deliver your content strategy

How to Deliver Useful Content for Your Content Strategy Audience

Knowing who is going to be reading your content is key when you’re planning a content strategy. Marketing these days is hard, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s all about creating content that your audience will actually enjoy reading, continue reading, and even tell others to read. To make that to ‘die for content,’ you need a content strategy that dictates your voice and delivery, and this all starts with understanding your audience.

 

So Who Is Your Content Strategy Audience?

If you ask the average business owner to describe their target customer, you’ll often hear attributes of a too-good-to-be-true type of customer. Most target customers are based on assumptions and not facts, which is why a lot of great brands are never recognized — because they cannot create content that attracts their ideal customer
(because they have no clue what their ideal customer is like).

There’s no one-size-fits all audience solution according to Inc.com, so you can cross that off your checklist right now. Your customer type is as unique as your brand and the products/services under your brand. A legal client isn’t going to be the same as a wedding planner’s client list, now will it? Your content must be customized to your industry and the type of customer who is interested in what you have to offer.

 

There are three basic questions you should answer with your content:

  1. Who is your primary audience? Are you targeting teenagers? Retirees? Single mothers? You have a target customer and they can be somewhat categorized, so pick a category.
  2. What purpose will your content serve? How is your content going to help the target customer?
  3. What’s your typical customer’s attitude toward your product? Be realistic — not everyone is enthusiastic about every product or service out there, even if they need it.

 

Identify Your Target Customer

A good content strategy has mapped out the target customer. You should know the average age of your shopper, gender, race, etc. For example, a home loan agency typically meets with people between the ages of 25-30, probably both men and women, and ethnicity can vary depending on the region.

A company selling supplemental prescription coverage, on the other hand, might typically sell their product to retirees (above the age of 60) who need to supplement where Medicare and Medicaid lack.

 

Decide Your Purpose

Your content, service, brand, website, etc. serve a purpose. You are the answer to a potential customer’s issue — otherwise your business wouldn’t exist. What is your purpose? What are you solving for your target customer? According to the University of Maryland, you can’t write content without knowing what you’re solving for your reader.

A website designer, for example, helps companies and individuals set up websites that they couldn’t otherwise do themselves. Therefore, a website designer’s content should address the concerns of the average website owner, show the reader they understand the difficulties of building a website, and offer their services as a solution. You’re the go-to man (or woman). You know all the codes, the tricks and you have a portfolio of awesome websites to back it up. Use that to prove you’re the solution.

A personal injury attorney, for example, is there to help accident and injury victims receive compensation. Your content should be understanding, comforting and address the common concerns of your average client. You know your clients are probably worried about paying for their endless medical bills, getting their car back together, or paying for their mortgage. Address those concerns with a comforting, helpful tone.

 

Remember Your Target Customer’s Concern

Just because your services or products are necessary, doesn’t mean your customers are excited to buy them. Insurance, for example, is something everyone needs but no one wants to pay for or deal with shopping for. Address these issues in your content and call your customer out on their concerns. Have a valid argument against that issue so your customer has no excuse.

 

Remember the Viral Factor

Successful content is content that people want to share with others — and makes you go viral. It can be tricky writing that unique piece that people are compelled to share, but there are a few things that can increase the likelihood your content will go viral.

  1. Improve the Reader’s Social StandingMost readers only share something if it improves their personal image or helps forge relationships with others. So, share content that a reader would want to share with other people to establish a better relationship.
  2. Use Triggers There are things that can trigger emotions and emotions are popular in viral content. Use fear, anger, humor, sadness, etc. in your content (where applicable) to incite an emotion in the reader. One of the biggest causes for viral content is awe, second humor.
  3. Share a Personal Story People like to know that there is a human being behind your brand. Share personal stories or have touching customer testimonials on your blog or website that reach your readers on a more personal level.

 

Learn more about what makes content go viral in this article by Entrepreneur.

 

Bottom line: if you consider your audience in your content strategy, you’ll deliver a much more powerful selling message than if you address what you think is your “target customer”. It takes time to research your ideal market, but that research investment pays off when you convert over 80 percent of your readers into customers.

 

Content Strategy for Your Marketing Agency

How to Build a Content Strategy for Your Marketing Agency Website

As a marketing agency owner you already know why your clients are hiring you: they need you to get the word out for them. But if your website doesn’t market your own services effectively, why would a business want to hire you to market them? Marketing agencies must be good at creating effective marketing campaigns that catches the eye of potential clients and promotes their clients brands. Therefore, it only makes sense that your marketing agency has a content strategy in place to market yourself first.

