If your clients are like many online entrepreneurs and small business owners, panic may set in when they realize how much work is involved in maintaining a website. Publishing fresh, useful and sharable content on a regular basis is an ongoing challenge for most sites. What should today's blog be about? What other pages should be included? Where will the information for the content come from?
Simplify the work with a content plan. Follow these seven steps and create an easy, stress-free content planning strategy that will keep your client's blog and the rest of their website right on track.
1. Gather and Evaluate Existing Content:
Many website owners are overwhelmed at the thought of producing 500-word original blog posts relevant to their businesses 3 - 5 times a week. They shouldn't be. Suitable content is all around you, it just takes some investigation to find it.
- Begin in the offline world and review product information sheets, user manuals, and company catalogs.
- Create online marketing content pages based on your products.
- Present a series of how-to tutorials based on user manuals.
- Review your human resources information and company history to create a series of blog posts on how your business began and the roles of your key employees.
- Set up a News page and post local news articles featuring your company.
- Flesh out your content plan by adding pages for investor relations, customer service, government filings and annual reports.
2. Identify Gaps in Content Marketing:
The purpose of content marketing is to provide content that encourages potential customers or clients to make a purchase so your business grows. Think carefully about how a customer decides to make a purchase. Present the information needed for each step. Identify material that may be missing from the information already gathered, and decide whether you and your staff can create content to fill the gaps, or if a freelance writer should be part of your content plan.
3. Create a Content Plan Schedule:
Create an editorial calendar or diary of upcoming blog posts, pages, and other content marketing material. Depending on the nature of your business, seasonality can play an important role in scheduling posts. Map out a logical sequence for posting new pieces, and then publish routinely and frequently.
4. Maintain Consistent Branding Across All Content:
A clear, core message should be evident across all content that bears your company name. Consistent branding in content marketing is key to establishing your business reputation online. When editing content, evaluate the "voice" of each piece as well as checking for spelling and grammar errors. Does it speak to your target customer, and answer their questions?
5. Create Outstanding Content:
Creating good quality website material consistently is vital to your content plan. Sharing the work with other staff members or employees removes the burden of content creation from resting solely on your shoulders, and is a great way to engage other members of your team in your business. Assure all employees their work will be edited for spelling and grammar, and ask for ideas for new blog posts or infographics. Some businesses prefer to hire a professional content marketing service to write blog posts, web pages, white papers, product descriptions and other material instead of taking on the job themselves.
6. Become an SEO Guru:
Gathering and producing information for your website and/or blog, creating a content plan, editing web content and building your brand won't increase your sales unless people visit your site and read your work. Improve search engine rankings by producing Search-Engine-Optimized content. Learn about keyword phrases and the differences between long and -short-tailed keywords. Open a Google Analytics account and review it regularly to see where your traffic comes from and what search terms lead them to your site. Base new web content on your most popular search queries.
7. Engage Your Reader:
Wherever possible, incorporate a call-to-action in your web content. Direct your audience to "visit" or "join" or "buy." A call-to-action statement moves your reader towards the ultimate goal of making a purchase that will help grow your business.