Not sure which piece to move first? Here are 5 components you’ll need in your strategic content plan to dominate your opponents.
1) The Right Content
For your content to stand out you need to create and distribute unique content that will attract your audience over time. Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, calls this unique content the “sweet spot”, the intersection of knowledge and passion. Andrew Davis, author of Town Inc., calls it “the hook” – a simple pivot from a broader theme. You’ve got to have content that tells a different story in order to break through the noise and become relevant and noticed by your audience.
2) The Right Audience
If you’re creating content for everyone, you’re creating value for no one. Go beyond the demographics of a target audience and consider creating a target persona. Buyer personas are semi-fictional representation of your target market based on market research and real data that describe your ideal customer. When you know your audience, you can begin to cater your content to solve their problems, answer their questions, and be genuinely helpful.
3) The Right Format
Once you know who your audience is and understand the information they are looking for, you can choose the right format to deliver your content – text, audio, image, and video (soon to add AR and VR to the list, I’m sure). In addition to the format, consider the type of content, which marketers often refer to as: Created, Curated, Conversational, and Crowdsourced.
- Created: Original content that the company has created and has copyright to.
- Curated: Shared, referenced content that was created by another source.
- Conversational: Publicly available dialogue between the company and another party.
- Crowdsourced: Original content created by another party (typically a follower, partner company or client) specifically for the use of interacting with a company.
According to research done by Argyle Social, 40% of your content should be original. The study showed that although curated content led to more clicks, created content ultimately led to more conversions. A balanced approach will average 20% less clicks but 10X the conversions.
4) The Right Channel
You need to publish your content on the channels where your audience is looking for that information. There are two major questions to ask about channels and your “core” channel(s):
- What channel will offer the best opportunity to reach my audience? (REACH)
- What channel gives me the most control over presenting my content and building my audience? (CONTROL)
If you choose a low-control channel as the main driver of content distribution, at some point you will need to convert subscribers on that platform to your own subscriber list. Your channel plan should be a high-level look (recommended 3-month time frame) of themes, events, key ideas, and messages you want to communicate. This should include the channels you will use and how you will connect them to create a cohesive brand conversation.
5) The Right Time
How will you schedule and manage creation, publication, and promotion of your content? Your detailed editorial calendar is your day-to-day content schedule.
- The date the piece of content will be published
- The topic or headline of the content piece
- The author of the content
- The owner of the content – i.e., who is in charge of making sure the content makes it from ideation to publication and promotion
- The current status of the content (updated as it moves through your publishing cycle)
- Budget for promoted content
- A goal or KPI (Key Performance Indicator) to measure success
There are a range of free and paid calendar tools, but for many it’s perfectly fine to start out with a simple Excel spreadsheet or a shareable Google sheet or calendar to track your content progress through your editorial process.
Editorial calendar tools:
- Divvy HQ
- Central Desktop
These five pillars will help lay the foundation for a strong strategic content marketing plan. Understanding each of these areas will allow you to create more effective content and publish more efficiently. To succeed at this game takes time, organization, and creativity. Learn from any wrong moves you may make along the way and use them to your advantage. Determine what works best for you and what is most valuable to your audience by measuring and adapting along the way. After all, building a kingdom is not about the king, it’s about the people – your audience, and their success.