My first days as a community manager seemed simple. I was excited by the ostensibly endless sources of new content. Each morning I was a woman on a mission, clicking around the web and hot on the trails for engaging content.
I quickly learned, though, that keeping content fresh isn’t always that effortless. With today’s incessant demand for content – and pressures to create real-time content across numerous channels – it can be easy to fall victim to content churn. Having an efficient content strategy is one way to guard against this. Below are five tips for building a content strategy that can help you get the most out of your efforts.
1. Define Your Audience
Who are you talking to? Any effective content strategy must be grounded in a deep understanding of your target audience. Know who you are trying to reach and what action your content is meant to inspire. You must understand your audience’s preferences in order to engage in meaningful conversation and provide valuable content.
2. Get Organized
A well-designed content strategy begins with planning. Before diving into a monthly content calendar with fun hooks like “Hug Your Cat Day”—June 4 for those who are interested—consider the best information, format and channel, or distribution vehicles for your content. In other words, make sure you know what you are saying, why it is significant and how it is being delivered.
3. Build a Multidisciplinary, Engaged Team
Involving team members from different business units and functions will diversify your existing content to keep it fresh and new. Too often, different perspectives, connections and available content exist in a vacuum and are trapped within other teams. Creating a sense of community and shared responsibility for content will help you access new storylines. Provide the teams with the benefits of producing quality content – such as higher traffic, increased consumer interactions and improved search results – can also help to get other teams to contribute.
4. Focus Your Efforts
In 1988, the New York Times found that the average American received 5,000 branded messages per day. Now, 26 years later, brand messaging has only proliferated and companies manage an average of 178 corporate owned accounts. You can’t be in all places at all times, nor should you. Instead of trying to boil the ocean, content strategists should remember that the old adage “less is more” often holds true. Identify the channels which make the most sense for your audience, content and goals and dedicate your efforts there to keep content creation more manageable. It will also help you avoid diluting both your messages and communities across hundreds of channels. Also remember to reevaluate your channels at regular intervals. Just because something worked well for delivering your messages five years ago doesn’t mean it should continue hobbling along today.
5. Gather Insights and Adjust Content Accordingly
Today, we have an unprecedented amount of real-time intelligence and data at our fingertips. Measuring this is a key part of any successful content process, increasing brand relevance and long-term success. Simply creating content without measuring its performance will have you spinning your wheels, investing in content with no knowledge of what is performing well or how users are engaging with your messages. Instead, keep a close eye on content performance to help you optimize your efforts and better invest time and resources in content that has a proven track record with your audience.
Don’t let content burnout get the best of you. Set clear objectives, listen to your audience, engage your team and focus your efforts to create an efficient and effective content strategy.
How do you ensure your content stays fresh?
Image crfedit: Graham Binns