So you know that telling your story presents a massive opportunity to achieving your business objectives, but now you’ve got to tell it.
Online, you’ve got a massive range of potential channels through which to broadcast your story, but which ones are best for you?
By approaching defining your content strategy and planning according to these 7 steps, you can take the stress out of determining and realizing the optimal strategy to broadcasting your story.
So without further ado, here they are:
1. Analyze Your Content Landscape
Online, there is conversation going on about what it is you do. Potential clients are looking for help online to solve their problems, and your competition is providing it to them.
Your job is to find out, in no particular order:
How they’re talking:
Head to Google, and search topics that are relevant to the concerns of your market. Step into the role of your ideal customer, and ask questions you think they’d ask.
Take note of the results that show up in the first few posts for each search, both with respect to PPC and organic searches. Click through to those and see what you find. Are you on a blog? A social network? Did you find a video?
Do the same with popular social networks. Linkedin, Reddit, Twitter, etc. Your job here is to figure out which platforms are most successful for those in your niche, both with respect to content providers and consumers.
What they’re talking about:
Whenever you find yourself on a post that seems particularly successful, poke around for other successful posts from that content provider.
Blogs often have comments, find posts with lots of them. Facebook will show you what got lots of likes/shares, Twitter shows you retweets, Reddit shows you upvotes and comments, etc.
Use this information to get an impression of which conversations topics seem to be getting the most attention from your market. What’s trending? What’s popular? What questions do you see asked that others don’t seem to be answering?
Who’s doing the best job:
Take a few of these topics, and head over to buzzsumo.com
Without a membership, you only get to input topics a couple times, so practice care with the ones you choose. Keep in mind you can always search again tomorrow!
Buzzsumo will give you a breakdown of successful content around the net concerning your topic. You’ll get to see which posts and articles got the most views, likes, and shares across all manner of content and social media channels.
2. Construct Audience Personas
Now that you know who’s putting out the best content, and which places they seem to be getting the most traction, it’s time to get an impression of who’s engaging with it.
You’ve found comments, retweets, and shares. Click around and see if you can determine common attributes of those that seem to be consuming all this content.
Maybe you find out that comments are overwhelmingly middle-aged parents. Maybe they’re niche industry professionals. Maybe they’re teens. Maybe they’re a combination of any of these.
Using this cursory overview, establish a few ‘personas’; working models of common readers.
How does each persona seem to engage with their content? Maybe industry-professional persona is looking for the cutting-edge of industry knowledge. Perhaps teens seem to be coming to just participate (and be seen participating) with the community.
Every case is different, and there is no objective answer, but these personas help to define a cohesive voice by focusing your content efforts onto the needs, wants, and expectations of a defined audience.
3. Define Your Objectives and Available Means
You know who’s talking, you know who’s listening, and you know where the conversations are typically occurring.
Now it’s time to figure out how you’re going to participate in the conversation.
To do this, it’s time to take the focus off online conversation and onto your business. Ask yourself:
What are my Objectives?
If you want to be the ultimate thought-leader in your niche, your content plan is going to look a lot different from someone who just wants to drive email sign-ups.
The more specific you can get with your objectives, the better you can expect your content plan to achieve them. So, in no uncertain terms, what precise results do you want from your content marketing?
What are my Means?
Once you know what you want, you ought to consider what resources you can invest into getting them. There’s no sense in deciding you want video content only to realize later you don’t have the budget to have it meet your needs!
Have a budget for content laid out first, and selecting the channels right for your business comes after.
4. Establish a Content Creation Outline
Finally, it’s time to get to work figuring out how you’re going to produce content, and what that content is going to be about.
This is where you deploy your knowledge of popular conversation, audience persona’s, and your objectives/means to, at long last, define your content plan.
Using your understanding of the means available to you, what kind of content will you produce? Will you do invest in video, written content, social media management, or a combination of these?
Using your understanding of audience persona’s, who will this content be for? What audience needs, wants, and expectations will it address, and how will it do so?
Using your understanding of popular conversation, what topics will it contribute to? How do you expect your content to differentiate itself and your brand from the competition, in the eyes of your audience?
5. Determine a Useful Metric of Success
We’re almost at the finish line! Now comes one of the most important steps:
It’s time to determine how you’re going to measure the success of your content.
You know what your content objectives are, so what metrics are available that you can use as a measuring stick to determine how they contributed to meeting them?
Tying the success or failure of your content to the wrong metric, like sales, is probably not in your best interests. Many other variables contribute to moving that needle, so you’ll want to pick a measurement with a closer connection to your content.
Email signups, on the other hand, are a fantastic metric to judge the success of your content. If your goal is to drive audience engagement, readers/viewers/listeners looking to be notified for future content is a powerful indication that your strategy is working!
The metric you choose depends on your goals. If you’re having difficulty determining precisely which one is best for your needs, consider refining the scope of your objective. If you’re still having trouble, consider getting in touch for some help!
6. Establish Editorial Requirements
Your editorial requirements concern considerations like the voice, frequency, depth, and desired audience action you want your content to produce.
Voice and depth ought to be considered opportunities to differentiate your brand from the competition.
Frequency and desired action concern your objectives. Want your content to produce leads? This is where you establish the requirement of lead-gen CTA’s throughout your content.
7. Schedule Your Content!
Because you know who you’re producing content for, what you want to it to be about, where you want to broadcast it, and how you’ll measure its success; planning it out is a cakewalk.
All you need to do now is bust out the calendar and schedule your content production and posting.
Make sure to include the topics you’ll be creating content about, when and where you plan to post them, and the action’s you want them to produce, and presto; you’ve got yourself a solid content plan!
Content That Converts With WebMarketers
The above 7 steps serve to provide a solid foundation for any business to create a solid platform for content production. Having a solid plan allows you to produce a cohesive story that can be broadcast across all the channels you need. Whether a single blog or several, as well as Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Linkedin accounts and more; having your plan established allows you to scale channels freely without losing your grip on a cohesive story.
For more information and help with all your content strategy and production needs, keep your eye on the Webmarketers Blog, sign up for our newsletter on the right, or get in touch!