If I told you that content creation is a vital part of every company’s marketing strategy, your response would probably be a sarcastic “Well, duh. Thanks for that cutting-edge insight, John.”
That’s because most of us know how important content is to our inbound marketing and our brands — both our respective company brands, as well as our personal brands as a thought leader. We understand that content is important, but it doesn’t seem like we always agree on how much content we need, or how to create it well enough to consistently engage our audience.
But how you address that might depend on what your goals are for your content and who your audience is. But there’s one rule that holds true no matter what: Content consistency is key.
Why Focus on Consistency?
If you’re not consistent, you’re not taking advantage of all the opportunities you have to connect with your audience. Creating a few pieces of content here and there might help someone understand a topic better, but they won’t help you hit all of those touch points between your brand and your audience -- and they won’t help you build a meaningful relationship with it. To do that, you need to be a consistent content creator. It’s that simple.
What’s not so simple is breaking down the nuances within your audience and your processes to deliver not just any old content consistently, but content that meets its needs in a way that attracts it to your brand.
Think of it this way: Picture your favorite actor. This person is probably in a few of your favorite movies, consistently delivering amazing performances, and you might find yourself interested in the projects he or she stars in, simply because you know and love his or her previous work. That’s powerful.
With consistent, engaging content, you can hit touch points on your audience members’ online journeys, build connections with them, and position your brand to be top-of-mind when they think of their most trusted and liked resources. (This approach to branding and relationship-building is one I go into in much more depth in my business book, Top of Mind.)
But if you want to get started creating effective content consistently now, here are five essential tips.
How to Create a Strategy That Works
1) Document an actionable content strategy.
While 89% of B2B organizations are actually utilizing content marketing, only 37% have put together a documented strategy around that content’s creation and distribution.
Creating this kind of strategy is similar to setting goals for yourself: You’re more likely to achieve them if you write them down and break them into actionable steps to hold yourself accountable than if you decide to wing it and hope for the best. The same applies to content -- you need to write down what you want to achieve and how you want to get there.
That last part -- how you want to get there -- is particularly important. You can spend all the time in the world documenting your strategy, but if it isn’t set up to make consistent execution feasible, it won’t help you very much. So set goals, like your overall mission, audience personas, content mix, and promotion tactics. Then, make them actionable by laying the foundation for your process that makes consistency simpler right in your document.
2) Make use of a knowledge bank.
One of the biggest challenges inherent in creating loads of content is keeping track of it all, and organizing all the insights you’ve learned about your customers and your industry -- and leveraging them to create more than just one piece of content.
Enter the knowledge bank, which allows you to store and organize key information about your company, your content, and your customers. It makes creating multiple pieces and types of content that speak directly to your audience’s wants and needs much easier -- not to mention, it helps with consistency, because the more seamless the process of creating, finding, and managing your content, the easier it will be to do so in a quicker and more consistent manner.
3) Build the best team you can find.
With an actionable strategy in place and a system for leveraging your company’s expertise, it’s time to start actually creating content — and for that, you’ll need a talented team.
Sure, you could possibly write and promote all your content yourself -- if you really wanted to that -- but it’s difficult to scale this way. You’re busy with dozens of other tasks on your plate, so you’ll likely end up sacrificing either quality, or consistency.
That's where a great content marketing team and a network of freelance writers come into play. My team at Influence & Co. has found a lot of success with this process, which starts with a thought leader’s expertise, a freelancer’s skills at turning that insight into a written piece, and our team’s ability to strategize, edit, publish, and promote that content. When every person focuses on his or her strengths, your content will shine, and you’ll find yourself publishing more consistently than if you tried to do it all yourself.
4) Get comfortable with your editorial calendar.
An editorial calendar can do so much more than set the schedule for your upcoming posts -- it can also be a place to brainstorm ideas, plan your social media campaigns, and organize everything you’ve got coming down the pike.
That can help streamline the entire content process because everything is in one place, allowing you to see where you have gaps, and where you have excess content. Once you settle into your schedule and process, you can get even more efficient, giving yourself more time to focus on creating content, rather than organizing it.
A content calendar can also help track your successes and shortcomings, so you can make more informed decisions in the future. If, for example, you find that content posted at a certain time of day -- or a particular day of the week -- tends to outperform the rest, you can make changes accordingly. That way, you’re consistently on schedule and maximizing your impact.
5) Make distribution a priority, not an afterthought.
Each of these steps will help you create content consistently, but you can’t stop there. If you’re not also distributing and amplifying your content consistently and strategically, then all you’ve really accomplished is improving your content production -- not your content marketing.
Don’t wait until an article is published, for example, before you start thinking about how you’ll use it as a tool to connect with your audience. Your content distribution plan should take as much priority as your content development process -- content that you sit on or passively distribute won’t accomplish much.
Content creation can be a chore -- if you don’t know where to start when it comes to developing or distributing your work. But it’s an essential component of your company’s marketing strategy. Consistent content is key to keeping your audience engaged, your brand top-of-mind, and your content investment worthwhile. With these five simple tactics, your path to consistency will become much clearer.
Originally published Sep 28, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated October 11 2017