 

Does My Agency Really Need a Content Strategy?

Bottom line: if your marketing agency doesn’t succeed, your clients won’t either. Having a clear content strategy for your agency is imperative for determining your own success as well as the success of your clients. After all, as a marketing agency you’re likely to take part in developing your client’s content strategy too. Content is crucial for any business and more people are starting to catch on.

 

So Where Do I Start?

If you’ve never developed a content strategy for your business, now is a great time to start. According to the Content Marketing Institute, there are seven initial steps everyone should take when developing a content strategy:

  1. Define Your Goals: Why are you making this content? What do you need from your website?
  2. Record the Metrics: Decide how you will track whether or not you’re achieving your results.
  3. Gather Up Some Research: Research your typical buyer and how you can market your services to them. Do you market to home care agencies only? Or do you accept all business and industry types?
  4. Decide on Content: Decide the type of content you’re going to write for your marketing agency.
  5. Create the Content: Get writing!
  6. Distribute Content: Whether that means publishing it on your site or distributing it through press releases, you have to distribute it somehow.
  7. Follow-Up: Review your content and measure its performance. If it’s not meeting your goals, it’s time for a revision.

 

Keep It Diverse—Like Your Customers

As a marketing agency, you represent a variety of clients, industries and brands. If your content focuses on only one type of industry or customer, you’re going to limit your acquisition capabilities. A good content strategy should be diverse, just like your client list. Make your services appeal to the little guys as well as the corporate bigwigs. Make your content fun enough for those younger entrepreneurs, but sophisticated enough to attract the long-term owners.

 

Press Releases are Crucial

You’re a professional marketer, so you need to market yourself like crazy—literally. One of the best ways to get the word out about your service is through press releases. A press release is a news-like piece distributed through top press release distributor sites, like PRWeb or PRNewswire. Today’s press release, however, is a lot different than the press releases of a few years ago. Press release distributors are no longer allowing poorly written press releases through, and the information must be newsworthy. You can include keywords and links, but don’t think because you’ve done so your rank is going to shoot through the roof. Instead use press releases as a stepping stone to get potential clients to visit your site.

Not sure where to start on your press releases? Here are a few tips for success. If you need more, read this article by Forbes on how to write a news worthy press release.

  1. Be concise. No one wants to read a 1,000 word press release and no one will read it if it’s a wall of text. Stick to 300 or 400 words maximum. Even better, use a numbered or bulleted list somewhere to drive your points home and sum it all up for the reader.
  2. Be newsworthy. Your story needs to sound like news and be something urgent. Whether you’re updating them on changes in-house or a new client you’ve acquired, it must be newsworthy. Consider the newspaper and what you read. You won’t see a post about a computer breakdown, but you might read about a company signing on with a new computer repair service to add to their pool of clients.
  3. Don’t sell. There should be no selling in a press release what-so-ever. Instead, tell the reader what news you have to share and redirect them to your site or blog for the sales speech.
  4. Release often. You should release press releases a few times per month (perhaps once a week).

 

Get Blogging

Blogging is critical. A blog gives clients a sense of your personality and your range when it comes to marketing. In fact, according to the State of Inbound Marketing in 2012, 56 percent of companies who blog at least once per month acquire a new customer. About 92 percent of blogs who post multiple times per day acquire a new customer. Blogs that are posted just once a day have a 78 percent chance of acquiring a new customer. So, if your marketing agency isn’t blogging at least daily, you’re halving your chances of catching new clients.

You market your customers and you know how to sell. Show potential clients your skills by marketing yourself first. Creating a killer content strategy can help market your services to a broad range of clients and ultimately increase your business. If you just can’t put it to screen the way you intend, consider hiring a professional content writing service instead. They can take your goals, help you with your content strategy and get you the large customer base your company needs to stay competitive.
 

strategically planning a content strategy

Tools That Are Essential for a Killer Content Strategy

You’ve taken the time to develop a content strategy, perhaps you’ve spent a lot of time creating a strategy, but it’s just not performing as you had hoped. Sometimes even the best content strategies need a little extra help. Luckily there are plenty of tools out there that help you during each stage of the content strategy planning process, implementation and analysis.
 

