For a lot of businesses this question is very hard to answer. What should our web content strategy be? Where do we start looking when deciding what the strategy should look like and more importantly, who should own and implement the content strategy?
Tough questions as I’ve said, but why? Why do so many businesses struggle with this question? I believe that key to answering this question is understanding who your clients are, figuring out how you can make their lives better and thirdly, picking the right person in your company to own the strategy. Simple right? Well it can and should be…
Here are 10 tips for your content marketing strategy that will help drive your overall digital marketing planning.
- Pick the right person to own and execute the strategy. This person must be good at communicating ideas and engaging with people. They need to be the face of the company online and must engage with clients and prospects. They can delegate content generation to others, but they are responsible for ensuring that the company present ideas and knowledge to the world that builds trust and confidence. This person is probably not technical, but they must get the web!
- You need to have a crystal clear understanding of who your customers are. What age they are, where do they live, where do they hang-out online? Who do they talk to? Where are they asking questions? Who is answering their questions? Where are they geographically? What languages are they speaking?
- You need to get to know your customer intimately in terms of their professional needs – what content can you produce around your products and services that will actually make your clients life easier? Whether it be hardware or software, highly technical or non technical, services or products, there are always questions that need answering and indeed some that even your company should be asking in an open and engaging manner.
- Start your content strategy with Social Media. What I mean by this is that you should start to build or increase your online social presence. Starting following the top influencers in your industry and understand what they are talking about. Start engaging in conversations and building both your social graph and your understanding of the marker place. See what type of content generates the most social reaction and what content does not!
- Understand your target keywords. If you understand your customers you also need to understand your prospects. Your customers will search for you online using your company name, prospects who don’t know you yet will search using generic keywords. You have to understand that searchers/prospects do not care a dime about your company and will not want to know you until they are happy they have found a solution to theirs needs. Your web content strategy should be guided and optimized for the same keywords that your prospects are searching for. There are tons of keyword tools on the market to help you with this.
- Your content marketing strategy should utilize all media formats, i.e. as well as text articles you should also embed video,audio and images in your strategy. Obvious question is how do I use video/audio/images and what type of content should I be producing. The simple answer is to keep it short and topical.
For example, lets say you’re at an industry conference. Bring along your video camera (we all have one now!) and try and get a couple of minutes with some of the speakers. Simply introduce yourself and your company and ask a speaker if they’d mind talking to you for a couple of minutes on video. After you take the video, upload it to your YouTube channel and perhaps also your website (you would create additional content around the video) and just promote the video through your social media channels.
- Get a blog – either setup a new one and integrate it into your existing website, or setup a new site with the blog embedded. Developing a successful blog is probably one of the most challenging components of a content strategy. The main reason is that, much like the content strategy itself, most business people do not have the wherewithal to imagine themselves as a successful blogger. They find it hard to think like a blogger!
Again, I say that its only a matter of understanding your customers and prospects and getting into the habit of engaging with them through the blog. Apart from engagement, the other major benefit of writing a blog is that the search engines will index your content more regularly and your site will receive more organic traffic.
- Choose your web partners wisely. Make sure that if you’re outsourcing some of the content strategy that you are dealing with people who understand both your company and it’s KPIs. Bobs SEO, a Las Vegas based search engine optimization company are experts in online conversion, marketing and of course, SEO. You need to have confidence that these partners will work to deliver content of sufficient quality that your online reputation goes in the right direction.
- Involve different parts of the business – IT, Sales, Marketing. All these guys should be aware of and feed into the content strategy. The IT guys need to know what the strategy needs in terms of content management systems, the Sales guys will have input into helping understand what the needs are of customers/prospects and the marketing teams will help in driving traffic/people to the right content. Failure to involve key functions in the content strategy leads to a breakdown in cross functional communications and will in all likelihood result in delays with getting the strategy off the ground and lead to missed opportunities.
- Finally remember to measure everything on an ongoing basis and evolve your strategy to meet your customer needs. KPI’s will obviously include leads generated from the site, but also less obvious metrics that should be used to gauge success, e.g number of site visitors, number of returning visitors, bounce rate, average time on site, exit rates, number of followers/Likes..etc
This is of course the tip of the iceberg when it comes to developing your web content strategy. What about your own experience? What are your front lines experiences when it comes to content strategies? What worked for you? What didn’t?