Last week, a friend — poking fun at me — exclaimed, “Laura! Did you know that your blog is not a content strategy?!”
I had to laugh. That exact post had been cycling through the MARKETMOX Facebook feed for the last six months. It does so fairly regularly. I want to say that about once a week the post will pop up. Sometimes it drives traffic back to the site, sometimes it doesn’t — but generally its a top performer. What it definitely does do is keep the feed looking full and up to date with relevant information.
And relevant, it is. What you need to know about Your Blog is Not a Content Strategy is that it’s a piece of content that my target audience is genuinely interested in. Typically, when it posts, it drives traffic and engagement immediately. Even though the article was written six months ago, it’s still very, very relevant and continues to offer some fantastic tips for marketing your content.
What that consistency and repetition has done is made that piece of content very recognizable. Now, my Facebook followers associate me with the answer for making a blog part of a content strategy. Obviously, a blog itself is not a content strategy — now, these followers know that they can come to me for help in solving that.
That story so, so, so, so much emphasizes the importance of consistency in your content strategy. This has been a common theme in consultations lately. Everyone wants their social media to be engaging. They want a lot to be happening. To achieve that, they need it to run with constant updates. The same can be said for blogs. Anyone that runs a blog wants for it to look up-to-date and active. They want to deliver great content that users want to read. They want to be in demand and create a space that users return to for more amazing posts. This constant cycle of new content has fueled an entire industry of successful content strategists and producers — and they’re the cogs keeping the whole thing running.
Content as an industry
Brands are especially guilty of being in your face and trying to grab your attention by releasing new information all the time. What no one realizes is that:
- That is very expensive to do. It’s a lot of content to produce, edit and manage. And, honestly, when we’re talking commercial maintenance, it’s too much for any one person to keep up with.
- It’s takes a lot of time.
- To be effective, the content has to maintain a reasonable quality. You can’t simply cut corners and expect to eventually be discovered by something finally “going viral.”
Content creators are generally incredibly strategic. The greats know exactly what will catch fire online and how to reproduce it again and again. Without that insight, businesses have to turn to more efficient methods for getting the greatest bang for your buck from each item produced. For that, I give you content layers.
When you start look at adding layers to your content strategy, you have to take note of what that will include. Do you really have the time to produce a new post everyday with constantly flowing Facebook updates, multiple Instagram posts per day, regular updates on Snapchat, live streaming video on Facebook Live or Periscope? All of those things become a lot to handle. You definitely cannot do it on the fly.
You have to develop a plan. You have to use scheduling tools. You have to be willing to put the time, effort and money behind supporting that amount of content.
This is why brands like Buzzfeed or Mashable — publication-type websites that have grown out of their content strategies — have had success. They pull a lot of people into it. They’ve even moved into accepting user-generated content. For example, HuffPost will let just about anyone contribute to their site now. It boosts SEO, keeps their site updated, gives them new content to share constantly and — the best part — it’s free. (Side note: you really have to watch what it is that you’re reading there because not all authors are educated in the advice they’re giving or check the facts that they’re selling you on a news-style platform. But, I digress.)Content is a way for your users to have positive experiences with your brand w/o being bombarded by… Click To Tweet
These publications were built to produce and monetize content. That’s their sole function. As a business or as a brand, most of us are not structured to do that nor is it our priority. Honestly, it probably shouldn’t be from a business perspective. That being said, content marketing can be incredibly helpful to strengthening your brand, broadening your reach and engaging users in a way that is not spammy. Not another ad. Not another “buy now.” It’s a way for your users to have positive experiences with your brand without being bombarded by blatant sales CTAs. But, you do have to approach it in a slightly different manner from the bigger names.
Consistency and repetition
With all of those things in mind, how do you start to build that content strategy without making that significant financial or time investment? Your tactics are going to involve repetition and consistency. You really do have to post everyday. Make sure your networks are fresh. Keep your audience engaged. This even helps to ensure that the algorithms that run your favorite platforms support you versus working against you. If you post once every so often, those posts are unlikely to get the traction that they should because your audience hasn’t been paying attention to you. By posting regularly— whether it’s on your blog, social networks, sending a promotional email, etc. — you’re posts are more likely to reach a larger segment of your audience.
I just told you that achieving consistency is expensive, though — right? It is if you don’t know my little friend, repetition.
For those of us that don’t have the budgets to fuel huge content initiatives (and even for those of us that do), reusing content will change your life. Reuse content constantly. Take a piece of content that you’re proud of and spin it 20 different ways. Reuse it again and again and again. From those 20 ways, choose your top performers and do the whole process again. You can literally produce hundreds of posts from one idea. And it’s that simple magic that gives you endless consistency.You can literally produce hundreds of posts from one idea. #contentmarketing Click To Tweet
Yes, if you’re the one doing all of the setup, it’s going to look very redundant. What you need to note is that your audience rarely sees everything you post. Very rarely. So what’s redundant to you actually just increases the odds that your full audience will eventually see the post you’ve worked so hard to produce.
Sure, occasionally you’ll get a comment mentioning “Hey, I’ve seen this a lot lately.” Fair enough. At that point, I go into my scheduling tools and refine the timeline. Maybe the posts go up every two weeks instead of every week. No big deal.
Test and optimize
When I’m producing content regularly, there’s constantly new stuff joining the feed. Typically, I aim to phase out old content a few months after it launches. That’s just a recipe that has worked for me. Every business is going to need some catering to figure out the shelf life of your content. If you have something that’s evergreen, it’s going to last much longer than a piece catered to an upcoming event. If your story is a bit more seasonal, it may be limited to a three-month run. Posting about a local event? Schedule reposts through the event date, but be sure to not destroy your relevance by letting it run afterward.
Ultimately, simply don’t push anything that shares outdated facts and information. Make sure that what you’re sharing is relevant. Make sure that it is true. Make sure that it’s something people want to read — but then, for as long as you can, squeeze as much traction as you can out of your invested efforts.
There is literally so much effort, money and time that goes into producing a truly great content strategy. Pulling the “I wrote a post and linked it on Facebook, so now I’m done” move is a horrible injustice to what you’ve created. Take advantage of what it is that you’ve produced — especially when it’s high quality. Loop it through and give your audience the opportunity to see it.The I-wrote-a-post-and-linked-it-on-Facebook-so-now-I'm-done move is a horrible injustice.… Click To Tweet
Sneaky repetition techniques
Generally, I love the one to two-week rule for repeating content. But, there are a few tricks that will allow you to take advantage of content even more regularly. Try these:
- Try changing the images. Pair recycled copy with a new image to emphasize your message while giving it a new look.
- Ask your team, committee, sponsors, volunteers, etc. to post. You can even write the content for them or give them a link to your post so that they can easily share it. Bonus points if you can get them to also do this weekly, monthly, etc.
- Create multiple media types. Write a blog post. Record an audio clip. Produce a short video. Your message can be revealed in a number of ways. Make it available in a number of formats to continue boosting engagement and reach.
But, let me emphasize again — simply creating a Facebook event one time and letting it sit is not sufficient. The same goes for all of your other content regardless of how great it is. You must get the message in front of your audience more than once. That’s a huge challenge for many. But the more your content is posted, the more that it’s posted the more you’re likely to hit people of varying demographics, interests, locations, etc. You’re simply going to broaden your reach with every post. It’s really the name of the game in social media and driving that reach through repetition is one of the more efficient ways to find success.