It goes without saying that content is an essential part of any marketing strategy. From long-form articles to visual assets, content is what an audience consumes to learn more about your business offering.
Content builds trust, develops relationships, improves conversions and ultimately generates leads, but for small marketing teams with limited capacity, there is often a struggle between balancing new content creation with being able to maximise the content you already have.
If you find yourself needing either short or long-term agency support with content creation, GO! can help with that. In the meantime, we reached out to our Network and asked for their advice on how to manage capacity for streamlined content.
What is the most important part of a content strategy?
Understanding your audience
"Understanding your audience is one of the most essential elements of any content strategy. No matter the channel, content must add value - whether that's entertaining, educating or solving a problem.
By knowing your audience inside out, you can pinpoint exactly what types of content will spark action, ultimately helping you build trust and loyalty." - Laurie Foxon, Shoot The Moon
"The most important part of any content strategy is really understanding your audience, and that means blending data with quantitative insight. Having a detailed picture of your audience's behaviours is essential, as this will inform both your content and channel strategy." - Tristan Morris, Big Brand Ideas
It’s easy to think that content is grounded in creative thought — and in some aspects it is, often when it comes to ideation for different content formats and outputs. But ultimately, behind every great content strategy is a robust dataset (target keywords, trend data, reporting metrics) that guides the creative direction." - Gabriella Mascia, Curated
Understanding your purpose
"Understanding the purpose of your content is key, whether it is for SEO purposes, brand equity, engaging directly with your target market etc. A clear understanding of why you are doing it is incredibly important. Leveraging that content in a number of ways is also key. Think about how people can consume things. If you are doing a podcast, ensure you film it and take photographs.
Edit short video clips, sound bites, graphics, perhaps even transcribe it into a blog - why not even make a physical magazine if you are interviewing people?" - Daniel Simmons, Populate Social
"Understanding the purpose of your content, and what you want it to accomplish, is key. This is both to ensure that it's correctly focused on your ideal audience while also contributing to measurable results.
At ICS-digital and ICS-translate, we produce over a million words of content per month, so having that total focus on audiences and outcomes is key to ensuring we stay on track and perform for the clients who have placed their trust in us." - Martin Calvert, ICS-digital
A new take on an old story
"Finding new ways to tell old stories. The internet's pretty big these days. Chances are, the content you think will be beneficial to your readers (and the search engines) has already been written and published hundreds of times.
Whether it's getting creative with an infographic or bringing in an expert to boost your content's authority, always peek outside that box when you're planning your content." - Sophie Cartwright, Flaunt Digital
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How should people manage with limited resource?
Leverage the content you've got
"It's about getting as much as you can out of the content for the time you have available. Prioritising the content that provides you with the most bang for your buck and ensuring you make it work as hard as possible.
Ensure that the content you are putting out directs people to the relevant places, make sure you are capturing people when they hit your content (locked content etc.). There are also automation tools out there that can be used to support content creation. Perhaps these can be considered to increase cadence.
How about even leveraging other people within the business? Get the wider team involved." - Daniel Simmons, Populate Social
"When creating a piece of content, it's important to consider how it could work across all key marketing channels. That way, you'll be leveraging the content as much as possible - adapting it to suit the different channels, rather than relying on extra resource to create different content for each.
It’s also important to consider the longevity of your content - creating something that can be re-used will maximise the return." - Laurie Foxon, Shoot The Moon
Identify 3 key actions, and focus on them
"At Curated, we typically work on a system of identifying 3 key things to work on per sprint.
There’s nothing worse than delivering a site audit and then providing clients with a long list of items to change, because it's easy to quickly get lost in an endless stream of tasks, without a clear idea of the impact they will make. If you’re limited on resources, just identify 3 key actions closely tied to your business goals and prioritise those for maximum return." - Gabriella Mascia, Curated
"For clients that can’t utilise the specialist services of an agency, it’s critical that you don’t try and do everything. Focus on key areas of opportunity that are aligned with both the broader business objectives and marketing strategy.
There’s lots of excellent software solutions out there too that can save you time and make your resource go further. Lastly, make sure you take time to invest in any training to upskill your team." - Tristan Morris, Big Brand Ideas
When you're doing it, do it right
"Spend time getting it right first time. Don't rush to get a 500 word blog piece out that no one will ever read because you feel a need to get something out there.
Don't write a poorly-researched article only for an expert to tear it apart later - you'll end up spending double the amount of time you would have compared to curating authentic, expert advice in the first place." - Sophie Cartwright, Flaunt Digital
"With content, it can be easy to fall into the trap of 'fatal half measures'. By that, I mean becoming extremely busy in juggling content initiatives while not having the time or resources to consistently create content that will deliver impact.
