How to create your 2018 content strategy: Part 2

(This is step 2 of a four part series. You can check out part 1 here).

Last week we dove into the world of goal setting as the first step in creating a content strategy and this week is all about figuring out which strategies are going to get you to your goal.

So often I see people just creating content that they come up with off the top of their head with no real goal other than quantity.

And quantity can be good but if you don't have a plan for your content, if it's not directed towards a goal, if it's not based in research then you very well may be wasting your time.

Creating content for the sake of creating content is an epidemic and I'm here to make sure that the content you create is on track to reach the right people with the right message through the right medium.

How, you ask? Data.

From last week's exercise, you should have three main goals for your business next year and in order to figure out what strategies are going to get you there, you need to do a little research.

Here are a few key questions to help you decide which strategies are going to be best for your business and goals.

What topic(s) are you going to focus on?

Deciding what to talk about can be tough, particularly if you have expertise across a variety of subjects or an interest in a lot of things.

But, this is where I want to remind you to revisit your goal.

What are you trying to do?

For me, I want to increase my email list by 6000 subscribers in 2018. That requires exposure to new audiences so that means I need to figure out what people are searching for within my realm of expertise.

Here is my process:

  • Make a list of the main topics that I want to talk about about (4-6 categories)
  • Brainstorm a list of keywords and phrases that come to mind under each category
  • Drop the keywords and phrases into my keyword tool. I use KWFinder (affiliate link)
  • Assess the search volume and competition of each term
  • Choose keywords that have high search volume and lower competition
  • Create a list of content ideas under each of my main categories based on your keyword research

But maybe your goal is to increase engagement with your existing audience.

The answer is still data.

Looking at your Email Service Provider, what were your top five most opened, most clicked emails and links last year?

Using Google Analytics, what were your top five pieces of content last year? (In GA, go to Behaviour --> Site Content ---> All Content).

Also check out Buzzsumo to get some more insight into your site content (and your competitors).

With that data as a guide, send a simple survey to your list and ask them what they want more of or what they're struggling with most.

Figure out what people want and THEN plan your topics.

Where are you going to promote your content?

And what medium should you use to communicate?

Easy. The locations and mediums that your target audience prefers.

Next.

Just kidding.

Where do your people hang out?

Use Google Analytics to find out which social media channels and referral sites send you the most traffic (In GA, go to Acquisition --> All Traffic --> Channels --> Social).

Look at your followers on your social channels and see where the most engagement is.

Dig around and really look at how people are interacting with you and your business online.

What were your top tweets last year? Were they video? Audio? Memes?

What Instagram posts got the most love?

Is most of your traffic coming from YouTube? Then videos should be a big part of your strategy.

Let data decide what medium you use and where you share your content.

How are you going to promote and maintain it?

I often see people publishing content to their website but they don't have a plan in place to promote or refresh it.

Do you have a system to publish each piece of content across all channels, optimized for that channel?

Do you have a system to recirculate old content periodically?

Do you have a system for revisiting older content and refreshing it?

For example, for this post I have a follow up task for six weeks from now to come back to it and update it with videos that walk through each of these steps.

I don't have the capacity to do that now but this blog post is an asset and I want to keep making it better and better - I don't see content as ever really "done".

Might as well leverage what you got, right?

Plus, it's good for SEO to refresh and update your content.

It's a lot, I know. But, next week I'm going to take all of this data and questions and suggested systems and walk you through a process to create and implement a plan that's ACTIONABLE.

Questions so far?