Content marketing is more than a posting calendar. It requires strategy. In this post, we'll cover how to develop a strategy that helps you grow your online business.
As an online entrepreneur in the knowledge brand space, your goal is to take people on a journey from strangers who don’t know you to raving fans who are excited to buy your product. Inbound marketing is one of the best ways to do that.
Since we already discussed the basics of content marketing in a previous post, this time we’ll focus on how to create the right content strategy for your business. We’ll start by discussing what a content strategy is and then cover some of the guidelines for best practices.
Guiding Principles For Your Overall Content Strategy
Let’s begin by looking at the main principles that will help you develop a solid content strategy.
Favor long-form content over short-form content
This guiding principle doesn’t refer to the length of the content. A one-hour-long podcast episode isn’t necessarily better than a 10-minute long episode.
When we talk about long-form content, we’re referring to the type of content: video shows, podcasts, and blogs. It’s about creating content that offers significant information, delivers a lesson, and encourages a belief shift.
Long-form content is an asset that will provide value to your business for a long time. When you’re creating a content strategy, you should focus more on investing in assets with a long value cycle, like blog posts, podcasts, and YouTube channels instead of spending time on stuff with a short shelf life. It only makes sense to take on short-term assets, like creating social media posts, if it offers an immediate return on investment.
So when you create a content strategy, long-form content should be the first thing that you need to think about and not short-form content. Social media and Pinterest will function in a supporting role.
COPE (Create Once, Publish Everywhere)
COPE is an acronym used by many digital marketers that stands for “Create Once, Publish Everywhere.” Its basic principle is to make sure you get the maximum bang for your buck, which isn’t limited to money but other things like your time, effort, and resources.
When you create content once, you can find ways to repurpose it and publish the new content in different formats and in different places.
Let’s say you just created a piece of long-form content. You can take out a snippet from that content and post it on your social media account or create quote cards.
Some people complain that they need to spend a lot of time creating the content. This won’t be a problem if you know how to do it right. You can create a lot of content just by using the COPE principle.
Spend As Much Time Promoting Content As You Spend Creating It
If you spend three hours creating content, you should also spend the same amount of time promoting it, such as posting on social media or running ad campaigns. Your work doesn’t stop at creation. You need to find ways to promote it.
Should you invest in Facebook ads or on a Pinterest strategy? That depends. The point is that you have to invest the same amount of time in creating and promoting your content.
Focus On Creating Evergreen Content
As much as possible, you should create content that is evergreen. Come up with long-form content that will still be useful after three months or even several years after you first published it. The key to creating evergreen content is to avoid chasing fads. Instead of talking about the latest stuff, it’s better to focus on topics with longevity.
Your content should also fit your business and must be independently valuable. For example, you don’t want to send people back to a blog post that you created for a previous promotion. You want to send your audience to content they can refer to for years to come because it’s still relevant. So focus on evergreen content instead of time-bound content.
Your Guide To Creating An Overall Content Strategy
Now that we’ve discussed the guidelines, the next thing you need to know is how to create your overall content strategy.
We’ll discuss it in three silos: long-form content, social media content, and promotion platforms versus discovery platforms.
Long-form content should make up the first part of your overall content strategy. When you do it right, it will be effective and valuable for your business and your audience.
Create campaigns around each piece of long-form content
For your long-form content, you should think in terms of content campaigns. This means you’ll build social media and promotional content around every piece of long-form content you create. There are three types of long-form content – video shows, podcasts, and written content blogs.
When you decide to create video shows, don’t limit yourself to Facebook Live. You should also post it in other places like YouTube or your website. You also have to identify your core platform, which will depend on various factors, such as your personal strengths.
Pick a core format that lets you establish thought leadership
Make sure that you choose a format (video, podcast, blog) that will help you establish yourself as a thought leader. You can’t just focus on interviews as a part of your content marketing strategy if you’re trying to establish yourself as a thought leader.
Understand how people find your content
There are also differences in the media. For example, podcasts aren’t something that people can easily find by searching on Google. So if you only have podcasts as your long-form content, they’ll have lower chances of getting discovered by your target audience.
Podcasts work well as a way to nurture your audience after they find you. Blogs offer SEO value, which makes them useful when it comes to letting people find you on the web.
Recognize how people consume content
Remember that people consume different forms of content. Some prefer to read blogs while others prefer listening to podcasts. That’s why you need to determine your core type of long-form content.
Start with a video
If there’s one thing I’d like to suggest, it’s that regardless of what you believe your core type of content is, it’s always good to start with a video. When you begin with video as your long-form content, you can easily turn it into a podcast. You can even repurpose it as a blog post. Video lets you practice the COPE concept.
Social Media Content Plan
Here are four things you need to remember when planning your social media content strategy.
Pick one primary social media platform
Whether you’re just starting out or already more advanced, you need to choose one primary platform. This doesn’t mean you’ll only post in one place but you need to have one primary channel. Some go for Facebook while others prefer Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Whatever it is, you need to find out what will be the best way for you to achieve two things: get your long-form content out there and engage with your audience. You need to pick one because you can only engage consistently in one platform unless you have a team that can do everything else.
A few points to remember when choosing a social media platform:
- Make sure that your audience is there.
- It must be a medium and a platform that makes sense for you.
- It must be a platform that you’re happy to make content for and engage with your audience.
Create multiple pieces of content based on your long-form content
Once you’ve created your long-form content for the week, you should create multiple pieces of social media content for your primary platform. It may be a video, quote, soundbite, or even all three.
Once you’ve repurposed the content, what you need to do is push this content out in an engaging way. You can also put them on different platforms. Just make sure to come up with a strategy when repurposing your stuff. Find out what works for you and what will benefit your audience.
Don’t post and ghost
There’s one rule you need to remember for social and that’s not to post and ghost. It means you must not post on a platform that you’re not willing to respond to people who are engaging with your content. You’re on social media, so you’re expected to be social.
Determine your engagement strategy
Ask yourself what your engagement strategy is going to be. This will depend partly on the social platform you choose. But the main point is that you need to be social and engaged. It helps you build followers and lets you nurture people who decide to become part of your world.
For example, you can create a group on Facebook where you answer questions. If you love Instagram, then you can do Instagram Live or visit other accounts to engage. The point is you need to have an engagement strategy.
Promotions Content Plan
Your promotional content lets you get the word out about your business even more and get your products and services in front of other people.
Use search-based promotions
There are a couple of discovery platforms you can leverage. One is Pinterest, which is a search engine, but unlike Google, you actually have to go and put your stuff on Pinterest.
Come up with a strategy for your audience to view your content on Pinterest and encourage them to check your blog post or your content and come into your world. Figure out if Pinterest has a role in your business when it comes to promoting your content.
Use paid ads
The next thing you need to think about is if you need ads like those on Facebook or Twitter to promote your content. Ads help you get your long-form content in front of your target audience on different platforms.
By doing so, you’ll increase the traffic that you could potentially convert into leads. Think of it as an outbound aspect of your content strategy. You push content out through outbound marketing so you can attract people in and then start executing your inbound marketing strategy.
Execute Your Content Strategy
When you create a content strategy, you need to remember the guiding principles above. Also, it’s always best to start with long-form content and let the other types of content flow from it. You can create a lot of content if you come up with the right strategy. Then create your plan to promote on social media and through paid ads.
Don’t forget to join my FREE training program BADA$$ Online Marketing University (BOMU) if you want to learn more about marketing your online business.