If you are a business owner, marketer, or blog manager, it’s normal not to think of yourself as a publisher even though you are producing content on a regular basis. However, considering yourself as a publisher who has long term strategies, plans, and tactics is the first step toward becoming a proactive content distributor!
Now that we’ve established that you are indeed a legitimate publisher in the digital realm, one of the biggest obstacles you will face is self-doubt in your ability to create valuable content. Worrying about creating content worth reading or why anyone would consider you an authority on a certain topic are natural ways to feel. The best way to destroy this self-doubt is through forming strategies for future content success. Understand you aren’t going to be able to do everything well all at once. Instead, focus on doing things at a high level with incremental, yet solid progress. Create reachable, strategic goals and watch the small gains pile up.
No matter the industry, sharing information and engaging through content is a great way to increase your credibility as a business. In order to get to this point, you have to suppress any instinctual reservations you have. Let preparation be your guide when it comes to content planning and distribution. By thinking ahead about who you are planning your content for, what it is they want or need to hear, and how to effectively distribute your message, you will eliminate the internal distractions and shift the focus to delivering valuable content to your audience in addition to establishing yourself as an authority in your field.
It would be a shame to create great products and services, only to see them sit idly by in a world where they could add value. You know your offerings are beneficial to the world at large, but does your audience? A better question is: do you even know who your audience is? If not, then you need to take the steps now to prepare your content planning for the appropriate audience.
Understanding how to distinguish who your prospective buyers are is a great first step into tapping into the proper resources. This process is as much an exercise in avoiding mistakes as it is in finding success. A common error is casting a wide content net and expecting to haul in a captive audience. Many times when you try to reach the masses, you end up reaching no one at all. Instead, focus on the specific void that you can fill with your offerings. Understanding who it is you are providing value to is key. Your preparation will show positively in your future content.
Audience Dictates Content Planning
It’s easy to think you know best when it comes to content. However, the real experts are the actual people who use your service. Understanding why they use your service acts as the key that unlocks the door to new business. Talk to these buyers. Ask them questions. Allow them to vent, to give praise. Use this information as a main cog in your forthcoming content strategy.
With this information in hand, you can cater your content planning around the information your audience wants or needs. Here are a couple ways to do that:
- Repurpose: Take older content and promote it through social channels. Look through your archives and find content that was popular or that is relevant to your customers today. Write a follow up post. Take advantage of existing resources and push content through all applicable channels: social, email marketing, etc. Of course, you will have to change the content to suit each medium. Take the time to talk to the people in the appropriate departments about how they can mold content for their specific channel.
- Snackable content: People can’t always take the time to read a long, drawn out blog post full of in-depth analysis. Instead give them small, bite sized visuals or statistics that they can digest easily. These are easier for your audience to commit to memory.
Reaching Your Audience
How well do you stay in touch with customers? Are you checking in on them? Their default understanding is that you are visible and present. If you sporadically disappear, they will only wait for so long before they move on. If you don’t touch base, they are liable to find someone who does. People like to connect. If you aren’t currently doing this, ponder how you can increase your accessibility to the specific group of people who need your help, and take some of the steps listed here to entwine these efforts into your overall marketing strategy.
Audience engagement = content idea generation
- Customer service. Go the extra mile. If people give you feedback, let them know you are listening. It could be as simple as responding to a comment on your blog with “Thank you.” Done well, the investment in time will be well worth the reward.
Reach your audience through proper channels
- Become a source. Take advantage of all relevant social media channels. Be at the forefront of your news in your industry. Keep your blog updated with information and usable ideas for your audience.
- Tap into influencer marketing. In order to do this successfully, you must understand it is a process in patience and planning. It can only be done through taking the time to build relationships beyond a cursory level. Building relationships with current customers, industry leaders, or people with a lot of social influence will result in a positive reflection on your business.
Building an audience that soaks up your content takes time. Even if you have hundreds of ideas, and dozens of channels to distribute your message, it’s important to selectively deliver them in a constructive way.
Content Planning and Distribution
Now that you understand who your audience is, what they want to hear, and how to reach them, it is time for content planning. When you create content, you want the planning process to have a reliable rhythm. A content calendar is as much about timely delivery as it is about appropriate and strategic planning. Create expectations for your audience and stay consistent in your content release schedule. Think of your content as the cargo on a freight train. Without a schedule, your content may sit on the tracks without anywhere to go. Contrarily, if you rush your content, it could come off the rails before it gets up to speed. You, the publisher, act as the train delivering your “goods” down the line. Your content calendar acts as the track for which your publishing vehicle moves forward.
Freight trains can take miles to get up to speed. The more content you create, the longer the distribution process will take. In the early stages of content creation, be careful how much “cargo” you are distributing. Instead of focusing on volume, focus on attraction. Make sure what you are delivering is free and that people can find and share it. As word spreads and rapport is built, plan for “track” expansion. If you aren’t laying out your content calendar in advance, doing so will bring clarity to your delivery process.
For some people, content planning is already in place. If you are a wily veteran in the content marketing game, you probably need to think in terms of small, incremental, and strategic steps you can take to further your reach. Think of different ways people consume content. Start developing ideas now that can take advantage of these channels. Also, you may have to incur some costs to participate in these channels. Do you have room in your budget that will accommodate setting up a mini studio in your office where content rich videos can be shot? Have you reached out to authorities in your industry to contribute content to your blog or site? These initiatives are tough to throw together in a pinch. Instead, take care not to neglect important content planning metrics that are much easier to follow with a forward thinking plan in place.
Produce sporadic content, and watch your competition pass you up. Act too fast, and watch your ideas stumble over one another only to trip up your marketing strategy in a cloud of dust. Instead, calmly, and confidently put one foot in front of the other and blaze a trail that will lead your content down a successful path in 2013.