A strong content strategy positions your brand as a thought leader in a particular industry. When potential customers think about their problem, you will be a top-of-mind solver (i.e. the first option they’ll consider). Therefore, learning how to plan and create compelling content is a top priority for anyone trying to build an impactful brand.
In this post, I will share a free tool (The Brand Content Planner) to help you think about content marketing more strategically, as well as 5 tips to implement throughout 2015.
The Brand Content Planner is a simple template to help you organize content ideas for publication and distribution. Sometimes we only focus on generating great headlines and innovative ideas for our content, but forget that aspects like SEO and social sharing also play a large role in each piece’s success.
As you fill this out, take your time to think about the right timing and tone for each post.
Consider the following:
Will our audience have a particular need during this time period? (Think about holidays or seasons)
Which day of the week would work best for this type of content? (Would motivational content work better on Mondays, when the week is just starting?)
In brainstorming ideas for this Content Plan, also consider the following tips:
1. Curate continuously: Finding suitable topics to generate content around is a crucial part of the entire writing process. In other words, you can be working in content marketing even before you start creating anything! Find online/offline spaces that your audience is particularly fond of and take note of the content being generated there. What works best? What doesn’t seem to work? For more tips on finding brand-relevant content to share, check out this article that we wrote on 10 Amazing Content Curation Tools.
2. Write about (what you believe are) best practices in your industry/niche: Ever thought that a particular company or individual has executed something particularly well? Write a piece detailing why you think so, and let your audience discover your expertise through this informed opinion. If possible, generate a few lessons learned and try to interview the person in charge of this positive case to get a first-hand perspective on the situation.
InVision does this really well, interviewing designers inside the “world’s most amazing companies to discover their favorite tools, inspirations, workspace must-haves and the philosophy behind what makes them so awesome”.
3. Publish a weekly roundup: Create a short list of 5-10 links that your audience will find interesting. Instead of focusing on material that is appealing to you, try to prioritize answering your readers’ “what’s in it for me” question. Do everything in your power to provide a consistent answer to this question, and find links that point to solutions that your audience is looking for.
theSkimm is now a community of one million active readers who digest a daily email newsletter.
4. Create a content theme for every month: One of the hardest aspects in content marketing is coming up with a consistent editorial calendar that entertains/informs your audience on a permanent basis. Sometimes leaving brainstorming loose will only generate confusion and a potential writer’s block. There’s just so much to write about that there’s literally nothing. Ever felt this way? If so, select an overarching content theme for every month, and generate a series of posts around this area. It will help you and your team focus and avoid running out of creative fuel.
Lufthansa selects one city every month to feature some of its main attractions and share related content in social media using the hashtag #LHCityoftheMonth.
5. Mix it up with content types: Text can be exhausting. Even right now, I am sure that there are many other ways in which I could have decided to share this information. I could have created an infographic, video, podcast, ebook, or slideshow, and perhaps changed the way in which you are engaging with these words. Think about ways in which your content can be translated for different mediums, and feel free to experiment every now and then.
Think with Google is an excellent example of a corporate blog that mixes up content types, including infographics, case studies, interviews, webinars and articles.