Know What’s In Your Content Strategy Before Creating It

Your content strategy should already include this, but if not, it’s time to add it. You should know what you’re posting and when you’re going to post it — that goes for web content too. There are a few tools out there that can help you keep track of your content and create an editorial calendar. Even if you don’t run a blog, having a calendar that schedules out everything from articles to press releases to social media posts is important. If you’re not sure how to create a calendar or you want to know how to organize it, read up on setting up your editorial calendar in this article by the Content Marketing Institute.

 

Some great content planning tools to look into include:

  • Google Docs – Google docs is free to use (as long as you sign up for a Gmail account). You can use the spreadsheets or use the Google Calendar to write down what posts launch and when they’re supposed to launch. Since you can add people to your calendars, you can keep the entire company in on what’s happening with your content next.
  • WordPress Editorial Plugin – WordPress.org has an editorial calendar plug-in that you can integrate in with your WordPress website. The plug-in is free and works with most WordPress platforms.

 

Make Sure Your Strategic Content Isn’t a Copycat

There’s nothing more detrimental to your website’s rank than copied content. Even if you don’t intend to copy, you have dozens of websites that might carry similar content (which means a few words might register on a plagiarism checker). There are a few tools out there that can help you scan your content before it’s published to keep you copycat-free.
 

Write Content That is Error-Free

You might be the authority in your industry, but if your content is riddled with spelling errors and grammar mistakes, your readers won’t think you’re the “go-to” for advice. Poor grammar can also impact your brand and your SEO, according to an article on Business2Community.com. Luckily you don’t have to be an English professor to get your grammar right, especially with today’s grammar checking tools.

 

  • PolishMyWriting.comThis unique tool offered by After the Deadline reviews your content for grammar, style, and spelling issues. Each correction is a suggestion, leaving you in control of what is changed. You can download the app directly into your browser to scan your content as you write it or just copy/paste into the site’s app.
  • Copyscape.com – Copyscape is a paid subscription, but it is also one of the best checkers on the market. You pay about $0.10 per scan and that small fee goes far. Copyscape will flag portions of your content that are copied, tell you how much of your content is copied and highlight the copied text so you know what to correct.
  • Grammarly.comGrammarly offers a paid grammar checker that can catch up to ten times more mistakes than Word. It offers vocabulary suggestions, helps correct active and passive voice styles, and locates grammar errors instantly.
  • PaperRater.com – Check the grammar, spelling and style of your content for free with PaperRater. While it may not catch as much as Grammarly, it will catch a lot more than you might proofreading yourself.

 

Get Your Keywords Right

Keywords are still crucial to your rank, but only if they’re used in combination with good content. While Google might have taken away their Keyword Tool, there are still options out there to help you plan out the right keywords for your website, including Google AdWords Keyword Planner. Once you know your keywords, you want a healthy density in your content. Avoid going over three percent, if you can. To check your keyword density there are plenty of free and paid tools you can try. Live-Keyword-Analysis.com, for example, allows you to plug in your keywords, copy/paste your content and quickly tells you the density of your targeted keywords in your content. Another free tool to try if your content is already published on your website is KeywordDensity.com. Simply enter your URL, the keyword or key phrase, and let the app analyze your pages for density.

There are plenty of tools out there, plenty are free too, that can take your content strategy to the next level. With the investment you’ve made in making a content strategy, you can almost not risk wasting that effort by not using these killer tools.

 

visualising a content strategy

How to Add Visualization to your Content Strategy

Pictures say a thousand words, so the right image can mean a lot more power for your content strategy. Words, of course, are the foundation, but images can add the appeal you need to boost it to the next level. Do you find yourself more prone to click an image or a word? Most people would answer with an image, funny meme, or even a personal picture from their own galleries.

Applying Your Content Strategy: The Various Types of Visualization

Take inventory of the sites you enjoy browsing: do they have a lot of pictures you can scan through quickly or paragraphs of text to read? When you are reading the news online, do you click on the headlines or the pictures that catch your eye? On average a user will click a picture almost double what they will click just words. How are you using that to your advantage in content strategy? Don’t say you just put up pictures and hope your audience finds it; if that’s the case, you’re missing out on traffic, big time! Just as you strategize the words you write, it is important to plan for your photos. According to Allison Carter of Raven Tools, images aren’t just for social media.

Okay, so now that you know images are important, what exactly can you use to draw in your audiences?

