For many years, marketing professionals have been driven by the adage that “content is king.” As digital platforms continue to expand and evolve, it’s apparent that content’s reign is not ending anytime soon.
To truly maximize the effects of content, it is best to have a solid strategy to guide your efforts. One of the most helpful tools for creating consistent, useful content for your audience is establishing a content marketing editorial calendar.
As a way to illustrate this idea, imagine if you were booking a vacation to a new destination. You wouldn’t book your trip without a basic idea of where you were headed, where you were staying, and how you would fill your days. Sure – you could go in blindly, have an adventure, and figure out your plans along the way. However, a guide or map would certainly help, and make for a more fulfilling, memorable stay.
Since driving your business and engaging your audience is of the utmost importance, “winging it” is not an option.
5 Steps To Content Strategy
In a time when we are all bombarded with content in various forms, on multiple platforms, it’s critical to think strategically about content that builds up your brand and also serves your audience in a meaningful, positive way. Furthermore, there has never been a better time to measure engagement, ROI, and interest in your content marketing. By establishing goals and ideas upfront, you can better track, adapt, and provide the most valuable content for your audience.
At Speak, we work with our clients to not only generate worthwhile content, but also have it reach the right people. With experts in the digital field and various tools at our disposal, we have a firm grasp of how to grow your audience’s engagement, entice new leads, and ultimately increase conversions for your business.
Here are a few ways to effectively craft a content strategy to fit your business needs:
1. Establish Goals
Usually, it is hard to know where to begin when approaching an idea as broad – and sometimes vague – as content. The best way is to start backwards: if you had a successful content marketing strategy in place, what would that look like? What is your end goal?
Depending on your business or organization, content marketing can lead to many different goals. Perhaps you are a theatre looking for a higher revenue stream through tickets or memberships. Or, you are an older, established company, hoping to appeal to millennials by meeting them where they are – on their phones. Whether increasing sales or achieving general brand awareness, there needs to be an agreed upon set of goals before proceeding.
2. Identify Target Audience
An important component to note is that content marketing is not marketing in the traditional sense – straight up selling a product for your company’s gain. The content you create must be beneficial to your audience. To best build brand loyalty and trust, your content must always keep your customer front of mind.
That said, your content should be catered to the audience you want to reach. Do your research here; instead of trying to be on every social media platform, find a balance with two or three platforms that you feel are most effective and resonate most.
For example: a pediatrician, who wants to target young families, writes a parenting blog filled with useful health tips. Then, the doctor would post the blog to Facebook, a platform that is popular for males and females in the 25-45 age range, to reach new and current patient families. With an idea of your audience, you can make more strategic decisions based on who they are and where they look for information.
3. Create A Content Calendar
With your goals and audience set, you are now ready to make a calendar! A successful content marketing calendar is found through two opposing ideas: variety and consistency. While these two words seem dichotomous, they actually pair together to create a great path for your content strategy.
- Variety is the spice of life – or, in this case, content. Filling your editorial calendar with several types of content, including videos, photos, contests, giveaways, informational blogs, step-by-step guides, and trending topics, is a sure way to keep your ideas flowing and your audience invested.
- Consistency is key to keeping your audience interested and coming back for more. For instance, your calendar each week could look like this: one blog post, three Facebook posts, two Instagram posts, and one email. Post or send your content on specific days, establishing a consistency that makes sense.
Building off of our last example of a pediatrician who wants to engage parents, here is a content calendar that combines consistency and variety across platforms:
When creating your content calendar, recognize your internal capacity to take on this project – it requires a lot of creativity and work! If you need help creating interesting content on a regular basis, talk to the digital marketing strategists at Speak for a helping hand.
4. Post and Promote
The dissemination of your content is incredibly important. After your work and investment to create compelling content, you want to know that the right people are actually seeing it. There are a few ways to ensure that this happens:
- Optimize your blog for appropriate keywords. Use a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to add phrases that users search for frequently.
- Since you have already established your audience, it’s easier than ever to get your content to them. With advertising through Facebook, segmentation can be as narrow or as broad as you would like.
- Already have your customers in mind? Great. Email is still an incredibly effective way to communicate with your loyal customers. Adding incentives for forwarding emails or including subscriber-only discounts or perks can make your emails all the more valuable to recipients.
5. Track And Adapt
With free tools like Facebook and Google Analytics, tracking the success of your content is a breeze. Still, tracking is useless if it is not done regularly. Tracking can help determine how your audience prefers to have their content delivered – the wording, the images, the timing, and more.
When you track metrics, you can find recurring trends that indicate higher engagement. Maybe you have more comments when you ask questions, you have higher likes when a photo is used, or you have more shares when you give a behind-the-scenes look of your company. Whatever is working, try to adapt your content calendar to work with your audience’s interests.
There are many moving parts to consider when creating your content marketing calendar. If you want to combine the best in SEO, digital advertising, and content generation, the digital marketing team at Speak Creative can assist.