Content marketing works, but it is becoming more specialized and audiences are more selective and sophisticated than ever. If you’re going to get the right content to the right people, and at the right stage in the purchasing journey, you’ll have to take steps to streamline your content development strategy. This is only possible if you establish goals, analyze your audience, develop a calendar, and get organization-wide buy-in.
We started diversifying our content strategy when we realized that we were attracting a large audience of millennials who are heavily indebted due to college loans and are struggling to find high-paying jobs. Using ThinkWithGoogle, we noticed that there was a massive increase in people searching for promise rings, versus wedding or engagement rings. As a result, we created a landing page with promise rings targeted to millennials, as well as blog content and an infographic.
As with promise rings, we are always on the lookout for audience trends, and use these to determine the content and amplification strategies. This audience-centric approach to content creation helps to assure that you’re creating content for every buyer at every stage of the buying funnel.
Setting Goals: Don’t Produce Content for Content’s Sake
As far as Google is concerned, weak, generic content does more harm than good to your website. Before developing content just for the sake of keeping a blog populated, brands should think about why they’re creating content in the first place. Most content is created to meet one of the following common goals:
- Boost search rankings
- Generate new sales leads
- Raise brand awareness
- Increase conversions
- Bring back previous buyers
Once you set these goals, you’ll be able to zero in on exactly the type of content you want to develop, depending on where your target audience is in the funnel. If you’re trying to increase brand awareness for top-of-funnel prospects, consider educational webinars, whitepapers, eBooks or how-to videos. If your target audience is in the evaluation stage of the purchasing journey, your content may be a demo video, product webinar or case study. If they are almost ready to purchase, consider a live demo or coupon.
Analyzing Demographics and Interests
Once you have defined your purpose, configure Google Analytics to display data from Demographics and Interests. Google pulls this data from a variety of places, including:
- Third-party DoubleClick browser cookies
- Android Advertising IDs
- Apple’s iOS Identifier for Advertisers
This resource will provide you with a wealth of information from five broad categories: age, gender, in-market segments, affinity categories and “other” categories, which consists of sub-folders within the main categories. This information will enable you to tailor your content to meet the goals you set in the previous section.
Develop a Content Calendar
You can not have a streamlined content development strategy without a creation and dissemination calendar. An organized strategy must include a tangible, written (or digital) timeline that assigns responsibility and creates accountability. Who is responsible for creating which content, and by when? For an individual blogger or a business that operates a small office, this may be something as simple as writing it out on a dry-erase board. For a larger organization or one that relies on far-flung telecommuters or freelance content creators, the solution may be a collaborative online platform like Trello or Podio.
Every great content creation calendar is accompanied by a social media calendar. Similar to an editorial calendar, the social calendar determines which content will be disseminated to which social channels, when and by whom.
Inter-Departmental Buy In — No Team is an Island
According to the Content Marketing Institute, “It’s beneficial to give everyone in your organization access to your content marketing strategy.” This includes departments that aren’t involved in creating or developing content.
It is simply not possible to streamline your content strategy if individual teams are working in isolated silos. By including all departments and teams, no matter how far removed from the content creation process they are, businesses large and small can:
- Ensure every employee understands the business’s goal and is working toward the same end.
- Reduce redundancy and avoid duplicate efforts.
- Exploit the business’s combined brain trust in drumming up ideas for creating content, or, in the case of smaller businesses, third parties who are good candidates for outsourcing some content creation duties.
Some companies may share their full content strategy and all of its supporting documentation with every department. Others may create individualized summaries to distribute to different teams. Either way, smart businesses will take the same strategies they use for selecting and disseminating content externally, and apply them toward internal strategies for circulating content among their own employees.
Content is still king, but if you’re not matching content to your buyer personas at each stage of the purchasing funnel and properly amplifying your content, you are wasting time and resources. Neither Google nor your audience will like it. Set goals, and then analyze your audience to develop content that serves those goals. Create a predictable, accessible content and social calendar, and finally, be sure get the entire organization on board with this plan.