In contrast with an ad campaign whose goals are often short-term and less results-oriented (temporary spike in sales, increased “likes” and shares, etc), the goal of content marketing is to educate customers and to develop brand advocates. What’s the point of having 5,000 plus followers if they aren’t recommending your brand to their friends and family?
But people don’t turn into such advocates overnight. It takes a long time to develop the trust it takes to turn those customers into evangelizers. But the rewards outweigh the fleeting 15 minutes of fame a viral video or article might get you. Because a group of people who advertise for your company out of passion for you and what you do has a more lasting and powerful effect.
Outline Your Goals
A content strategy is a must-have if you want to achieve your long-term content marketing goals. In the words of Kristina Halvorson, author of Content Strategy for the Web, content strategy is “planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content.”
Quality content strategies are composed of six steps: research, data collection, preparation and assessment, prospecting (reaching out to influencers), creation and promotion of the content, and assessment of content performance. You can’t have an effective strategy if you are blind to your own brand’s framework, don’t have a plan to reach out to a network of influencers, and have no way of quantifying progress.
But those steps are useless if you have no idea which goal you want to accomplish. The goals you create will depend on what you want to get out of your content marketing strategy. Maybe you want to increase brand awareness, lead conversions, customer conversions, customer upsells or subscriptions. When you figure out how you want your content marketing strategy to help your brand, then you can define the goals you want to attain.
To achieve your goals, you need to have tools to keep you accountable, like editorial calendars and monthly topic reviews. Luckily, there are tools to help you reach your content goals, like Kapost, CoSchedule, and Google content calendar templates. Having deadlines in place on your content calendar will keep you on track, so that you can stay committed to your content marketing strategy.
Consistency is Key
Slow and steady wins the content race. It’s better to consistently produce content three times a week than five times one week and two times the next week. Lack of consistency undermines your authority and will affect your traffic negatively.
You need to be realistic with how often you’ll produce content. Sure, it would be great to publish six blog posts a week and two e-books a month. But if you don’t have the writers to produce that kind of work, then the responsibility is going to fall on you. But since that’s not your main job, you’ll end up burned out and the content will suffer.
Quick Sprout, Neil Patel’s blog, took four years and nine months to hit 100,000 monthly visits. KISSmetrics took two years to get going, posting five posts a week, then upping it to six posts a week, garnering over 500,000 visitors a month. Your goals should match your timing expectations. It won’t happen overnight! But the key to this success was consistently creating amazing content.
Don’t publish crap just to get the numbers up. It doesn’t work anymore.
Instead, assess what you and your team can handle and work to do that consistently for one to three months and then see if you can ramp up production. Allow yourself to work up to where you want to be.
Repurposing Your Content
One major benefit of thinking long term is that you can get the most out of your content. That article can turn into a series that turns into an ebook that turns into course material. If you’re thinking short term, it’s more difficult to repurpose your content. But if it was your intention all along, you’re better set up to make the most of the content you produce.
When KISSmetrics started repurposing blog posts into infographics, it helped generate 2,512,596 visitors and 41,142 backlinks from 3,741 unique domains from 47 infographics. Visually appealing and a diverse range of content types helps with traffic and conversions, ultimately extending the longevity of your content and getting in front of more eyeballs.
Copyblogger started out as a simple blog. Now they have repurposed their blog posts into ebooks, software and courses, diversifying their revenue streams. Their strategy rests on one philosophy: Provide good content and the rest will take care of itself. Because their readers expect good quality content for free, they know that buying ebooks or course tuition must be worth it. If they weren’t thinking long term when it came to their content, they wouldn’t be the powerful brand and resource they are today.
Thinking Short Term Reduces the Quality of Your Content
There’s no point in having a strategy if your content sucks. Readers will get no value out of low quality content. They’ll stop looking to your brand as a resource, reducing your traffic, engagement, and sales and leaving you frustrated and disappointed.
If you expect content marketing to work within a week or a month, you’re not going to invest in the tools it takes to produce quality content. But if you’re in for the long haul, you’ll be more likely to see the benefits of hiring more writers or a video team. And, in turn, the quality of your content will increase and your audience will notice. Because without quality content, your audience has no reason to use you as a resource. You won’t be worth anything to them. Think long term and you’ll always be valuable to consumers.
How do you think long term when it comes to your content marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments.