Take Charge of Your Content Strategy

Plug Holes in your Content StrategyI was looking at my editorial calendar the other day, and saw that by the end of the month I was going to run out of blog topics. One of my marketing tasks is to visit the calendar every couple of weeks and add some topics going forward, so that I always have something ready to write about. This got me thinking about my overall content strategy, and how it could easily dry up if I didn’t take time to care for it.

After I added a few more topics, I realized something else: I was doing a lot of the same kinds of posts. A lot of posts with numbers in the headlines, how to’s, and negative topics. My main sources of marketing are from social media and this blog, so I was a little worried about that trend.

If you’ve been working your content strategy for a while now, you may have fallen into a bit of a marketing rut too. You’re also probably so busy that you’ve just been churning out the content without too much regard to the overall picture. And that’s okay, we all do it (myself included.)

Here’s how we can both fix our content strategies, and ensure they keep moving us forward.

Do a Self-Audit

A content audit, that is. Whether you’re focusing on your blog, social media, trade pub articles, or your website, take a look at the content. Spread it out on your virtual desk and see if you notice any trends.

Is it all focused on one topic? Are you avoiding others? Are you doing that on purpose, or is it that your readers only want to hear about those topics?

Are you going “all in” on one content type? Do you only blog? Or only rely on your website? Why is that?

Talk to Your People

Ask your marketing personas what you could be doing differently. Of course, this step will only work if you’ve got marketing personas. These are the target of your content, and you should be generating it for them.

To create marketing personas, check out this post on HubSpot’s blog, and also this post from the Content Marketing Institute.

For example, my site and blog are aimed at marketing professionals in B2B technology companies. My main persona is named James, and he’s a former developer-turned-marketer who’s been with the company for over 5 years. He knows the product inside & out, and has upper management on speed dial.

Based on your content audit and your marketing personas, try to come up with more content types and ideas that you think will fill those gaps and appeal to those readers. What other topics do you think they’d value and share with their bosses?

Crank Up the Content Generator

Coming up with new content topics can be a hard thing. As a content generator myself, I understand that completely. That’s why I use an editorial calendar, social media, and a feed reader. These three things help me keep my topic funnel filled, and help me stay on track witih my content.

Working with other departments and people at your B2B tech company, you’ve got access to a whole other font of ideas for your content. Don’t believe me?

  • Speak to your customer-facing departments like Customer Service and Sales, and ask them what they like about your current content. See what they’d like to see more of or less of.
  • Ask Sales to submit the top 5 items your prospects face.
  • Ask Customer Service for their top 10 questions your customers call about.
  • Sit with Professional Services and see what kind of documents they are producing for their implementations.

Create the Roadmap

Finally, once you’re done analyzing, talking, surveying, and interviewing, it’s time to plan out your new content. Insert all of this wonderful information into your editorial calendar. Assign the work to your in-house staff, and see if you need to hire any external freelancers. Speak to management to get approvals on any spending you might need to do for it, like for those freelancers or new software packages you think you’ll need.

Start Your Content Engine

Lastly, after all of that work, it’s time to actually create the content. You’d almost forgotten about that part, right? Not to worry, if you’ve followed through the steps in this article, you’re all set to do it.

Quick Reference List

To recap, if you’ve got to fill up your content funnel, but are at a bit of a loss, follow these steps:

  1. Do a self-audit of your current content.
  2. Review your marketing personas to ensure your content speaks to them.
  3. Find out what other topics you could be writing about.
  4. Plan the content.
  5. Create the content.

Content Samples for the Next Couple of Months

  • A series of How To posts on your Developer blog.
  • Quick Reference sheets for your Professional Services teams to use on their implementations.
  • Four customer interviews that you’ll turn into case studies.
  • Two new white papers on trends in the market place.

Do these steps periodically over the course of the year, and your content strategy will never be boring, will always speak directly to your prospects, and will continue to generate leads for you.