Creating compelling content is no doubt one of the biggest strategies in your marketing plan. We all know content is king to attract audiences as part of an inbound marketing program. Yet, it’s easy to make mistakes without having a smart content strategy.
It’s still possible to create this strategy using simplified steps so you get your entire team on-board. What are the most essential steps to take first?
Use these fifteen simple steps to start a content strategy draft.
1. Research the Demographic You’re Trying to Reach
Have you figured out who your audience is? You may have a general idea of who to write your content for, though have you researched deeply enough to tap into their pain points?
The way to start is to create buyer personas based on those who’ve purchased from you before. By taking other data from leads, you can cobble together a more detailed portrait of who’s going to consume your content.
Once you know everything about them, you can center your material on the things you know they want to know. In most cases, it involves creating content that helps solve a personal or business problem.
2. Create Organizational Goals and Objectives
You can’t create effective content if it’s not in line with the company’s goals. It’s time to bring everyone together and decide what kind of content you’ll produce.
Ultimately, you want to look out six to twelve months ahead and ask where you all want to be by then. Having a centered content goal will help you stay unified in reaching your content strategy goal.
3. Understand Your Competitors
Before you start creating content, it’s a good idea to study what your competitors are doing. When you know what they’re creating, you’ll have a better idea of how to improve on the content they’ve posted.
Never copy what your competitors do. Even so, you can easily create something better if you’re aware of their content approach and weaknesses.
4. Create Content With Value
What kind of content can you create that audiences will find valuable now and into the future? Creating evergreen content should become a top priority, including providing exclusive information readers can’t find anywhere else.
Your audience wants to take something with them they can apply to their own life or business. Always keep in mind most people do research before they buy something. Reading your content may help take them go from lead to convert.
5. Analyze Content You’ve Used in the Past
Have you checked back to the content you’ve used before? If you’ve been in business for a while, no doubt you’ve created some kind of marketing content.
Can you re-purpose that content now to fit your current brand ideals? In this case, you could save some time not creating content from scratch. Even if you can’t do this, you’ll have a better idea of whether your old content approach is still feasible.
6. Find Out What Your Audience Reads Elsewhere
To continue studying your targeted demographic, you should find out what kind of content they enjoy consuming in other places. Do they prefer watching videos over reading? Have they preferred more visual content like infographics or e-books?
Find out what your demographic consumes and where they go to read or watch.
7. Think Long-Term With Your Content
Never think of creating content as a temporary marketing task. It’s something you have to think about long-term if you want to truly succeed.
It’s a smart idea to create a bank of content ideas long in advance so you’ll have a year’s worth ready to go.
8. Assemble a Team to Create Your Content
Who’s going to create your marketing content for the foreseeable future? To create truly knowledgeable information, you’re going to have to turn to experts as either content producers or consultants.
Don’t be afraid to turn to those with the most expertise in your company to ensure all technical details in your content are correct.
9. Make Your Content Original and Actionable
Make sure you always create original content. While it’s more challenging to create originality in a crowded content marketplace, always run your content through a plagiarism checker to avoid copying someone.
Be sure to include calls to action at the end so readers either visit your website or opt-in for more exclusive content.
10. What Do You Need to Create Your Content?
After assembling the right team to create your content, what kind of tools might you use to make the process easier? Never rely on a program to write content for you. Real writing from real people always connects with readers.
It’s not to say you can’t use digital tools to create visual content. You’ll need good cameras and editing software to create videos. Graphics programs will help with infographics, as well as creating professional e-books.
11. Figure Out Where You’ll Post Your Content
Find out where your audience hangs out the most often if you plan to post content beyond your website. Most importantly, discover which social media channel your demographics spends the most time on.
You’ll likely find some surprises when researching where your targeted audience goes when searching for information.
12. Plan Out How You’ll Distribute Your Content
Should you post your content manually on your site or select social channels? Or should you use an automated marketing program? The latter is a better idea so you can schedule it and forget it.
Rather than rely on memory, let an automated program distribute your content at the right places and times.
13. How Often Should You Post Your Content?
There is such a thing as overwhelming your audience with too much, too soon. Be careful on how much content you post and when.
Take some time to study your metrics and see how your audience responded to your first few content pieces. You should also determine what days you have the most readership so you’ll know how often to post.
14. Put Together a Content Maintenance Team
Aside from the team who creates your content is the group that maintains everything to keep it fresh.
This team should perform maintenance on all your existing material, including fixing broken links, or outdated information. To keep your content evergreen, this is important for your reputation.
15. Plan Your Budget for Effective Content
Yes, creating compelling content will require some spend. At least many digital tools today make creating and distributing content so much easier after the initial investment.
Hiring an inbound marketing team should also become a top priority if your existing team doesn’t understand the ropes. The ROI you’ll get back, though, is more than worth the effort in hiring experts.