In this content exposé, we ask industry leaders for their content strategy tips from the world of marketing.
We find out what the content professionals recommend and gain a unique insight into the best content strategy tips and how they can shape and improve your marketing efforts.
So, without further ado, let us introduce our guests and their best content strategy tips…
The ‘Content Strategist’ / Robert Mills
There’s been a promising shift in the prominence given to content in recent years but we still have a long way to go. Selling content strategy tips to clients can be tricky, yet when delivered properly it can actually save money and time. Which client doesn’t want to recoup those!
Content strategy isn’t something that should be added on mid way through a project, or be an optional extra. Content needs to be considered from the very beginning.
When it comes to my content strategy tips, I’d say there’s a good amount of content related work that you can invest in but it should always include an inventory of what currently exists, an audit to determine what stays, what goes and what new content is needed and decisions made about where the content will come from. Defining your workflow and content creation process is a key part of the strategy, What resource is available? Who is responsible for what? What are the potential bottlenecks? What is the sign off procedure? It all needs to be agreed before any words are written.
It is almost always underestimated how long it takes to create content, even longer to create content that is authentic to the client and effectively targets their audience(s). The planning for content at the start of the project will help with all following content creation, delivery and publishing. It doesn’t end there either. Once a website is live or content is published it needs to be governed. Regular audits are necessary to ensure your content is still relevant and accurate. Then it may need to be refined depending on the insights gained from that audit.
It sounds a lot of work? It is but it needn’t be stressful so long as you invest in the right resource and tools to deliver your content strategy.
Rob Mills is Content Strategist for GatherContent. Copywriter, journalism graduate, ex-BBC audience researcher & published author. Keeper of cats & collector of typewriters.
The ‘PR Account Director’ / Sarah Wise
Here at Effective, crafting content is what we do. PR is no longer just about spreading the word, it’s about a dialogue, engagement, and above all, building and protecting reputations. And it comes in all shapes and sizes – press releases, blogs, social media content, website content, events, stakeholder engagement to name just a few.
The way we consume content may be changing; but the written word is still very much in demand.
We’ve pulled together a few top content strategy tips on how best to approach content writing.
It sounds basic; but speak to your client and find out face-to-face what their company background is and what their core values are. It’s very difficult to create engaging, original content if your brief is nothing more than email correspondence and a short set of instructions. Ask questions, find out about the background to the project, the business, or organisation. Gauge their personality and their needs and help bring life to the content you’re preparing. Ask – who are their customers, their target audience or stakeholders? Speak to as many people as possible to source background information; it may also be useful for future material like case studies.
Similarly, don’t create generic, one-size fits-all copy. Although it’s tempting to cut and paste or reuse content and copy, always ask yourself which platform or publication it will be used in and mimic the in-house style or tweak your content accordingly.
As a general rule, keep sentences short, punchy and to the point where possible.
Steer clear of bland, dry, corporate messages and an overtly promotional style. Keep in mind why this content is of genuine interest to the audience and not a sales pitch. Always ensure the basics – spelling, punctuation and grammar – are tight and correct as there is nothing as unprofessional as content littered with errors.
Account Director Sarah has been with Effective since 2005 and specialises in charity, community and consumer PR. Effective is an award-winning public relations, social media and digital marketing agency renowned for generating results for their clients.
The ‘Digital Marketeer’ / Gareth Morgan
Here at Liberty Marketing our digital account coordinators work very closely with our copywriters to ensure that our content is, not only well-written and interesting to read, but will be seen by Google.
Our content creation process is quite detailed. Before any content is written we sit down with our clients to get to know their business, their company goals and who their target audience is. Why do we do this? Well, Google loves a persona-led approach to content. If you can provide high quality, targeted content you will be seen as more authoritative and therefore rank better on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
We also conduct in-depth keyword research and produce a detailed content calendar. This allows us to plan content, focusing on how we will optimise it for SERPs and whom each piece will target. This step is key.
You want your content to read naturally and not appear keyword stuffed despite targeting certain terms.
Once the research and planning is complete, we write a meta page title and meta description. Incorporating keywords into these are an effective way of targeting search terms, but it’s important to note that these are what users will see in search results. That means they need to be short, snappy and gently encourage a click through to the site.
We then get to work creating engaging page content that utilises our research.
The end result? Interesting, easy to read copy that grabs the attention of the target audience and funnels them towards the end goal – a conversion!
Liberty Marketing’s Top Content Strategy Tips:
Tip 1: Search engines only read text so, although it’s important for your website to be eye-catching, make sure there is plenty of copy on your site and you don’t forget your meta data. But don’t overdo it or you’ll ruin the user experience – it’s a delicate balance!
Tip 2: Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few people. So, KISS your content – keep it short stupid!
Tip 3: Don’t go to the dark side. Ethically produced content may take some time to rank on Google, but it’s worth the wait. Using black hat techniques for quick wins, is just not worth it if you’re looking for long-term success.
Gareth is the Managing Director of Liberty Marketing, Wales’ largest online marketing agency. With a growing team of over 35 digital professionals, this ethical agency provides ROI focussed, specialist services in SEO, PPC, digital copywriting and social media marketing.
The ‘Video Maker’ / Toby Cameron
This year On Par Productions celebrates its fifth year, a milestone in the life of any business. When we began I never imagined I would write about ‘content’. Films and videos were our game, maybe some pictures if my arm was pulled. Within a few years we found ourselves talking more about delivering content. Our assistant producer, has the task of writing most of our proposals, she bemoans the amount of times she must type C-O-N-T-E-N-T.
However we would never begrudge creating content.
Thanks to the internet, content is here to stay, and we embrace it.
Online news is peppered with additional content; films, pictures, sound clips, music, even apps. It is these things that helps set online news outlets apart from their rivals.
The growth of companies taking advantage of content has opened up numerous doors commercially and creatively.
When we create content in partnership with our clients, it’s about finding an incredible way to showcase a company’s unique edge visually, before developing content that a range of audiences can engage with.
On Par will always be film makers at heart but will always be excited to explore new ways of creating content, it comes with the territory.
My top content strategy tips are (drum roll please):
Listen to clients – Sounds simple, but I’m told all the time by clients that suppliers do not listen to them. What is their story?
Keep your eyes and ears open – Take advantage of new films, art, music, apps and forms of media.
Keep it short – Thanks to the internet, our attention spans are now the size of amoebas.
Learn – Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Learn from experience – find out what works/what doesn’t.
Experiment – No explanation needed.
Toby Cameron is Director of On Par productions – video production in Cardiff, Wales, a video production agency driven by a passion to produce creative, innovative and thought provoking content. They work closely with clients from conception through to delivery to produce products tailored to their specific needs that surpass all expectation.
Good content really isn’t just about writing a great blog post every now and again and uploading some pictures to your business page; it’s about creating long-lasting, meaningful and ultimately useful content for your audience, be it clients, potential clients and/or fans. Digging a little deeper, it’s about creating a process within your business organisation and being consistent.
What works for your business / organisation? We’d love to hear. Feel free to comment below.
For more content strategy tips and how it can help you reach your business goals, get in touch.