Top Tips: How To Create a Winning Content StrategyJanuary 17, 2016
Reading time: ~ 6 minutes (worth the investment)........
Welcome to a world where content is King. Great content matters because it helps you maximize your visibility and accelerate lead generation.
Hubspot reported that content / inbound marketing generated 54% more leads than traditional outbound marketing practices and that over 1/3 of all leads generated by marketers came from inbound sources.. This trend continues to increase.
Clearly, having a strong content marketing strategy is now an essential marketing tool. That’s why, according to the latest study from the Content Marketing Institute, in North America alone, 83% of B2B marketers have a content strategy, and 70% of them have escalated their production of content in the last year. 92% use social media content as a significant tactic in their marketing strategies.
But how do you get it right and create a winning content strategy?
Marketing Envy’s five-step winning content strategy
Step one. Do your research
Know your industry’s hot topics. See what’s trending in publications, blogs and websites that cover your sector. Keep up-to-date on the news from industry associations and conferences. This will form the basis of your content.
Make sure your content is good to read, well informed and ideally, adds a fresh perspective to what’s happening.
Know your target audience, what they’re reading and how they like to see it. Do they prefer blogs, Twitter or something more visual like Pinterest? Give them what they like.
Think of 15 to 20 blog post titles or subjects, and note down four bullet points about each. They’ll be the basis for each article as you plan a content calendar. More about that next.
Remember; don’t write blogs about your product. No one likes blatant self-promotion. Your blog should be about what’s happening in your industry. That’s what adds value to readers.
Some of our favorite research tools include:
SimilarWeb -- to see what the competitors are up to and what is trending in the industry
Google -- search term complete
Moz Tools -- excellent tools including MozBar and MozLocal - key word searches, Google rankings and more
Step two: Create a content calendar
A content calendar urgess you to regularly produce fresh content, and ensures you know what the next idea is. No ideas means no new content. And if you don’t have new content, then people will stop following you.
Start with a three-month content calendar. Identify any special industry events that you could write about. Add important dates to the calendar, such as product launches, new version releases, industry awards etc. If your company is participating in an event and you’re not announcing it, that’s a lost marketing opportunity.
You can plan this content so that you publish something new regularly, usually weekly. Sometimes more often if you have the bandwidth.
Additionally, react quickly to breaking news and ensure you’re one of the first to write about it. This is will move you into a leadership position in your space.
Step three: Identify your company’s key voices
To give your content more traction, put a name on it.
Readers like to know who’s written it.
Perhaps you have a well known CEO or CTO. If so, their name on a blog post will attract traffic. If not, your content may help raise their profile, and increase awareness of your company.
There should be more than one contributor to your company’s blog, so you can show how you have industry experts in a variety of areas. It’s great for your company’s reputation. For example, CEOs could write about industry trends. CTOs could focus on technical issues.
You may find it easier to give this task to content writers, but how do you find one that’s right for your company? Do some research, find blogs whose style you like and find out who writes them. And when you approach a writer, ask for some samples of previous work. Good writers will be happy to provide you with links or a portfolio.
Step four: Dedicate time and resources to creating content
We often hear of founders keen to focus on content marketing as it is “free.” Just write something occasionally, pop it on your website and that’s all that’s needed. Big mistake.
Add up the hours spent by marketers on researching content, checking what’s trending, briefing writers, co-ordinating the writing and production of content by freelancers or an in-house team. Plus distribution online, and pitching it to industry publications. Building a following for a blog is a time-consuming and intensive job…. Which costs a lot of money.
Per blog (750 - 1000 words):
- 3 hour research & coordination
- 5 hours writing/editing (assuming done in house, which we don’t often recommend)
- 2 hours distribution
Who: 50% marketing; 50 tech or C-level
Marketing: (~$8,333 monthly salary / 176 hours) x 5 hours = $235
Tech / C-level: (~$12,5000 monthly salary / 176 hours) x 5 hours= $355
Total per blog post = $590
4 blog posts per month: $2,360
So this is hardly, 'free' and not something that can be simply 'bolted on' to other job descriptions. If you want to get great content, invest properly in it.
Step five: What to avoid
First, don’t stop producing new content when things are hectic, otherwise you’ll begin to lose the audience that you’ve worked so hard to attract.
Second, don’t bore your crowd. How? Make everything easy to read. Give it a strong tone of voice. And where possible, be brief.
Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with formats, styles and new channels. For example, Roojoom or Tuteboard are awesome new ways to promote your content and maximize its impact. We’ll have more top tips about promoting your content in our next post.
We’d love to hear from you too. What other great tips do you have for producing great content?