Last week, we walked you through day 2 of our 7-part blog series designed to take practical steps for building a content strategy in one week. We discussed getting to know your audience on a deeper level and how to design audience segments that drive focused content strategy.
As we prepare to move into day 3 and ramp up content management tools, let’s once more look back on why a content strategy is key to your success.
It’s known that a good content strategy will drive traffic to your website. Beyond the google search, really good, consistent strategy builds brand reputation, generates qualified leads, and develops stronger relationships with your leads and customers. A content strategy ensures you have engaging, personalized information hitting the right people at the right time without sounding like a hard sales pitch. It isn’t just a one-time campaign, but rather, regular touchpoints for prospects to learn, digest and then come back for more. According to Hubspot, 47 percent of buyers will view 3-5 pieces of content before contacting a sales representative. With this in mind, it’s vital you have the right plan and tools in place to carry this out.
Today, we explore how marketing tools often make the message. Many firms know this and dedicate entire teams to the selection and evaluation of tools in their industry. A message can start strong, but die a slow and painful death when it goes unnoticed. You could have just written a post about the cure for cancer and have it lost to the bottom of search results without having targeted it to the right audience in the right place.
Important Marketing Tool Considerations
When choosing the right medium, you must first carefully consider the following factors (they might look familiar):
- Audience: Your audiences are going to differ when it comes to where they choose to spend their time. Some like to read blogs, and others prefer podcasts. Some spend their day scrolling through social media, while others look for scholarly articles. This is where it’s important to keep your audience segments on hand. What did you notice from your discussions with current/potential clients? Where do they go to find accurate and interesting information? One of the biggest mistakes we see businesses make is when they select a platform simply because it’s “trendy.” While trend can drive the masses, it’s not always the best indicator for where your target audiences spend their time. Meet your audiences in their most frequented spots.
- Message: What is it you’re really wanting to say to your audience? This harkens back to day 1 when we asked you to carefully plan out your goals and purposes. The content you plan to push out should always align with your company’s main purpose and SMART goals.
- Budget: This is an area to carefully consider before establishing your mediums and channels. There are fantastic tools of all types out in the market ranging in price. Just because a management system has a hefty sticker doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be your best option. Look into the features that medium can offer, what their support system looks likes, and the expected price per month/year. Remember that avenues like social media and blogging don’t cost an arm and a leg, but can yield fruitful results.
- Internal Management: Who on your team will be responsible for the regular research, creation, management, and reporting of content? Establishing appropriate resources internally is just as important as choosing the medium for which the message will travel. It is amazing how often we see corporations develop elaborate content marketing strategies without first determining who they plan to help carry it out. Identify your planner/marketer, writer, and analyst and ensure their time allows for them to distribute content regularly.
Choosing a Content Management System
First, what is a Content Management System? A CMS is software designed to help users create, store, manage, and publish content on a website without the need for specialized technical expertise. It’s a tool that allows you to build without needing to write code from scratch and manage users and assign permissions for better control.
A CMS can also include format management, version control, indexing, and search and retrieval. Many of the best CMS tools are free with additional costs for plugins or themes you might deem necessary. These seamless dashboards connect to other important areas — like your social media outlets, analytics, SEO and RSS feeds — for full connectivity and insight.
Here’s an excellent example of what a CMS Dashboard like WordPress might look like:
Consider too the ease of use in writing new posts in WordPress below as displayed by Kinsta:
Also take a look at Kentico’s management dashboard:
Or maybe Mura:
Or perhaps Joomla:
Forrester analyst Ted Schadler, in his company’s Content Management Wave report, called content management the “Backbone of Digital Experience Delivery.” Salesforce found 75 percent of consumers expect a consistent experience wherever they engage (e.g., website, social media, mobile, in person). Getting the right Content Management System in place will allow you to post and manage your information on one platform and give your other tools a place draw information from.
The following factors are important to think through when deciding on CMS.
- Support: Nowadays, CMS platforms are highly intuitive with high usability. While they make your job simple, it doesn’t always mean you’ll be without questions. Support should provide services like hosting, user mentoring, strategic guidance, or even web development.
- Design & Usability: Look through samples of the front and back end provided by CMS platforms. Do you like the functionality? Does information flow and communicate as it should? Is there too much scrolling? Does navigation make sense? Is it easy to type up and post blogs, podcasts, articles, etc? Make sure managers can easily leave information and pick back up where they left off so that work can run smoothly. Don’t forget to ask about what training looks like!
- Development: Even though most CMS platforms have basic HTML management capabilities, make sure the programming language make sense for the person coding in the backend. A CMS that supports multiple coding languages can be useful, as it allows your coder/manager to work with ease.
- Integrations: Businesses require very different apps and microservices to manage day-to-day work on the website. This demands a solution that can easily integrate with marketing automation tool, business intelligence tool, Google Analytics, and RSS to deliver personalized content. Pick a CMS that has robust APIs and lets you easily connect with third-party tools.
- Analytics: Many CMS platforms have built-in analytics for you to have a basic understanding of how pages are running. That being said, some content management systems provide deeper insights than others. Ask which elements of reporting are most valuable to your team and see if the CMS supports your requirements.
- Scale: This is one area where it’s valuable to take note of the vendor’s vision for their CMS platform. If you and the vendor are aligned, desirable features will be added and enhance your experience to grow your reach. If vision is not aligned, then new features will probably clutter the platform.
- Community: When engaging with businesses similar in nature to yours, pay attention to what they say about the CMS platform they use. Even though the website selling the new CMS might boast impressive return, does it match up with online reviews or word of mouth? Do your research and see what others are saying when it comes to functional use.
