Building an effective content strategy isn’t as easy as it sounds. Even if you already have plenty of great ideas and have started turning some of them into blog posts, the chances are that as soon as other parts of the business start needing your attention, your content strategy is going to be the first to suffer.
We have broken down all the stages of the process to help you get started in an organized way and give yourself some realistic goals for your content strategy.
We have provided a template called the Content Marketing PowerPlanner which you can download for free when you join our Insiders program.
This is what we use at Data Driven to plan our own content marketing strategy and it has been key in helping us to amplify our message and ramp up our content production to the extent that we are looking at posting up to 100 articles this year.
The Content Marketing PowerPlanner
The PowerPlanner is a convenient way to plan your content marketing strategy that ensures you stay on track and let’s you see what resources you will need to make sure you can deliver on your strategic goals.
Tracking your ideas
The first thing your strategy will need is ideas and these should focus on content that you know well. Make a note every time a client asks you about something, or when you have had to research something for yourself. Compile your ideas into the column Article Topic/Headline on your template. Whether you have the whole headline or just an idea, it doesn’t matter. Write them down and you can expand on them later. Even if you don’t have the idea yet but you know you want to post something on a certain date, leave it as ‘Topic A’ and you can fill it in later.
In the next column, track the progress of the idea by assigning a status. For example, Idea, Topic Needed, Proposed, Approved, etc. right up until it is published. This will make sure you are on track and the different colors of the statuses will tell you where you need to focus next.
Planning the release schedule
Think about how often you want to be publishing content. This will depend on the goals of your content strategy, but once a week is a good starting point. You should also note which day the posts will be published, in case you want them to coincide with other activities you are planning.
Deciding your content marketing strategy
This is where you need to decide on the objective of each piece of content. Is it to support your sales team? To drive SEO traffic? Maybe you are promoting a new partner, or it might just be part of building your brand. The process of assigning an objective helps you to define your strategy and keep it focussed. Choose from Sales Support, SEO Traffic, Content Marketing and Partnership or add your own options. You might have more than one objective with your post but choose the one that is the most important.
This is the time to define your keyword target as well. You should spend some time thinking about and researching keywords for your industry and assigning targets for each piece of content you produce. If your target is SEO traffic then the keyword target is even more important.
Sign up for our program on Content Marketing for some ideas on how to research keywords for your articles.
Think about what type of content you will use for each of your ideas as well. Maybe your content strategy will start just with blog posts, but you might find that some of your ideas are also well-suited to other types of content such as infographics, social posts, etc.
Your planner should also include a place for a URL to the post once it is published. This means the template doubles as a resource for accessing all your historical posts.
Assigning accountability is a really important part of your content strategy because it ensures that the strategy is realistic and sustainable and you know who to go to whenever there is a bottleneck. Involved in the process, you will need someone to write the briefs, someone to write the content, someone to edit them into a final version, someone to publish the final version and someone to promote them. Besides this, you should assign someone who is ultimately responsible for overseeing the whole process, plus any additional collaborators, such as subject matter experts, if needed.
When you write down all the roles and responsibilities needed in your content marketing strategy you might realise that it’s too much to do on your own and that you will need to get other people in to help you.
Most business owners don’t realise this until after they’ve started. They think that they can manage the whole strategy themselves by churning out a few blog posts each month. Running an effective content strategy is a lot of work and, over time, you will need to build out a team to help you with it. If you are starting out on your own, just make sure you set realistic expectations and leave time for each stage of the process.
Measuring the effectiveness of your content
This step in the process is useful for filtering out those ideas that aren’t going to prove very effective. First, you should check the keyword that you selected for the content and see what the competition is like. Ideally, you want a low-competition keyword so that your article doesn’t get lost in an overcrowded sea of content. If there is already a lot of competition for that keyword, chances are you aren’t going to be saying anything new. In this case, refocus your idea and choose another keyword or park the idea for a later date.
The second thing to check is the total monthly search volume. Along with a low-competition keyword, you want a high search volume to ensure there is enough interest in your content to justify spending the time to create it.
For some tips and recommended tools on finding out keyword competition and monthly search volume, sign up to the full program.
Having a fully-formed strategy for your content marketing is essential for driving your business forward. We developed the Content Marketing PowerPlanner based on our experience and we hope it can work for you too. Access the template by joining our Insiders program and set up your content strategy for success.