Technology will do what you want it to. However, producing decent content in a digital world where there is so much content and earning audience attention is not an easy task.
Then add to this a few more challenges:
- Where will you content appear? Website; social network channel; mobile; search
- How will your content be more relevant than your competitor?
- How will your content drive an action?
In his YouTube post, wine retailer and social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk argues that content should be relevant, simple and to the point, and that you need to “be great”. He makes some valid insights, especially in regards to using content as a marketing tool.
He demonstrates how American Express focuses on value exchange, as opposed to simply pushing a brand logo in their community’s face.
So how can you create a content strategy that adds value and drives an action?
Below is a matrix you can personalise for your business to tease out exactly what your content plan should be.
- Agree on your position as a thought leader in your sector and how you will promote that – the areas below should help you identify this.
- Set an Editorial Schedule and agreed number of posts per week in each channel.
- Insert Actions – what action should the content drive?
- Use Social Share buttons and RSS feeds on everything.
- Have a response strategy for all channels – you may want to use the US Airforce model, widely recognised as the best out there created for blog responses, and it can be used for any channel.
- Is the content hub from which you share to other platforms, as below.
- Adopt a landing page strategy, using your URLs to direct people exactly to the page related to the search. Don’t be obsessed with always making the home page the first page.
- Keep it simple; lengthy navigation is a thing of the past. Tell me why I am there; tell me what you want me to do; let me act and interact easily.
- Think of usability and experience first and foremost.
- Don’t get blindsided by pretty designs that take ages to load and don’t work on other formats, such as iPad or mobile.
- Data, data, data – store relevant information in the context of your audience’s behaviour and measure everything. This way you can continually improve your site against user feedback cycles and metrics of what works and what doesn’t.
- Link, link, link and share.
- Use short form text, video and image. No one likes reading lengthy copy.
- Create a blog publication schedule
- Encourage responses and comments
- Guest blog on industry online titles (remember they have a 24/7 news cycle – they need content)
- Tweet your posts
Facebook Fan Page:
- Check your objectives: Is Facebook relevant for you or are you just doing it because you think everyone else is?
- Share snippets, photos, offline events, videos, but nothing too long
- Respond to your audience
- Friend/Like back
- Tweet your posts
- Use a distribution channel for all your other content, wherever it may sit.
- Follow relevant people and create lists to push relevant content to relevant audiences.
- Tweet the same tweet at different times of day, as there are different audiences online at different times of the day.
- Respond to customer service issues.
- Listen – Twitter is a great resource for online research and trend watching.
- Same as Facebook
- Add a regular hang out as a virtual meet up
- Converse with other bloggers in your field or with an interest in your products and services.
- Be humble in your approach and not salesy.
- Ask them how they would like to be updated as opposed to blasting out press releases.
- Engage them by taking content from them for your sites, to cross-share and promote.
- Participate in forums and Q&A’s.
- Build relationships
Online video and photo sharing:
- Create a video series on YouTube.
- Use products like Google moderator on YouTube to run community Q&A.
- Share on other sites – Flickr and Pinterest.
- Cross-link everything back to an action.
- Create webinars and podcasts and promote through iTunes.
- Share thought leadership by posting slides on Slideshare.
- Create boards on Pinterest and follow people who are relevant to your audience as well as your fans.
- Local content
- Instant action
- Specifically useful to an action
- App led – use and promote in iTunes App store
- Create a strong, focused mobile search strategy
Once you crack a strong consistent content strategy, community management will be your next task.
Fi Bendall is the managing director of digital and interactive consultancy company Bendalls Group. With over 20 years’ experience, Bendall has worked with global brands including BBC and Virgin, and is an expert in how businesses can approach strategy in the digital world. You can follow her on Twitter at @FiBendall, and can contact her through Bendalls Group.