The best agencies will have flexible approaches that can help clients with limited resources to free up time and focus on the strategic side of content, rather than being constantly under the stress of a mountainous content schedule.
Where it's not possible to work with an agency partner, the key step is to refine the content plan down to the essential elements - it's better to do a small number of content initiatives really well than it is to go for large volumes of content that don't move the strategy forward." - Martin Calvert, ICS-digital
Where do you begin when creating a content calendar?
Understand your personas
"It’s important to remember that content starts with the customer, so your end user should be the starting point of any content calendar. Ask questions of your hypothetical audience:
- What questions are they asking within your brand space?
- What kinds of content are they consuming?
- What thought leaders are they engaging with?
- What spurs them to action?
- What are they most interested in beyond your brand niche or industry?
Once you have a clear idea of how your customers react to a number of scenarios — both related and unrelated to your industry — you’re better equipped to create content that they will actually want to consume. - Gabriella Mascia, Curated
"I'd recommend starting by understanding your key personas. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what it is that you can provide as value to them.
Then, think about the platforms they are using to consume their content and how best you can spread your budget and time to reach them in those areas.
From there, you can consider a timeline of content and put together a content calendar. Ensure you are thinking about key times of the year, seasonality of sales etc." - Daniel Simmons, Populate Social
Work around key dates
"Every client’s needs are unique, so each content calendar also should be unique. Make sure you are aligning your calendar with key sales periods, product launches or promotions. If you’ve done your research on the audience, this should also highlight key periods, holidays, dates of interest etc.
Everything you do should draw from your brand story, creating content pillars from this can help you organise and manage your calendar effectively." - Tristan Morris, Big Brand Ideas
"Content calendars differ for every business, but the most important step is to work around the seasonal and business milestones of your customers, to ensure you have compelling content at the times when they need it most.
Once you have this in place it's all around what will deliver maximum value based on the strategy at hand. Content can transform SEO, UX, eCommerce, thought leadership and many other marketing initiatives - so prioritising the calendar around the key elements will make life a lot easier, and make the plan go a lot further." - Martin Calvert, ICS-digital
Analyse your previous content
"Always look at what you've produced in the past to analyse what works and what didn't. Then, in its simplest form, do more of what works and improve the pieces of content that need a rethink.
Repurpose, optimise or rewrite older or poor performing pieces, while sprinkling in new ideas that follow the same kind of vibe as your top performers." - Sophie Cartwright, Flaunt Digital
How do you make the most from a successful piece of content?
Well-connected, well-linked content
"Successful content should always be well-connected and well distributed.
By connected we mean well-linked — whether that’s through strong call to actions and signposting on other pages on your website and also by generating valuable backlinks through digital PR tactics or simply creating authoritative content that other websites reference organically.
Distribution is equally important: are you sharing content across customer touch-points such as social and email channels? Can you use your content as collateral to collaborate with influencers or partner brands to broaden your reach?
The longevity of a successful piece of content also lies in upcycling — never underestimate the power of revisiting good content. In doing so, you can help ensure that well-performing content retains its value." - Gabriella Mascia, Curated
"Great content has the ability to be used across multiple channels, bringing a myriad of benefits. Think about this at the ideas stage instead of as an afterthought.
For example, a brilliant piece of research can power PR, social, inbound, organic search and events programmes if planned properly." - Tristan Morris, Big Brand Ideas
Keep refreshing your 'hero' content
"Once you've finished all the usual repurposing routine (sharing on social, breaking down into an infographic, potentially outreaching to the press etc), it's tempting to just leave your content alone - don't.
If you start to see your top-performing piece of content losing ranking or dropping in sessions, spruce it up with fresh stats, new expert quotes or refreshed internal links." - Sophie Cartwright, Flaunt Digital
Find what works for you
"Content success can be measured in many ways - for some, one piece of content expertly targeted at just one small customer type that truly resonates can be game-changing. This is often the case in B2B marketing where a small number of very high value deals can be transformational.
For other companies, having a piece of content that can be used in a modular way across multiple channels is where value can be maximised. That might include content that starts off as long-form content that is then broken down and put into a visual format for social, transformed into drip-feed email marketing campaigns or something else entirely.
"Whether going deep with content, or going broad - it's vital that the content strategy is built around what takes your business furthest and what resonates with critical audiences - this is certainly the thinking that the ICS-digital team builds into every international content strategy." - Martin Calvert, ICS-digital
If you’d like to know more about any of the agencies featured in this article, or how GO! can support on finding a marketing agency to support and optimise your strategy, get in touch here.