Develop An Online Content Strategy Before You Start Writing
If you're not using content to market your website, now's the time to start - almost. Many businesses produce content without a sound online content strategy, and they end up posting lots of content that neither boosts sales nor generates more website traffic.
Long story short, without a clear content marketing roadmap, your business will reach a dead end. Don't let that happen. Before producing killer content, follow these seven steps to developing an online content strategy that helps you boost your business.
1. Set clear goals
You know you need to implement content marketing objectives, but it won't accomplish much unless you know why you want to do it. Before creating your online content strategy, set a clear mission and goal.
Do you want to boost sales by 20%? Attract 1000 web visitors a day? Or do you just want people to know who you are? When you set a goal for your content strategy, you provide a clear endpoint that makes it easier to figure out which steps will get you there.
2. Do your research
A marketing plan only works if it addresses the world you're dealing with. Before developing your strategy, research the current (and future) business climate and competition.
One of the biggest mistakes many marketers make is assuming their presence alone will attract attention. It won't. Your online content strategy will be more effective if you position your content in a way to make your business look better, more reliable, faster, cheaper, or unique from the rest of the marketplace.
3. Put the pieces together
Like any comprehensive plan, an online content strategy can't be delivered in three quick steps. The only way to make your plan work is to know exactly which steps are necessary to bring it all together.
Develop a consistent message and voice. Know who to target and where they go to browse and interact online. Find out what kinds of content they respond to, and which topics resonate with them. Lastly, don't forget to incorporate SEO so your target audience can find you.
4. Get your team and workflows in place
With all these moving parts in your content plan, you need a team that can bring it to life, as well as a way to make them all work towards your goal. Find your key players and create a system in which they work together effectively.
Choose managers that know how to keep things moving along. Find experts that can help you refine your strategy. Hire writers and designers that know how to write and design quality blog posts and other killer content. Lastly, choose analysts that know how to measure the progress you're making. If you need help deciding between hiring writers or doing it all yourself, check out our white paper, "Content Writing Outsourcing vs. In-House Writers."
5. Create a timeline with milestones
All too often, an online content strategy addresses the end goal without specifying how - or when - to get there. A content marketing schedule with clear benchmarks will keep everyone on track to succeed.
The easiest way to set a schedule is to have an end date and work backwards from there. Suppose you want to attract 5000 newsletter subscribers by December 31. Determine when to publish content, when to write it, when to select websites, and every other step needed to reach your content goals.
6. Just do it
Once your online content strategy is in place, it's time to go implement it. Get your writers writing, your editors editing, your designers designing, and your analysts analyzing. If you've planned everything, including what to do if things go wrong, the actual process should go relatively smoothly.
7. Lather, rinse, repeat
Since your whole online content strategy journey started with a goal, you need to make sure you're reaching it. That's where measurements and analytics come in.
You might think it's a waste of time to create a plan only to have to change it mid-stream. But even the most careful planners can't predict exactly how people will like content. Besides, wouldn't you rather make changes and get better results than stick with an ineffective plan and not meet your goals?
Content is king, but only if it serves you and your business. Good content marketing starts with a good content strategy, so take the time to create one using these steps. To learn more, check out our white paper, "What is Content Marketing? Any Why It's So Important!"