Content creation forms the backbone of any inbound marketing strategy worth considering, yet all too many marketers seem content to allow unoriginal, uninspired, or uninteresting content to sit, occasionally joined by equally uninteresting, unplanned, and haphazardly constructed ‘new’ content.
The best marketers, however, know better. They improve content creation using campaigns, and plan schedules, and analysis of previous posts. By thinking about each piece of content as part of the whole, by considering the role each piece of content plays in retrospect and in future endeavours, superior marketers create a content network that draws paying customers in and never lets them go.
But knowing that isn’t enough to succeed, so let’s talk specifics
Step 1: Look At What You Have
Before you make any more content, you should take a good, hard, long look at the content you’ve already pushed out on your site. Maybe it’s excellent, maybe it’s mediocre, maybe it’s terrible—that matters, but moving forward what matters more is your understanding of its place. Does your older content suggest new content? Are questions left unanswered, or is there an obvious place for a follow-up piece? When you view your content, do you leave certain areas vague on a regular basis? Do you have articles that were unusually popular, or articles that got views but no conversions? If so, you have somewhere to go, somewhere to take your future content that links back to your old content.
Or, perhaps you have such perfect coverage of the obvious that it’s time to expand, to reach for new opportunities. It’s likely that if you’ve exhausted the depths of your current content, then you’ve not reached widely enough in subject matter. Either way, old content should suggest your new direction quite clearly.
Step 2: Build Campaigns
Content shouldn’t be thrown at the wall without some underlying strategy. If you’ve done your research, you should have a rough idea of the direction to take your content—now plan, think, and produce. Make content that fits together to create a greater whole; that aims to pull in your target demographic and guide them through a sales funnel.
Your goal with content should never be page views alone—if you don’t have a plan for converting those views into sales, you won't have a campaign so much as ‘dozens of semi-related articles or e-mails pointing at the same landing page’, and you won't have planned enough. Also, note the ‘s’ on Campaigns; marketing is not a one-size-fits-all industry, so you shouldn’t rely on a single campaign. Diversify your approaches, and optimise the number of potential customers that become repeat customers.
Step 3: Refine Your Timing…and Everything Else
“As fast as possible” is rarely the right pace to post or mail your content. Experiment and learn the needs and wants of your potential customers. Planned schedules become incredibly important as you refine your inbound marketing and content creation strategy to optimise conversions—it’s one thing to get someone to sign up for a newsletter, and quite another to get them to buy something.
There’s really no ‘trick’ to perfecting your schedules, unfortunately. Split testing, examining the trade-off when you increase or decrease content frequency, tweaking such that you gain the most and lose the least, takes time and effort with no real shortcuts. Perhaps your demographic will get oversaturated quickly, and start viewing your content as a hassle to keep up with—or maybe they’re eager for more, more, more, and will buy, buy, buy so long as you keep giving them something new to consider, something new to consume.
Test your campaigns separately, but always look for overlaps and gaps—that’s where new opportunities lie.