So, you’ve got an awesome team of content writers creating awesome copy. You have a CMS system with a professional blogging platform. You’ve got your SEO and SEMs sorted from your M&S and S&Ms (a fatal mistake, especially in public.) So your content is going to be crazy-popular, yeah?
Um, well, maybe not. Unfortunately without a decent Content Strategy, that may not be the case.
You see, you can’t just reel off a couple of blog posts and tell people you’re all in with this Content Marketing lark. If you really want to get your content read and shared, there are a number of things you need to do prepare first.
Be a Socialite
Being social sucks, I know. That’s why God created front doors and Facebook. Unfortunately content marketing does involve talking with other people, so be prepared to slap on a smile and dive in.
Whatever your company’s specialist area, there’s sure to be a dozen thought leaders out their already blogging about it. Before you even begin writing your content, audit as many blogs as you can, and record any useful sites in a spreadsheet or you RSS reader. By linking to these sites and incorporating quotes, not only will you give your readers a richer share of information, but you’ll also appear on the blog owner’s analytics, increasing the chance of a sneaky mention in a future post.
Create an Editorial Calendar
Okay, ‘Calendar’ isn’t exactly the sexiest marketing term in the world, but it is certainly a key component of planning your posts ahead of time, and something no Content Strategy should go without. Joe Pulizzi writes on Copyblogger:
“Content marketing is not a short-term campaign … it’s a long-term strategy to attract, convert, and retain customers.”
It is therefore key that you plan ahead, and tailor content to topics you predict will trend, whether it be trade shows, your future product releases, or even a seasonal holiday (watch out for Top 5 Copywriting scares on NB Content this halloween…) Keep a Spreadsheet updated with a list of titles, including fields for post date, keyword research and potential metadata.
Vary Your Format
Personally, I love lists. Lists are a breeze to structure, easy to digest and have buckets of viral potential. However If every article I wrote was a “Top Ten List of This and That” people would quickly get bored.
Spice up your blog by adding these ideas to your Content Strategy:
How To Guides
Give your customers a step by step guide on how to accomplish a task. A great, evergreen blog format that is endlessly recyclable.
A ‘Controversial opinion’ Post
Try not to follow the grain for the sake of it. Don’t agree with a popular trend? Then post your disagreement. Having an individual opinion can really boast your perceived thought leadership.
If your brand creates a big enough splash, you can invite an industry expert to post on your blog, and benefit from not only their insight but also the traffic they will bring!
Round up the best articles you can find in your specialist area and link to them in one post. Feel free to quote as well, but remember to include your own commentary so Google doesn’t penalise you for duplicate content.
Experiment with different formats, and check your metrics to see which works best for your subject area. As Pamela Vaughan writes for Hubspot:
“Recognize that there isn’t just one type of blog post you can create – and some formats are much more suitable for certain ideas than others.”
Include SMO in Your Content Strategy
Look at your last Twitter post. If it’s just a drab link to your latest product, give yourself a slap. Your social media is your chance to engage with your customers on a really personal level, so you you need to make sure that engagement really captivates them.
Make your posts lively and readable. Ask for your customer’s opinions, create competitions, post quotes, and make sure you ruddy-well reply when people are nice enough to comment.
Another point I think is important but I don’t often read about is that you need to tailor your post to each of your social medias. Yes, tools like Hootsuite and Bufferapp are great at mass-posting, but you should remember each of your accounts have different purposes.
Twitter for example only gives you 140 characters, so you need to play about with your links and hashtags to make a post clean and tidy. Facebook has a bit more flexibility regarding length and pictures, so use this to your advantage to make your posts as eye-catching as you can.