Providing valuable content is the backbone of any successful content marketing strategy. But doing it well can be incredibly time-consuming.
And..as the CEO of a content marketing and copywriting agency, let me just say this: distributing sub-par content doesn’t serve you OR your audience.
So how can you streamline content creation? In this step-by-step guide, we’ll share how you can take the headache out of your content production and create a repeatable process.
Define Your Goals: Create For A Purpose
Before the pen touches the page, you need to have clarity on what the objective is for your content marketing strategy. This will help you determine the type of content you need to produce.
A few common goals include the following:
Search Engine Ranking
If you want to rank and drive organic traffic to your site, you’ll want to create content that is SEO optimized for better visibility. This means getting familiar with keyword research and SEO tools.
The best forms of content for SEO include:
- Informative blog posts
- Useful lists
- Step-by-step guides
Link building is for the purpose of creating magnetic, sharable content that other sites and publications will reference or point to. This serves to add credibility to your name or brand. In turn, establishing you or your team as the industry experts in your field.
Increase Social Media Engagement.
Social media was once viewed as a “playground”, not to be taken too seriously. While this can be true for some users, the impact of social media in the world of content creation can’t be ignored.
However, it’s important to recognize what types of content are best served on social media platforms. Social media content needs to be interactive, visually appealing, and shareable!
- Educational infographics
- Relevant polls
- Exciting videos
- Eye-catching graphics
- Guest posts from industry partners
- Experts engaging in the comments
While these types of content can take more time to prepare, there are tools available to help you organize and schedule your content. Facebook Business Suite and Canva both allow you to create, organize and schedule directly from the platforms. It’s worth the extra effort to optimize your content for what each platform needs.
And…if you’re unsure of how to actually create written content that actually resonates with your audience, enroll in a few online copywriting courses.
If you have grown an audience, they’re following you for a reason. You have something they want. Whether this is a product or service, they may see you as someone who is credible in your field.
Create content that teaches them what they are here to learn. Make it worth their time and stay “on-brand”, aligned with what you’re known for.
Selling A Product, Service, or Membership
This is where your copywriting comes into play. This content will be written with the purpose of getting the audience to take action. Moving the reader from casual engagement to active participation, or really, to purchase.
Whichever goal you choose will determine how you should deploy your content. Where and when you distribute it will in turn help you structure the content itself.
As your goals change, so will your content.
But your new streamlined process should not.
Your Target Audience – Understanding Buyer Persona
It’s important to remember that your content is talking to real people. Those scrolls and clicks are attached to the fingers of actual humans.
What do they want to see? How can you speak to the individual?
Understanding your buyer persona will help you establish the type of content you need to create and how you should deploy it.
Take the time to create a detailed version of your target persona. Give them a name, if you like. Here are a few thought- provoking questions to get you started:
- What is their gender?
- What is their age range?
- What are they interested in?
- What do they fear?
- What are their desires?
- What challenges do they face?
- How do they feel about their challenges?
- What are their goals?
- What kind of solutions make sense to them?
- How would those solutions make them feel?
- Where can they be found in order to talk to them?
- What kind of content are they most likely to respond to?
- How can you use this data to speak to them?
Take this list and from it create the framework of who your target audience is. You don’t want to talk to someone who doesn’t fit your target audience because your content will not resonate with them. This means they’re less likely to engage and eventually buy.
Having your client persona identified allows you to streamline your content creation because you know exactly who you’re talking to. Now that you’re done, you shouldn’t have to do it again for this persona!
Streamline Content Creation by Establishing Your Brand’s Content Pillars
These pillars are the topics you will consistently cover in your content. Map out 3-5 pillars that speak to what your brand is known for. Hubspot calls these “Topic Clusters” and they put out a great tutorial on how else these can help you in this video!
If you’re a pet based business, examples of your pillars could be:
- Pet Grooming
- Pet Health and Nutrition
- Your Products
- Raising Rescues
Having your content pillars pre-planned allows you to take the guesswork out of “what on earth are we going to write about now”. For our example of a pet business, you know it will be about one of those four topics above.
Have a document, spreadsheet, or database prepared where you can easily store ideas for future content that fit each pillar. You are now ready to pre-schedule your content using one of the numerous content scheduling tools available. Later, Monday and the completely free Facebook Creator Studio are all highly recommended. Consistency is key!
Schedule your content in a way that makes sense for your audience by breaking up the content types. Be sure to create and distribute different types of content such as videos, images, graphics, and interactive social media posts. Don’t get stuck in a rut of written content only or graphics only.
Within each of your content pillars, maintain a consistent brand voice. You want your audience to know each piece comes from you, it should sound familiar to them. Keep a log of specific phrases, greetings, sign-offs, exclamations, etc. that you will use consistently and those you want to avoid.
Make It Easy: Creating A Repeatable Process
We’ve streamlined the creation of the content itself, now it’s time to streamline the process of getting from A to B.
Create Custom Templates
When you have a few pieces of content created, use it again. Don’t copy + paste, exactly, but take that format and create from it a template that you will use to structure new content moving forward.
If you’ve done the work to establish your goals, client persona, and content pillars, there’s no reason you should ever have to start with a blank page! It only takes one finished piece to start a template. One. You will modify it over time, as you learn what works best for your audience.
Create a template for each content pillar or a template for each content type (email, blog, social, etc.). Either way, this is a task you only have to do once and it’s done forever.
Establish a Standard Operating Procedure
This will create your own, in-house, step-by-step content production cycle.
If you’ve already taken the time to establish your goals, client persona, content pillars, and have created your content templates, you can now work up a standard operating procedure (SOP).
Walk yourself through the process from when you open a new document to when you upload it to your distribution platform (social media, email, website, etc.). Make a list of each step you complete and who is responsible for each stage.
A basic example of a simple process could look like this:
- Create a file in X folder
- Type of content?
- Content pillar selection (based on existing content rotation)
- Write content
- Research Keywords
- Create SEO details
- Source images
- Check links
- Upload to XX program
- Schedule for deployment based on X
It will also be helpful to make sure your team is all on the same page and have an established communication plan. Do you use task management software? Or do you prefer to alert the next person on deck via a messaging platform, like Slack?
These are all simple tasks but will help you drive results in your content marketing strategy. Start implementing today and make your job easier!
With Crowdfire, you can find curated content, schedule your posts, engage with your audience, deep-dive into analytics and create custom reports. Now introducing Social listening. Try it for free.