn them into one article that offers ten ideas.
  • Bundle content together into a more significant piece. You can take a series of old blog posts and put them into a course or report.
  • Change formats. Take an article and cut its salient points to make tweets or Facebook posts. Turn a blog post into the script of a video or podcast. Make a PowerPoint presentation version of a course you've offered and hold a webinar.

Always focus on quality over quantity and focus on your areas of expertise. You identified what you want to be known for and organized your folders accordingly. Keep this in mind as you produce new content to engage your audience.

Next Steps:

  1. Create a calendar for publishing and creation
  2. Develop a strategy for repurposing existing content

 

Time to Get Started!

Now, you're ready to put all that content to use and create more that will engage your audience and help you achieve your goals.

Are you ready to fuel your business growth and get maximum results from your content?

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