Content development and strategy

Posted by on Jan 14, 2014 in Web Design and Marketing | No Comments
Content development and strategy

Marketers used to create content only when it suited their company’s internal needs – say, when they had a new product to promote (press releases). But today’s focus on inbound marketing forces us to give up that approach. Marketers
now need to produce a constant flow of new content, from blog posts
and social media updates to videos, ebooks, or webinars.

This content serves 3 functions:

  1. It improves search engine rankings,
  2. Drives traffic to their websites,
  3. Helps to nurture existing leads.

But constantly coming up with new ideas can be overwhelming. The majority of companies just give up and many others start to churn out sub-par content for the sake of content and ruin their strategy and efforts.

 

Here is how to get, and keep, the proper focus on developing content within a defined strategy

1. Know your audience

Know exactly who you want to target with your content. Create an actual person(s) in your mind: gender, occupation, age, interests, needs, concerns and this will help you understand the kind of content that they find interesting.

Perhaps you already have an ideal client/customer and you simply want more of them – write to him/her.

Assuming that you already have some content marketing in place:

Analytics can highlight which search terms brought prospects to your site, how long they stayed
on your site, which pieces of content they viewed, and which forms they’ve filled out. Duplicate this process and tweak as necessary.

 

2.Identify your buying cycle

Content plays a critical role in every stage of the inbound marketing process. Ensure that you’re creating content for every stage of the buying cycle:

1. AWARENESS
The prospect gets acquainted with your brand or realizes they
have a need for your product/service.

2. RESEARCH
The prospect identifies the problem and researches potential
solutions, including your product or service.

3. COMPARISON
The prospect examines the options and begins narrowing
the list of vendors.

4. PURCHASE
The prospect decides who to buy from.

Next, identify the types of content and channels that work best for each stage of the buying cycle. Marketing studies have shown that certain types of content play particularly important roles at specific stages of the decision-making process:

1. AWARENESS
Blog and Social Media posts

2. RESEARCH
eBooks, webinars, industry reports

3. COMPARISON
case studies, demos, testimonials

4. PURCHASE
Analyst reports, detailed product info

 

3.  Your Editorial Calendar

An editorial calendar is a roadmap for content creation; showing you what kind of content to create, what topics to cover, which personas to target, and how often to publish to best support your inbound marketing strategy.

Creating yours:

1. Create a Google calendar or spreadsheet to record your editorial plans.
Ideally, plan for the next three months.

2. Work backwards from your marketing goals to guide your plan. Look at how much traffic, how many leads, and how many customers you are aiming to generate during the timeframe of the editorial calendar — whether that be a week, month, or quarter. Analyzing your previous marketing efforts can help determine how many pieces of content you typically need to reach those goals.

3. Create dates for specific publishing tasks:
– updating blogs or social networks daily
– posting new videos or podcasts each week
– publishing an ebook or hosting a webinar each month

 

TIPS:

  • For each date, list the topic, the title of the piece, and the target persona. The goal is to create a good mix of content types, topics, and personas to make sure you’re covering your various audiences.
  • Make note of important dates or external events that are good hooks for specific topics or types of content. For example, retailers could highlight major holidays such as Christmas, Halloween, or Mother’s Day and plan content that fits with the seasonal theme. B2B marketers could note important industry
    trade shows they plan to attend, and schedule blog updates, recaps, or videos generated at the event.
  • DON’T WASTE GREAT CONTENT: Look for opportunities to repurpose content. For example, the publication of a new whitepaper or research report could generate several weeks’ worth of blog posts that each share details or small nuggets of data from the complete report.

 

Barry Edwards

Barry Edwards, creative director and principal of Edwards Communications, is a web developer and branding aficionado. Barry’s background and education is rooted in graphic design and online marketing, and teaching presentations.

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