We looked at how giving your content strategy an initial ballast is not as daunting as task as it may seem. But what after that? As the number of days after the “last post” ticks away, furrows thicken and sweat beads form and thedesperate hunt for new content sets in (that’s talking from experience!). As Kristina Halvorson, reputed content strategist, puts it:
We need to stop thinking about content as something that’s “launched” or even simply “published”, and think of it in terms of a content lifecycle. And that means thinking clearly through what it’s going to take to make our big content marketing visions come to life.
When marketing goes digital, the demand for fresh, quality content is never-satiated, just like a farmer’s market. People are looking for actionable ideas (not “theories”), practical expertise (not “knowledge”) and solutions to problems they are trying to solve. Here are four ways to supply all that and more consistently:
- Listen to your audience. You have presumably shared your content through various channels. Now pay attention to the comments and Twitter @ mentions and direct messages. Also to your Facebook wall comments/messages and LinkedIn group postings. These will give feedback, counterpoints, often well-reasoned arguments for- and against, and links to related resources. Being contextual in nature, these responses can become valuable fodder for an update to an existing blog post, or material for a more deeply-researched piece of content like whitepapers and e-books. They also make for good starter questions in webinar Q&As, and content for forum discussions.
- Speak from experience. People dig leaks (ahem…Wikileaks!) and inside stories. Turn your experiences working on different projects into “field reports” and case studies. With so much marketing fluff around, it’s a relief to hear real-life boots-and-grit stories. Add lessons learnt and what-would-I-do-different elements to make it an absorbing read with actionable value for your readers, but don’t sacrifice authenticity just to spice it up. When people know you are walking the talk, they are more likely to listen to you.
- Track industry developments. It’s the case of what’s more appealing for a ride – the rapids or a pond. Your audience loves it when you are in close touch with and weight in regularly on the latest developments and thinking in your industry. Counter popular thinking and provide alternatives. Your “thought leadership” score goes up that way. And because there is always something new happening it’s a great way to keep your content fresh.
- Meet people. It may seem obvious but in the age of Twitter and Facebook, actual face-to-face interactions have dwindled. And yet, that’s been the way ideas have travelled across continents since yore, and surely with good reason. Nothing beats the spontaneity and focus of f2f conversations, and through these some wonderful sparks of ideas could emanate. Entire businesses have sprouted from a simple conversations between co-founders. So, get out there and meet as many people worth meeting. Networking events are a good place to start to reach out to a lot of people at the same time. But for deeper, more meaningful convos head out for coffee or lunch.
These are just some basic suggestions to keep your content fresh and attractive. Let us know what else has worked for you.
Also check out some practical tips on maximizing returns from content investment and the “rule of 5” for content development.
Pic: by aussiegall