There is a lot more going on than just the words on the page
It looks so simple doesn’t it? The words on the page. The post that caught your eye. The writing is smart, concise, and brilliant. Too bad that person is just a writer, there isn’t any real marketing behind that piece.
That’s what a lot of people think. It’s easy to look at the final product and not see the bigger picture. When you read a great post all you’re seeing is just the final piece of a much bigger marketing plan, what went into that post is much, much more complicated and interesting. Here’s how I approach every piece of content I write that has even the smallest bit of marketing to it.
What’s the bigger picture?
Content doesn’t live in isolation. Everything that goes on your website or published to your blog or posted to social media needs to fit into your larger marketing goals. Are there strategic initiatives to push? Are you trying to establish yourself as a thought leader in the industry?
Rogue content weakens the other great content you’ve published. And one social media gaff can set back marketing efforts for months or years. Everything needs to fit into the bigger marketing picture, if it doesn’t—it doesn’t get published.
When was the last time you didn’t start looking for something with Google? I can’t remember either. Each and every piece of content needs to support your SEO goals for your website. Links to supporting content in other parts of the site. Keywords and key phrases in titles and body copy. Images with alt text. Heading, bullets, structure, everything pointing to the goal of people finding your content and website with the terms you want to be associated with. If you start writing without thinking about your SEO strategy in mind, you’re content is just fluff you’re posting for kicks and giggles. That pithy quote might be fun and interesting, but how does it help people find you online?
It doesn’t? Then don’t post it.
What do your analytics tell you?
If you don’t know what content is read the most, shared then most, and drives the most leads (or whatever your KPI is), then how do you know what to write in the first place? Sure I have lots of ideas for posts, and I even start writing them as mental calisthenics, but the real content matches up with what my I think my audience will enjoy.
You can still be data-driven and take risks and experiment with your content, but every risk and experiment needs to be measured to see if it worked. Want to try a click bait title on your B2B blog? Maybe post infographics when you haven’t before? All good ideas that work for other people, so it’s worth a try. But once you post, its time to measure and see if it worked.
What’s the rotation?
That great post that supports marketing goals, great for SEO, and drove leads, when was the last time to wrote about that? Great content marketing has variety how tos, downloads, infographics, opinion pieces, news, serious topics, and cheeky pieces should be mixed around so content isn’t all the same thing all the time. I love pizza, but pizza every night for a week gets old fast.
The weekly post like the job of the week is fine, it becomes something people can expect and adds value and infographic Thursdays add structure to your content calendar and make it easier to plan other kinds of content. The rest of the time, mix it up. Keep in mind what’s going on around you too. If there is a big news event to piggyback onto, do it, but if there is a tragedy or crisis—tread carefully there.
What’s the call to action?
A post on a company blog without a call to action is a waste of time. Period. Every post needs a next action that drives your marketing goals. Sharing the post, downloading a whitepaper, contacting sales, subscribing to a newsletter—all of these are calls to action that you can build a marketing campaign on. It’s not icky to end a post with “If you liked this post, maybe you’d like to subscribe to our weekly newsletter.” or “We’d love to help you with your technology strategy, get in touch now to get started.” these are simple, clean CTAs that not only drive marketing goals, but support SEO and lead to analytics you can measure.
Everything is more than a post
While I think of myself as a writer (with the books and posts to show for it), nothing I write is in isolation. Everything fits into a bigger plan. I spend time brainstorming topics, then see what fits into the plan and only move forward with ideas that fit. I look for new ideas from what’s worked in the past and try experiments that I can measure.
Then I write.
Then I post.
Then you read.
And I start all over again…