Content is not King. Content marketing is a monster and wants to feed. If you’re going to feed the content monster, you will need to follow some rules my friend, or it may eat you alive.
Rule #1 – Know what the monster likes to eat
You know the topics that interest your market. Make a list. Identify the most popular topics on your website. Prioritize them. Pay attention to frequently requested information. Realize it may be buried in your email. Finally, monitor what your audience is talking about on the web.
Notice that people go through stages when making a purchase. At different stages they need different information. In the beginning they want to know who they can trust. Later, they want to evaluate which solutions are best. Ever notice that good opportunities will sometimes hit a snag? The right information at the right time can remove the friction that stalls a sale.
Rule #2 – Get organized
So you have a list of topics. I will bet you have already written on some. Take an inventory. Collect everything you have: articles, press releases, emails, technical notes etc… Tag each item with a topic and stage in the buying cycle. Notice which topics or stages of the buying are not represented. Check out Content Grid published by Eloqua for ideas.
Rule #3 – Reduce, reuse, recycle.
During your audit, you may find that some of your content can no longer be used. Archive it. But not so fast! A lot of old content just needs a simple face lift to be ready to use again. For example, an old article can be turned into a new engaging blog post. If you have a blog post why not tweet about it? You probably belong to a LinkedIn group that would like to discuss it. Why not post a link to it on your Facebook page too?
It could be that you have the basis for a new video or podcast. You can stretch the content and re-use it over and over. Finally, don’t forget to mention the blog post, video or podcast in your next newsletter!
Rule #4 – Fill in the gaps
This is where it gets a little harder, but if you follow Rule #3 you will have significantly fewer gaps to worry about. In step #2 you noticed there was some missing content. It could be that you don’t have anything for an important buying stage, or you have nothing written on a topic of strategic importance. First prioritize the gaps. Focus on the critical few that need to be filled to drive results in your business. Use the Pareto principle which states that 80% of your results will be gained through 20% of your effort.
Often the experts that you need to write the content are too busy with other priorities. You will only get so far on the kindness of others. Try a little persuasion. Why do sales and marketing people forget how to sell when the customer is internal? Figure out the value proposition and sell it!
If you need to fill in a lot of gaps quickly, don’t have the man power, but do have some budget you can hire writers to interview your experts and write the content for you. A word of caution. If you have a technical product and the people you hire do not have experience in your market they may not produce credible material. However, there are a lot of great writers out there and many agencies have the ability to help you with your strategy and the writing.
Rule #5 – Put the monster on a feeding schedule
Once you have prioritized list of topics to write about, you can embrace your role as a publisher and maintain an editorial calendar. Make sure those who are assigned know what is expected of them and when it is due. Even if you are the only writer it helps to have a plan to stick to. The amount of content you generate will depend on your resources and your goals. Be sure you have a clear understanding of what both of those are.
There’s a monster at the end of this blog
Don’t be overwhelmed by the task ahead of you. You can tame the content monster if you have a strategy, keep organized, prioritize, make efficient use of resources, and stick to a plan. Follow these rules and you won’t be eaten alive.