It’s a brand-new year, and you’re still adjusting your quarterly campaign budgets accordingly. While you totally get that optimizing your current content marketing efforts is a must, you’re a little unsure about where exactly you should dig deep and make improvements.
To help you increase effectiveness and figure out where to delegate your resources for the next quarter, here are four ways you can jumpstart your content strategy:
(And let's not pretend to be surprised at the fact that I managed to incorporate giant emojis in my post. C'mon.)
Oh, you don’t have regular content parties? This is sort of a ritual every three months for our marketing team, and boy, is it a blast (mimosas may or may not be involved on occasion).
Aside from all the fun and games, this meeting is absolutely necessary for us to brainstorm and outline what the next quarter of content will include and how each piece fits into our overall marketing funnel. We’ve found that it’s best to create mini-campaigns using a template like this one:
Download a free template to create your own content map here.
This way, we can plan out three months of a strategy, and everyone understands from the beginning what guest-contributed and internal content needs to be produced. Try hosting regular content parties to plan out your strategy so you can thoroughly impress your CMO with all your ideas.
Developing content on a consistent basis can get dull after a while, so it’s important to get creative when looking to spark inspiration for a new article or project.
A few things I’ve found helpful when I’ve hit the J.K. Rowling of writer’s block (spoiler: no crazy dark wizardry twists or butter beer has ever come as result, sadly) are as follows:
Using a calendar is one of the easiest ways to keep you on track with consistently publishing content. As you’re filling it out, you can account for the time it takes you to write, timely topics that arise, any upcoming events, and other minor details that can easily slow down your content process.
While this can help your team pace itself and avoid sudden rushes or dry spells, its main benefit is to ensure your team meets its publishing goals — whether that’s once a week, twice a week, or twice a month — without delays. If you’ve built a queue of content and scheduled it out for the week but something unexpected happens, it’s much easier to move things around on your calendar than scramble to generate new content the morning of a change.
Despite these benefits, content calendars aren’t as commonplace as you’d think. I’ve seen marketers piece together an “editorial calendar” by leaving Post-it notes here and there reminding them to publish a certain article in the next week or so. But truthfully, that kind of calendar just won’t cut it.
Using an actual calendar, such as Google Calendar and its suite of tools including Sheets and Docs, or an editorial calendar template can help you better organize your content and distribution efforts. As simple as it might seem, it could be the missing link your strategy needs.
And finally, if you’re trying to determine what’s not working in your existing strategy, ask yourself and your team the following nitty-gritty questions:
There you have it. While you may have a content creation process in place — which is fabulous, by the way, and a step ahead of many others — it’s important to make sure your content is fresh, documented, managed in a calendar, and easy to analyze so your team can jumpstart next quarter’s content strategy.