Stunning PowerPoint Presentations

These are not limited to boardrooms or classroom presentations anymore but rather you can use these to communicate with your audience. The design on your slides should look professional. It is the first impression your followers will see so make it a good one. Be careful to not make the slides too busy with various fonts, mismatched colors, or overstimulating animations. The grammar and spelling in your slides should be correct. This can be the perfect opportunity to incorporate graphics and images within the slides. Even when users are sliding through the information, it shouldn’t be all text. Slideshare is a great platform, and if you have an expert create your presentation in a niche market, it’s not hard to go viral on Slideshare itself.

Creative Creative Infographics

By going beyond a spreadsheet or chart, these types of graphics can incorporate content with visual art. Use both text and creative images to get your point across. The primary benefit of an infographic is that it can be shared across various platforms where pictures are the main focus such as Instagram and Pinterest. Each graphic can state a whole blog post in just one picture. It is a very effective way to send a message using colors and words, marketing your brand. Think outside the box when it comes to creating your infographics. They are a popular resource these days so set yours apart from the others out there with unique designs, readable fonts, and clever styling.

Cool Images

Plain and simple, pictures speak volumes. Mike Parkinson of Billion Dollar Graphics has data to show that over 93 percent of communication is non-verbal and people process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Images of any kind will add depth and details to content. Using images like clip art, photography or illustrations, your content can come alive and become a memorable work of marketing that is remembered by the readers. Keep in mind with images you should use professional images of high quality but not distracting images. When placing an image, it can break up text to give the reader a break from large blocks of text.

The Ins and Outs of Images in your Content

Just putting an image into your blog or content strategy is like inputting a keyword just for the sake of density. The word or phrase may not make any sense in the context, yet writers frequently practice this kind of keyword stuffing. Images follow the same principles. If it doesn’t make sense, find something else. There is a huge number of free pictures and graphic tools available online so you should never be without graphic options.

The traffic generated by sites like Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and even Twitter and Facebook is based on these sites’ ability to attract visual users. By scrolling and searching through pictures, users can quickly identify if they want to continue to your site or profile.

Labeling your image is one tool that many users neglect and it can harm their web traffic. Did you know the search engines can read your photos when you label them? Of course, the searches can’t see your photo but they can read the titles. Every photo on your site should have a creative title so along with properly placed keywords, pithy titles, and labeled pictures, users can find your content quickly. Upload photos and avoid just using preview windows on social media pages as users can scroll through and never actually click on your links.

 

How To Use An Editorial Calendar In Your Content Strategy

Great content doesn’t just appear. Powerful content is strategized and planned so that each topic has a purpose and value in the marketing of a brand. The right amount of words, style, and timing are crucial to the content truly hitting its mark with consumers. Whether you have a personal brand or are working to promote a commercial brand, your content determines the success. Is that enough pressure for you to create amazing content? Don’t get overwhelmed with these types of requirements as you are probably more capable than you know of making this happen.

Strategizing & Planning for Your (Successful) Editorial Calendar

Getting Started with Great Content

It’s no secret that planning helps promote success and one of the simplest tools behind a great writer is a content calendar. Do world-renowned chefs just cook whatever they want for their guests? Do athletes exercise and train in a haphazard way? No way. Those who are experts at their craft, make a plan. In writing and content creation, an editorial/content calendar is the way to achieve this. It doesn’t have to be complicated but any type of plan will work.  Before you start planning, take a minute to analyze your writing. Here are some things to consider:

  • Why do I write? – this will guide you to determine the style of writing. If you write for fun, think about fun topics. If you write for current trends and news, think about recent conversations you’ve had in your sphere and jot down those topics.  If you write for informational purposes, read as much as you can about the markets and keep your ears open for juicy stories and details pertaining to that topic.
  • How often will I write? – every writer starts off their plan with lofty goals. “I’m going to write three times a week” or “I’m going to have my team produce a new blog on a daily basis.” Be realistic with your writing routine and keep in mind if you or your team produces a lot of content in a week or two, it can be saved and spaced out.
  •  Will I add media to the pages? – this isn’t a huge deal but if you have to take the time to search for pictures, word art, or other media to go with every piece, you need to have enough time and sometimes monetary resources to purchase the media. Some websites will only hold a certain amount of pictures so if you are constantly implementing media to your blogs, it may clog up your site or cost you extra.