After having reviewed the most important factors, it’s time to select the best content management platform. Consider the following lists from BlueLeadz, Tech Radar, and Finances Online to help inform your decision and understand which platforms are best designed for your company’s needs. Don’t hesitate to request a test-run or demo period to ensure that this really is the best choice. There’s nothing you’ll hate more than getting stuck with a system for years that your team hates using.
Managing Your Social Media Marketing Each Month
We offer several strategies you can put into place to better manage your social media accounts on a recurring basis.
Selecting Social Media Channels and Platforms
Audience segments are absolutely key when selecting the right social media platforms. Where do you find your segments spending most of their time? For example, if you reside in the fashion industry, platforms like Pinterest are preferred as 93 percent of active pinners said they used Pinterest to plan purchases. The following list (with data from Omni Core Agency and Statista) helps to detail purpose and challenges behind some of the more popular social platforms.
- Monthly Active Users: 2.23 Billion
- Demographics: All Ages 53% Female
- Format: Text, Image & Video
- Great For: Building Community and sharing relatable blogs
- Challenge: Low organic reach
- Monthly Active Users: 1.9 Billion
- Demographics: All Ages 62% male
- Format: Video
- Great For: Attracting new customers through problem solving and how-to tutorials
- Challenge: Time and resource intensive
- Monthly Active Users: 1 Billion
- Demographics: Ages 18-29, 68% female
- Format: Image and short video
- Great For: Visual Branding and connecting with existing customers
- Challenge: Creativity required
- Monthly Active Users: 590 Million
- Demographics: Ages 25-54, 56% Male
- Format: Text with Image
- Great For: Generating thought leadership for B2B lead generation and recruitment
- Challenge: Sometimes inactive users
- Monthly Active Users: 326 Million
- Demographics:Ages 18-29, 53% Male
- Format: Text
- Great For: Connection with Influencers, News, and PR
- Challenge: Short post lifespan
- Monthly Active Users: 250 Million
- Demographics: Average age 40, 80% Female
- Format: Image
- Great For: Driving Traffic and leads for blog posts and e-commerce retailers
- Challenge: Custom Image development
Map out your audience segments with the best social medium and get started on setting up basic accounts. If possible, make sure your social accounts all have the same name and description so that users can easily identify your brand. Also, be sure that all social media passwords and logins are being managed in a company-appropriate location. We all know that one intern who created the company instagram page 12 years ago and no one can quite seem to remember the password. Keep logins close and secure.
Then, having determined which social media channels to use, it will be helpful to select a social media management platform.
Social media management is especially useful if your company plans to push out heavy amounts of content or manages content for clients. These tools seek to offer services that allow you to plan out and auto-post content well in advance. Some management tools include calendars and smart queues, as well as social media analytics, social inboxes, and separate client management support. Establishing social media management allows you to combine content marketing efforts with social networking to make the most of the information being pushed out, all while working to accomplish greater business goals.
Handling content posting from your content management system IS possible, but doing so manually can take a great deal of time and effort. Having a social media management platform gives you an all-access pass to keeping tabs on what’s happening with you and your client’s information.
Listed below are great tools to consider before purchasing and connecting social channels:
Setting Up Google Analytics
Last but not least connect your various platforms to Google Analytics to gain the insight you need to tailor your content strategy appropriately. This extensive tool gives details on direct traffic to your website alongside organic searches, paid searches, social media, and referrals. Not only that, Google Analytics allows users to establish conversion goals so you know which actions are getting the most traction and accomplishing the company’s purpose.
Don’t be overwhelmed. Setting up Google Analytics is fairly simple:
- Consider starting with Google Tag manager to easily update and add tags to Google Analytics code without having to manually update code in the backend. This can be accomplished by setting up a Google Tag manager account here.
- Then, navigate to google.com/analytics and create an account (or sign in to a preferred company Google account).
- Establish your goals within Google Analytics. While you might have a decent idea of what your key performance indicators might be, Google does not know. It might be helpful to suggest discussing this step with your team as online KPI success can be tricky to determine. You want people to read blogs and articles — which means they would spend more time reading — but don’t want them lingering too long on the homepage. Decide what success means for your site and detail them within Google Analytics.
- Link your website to the Google Search Console. Linking to this tool will give further insight into search metrics and data. With it, you can discover which pages link to your site, look at what keywords you rank for in search engines, see your site’s search crawl rate and see how Google analyzes your website.
- Grant your team access by adding their email addresses and assigning permissions. You can choose to have one or two people reading the data, but having multiple pairs of eyes might spur greater reporting discussion.
- Set up your views. By default, Google Analytics will provide you an overarching view of the website associated with your account. While it’s nice to view everything at a high level, you’ll want to tailor information to better understand what types of traffic is coming in and how often (i.e. what traffic is generate via social media, how much traffic is organic, etc.)
After your settings and views have all been configured, it’s time to watch and learn — the moment of truth for how your content strategy fares online. Give your campaign strategy the time it needs to provide the data you’re looking for and bring it back to your team for review. Were there surprises? Was there more/less traffic than you anticipated? Were actions generating the interest you had hoped for? Work with your team to determine if the mediums you chose were right and how you can improve for the coming months.
Choosing the right tools for content distribution and management will be key to staying on top of your content marketing strategy and will position you for success. As new markets, industries, and trends permeate the landscape, the form and function of content will evolve. Your early and active establishment of content management tools will allow you to grow with the landscape and tailor messaging quickly and clearly.
Next, we will shift our focus to the creation of the varying content that will be generated through these new tools. Stay tuned!