One of the most important things you can do as a web-editor is to ensure that the content that you write is useful. A content plan will help you plan ahead and use your digital channels as effectively as possible. And even before the plan, some strategic objectives will help you to set off in the right direction.
Content marketing techniques can focus people’s minds on the need to create plenty of content on a regular basis, but it is vital to remember that this content needs to be connected with the purpose of your business and it needs to be relevant for your intended audience.
For example, tourism has been thriving in Scotland recently and content has played a central part in attracting an international audience. The Visit Scotland campaigns have used digital opportunities and global social media channels to promote Scotland as a tourist destination. The reason why they have been so successful is because of the quality of the content and because the content is relevant to the purpose of attracting people from all over the world to come and visit Scotland.
Remember the two big questions:
- What is the purpose?
- Who is the audience?
You can use those questions when planning an individual piece of content, but they become even more important if you are planning a content marketing campaign or creating a content plan for your business.
Set your content strategy
Start by setting some goals. Knowing what your content is for will influence the type of content that you create. Think about the audience at this point and set the tone of voice. Once you have your strategic objectives in place you can begin to think about which content will help you to deliver and which channels you should be using to promote your content.
Content strategy can be important in terms of the big picture and the detail. Think about the overall objectives of your business as well as the particular things that you want your content to achieve.
Create a content plan
An effective way to deliver a content strategy is to create a monthly plan. The plan shows the content planned for each month and the particular channels that will be used to distribute it.
Most people use a simple spreadsheet as a way of managing their content plan.
There are main more elements that you might include in a content plan but some of the most useful will be:
Deliver exceptional blog content
Blog content has to answer questions and solve your customers’ problems. It is a great way to get found in search and the current advice is to make your blog posts between 1,000 and 2,000 words.
Create expert articles
Many millions of people are asking Google questions every day rather than turning to a book or other traditional route. Be creating expert content you will help potential customers and ensure that your website is found by the search engines.
E-books and white papers
Seriously long content now has its place on the web too. If you look around you will see that many companies are using long content as a way of attracting interest in their expertise, positioning their company as leaders in the field.
Use your social medial channels to make the most of your content
While the main elements of your content will probably sit on your website, you can use your social media channels to promote your content and encourage people to visit.
Don’t forget about email marketing
Social media channels mean that some people skip over emails as an outmoded way to communicate, but think again. The stats demonstrate that email continues to be a powerful and relevant tool for connecting with both B2B and B2C groups.
More about blogging as part of your content plan
As blogs are often at the heart of long term content plan it is worth spending time thinking about this element in a bit more detail.
A blog can be used in many different ways to support the success of a website.
In many cases the blog may be the personal contribution of one, named member of staff, often a senior member of the organisation. The style of the blog may be quite different from the style of the rest of the website. It can afford to be more personal and perhaps more quirky in the choice of material too.
Remember that blog content can contribute a great deal to your website by attracting visitors through key-word rich, interesting content.
A blog also plays an important role as part of a social media campaign, providing some core content to underpin tweets and Facebook messages. A news channel on a website can provide a very similar function. In either case, regular, interesting and relevant updates are the key.
- Nearly 40% of US companies use blogs for marketing purposes.
- Companies that blog have 55% more website visitors.
- B2C companies that blog get 88% more leads/month than those who don’t.
- B2B companies that blog get 67% more leads/month than those who don’t. (1)
“But merely blogging won’t dramatically transform your marketing. Your blog has to be well-optimized and promoted, and, most of all, rich with content. Frequency of blogging plays an important role in this equation, too. Research shows that companies who blog 20 or more times in a month see the most return in traffic and leads. A blog is a long-term marketing asset that will bring traffic and leads to your business. It introduces you as a thought leader in your space and allows you to earn people’s trust.” (2)
What to blog about?
- Blog about your keywords
- What is the most important search engine keyword that you have not yet blogged about? Take that keyword, and write a blog post about it.
- Solve your customers’ problems
- Write practical content that solves problems for the reader
- Build thought leadership
- Earn trust
- Include Calls to Action
- Tag with keywords (have a clear understanding of the audiences you are targeting to do this well)
How long should the blog be?
This question rages on. There is plenty of evidence to show that long copy attracts search interest, but users often prefer blogs that are short and easy to digest. (3)
Optimise your posts
Make sure your blog titles incorporate industry keywords that people enter in search engines as they do research.
Be prepared and be prepared to change
A content plan can provide a great foundation for managing digital content long-term, but beware of becoming a slave to the plan. The best kind of plan will be fluid – changing to suit the changing circumstances of your business.
Always be willing to post content that is current and to change the plan to make the most of unexpected events.