5 Steps to Creating a Content Strategy
Coupons are great, but they seldom serve as the backbone of a substantial subscriber list. Subscribers want content, so make the commitment to investing in your customers’ education. In return, they will become loyal customers.
Haphazardly emailing your subscribers will not likely impress your potential customers, so display your organizational skills and industry knowledge with a calculated content strategy.
1. Select measurable goals.
First, select measurable goals so you know what you are trying to achieve with your content strategy. By making the goals measurable (e.g., increase sales by 15 percent) as opposed to generic (e.g., increase sales), you are able to determine the level of success of your strategy.
With hard statistics, you can determine if your strategy needs revising. Common goals include increasing sales by a specific percentage or quantity, increasing email and/or social media subscribers by a certain amount, and increasing the traffic to your website by a specific percentage or figure. Finally, don’t forget to set a deadline, so you know at what point to analyze your efforts.
2. Choose your media.
With your goals in mind, select the best media to achieve them. For example, relying only on email to increase your email subscriber list by 10 percent would hardly be effective. Generally, the more media used, assuming they are used effectively, the better. Consider email, your website, blog, social media, podcasts and even guest blogging.
3. Create a content calendar.
For each of your medium selected, decide how frequently and when you will contribute content. Be specific and plan the article title if possible, but if not, select the type of content for each contribution. How-to articles, like this one, provide step-by-step instructions for achieving a goal. Expert interviews could include a written Q-and-A, a video interview or a video of a panel discussion with multiple experts. To curate content, simply research a list of items related to your industry. For example, if you sell dog-training guides, you might compile a list of the top 10 dog collars. Another content type is the news update, which could be about your company or the industry. Don’t forget to provide your subscribers the service of interpreting what the news could do for the industry and if applicable, how your subscribers should apply that information. You can also post user-generated content, such as product reviews, and compare theirs to expert reviews. You can share guest posts by outsourcing articles on Upwork, Freelancer.com or another freelance website.
Finally, don’t forget to plan for accompanying artwork or photo for each entry. Imagery is a highly successful tactic for engaging readers. Also, if you are doing the writing yourself, be strategic about the keywords included, which can benefit your website’s SEO. Do your research to determine which keywords and phrases yield the most searches and which have the lowest levels of competition.
4. Evaluate your results.
In your strategy, decide how frequently and what methods you will use to evaluate your results. For example, you may decide to record every week how many email subscribers you have. It’s easiest to record the data while you are executing your content strategy so that you don’t have an unmanageable amount of data to gather at the end.
Once you’ve reached the deadline you set in step one, evaluate your results. Did you achieve your goal? Was your progress steady or were there periods of inaction or dramatic increases along the way? Determine if there are any trends, such as a specific medium garnering substantially more subscribes or a type of content gaining more reads or conversions.
5. Revise your strategy.
Based on the data gathered, decide whether more attention should be given to some media over others or perhaps determine whether a medium isn’t worth pursuing at all. But take into consideration how long you’ve been employing the medium; some media channels take longer than others to get established. See whether one content type should be used more frequently or whether any were highly unsuccessful. Also, try to gauge whether you are posting too much or not enough. Perhaps subscribes were highest when you made more than two contacts in one week?
After determining what improvements to make, set new goals and new deadlines, and start over the process of creating a content strategy. With every attempt, you gain more data to base your decisions on, you learn from your efforts, you are able to make more strategic decisions, and you become more adept at testing and analyzing tactics.
No other business is precisely the same as yours, so basing your decisions on your own data provides optimal results. Your subscribers will appreciate the thought and effort you’ve expended in providing them with quality content, which they will repay in the form of purchases and company loyalty.