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Friday, July 30, 2010

Sustainable Content Strategy

Content creation has exploded. The ability for anyone and everyone to generate their own blogs, videos, podcasts, pictures, articles or conferences has given rise to a culture of creation that is constantly pushing out some new piece of content.


Content has also been a driving force behind marketing as a way to get more involved with social media, drive inbound marketing, or add depth to their corporate website. But, companies are facing ever-increasing competition around content.

A content strategy enables a company to rise above the crowded marketplace of ideas and make an impact. There are three main areas companies should pay attention to when creating their content strategy.

Context

Readers are not interested in your content. Content is readily available. What they do care about is the context you can provide for them around the topics that interest them.

Companies are well suited for providing context because the collection of people in the organization provide a bigger picture of what is happening in the space. The ability to look at trends, offer insight into upcoming changes, or give readers enough information to act on something immediate will establish a company as a reliable source.

Developing context does require effort. It requires a strong internal moderator who can look across different departments to synthesize information and keep the voice of the organization consistent.

Once that credibility is established, readers are more likely to continue consuming your content and engaging when they want to know more from you.

Accessibility

Many content creation platforms default a chronological organization scheme and rely on search engines to determine the relevance of that content based on user keywords. That is not a strategy, that is abdicating responsibility for understanding your audience.

One benefit of being a company, rather than an individual content creator, is that you have products or services for specific, defined markets. You know the types of people you want to keep interested after they've found your content. Creating entry-points based on customer profiles will lead to more time spent on your site and a more engaged audience.

Entry-points into your content do not have to be complicated. A simple way to start is bundling content assets that related to a topic or theme and presenting the reader with a quick way to access them. A reader that finds an area with multiple pieces of content that are relevant to their needs is less likely to leave and head back to a search engine.

Re-Use

Content completed should not be content ignored. Content should be used throughout the buying cycle and companies should be taking a proactive position in getting it into the hands of their audiences.

Re-using content is built on the foundation of your audience profiles. When you have provided someone with an easy access point, and they reach out for more information -- either through a web-form or some other mechanism -- you should have in place a clear content path that you can provide. Re-packaging existing content to be delivered at an appropriate time, and prompt the next desired action, extends the usefulness of your content assets.

This area is one that many companies are lacking as part of their content strategy, yet it has proven to be one of the most effective tools in lifting rates of prospect conversion, reactivating stalled leads, and maintaining positive customer relationships.

Conclusion

Content marketing will continue to succeed for companies that understand how to position themselves and their content towards the needs of their audiences. With a clear strategy and consistent effort, the goal of improved content is well within reach.


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