Blog Strategy for Sustainable Content Marketing Success
There have been numerous occasions where content marketing has been declared as obsolete, but we can finally put those claims to rest, because not only is content marketing effective, especially in the long run, but it’s also perhaps even more relevant now. There are more writers, bloggers, link builders, and content marketers out there than ever, because one of the most effective ways of capturing the attention of today’s satiated customers, which seems to last about 8 seconds, is storytelling. Content not only provides potential customers with relevant and useful information, but it’s storytelling component also contributes to the overall user experience.
So aren’t we focusing all of our effort on content marketing and blogging then? Well, it turns out, coming up with a sustainable content marketing strategy is more difficult than it might seem. According to a joint survey done by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, producing content was the biggest challenge for 64% of marketers. One of the reasons for that is the fact there is more and more competition out there every day. But, since marketing is susceptible to constant and frequent changes, it’s very challenging to stay on top of all the latest content marketing trends.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what you should do to come up with a viable and effective blog strategy for sustained content marketing success.
1. Have a Dedicated Content Creator
This is arguably the most challenging of all the items on this list, because hiring a dedicated content creator can set you back a pretty penny. Needless to say, if you are just starting out and you don’t have a huge budget, you will have to roll up your sleeves and write the content yourself, or hire one of more reliable freelance writers. However, if you can manage to afford a full-time content creator, you can expect numerous benefits. Having someone as part of your company means they will know all the nuts and bolts of your job, which is often lost when you hire external writers.
Moreover, dedicated content creators with experience have more than a few tricks up their sleeves, ranging from application of neuromarketing tricks to contacts they have created over the years. They are also the primary drivers of thought leadership, as well as the people capable of creating a unique voice and online presence for your brand. Finally, having a dedicated content creator means that content will never take a back seat to some other activities, since your existing employees won’t get stuck with creating content that ends up looking and reading like an afterthought. You will be able to produce high-quality content on a regular basis, which is all that matters.
2. Establish Benchmarks
Before you set out to create your content marketing plan, you need to have a good idea about what your company has done in the past, so that you can set benchmarks for the future. For instance, you will need to take a look at who your customers are, how many of them have you had over the last 12 months, as well as how many of them were new or repeat customers. Also, you will have to have a pretty good idea about all the relevant KPIs, such as the number of visitors to your blog, website, social media, and so on so that you can determine which channels have worked best for you.
With that knowledge, you can cut some that have underperformed, and focus more of your time and money on those channels which are contributing to your overall profit. You will also need to identify which marketing initiatives have produced success, whether it’s social media, introducing images in your content, trade shows, or something else entirely. Finally, knowing your resources, ranging from your cash flow to your staff and external associates, can help you form a much clearer idea about what you can achieve next with what you have. Setting goals is easy, but setting goals that are realistic is what matters.
3. Outsource Your Work
Since hiring a dedicated content creator or writer requires a large budget, you will have to rely on external writers to help you out. Outsourcing your content to freelance writers or bloggers can be a bit messy at first, since it will probably take a bit of time before you can find a writer which is able to turn in high-quality work and turn it in on time. It’s even more complex if you need to put together a team of writers. The good news is that there are plenty of freelance writers out there who are willing to take a regular workload, which means you may end up working with only a handful of writers over the years.
They will set you back far less in terms of salary, and once they have gotten to know your company, as well as your blog, they will know all the nuts and bolts of it just as well as any dedicated in-house content creator. One of the things that can help you find good bloggers and content creators are freelance platforms such as Fiverr or Upwork, where you can view their profiles, previous work experience, as well as their ratings and earnings. Alternately, you can post a job ad on one of the numerous job boards, and wait until you receive an impressive writer’s resume in your inbox.
4. Divide Content Creation Work among Your Staff
This approach probably works best as an addition to your existing content marketing plan. We have already pointed out that having your staff members pulling double duty never really works out, but it would be a good idea if you could have each one of them produce a blog post that covers their point of view. Not only does that make for diverse blog content, but because you will have experts like CTO, sales team leaders, and marketers pitching in, but you will also be able to use some of those expert blog posts to secure guest posts on other relevant industry blogs.
However, crowdsourcing among your staff can be a logistical nightmare at times, which means you will have to have a content production schedule in place in order to be able to publish on a regular basis. On top of that, you cannot rely too much on crowdsourcing, because nobody is going to prioritize blogging or content production over the work they were hired to do, and which they ultimately like. You can remedy this by providing additional perks or bonuses to motivate your employees to do more on that end, but again, it’s not something you can count on in the long run.
5. Rely on User-Generated Content
Another way of filling in the gap between two pieces of content is user-generated content, which is especially popular on some social media platforms, such as Instagram, where customers are more than happy to upload pics in which they are using a particular brand or product. And it’s really easy to get UGC in front of the eyes of the audience, thanks to hashtags, and especially thanks to branded hashtags. Some companies, such as GoPro, have taken it a step further and given the keys to content creation to their audience.
Admittedly, it’s a bit more difficult to get your customers to write instead of take photos or video, but it can be done. Invite them to share their story using your services or products. Among them, there will be plenty of creative people which can then act as your brand’s ambassadors. The best thing about UGC isn’t even that someone else is creating content for you, but the fact that today’s customers, which are millennials for the most part, are more willing to believe their peers and influencers, rather than some nameless, faceless corporate entity.
6. Curate Content of Others
If none of the methods listed above have helped your content marketing, or if you are trying to bridge the gap until one of them starts to take effect, there is still one way for you to publish content for your blog on a regular basis: curating other people’s content. For instance, you can locate and publish selected content which covers topics that are relevant to your blog and business. And the clever thing about content curation is that you don’t have to publish the original text in its entirety, but only snippets of the original blog post, along with your commentary and point of view, and a backlink to the original source.
The downside? Well, other than the fact that you are not producing your own content and finding your own voice, content curation is not something that can be completely automated, which means you will ultimately have to take time to discover interesting and useful content, add your own two cents, and then publish it for your audience to read.
The Final Word
As you can see, although creating a sustainable content strategy through blogging has its challenges, it’s far from impossible. We hope that this advice will help you improve your blog, and attract new readers and customers, as well as to spread word about your company or business. Good luck!