Creating content is a great way to spread your message and drive traffic to your online home. But if you’re writing and sharing content without a strategy for how it will help build your business then you could be spending time creating a whole lot of great content and getting nowhere. You need a plan. Here’s how to write a simple content marketing strategy.
Think in batches of 12
We’re going to think in batches of 12 pieces of content. Depending on how much time you have to create content, this could be 12 months or 12 weeks. I create three different types of content each week, one podcast episode, one blog post and one video, so thinking in 12s produces 4 weeks of content for me.
By thinking in 12s, you can easily break down your content and get an overview of what you need to produce, when. Perhaps your business is seasonal, or you follow the academic year, or you have a 4 step process.
This could give you an overarching theme for the material you are putting together. Then you can work out how long it will take you to create your content and schedule it into your content calendar. If it doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t get done.
You want to be creating evergreen content, which means it is relevant to your target audience no matter when somebody sees it. You can schedule your articles or videos to go out time and time again. Your long term evergreen content then gives you material for social media posts because you can break them down, repurpose them, and share them in different ways.
Now we’re going to deep dive into what you need to think about when you come up with that material, what form you create it in and where you share it.
You don’t have to be everywhere and do everything
We’re busy people. We need to decide how to spend our time effectively. Your content marketing plan should set out what you’re going to do and what you’re not.
Don’t overload yourself. Pick two, maybe three social media platforms and decide what your primary form of content is going to be. Get comfortable with the amount and type of content you have decided to produce and then if you want to, and have the capacity, you can do more or explore another option.
Your content should reflect you and appeal to your audience
When you’re writing your content marketing strategy, you need to focus on how you are going to become somebody’s favorite. This means you need to have a good idea about who you are and who your buyer persona is.
These two things are essential. You need to know yourself because people develop a picture of you. They like to get to know you and share your interests. If you start randomly talking about topics you haven’t mentioned before, with no explanation about how they fit in with you, that’s going to feel confusing and inauthentic to your audience.
I’m not saying you can never change. If you suddenly discover you love watching basketball then tell people about your new interest. What you don’t want to be doing is sharing content which doesn’t fit you or your business.
Even more important than knowing yourself is knowing your customer. If they are not interested in the content you are sharing, or worse, are not even on the platform you are sharing it on, then you are not going to get anywhere. Make sure you know who your perfect customer is and share content they find engaging. Remember, the aim is to keep people’s attention for as long as possible.
Your content marketing efforts, including the platforms you choose, and the type of content you create should be tailored to your audience.
Three types of content you need to be creating
Every piece of content you create needs to do one of the following:
It doesn’t matter what the content is. It could be a social media post or a blog, podcast episode, video, you name it. Think about what makes you stop scrolling and spend some time engaging with content. It will do one or more of those three things.
When you’re planning what your 12 pieces of evergreen content are going to be always be asking yourself what your perfect customer is going to get from them. What will educate or inspire them? What will they find entertaining? If you’re writing down content ideas and they don’t check at least one of those three boxes, think again.Every piece of content you create needs to do one of the following: entertain, educate or inspire. Think about what makes you stop scrolling and spend some time engaging with content. It will do one or more of those three things. #Youpreneur Click To Tweet
What are you aiming to do with your content?
A strategy helps you work towards a goal and your progress should be measurable. What do you want your content marketing strategy to do?
If you are aiming to drive more traffic to your website then your website analytics will tell you if that’s happening. If you want to increase brand awareness then keep track of the numbers on social media and your website which tell you if your material is getting in front of more people.
Share content which reflects who you are
Alongside the evergreen content which you’re creating as part of your content marketing strategy you will also be sharing other things. You want to be giving people a glimpse behind the scenes, sharing your views on the latest industry news and content from other people you think your audience will enjoy.
It can be difficult to plan for this. You can share in the moment or if it’s something that can wait, put it into your social media scheduler to go out at a time which fits in with your strategy.
Keep testing and refining
Three months is a reasonable period of time to test things. Look at what worked and what didn’t. Do posts get more eyeballs at a particular time of day? Was there a topic which really got people talking? Keep track of the feedback you get on social media and have a chat with people in your community to find out what they want from you. If you need to adjust your strategy, you’ve got the data and insights you need to plan the next phase.
Content marketing is a long game. Don’t drop a platform or type of content entirely if you’ve only been doing it for a few months. Be patient and listen to what your audience is telling you.
Your content marketing strategy will keep you focused on sharing material your audience finds engaging, on the platforms they enjoy spending time on. It will help you chase down your business goals and make sure you stay on track and produce the content you need by knowing what has to be done.
Chris founded Youpreneur® in 2015. He is a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker and author of the bestselling books “Virtual Freedom” and “Rise of the Youpreneur”. He hosts our weekly podcast, Youpreneur.FM, as well as our annual conference, the Youpreneur Summit. Chris is based in Cambridge, UK.