Creating content to attract potential customers has more than proven itself to be an effective means of establishing credibility in an industry, garnering brand awareness, and keeping you top of mind with customers. However, without a robust strategy in place, you could just be rolling out content that doesn’t resonate with your audience or support your goals. This “see what sticks” approach leads to wasted time and effort. Instead, start with the categories to lay a strong foundation for your content.
Step 1. Determine your goals in releasing the content.
Don’t copy a content pipeline from a competitor and rehash it. Why? The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t align with your specific and unique business goals. By not looking at your content plan as unique – just like your business is – you could be holding yourself back from truly leveraging content for your strategic goals.
Decide what you’re trying to achieve with your content. Are you trying to generate more leads for your mailing list? Get people to book a consultation? Demonstrate your expertise in a topic? The answers to these questions should drive your content marketing strategy and how you go about planning content.
Step 2. Choose the categories for your content.
When developing your content marketing strategy, start with the categories in which you’ll organize your content. These categories can reflect different areas of your expertise and thought leadership, and you can develop them in accordance with your various marketing goals e.g. building brand awareness or converting customers.
You can link categories to your various asks. For example, if one of your specialties is web design, this category’s content might include a call-to-action for a free web design quote.
Developing a category scheme for your content will help you avoid overloading one part of your pipeline with a given topic or goal. Plus, you can give your digital presence a strong foundation for your marketing strategy.
Step 3. Determine the goal for each piece of content.
You need to balance providing value with making an ask of your audience. Content that constantly sells to your audience will come off as spammy. When you blend a large proportion of high-value content with a low proportion of promotional materials, you build trust in your brand. We recommend an 80/20 rule of thumb.
Again, this is where your categories provide the structure that’s necessary to successfully execute your strategy. Align your business goals with the purpose of each category; then, determine the ask that should accompany each piece of content (if at all). This approach will help you better tune your content into your target audience’s interests and needs.
Creating a massive pipeline of content before you have a basic structure in place is a mistake. You may end up muddying or diluting your message, and not actually creating content that moves you towards your goals. Use content categories to form a strong foundation for your strategy, then balance your asks with the value you provide to your audience. Remember, an organized approach is a strategic one.
Want to learn more about using categories in your content planning and strategy? Just click here.