- Every organization is different. We all operate in different environments, and we all have different goals. So, everyone's ideal content strategy will be unique. But, in order for us to understand what content strategies work and which don't, we can look at some of the core components of content strategies that successful organizations share. The first is clearly defining your goals and objectives. Knowing what key words you've researched and chosen to target, what your audiences are looking for, and ultimately, what you want them to do when they get to your site, is the foundation of everything you'll do.
These goals will help you with reporting and measurement, and put a realistic perspective on the results you achieve. You can define a lot of goals, from things like more e-commerce sales to more leads and phone calls to more followers on social networks. Goals can be anything. But, they should tie back to your bottom line though business objectives. Second, spend the time to really understand your key audiences and their needs, and consider developing formal and web-specific marketing personas.
The cornerstone of a good content strategy is to research your audience and then understand them well enough to be able to market to them effectively. Knowing your customer's role in an organization, their location, demographic, or psychographic information, their interests and their behaviors, will all help you step into their shoes and bring insights into the planning process. Third, ensure that everyone in your organization is involved. This isn't something that you're going to be able to tackle alone, and you'll want buy-in from everyone from your CEO all the way to your interns.
If you're a smaller organization, you might even consider outsourcing some of the work. Once you've found the people, an involved group is one that's passionate and excited to spread knowledge. Getting the people in your organization onboard is not an easy thing, but having a plan with good thorough reasoning and clear expectations around your goals can help persuade them to jump onboard. Fourth, you need to ensure that everyone in your organization maintains a healthy respect for online reputation management.
Whenever you put anything out there on the web, it's there forever, and it's there standing by your brand. You can't un-tweet something, and if you publish something in error, odds are good that some server somewhere has already captured and stored whatever it was that you didn't want up there. Many businesses today have well-crafted and well-thought out policies for writing and publishing content on behalf of the company, particularly on social media. But, many still don't. If you fall into the latter bucket, you'll want to invest some time to define just what people can and can't post, and what editorial procedures need to be followed.
Always remember that anyone on the web can read and find your content when it goes live, and ultimately, your reputation will dictate whether a customer will want to do business with you or not. The last thing successful organizations do with their content strategies is spend time monitoring trends. The only thing that's certain about the internet is that the online marketing landscape is constantly changing. New competitors are popping up by the minute. Old competitors are doing new things. Your business environment is changing faster than ever before, and your target audience is changing along with it.
What this means is that what worked for you today won't necessarily work for you tomorrow, and you have to embrace the fact that this is a moving target that requires your full attention if you want to stay ahead. Monitoring trends involves not only keeping a pulse on your industry, but also things like renewing keyword research, reviewing your content structure and strategy on a regular basis, finding out what's news and what's not, maintaining industry relationships, having continuous contact with influencers and industry leaders to get the inside scoop, and finding new and creative ways to relay those messages to your followers.
While successful organizations tend to exemplify these traits, this isn't by any means a complete list. Take a look at your own organization and your own objectives to define your own success.
- Define search engine optimization.
- Explore the fundamentals of reading search engine results pages.
- Examine the essentials of understanding keyword attributes.
- Break down the steps for optimizing the non-text components of a webpage.
- Recognize how search engines index context.
- Explore an overview of long-term content planning strategies and how they can help keep content on your site fresh.
- Define your website’s audience, topics, angle, and style when mapping out your long-term content.
- Identify the steps to take when building internal links within your website.
- Recognize how to analyze links in order to measure SEO effectiveness.
- Break down the necessary components for understanding local SEO.