marketing

Content Strategy: Key questions to get the most from your content

Chris from sales wants a white paper. Janelle insists that you need to post more articles on the company blog. Your boss just wants results. And you just need a moment to breathe.

It’s easy to get caught up with creating content because it seems like that’s what all the marketing pros tell you to do to increase sales. What’s harder to do is create content strategy.

Here are three key steps to getting the content creation beast under control.

Do you have a WRITTEN plan for content? Do you follow it?

Seems pretty basic – but you would be surprised how many clients started with a written plan – and then life takes over. The sane schedule you created to feed out content on schedule just goes out the window when you are getting requests from all sides.

If you have a plan – go back and review. Does it still work? Is there anything there worth salvaging or have the needs changed enough that creating a new plan makes more sense? Salvage what you can and move down the the “creating the plan” section.

If you don’t have a plan – make one. You will find your content becomes more cohesive and you can point out to Chris from sales that a new white paper is planned for the end of September. Block out a couple of hours and go down to the “creating the plan” section.

Creating the plan –

  • Use a tool that works for you – and for your team. Spreadsheets are a simple solution. Or create a Slack channel, Trello board, or Google Calendar. Whatever works and allows you to see what is upcoming.
  • Make it simple to use. Don’t layer on having to learn a new tool – especially if you are starting with nothing. The plan is more important than the tool.
  • Create a plan that goes out at least 90 days…six months is better. Block out an hour at the same time every month to extend the plan out and include new events and products.
  • Look at your internal calendars for product launches and company events. Look outside your company for industry events and conferences. Note those events and do before and after content.
  • Know your clients. Are they on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, or Instagram? Do they follow channels related to their industry? Do they share content?
  • Consider the frequency and manpower. Better to post often on a few platforms than sporadically on many. Pay attention to the platforms that your clients pay attention to.

Do your clients know all the services and products you provide?

You may be surprised to hear that customers are being steered to solutions based on assumptions of what your sales or marketing staff thinks they need.

Work your calendar to include both product and client reach.

You may need a white paper to help define the market, industry-focused posts and articles to expand your audience, and cross-platform promotion.

Are you positioning your products and services to the right clients with the right message, and delivering it where they can find it?

The data and stories you gather can and should be deployed across whatever platforms your clients frequent.

Here’s a common scenario: your target audience may be a CTO, but all major purchases have to be signed off by the CEO. Your highly technical white paper may be read by the CTO – but the CEO may better understand your offer as a Slide Share or YouTube video.

Content can span different media – slides, videos, roundups – and reach audiences on different platforms. Keep the core messaging the same, but target the benefits directly to your audience.

Are there stories about your product or service that your clients don’t know?

Case studies are great ways to not only gain social proof but to uncover stories about how people just like your target audience are using your product.

  • Interviews can turn into podcasts or videos.
  • Write an article for their vertical market trade journal.

Download the sample marketing plan spreadsheet to get started.

 

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