Benefits of the Editorial Calendar

Now that you know you want to write and why, it can be tempting to just make a note on your phone’s notepad as topics come to your head. This is a form of brainstorming and it can be helpful but in the end, this “willy-nilly” approach to your
content strategy will not be effective. Still not convinced, what if you saw facts about why a calendar will be invaluable to you:

  • You and your writers can work ahead. Just like in school, when you knew an assignment was due and you wanted to go out with friends that night, you could study ahead of time and still get a good grade. The same is true with an editorial calendar. Your content can be done ahead of the holidays, during downtime, and can be changed as necessary.
  • Your content strategy will be current. When you plan ahead, your content can be moved around. For example, if you are writing about the similarities of the Superbowl and business success, you may want to plan it for January/February time frame when the game actually occurs. More people can identify with it during that time and may even find it through an unrelated search.
  • You can measure the content success. As with any list or documentation, referring back to it can give insight on your marketing plans at that time. If you can look at your content titles, media used, keywords that were successful, it could be duplicated for another campaign. Past success and failure can be measured when there is an editorial calendar to guide. According to Beth Kanter, this is the main key to successful blogs and marketing. It allows team members to collaborate and also to work on the same page with topics and marketing tools.

Setting up the Calendar

Don’t make it complicated. Think about your editorial calendar like a menu for the month. Mondays you are offering one thing, Tuesdays another, and so on. Check out Contently’s blog with very useful tips about this. It can be helpful to have a brainstorming session to establish the tone and writer for each of the various topics. Some writers work better with other topics than others so finding that niche for you and your team is crucial.

Set up the calendar as a way to keep everyone organized and moving forward; your writers will appreciate it and in the end, will probably stick closer to the deadlines. After all, what good is content if it doesn’t get out on time?

investing in your writing

Investing In Your Writing: DIY Versus Content Writing Services

Today’s business world has changed. You don’t have to have an office or even a physical location. In most cases you can sign the necessary paperwork, obtain the right licenses and work from home. Because it’s so easy to start a business, a lot of people assume that they can handle very aspect of their company themselves from home.

 

Content Writing: To Maximize Your Best Investment

 

While there are plenty of things you can handle, content writing might not be one of them. With the Internet market booming, competition is fierce and search engines are tightening the ropes on what they’ll recommend and what they’ll ignore. It’s entirely up to you which path you choose — do-it-yourself content or hiring out — but before you make the decision, familiarize yourself with the process.

 

Great Writers Equals Great Content

If you need to boost your organic search engine results, you need excellent writing. The days of quickly throwing out a blog post or just slapping 300 words on a website aren’t going to work anymore. Your content writing must be informational, unique and without errors. Also, your writing needs to be compelling. People should want to continue reading and come back to read more.

To do this, you need to step away from your personal attachment to your blog or website and assess your writing skills. Are you capable of writing error-proof, well-researched and engaging content? Does writing come naturally to you? If you struggle to write, it might be best to leave your content to content writing services. While you might have to pay a little extra, content writing services can write the content you need for your blog or website in less time, without errors and ultimately save you resources in the long run.

 

Time is Money

You already know how much you have on your plate. You’re running a business, perhaps a blog and you of course have a personal life too. There is a lot of day-to-day tasks you must complete to keep your operation in check and staying up-to-date on content requirements and producing fresh content on a regular basis might not be something you can squeeze in. Hiring someone for your content writing, including blogs, press releases, web content, etc. allows you to focus on your business while still getting quality content for your site.

 

Research, Research, Research

SEO and search engine algorithms are changing constantly. What works today doesn’t always work next year or even next week. Finding the right techniques for your content writing can be hit or miss, especially if you’re not up to date on the latest research. Not only does a content writing service provide you with keyword-rich content, but they know how to craft pieces that meet the expectations of search engines. It is their job to constantly research what search engine algorithms want and they have the time to stay up to date on the latest algorithm changes. While you can certainly do the research yourself, it is time consuming and might require you to spend more time researching for not only what to write about, but how to write it so you’re in the good graces of Google.

 

You Get What You Pay For

Sure, writing your own content or having a family member write the content saves you big. But, you get what you pay for. Will that content be able to sell your products? Will it be relatable to the people likely to visit your site? If you just need people to get directions to your store, then mediocre content writing is fine. But, if you need to sell, a professional content writing service might be the answer.

 

Things to Consider When You Do Hire a Content Writing Service

If you’ve decided DIY is not the way to go with your content strategy, the next step is hiring a content writing service. There are certainly plenty to choose from, but not all are created equally. Before you just hire anyone to represent your brand with words, look for providers who can:

  • Offer a turnkey content strategy solution — from planning to scheduling and writing all of your content.
  • Repurpose and reuse content.
  • Offer you high-quality content from United States or English-speaking writers.
  • Offer you talented writers that write engaging, memorable content for your site.