As social media marketers, we all understand the notion that “content is king.” While it’s understood that a king is a relatively important character, the notion leaves us quite disconnected – as many of us don’t have a direct relation with any king. I for one certainly don’t personally know a king. Instead, imagine content not as king, but the relationship between you and the girl you’ve consistently put off asking out. As you frame up this scenario in your mind, you’ll quickly shuffle through several reasons why you haven’t asked this girl on a date. The biggest reason for most is rejection, which in content marketing, means your content fails miserably before it even gets off the ground. To avoid rejection and have any shot at a second date, you’ll have to approach the situation with a well-defined strategy. The same can be said for your social media content, thus the importance of developing a content strategy.
Strategy has been an integral piece in not only marketing, but also personal relationships. Even the hot shot player goes in knowing how he’s going to approach the girl, what drink to buy her, and the direction he wants to take the conversation. With this said, strategic content development is essentially comparable to the process of asking a girl out and developing a relationship. The following strategy outlined below includes four distinct phases: Discovery & Logistics, Creation, Execution and Maintenance.
Discovery & Logistics:
Before making a move, it is essential to first identify the goals you are trying to achieve—whether it’s increased brand recognition and customer engagement, or a hot date with the girl of your dreams—and determine how best to achieve them. What social media platforms will you use to connect with your customers? Facebook, Twitter, Blogs? How will you ask your dream girl out on a date? Face-to-face, written note, facebook message? There are countless ways to deliver your message, but identifying the most effective platform based on your objectives will better your chances of a successful campaign.
Additionally, the discovery phase is where you’ll need to determine what types of content can be leveraged for the conversation, and if you actually have the resources to execute. For example, some content that might be utilized for your social media efforts could be video, photos, copy, codes, landing pages, and print material, etc. But even with all of this content ready available, it means nothing unless you’ve got the time and resources to execute your plan and continue to nurture the relationship.
If you ask a girl out on a date, you may want to consider bringing her flowers, or taking her out to a nice restaurant, but you’ll have to make sure you’ve got the funds to back it up…assuming she says yes.
Once you’ve identified your goals and necessary resources, the next step is to determine how you’re going to approach the situation (whether it’s social media marketing or dating). What are you going to say? Developing good content is going to help you “connect” with your users and ultimately strengthen relationships. If users find your content credible and relevant, they’re more likely to be engaged and interested in maintaining communication.
On the other hand, if you walk up to a girl and drop a bunch of cheesy pick-up lines, or talk about yourself entirely too much, you could potentially turn her off. The same goes for your social media content; if you constantly post about how great your products/services are, you could come across as too salesy and desperate. Instead, it is absolutely key to focus on your users and listen to what they have to say. If they want to know more about you, they’ll ask.
To ensure you’re moving in the right direction with your social media content development strategy, ask yourself, “will it help meet the company’s business objectives?” If you answered yes, then ask yourself, “will it help meet my customer’s objectives?” These initial questions are vital to crafting content that will resonate with both your target audience and upper management.
During this phase, you’ll also define the content lifecycle, which outlines how your audience will consume your content, where your content will live, what happens to it once it’s outdated, and how it aligns with your existing marketing initiatives to capture greater exposure. Key performance indicators should be applied to the content at this stage of a content strategy. As a result, social media monitoring platforms should be tailored to track keywords associated with the content, accordingly.
Once you have the pieces in place, you’ll naturally want to start developing the relationship by asking her out. During this phase, build out the content to support the strategy initially outlined. A user’s consumption of your content will partially depend on the quality of the user-experience. For this reason, quality assurance should be applied to every piece of content to ensure a positive user-experience and commands ample value to the user.
Up until now – if you’ve played your cards right – your first encounter with this girl has been exceptional and you’re currently on your first date. In terms of content marketing, your content is generating a good amount of interactions, positive feedback, and driving traffic into your goal funnel. But how do you keep this positive momentum going and better your chances at a second date? It simply boils down to maintenance. To maintain your content, you’ll have to understand how it’s performing. By reviewing your KPIs and listening to your users, you’ll be able to understand how your users are using your content and what their sentiment is regarding it. This can help determine the current successes of the content, the gaps, and ultimately formulate a going forward strategy to fill these gaps. While it’s important to update content based on your user trends, it’s also important to account for industry and technological trends. As one platform picks up speed – and seems more likely to house your target market – you may consider hosting your content on it to extend the overall visibility.
Whether you’re marketing social media content or asking out the girl of your dreams, developing a content strategy that embodies the four phases – discovery and logistics, creation, execution, and maintenance – can help identify a solid content lifecycle and as a result forge a lasting relationship with your audience. With a content strategy in place, your content/relationship will foster a better chance of eventually generating a conversion – whatever that might be.