If you’re developing your own web content for your business, you may struggle to keep up with goals, to enact those goals over multiple channels, and to stay on top of daily tasks.
In this follow-up to last week’s post, we’ll tell you all the components you’ll need to create a simple strategy for all your web content within a single document.
What Is a Content Strategy Template and What Should It Include?
According to Kristina Halvorson, “Content strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.”
A content strategy template is a single document that contains all the information you need to develop, maintain, and deliver your web-based content for your organization.
At minimum, it should include:
- Content Goals: Goals are simple and realizable statements of objective facts. You don’t want to say things like “increase reach.” You want to say: “develop 150 new connections with business owners on LinkedIn” or “achieve 50 retweets per month on Twitter.”
- Content Channels: Channels are the routes your content will take to get to people. They can include social media news feeds, social media groups, webpages, comment sections, blog posts, newsletters, whitepapers, emails, pay per click (PPC) ads, and more.
- Content Formulas: Content formulas help you format content for individual channels. A Facebook post is going to look differently than a Twitter post. You probably also want to share different types of information over different channels, depending on who you’re trying to reach.
- Content To Do List: iIt’s really helpful to have a checklist that includes all the tasks that are essential for keeping up with each channel. Such a list should include daily, weekly, and monthly tasks, which can include: publishing blog posts, monitoring individual channels, responding to customer messages, scheduling meetings with leads, etc.
- Accounts: Any account you open needs to be included in your content strategy template, whether it’s currently public or not. It’s easy to get locked out of your own accounts if you don’t keep updated records of all your email addresses, usernames, and passwords. It’s also easy to forget what accounts you’ve opened and where you’re storing content, which can result in dead accounts or losing track of important content sources.
Tips for Your Content Goals
When setting goals for your content, it’s important to develop goals that are simple and realizable. Everyone in your organization should be able to understand your goals, and it should be clear from each goal what the aim is. Are you trying to grow a particular audience? Develop leads from a particular channel? Build relationships with a particular customer demographic?
It’s also important to create goals you can actually achieve as an organization. If you are a newer organization, developing content that will appear on the first page of a Google search for a highly-competitive keyword is probably not a realistic goal. Instead, start with a goal you know you can achieve and work from there. Once you achieve that goal, you can revise it to develop a new challenge for yourself.
Tips for Your Content Channels
In the same way, when thinking about what channels to focus on, you want to think about what channels you can sustain as an organization. Having a presence on 10 different social media news feeds might be unrealistic. Instead, think about what channels are best for reaching the kind of people you want to reach.
If you’re looking to reach corporate executives, for example, LinkedIn is a great choice. If you want develop a paid social media campaign to reach teachers or other kinds of service workers, Facebook’s advertising platform is one of the best. If you want to reach a lot of people through search, you need to publish fresh, keyword-friendly content for your website on a consistent basis, so a blog is probably the best choice. If you’re trying to improve your relationship with existing customers, an e-newsletter is a useful channel to consider.
Tips for Your Content Formulas
A great way to think about a content formula is to come up with a kind of minimum viable product for a particular channel. What should a tweet from your business contain? What should an email to a new lead sound like? What kinds of keywords should blog posts contain? The more specific and complete you can be, the better.
If you’re the kind of person that likes math-oriented software programs like Excel, you might want to write out your formulas as actual formulas (i.e., a + b = c). For example, you might write out a tweet formula as: Promotional Tweet = information about a product, special, or deal + a photo of the product + a link to the product’s page on your website.
Tips for Your Content To Do List
Like all elements of your content strategy template, your to do list should be simple. You don’t want to have to think about your to do items. You want to be able to accomplish items on your to do list as quickly as possible while assuring quality.
A lot of smaller organizations, in particular, can get burnt out with social media. If you run a small business, and start with too many channels, you may struggle to maintain all those channels. For each channel, you need to think about what the minimum commitment is. Posting once a week on Twitter will not be effective, for example. If you can’t commit to posting at least 1-2 times a day, it’s probably better to avoid Twitter altogether. Nothing hurts your credibility more than a lead finding your business for the first time on social media and seeing you haven’t posted anything
Posting once a week on Twitter will not be effective, for example. If you can’t commit to posting original content, retweeting the posts of a few followers, and responding to all direct messages on a daily basis, it’s probably better to avoid Twitter altogether. Nothing hurts your credibility more than a lead finding your business for the first time on social media and seeing you haven’t posted anything in weeks or months, or that you have no followers.
Looking for a Content Strategy Template?
Managing all the content for your business can be overwhelming. You need to work at your own pace and try not to overcommit. It’s better to be a rockstar on a few channels than to look like a ghost or a spammer on many.
If you’re looking for help getting started, try this free, downloadable, customizable template.