We know that not every content marketer begins their content strategy from scratch. While it’s exciting to launch something from the ground up, many of us are handed half-finished projects and asked to push them over the finish line.
If you’re a content marketer focused on growth rather than creation, you could be in any number of situations. You might have inherited a content program when you started a new job. Or maybe you’re a communications professional from a different department, and you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the blog posts published before your time. You could even be tasked with expanding an existing program into a new line of business or territory, or maybe you’ve been asked to focus on a new demographic.
No matter what brought you here, it’s time to expand. At Contently, we don’t recommend you start adding to your existing program before taking stock of what’s come before via a content audit. Make sure you keep record of the engagement and audience data your previous program produced for you: those numbers will become useful as you grow.
Once you review the content you already have, you can forge ahead using this checklist of strategy items.
1. Analyze your content strategy benchmarks and set new goals
If your previous program was worth its salt, it was likely measured against specific goals. Early content strategy goals can include brand awareness, engagement, developing SEO clout, and increasing your brand’s social following. Those metrics may still be relevant, depending on how you’re looking to grow your program. If you’re still following these numbers, consider bumping them up a bit. If your original content program inspired 500 people to follow your brand’s Twitter account, perhaps you’ll shoot for 500 more in this next round.
Perhaps your goal is the same, but your audience is different. In that case, your metrics should stay largely the same. If your content strategy has changed drastically from the earlier version, you’ll likely want to start measuring new things. Growing your content strategy from a brand awareness machine into a program that generates leads, for example, will require analysis of the customer journey. That’s when metrics like leads influenced, time on site, and depth of experience start to matter more.
2. Get the team back on board
Some stakeholders, like your boss or other content creators, might be ready to support you as you grow your content program. Others, however, will need some convincing. Luckily, there are a few persuasive tactics to get your fellow professionals in your corner.
In general, professionals want to be heard and have their skills recognized. Whenever you can, buy a cup of coffee for the folks in sales or social or whichever department you need to finesse. Ask them what they have found frustrating about your company’s content in the past. If you haven’t already, set up a content request system (like the one in our platform) to ensure you’re giving everyone a way to contact you. As a baseline, aim to have a one-on-one conversation with everyone who’ll be in your inevitable pitch session for additional resources. You don’t want “please give me money” to be the first thing you say to other professionals.
3. Create an approval workflow
We all know what it feels like when there are too many cooks in the marketing kitchen. Maybe you assign a blog post to a freelance writer, who hands in a draft to your managing editor, but before you take your last pass at the copy and publish it, your boss needs to look it over, and so does her boss. You also need legal to sign off, and the design team needs to create graphics, but by the time the copy’s gone through eight different editors, the story’s focus has changed, rendering your design team’s imagery useless. Do you feel dizzy just reading that? We do too.
Pivoting your content marketing program from early establishment to growth is a great time to check in and be realistic about your workflow. This isn’t your first time at the content rodeo, right? By now, you know which team member is always dragging their feet on deadlines, and now’s your moment to tell them to, well, stop that. If you can eliminate anyone’s mandatory pass at every piece of content, you’ll be saving yourself time.
4. Explore new types of distribution and packaging
If your target audience is new to the brand, you may find that your content is best served to those folks on a particular social media platform. If you’re aiming a new LOB at Gen Z, for instance, you’ll want to invest in video and platforms like Instagram. For an audience younger than 25, you can afford to put your Facebook feed on auto-pilot. However, if you’re trying to reach a mature audience and you’re at a B2B brand, best believe your content should be available on LinkedIn.
Don’t discount other departments’ content campaigns when you’re planning yours. The team that sends out an email newsletter to a certain target audience every week might even be relieved when you hand them new content, like a project announcement for your new strategy. Ask for guest spots in your brand’s other successful channels, and don’t be afraid of cros
s-promotion.This article was adapted from a page in Contently’s playbook, “How to Grow Your Content Program“. To go deeper into growth and scale, download the whole playbook.