August 19, 2014

Back to School: What Grade Will You Give Your Content Marketing Strategy?

It’s almost that time of year again—back to school. While its been years since you’ve had to hit the books, it doesn’t mean you’re completely off the hook. With Q4 fast approaching, now is the time to take a hard, objective look at your current content marketing strategy. After all, there’s nothing like a good gut-check to get you back on track.

Don’t worry; unlike ninth grade calculus, this exam is very simple, just answer the questions (honestly) below:

1.Does your strategy cover all of the appropriate bases? If your current strategy consists of an arbitrary list of non-descriptive goals, policies and procedures then you’re in trouble. Your strategy should not only align with your company’s overall businesses objectives, but it should also provide a clear road map, outlining buyer personas, specific objectives, short and long-term initiatives, competitive analysis…the list goes on.

2.Do you have an editorial calendar? Are you waiting till the very last minute to come up with copy to write? Don’t forget you’re a publisher now, which means you need a detailed editorial calendar. Your content schedule should include key milestones, trade shows, or product launches on the horizon as well as outlined plans for syndication, promotion, white paper development, etc. Building out at least three to five months at a time is ideal.

3.Do you talk about yourself in every blog post? Do a quick audit of your blog. Is every post company-centric? In other words, is it completely self-serving? Creating custom content that’s “all about you” won’t get prospects to sign on the dotted line; rather, it will alienate them. At Content Boost, we suggest that our clients follow the 60/40 rule—60 percent industry/thought leadership news and 40 percent company-centric news—to ensure a healthy balance.

4.Are you using only one social media channel? Chances are your target audience is using more than one social channel to interact and engage with brands. While we don’t suggest launching aggressive social campaigns on every channel available, it’s important to have a strong presence on the platform your consumers frequent most. Do some research to find out where you’ll get the most exposure. We strongly suggest LinkedIn as it has a more professional following and sophisticated content marketing tools. Click here to read more about LinkedIn’s content marketing initiatives. 

5.Does your custom content addresses your audiences’ needs? If you’re not using buyer personas to help guide content creation, it’s time you started. Content should be directly tied to your consumers’ needs, challenges, and pain points. This means content for the top, middle, and end of the sales funnel. While there’s no magic number, it’s important to create a variety of content types from infographics to case studies to webinars.

6.Are you tracking metrics? The only way to improve your content marketing grade is to keep track of your progress. Identify areas in which you’re successful as well as places that may need some work by establishing and tracking KPIs, conversion rates, web activity, and social traffic. What’s more, generate reports at regular intervals and share them with team members to ensure everyone remains on the same page.

How did you do? If you scored an “A” or a “B” keep up the hard work and concentrate on turning your shortcomings into successes. If you scored a “D” or an “F” it might be time to go back to the books or onboard some help. Our expert editors are schooled in everything content marketing from SEO to social media to brand management. Click here to read how we can help you take your content marketing strategy from failing to passing. 

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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