Your Content Strategy

March 9, 2011
posted by sheric

You’ve heard me (and many other inbound marketing strategists) say that marketing is more about providing value to your audience; giving them information and knowledge they can use in exchange for keeping their attention; than it is about blasting out one way messages. The value you offer should not be all about you and your project. So, how in the heck to do you find other things to talk/write about? I’m reading a very useful book at the moment called Curation Nation by Steven Rosenbaum and there is a chapter devoted to this question. For those working as PMDs, this book will really help in implementing a content strategy.

Your Content Strategy

While you may not see yourself or your projects as a form of curation, the key to creating a community is taking a leadership role and you do it by being a guide. You and your team should become a resource for interesting content that surrounds your project without overwhelming people with self centered information. These are the steps to setting up a good content strategy.

1) Pick a blog platform-Rosenbaum recommends WordPress, Movable Type and Blogger (I recommend WordPress.org with your own URL). Or if you are more of a micro blogger, Tumblr.

2)Find your keywords- He recommends doing keyword searches if you are looking for strong SEO on your posts. Tools he suggested for this areĀ SEMRush (which costs $49.95 per month), Compete.com (there are free and paid options), Rank Tracker (free version up to $249 for enterprise version) and Word Tracker (free version and $69 per month version). You can also use Google Keyword Tool for free.

3)Using RSS feeds-Really Simple Syndication for newbies. These tools search the internet for content that is of interest to your audience and send it directly to you rather than having to search the internet manually. A tool I didn’t know about is called FastFlip, a kind of customized magazine of topics you have chosen. Just put in a keyword you want to find info on and it brings up a page of posts in graphical form. You can do essentially the same things using Google Alerts and Google Reader. It depends on how you process information really. You can use these stories to populate your Facebook feed, your Twitter feed, your Tumblr account or as inspiration to write a blog post. This system is really the heart of your content calendar. Once you decide on what topics to cover for the month, you can start searching for posts that will provide information or inspiration to riff on in your writing. I also use Diigo to bookmark links that I think will be useful to me later, you can even highlight text on the page and save it to your library and tag it with words to help you remember what you have collected on certain topics.

4)Using Twitter-Rosenbaum says consider Twitter your uber-aggregator. It will help you find links to stories AND the people who are sending these around so you can be sure to follow them and strike up a conversation. He recommends TweetAlarm to monitor your keywords, your project mentions, your @mentions. I use TweetDeck, but whatever.

5)Provide a mix-You don’t have to create every piece of content yourself. It can come from guest bloggers, your audience, videos someone else has made, a Flickr feed of photos etc. You and your team will set the tone based on your personality and the characteristics of your project. Is it casual and fun, serious and mission oriented, informative and technical? This tone will serve as guidance to others on what to expect from their experience on your site.

Ideally, you will have someone devoted to doing this work (hence the PMD reference above) because I understand you don’t have time to do this every day or even a few times a week. Having new content is imperative if you plan on keeping your audience interested in your projects over the long term and getting in the habit of servicing that interest by using tools to make it easier will pay off in not having to start over again every time you have new work to release.

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