When it comes to content marketing, it might seem as if many brands don’t know what’s up and what’s down. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, just 35 percent of respondents rate their content marketing strategies as being very effective. Only 40 percent are “clear” on what an effective content marketing program even looks like. Sounds like a lot of them need to simplify content marketing.
Yikes. Here’s a tip that will take you far. When it comes to content marketing, it’s often best to KISS — that is, “keep it simple, stupid.”
If you want to simplify your brand’s content marketing, there are a few steps to take. Knowing why you’re bothering with content marketing, who you’re connecting to, and what you’re producing are all essential parts of simplifying content marketing.
Set a Clear Goal
Things get a bit tangled and murky when you don’t have a goal. After all, if you have no clue why you’re doing something, you’re likely to run off in a variety of directions chasing after whatever the new, shiny thing is that catches your eye.
It really doesn’t matter what your content marketing goal is, as long as you know what it is and why you’re working towards it. A few common goals include increasing awareness of your brand, getting new customers, getting old customers to make additional purchases, and getting leads.
Identify Your Audience
Now that you know why you’re bothering with content marketing, it’s time to identify who you’re trying to speak to.
Choosing an audience simplifies content marketing by helping you craft a clear and concise message. When you know who you’re addressing, you have an idea of what their specific needs are and how you can help them.
Put Together a Calendar
Another area where content marketers struggle is figuring out how much content to produce, when to produce it, and what type of content to create.
Setting up an editorial calendar helps to simplify content marketing by giving you a clear idea of what type of content to produce, when that content will go live, and when it need to be promoted and distributed.
Don’t fret too much about what’s on the calendar. It’s more important to hash out a rough plan at the start of each month or quarter. You can make adjustments to the plan as the need arises. But in many cases, having the rough plan in place is critical for getting anything off of the ground.
Streamline Content Creation
You know what they say about soup — too many cooks can ruin it. The same is true of content. You can’t have three people writing a single blog post, for example. You’d end up with a disjointed mess.
Instead, assign everyone a specific task. Someone can write the post, someone else can edit it, and a third person can be responsible for choosing the images and publishing it.
What matters most for simplicity is making sure everyone knows what his or her job is, and that they have a clear deadline for turning in their portion of the project.
Measure and Track, and Discard What’s Not Working
A key part of simplifying content marketing is figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and tossing away the elements that aren’t doing you any good.
Measuring and tracking your content using metrics such as traffic, bounce rate, social shares, leads, and conversions will help you see whether a particular type of content does better than another type (for example, videos might produce more leads than blog posts, or people might share infographics more than they share lengthy articles).
From there, you have the option of sticking with the formats that work for your brand, and abandoning the others. That means you’ll end up focusing only on those features that really work for you, helping you avoid clutter and confusion with your content marketing.