We see this time and time again: startups and well-established companies alike who produce and create a large amount of content, but have no clear, discernible strategy. While some argue that creating content just for content’s sake will still have a positive effect for you, we just simply don’t agree. Without strategy behind your content, you could be better off not producing content at all. And here’s why:
Content won’t work (or continue to work)
Content marketing and content production is no easy feat. If it were, everyone would be succeeding at it. So why waste your valuable time and money producing content that you don’t have a clear purpose for? You’ll spend a year producing content, and wind up with 52 blog posts that still only get a few visits per page.
Let’s avoid this. Before you even start producing content you need to consider who you are making it for, what you want readers to get out of it, and the actions you want them to take next. Do your homework on keyword strategy. If you aren’t optimizing your content for search engines, then it will be difficult (read: impossible) for potential customers to find you through your content. And if you’re not discoverable, then what’s the point of doing content in the first place?
Remember to differentiate your content from your sales materials. They are NOT the same. Ideally, you aren’t selling your brand, products, or services in your top level content whatsoever. Again, think about the purposes: are you helping someone solve a problem, are you showing your knowledge or expertise in a specific field? Whatever the reason may be, you need to have a reason to begin with.
There will be no clear content organization
Say you’re in a growth phase. You’re ready to hire your first employee, or maybe grow the team from just those who were there since the beginning. What are your processes for onboarding? How do you articulate your business model and brand identity to your new hires? Do you and your other founders or staff articulate it in the same way? Let’s keep this simple: If you don’t have a documented guideline or strategy for your business and brand, then it is not possible for it to be articulated the same way by everyone. This is a problem.
New hires should get on board with the business mentality and values as quickly as possible. When you don’t thoroughly explain the fundamentals for your startup, you leave those new hires to develop their own interpretation of what your business stands for. This takes up valuable time, and it eventually produces a company where each employee feels a different way about the same business. How can you move forward together consistently and efficiently if everyone has different ideas about what you do and why you do it? Documentation ensures each new person that comes to your team has no questions about your business model and what your strategies are.
They make you remember where you came from
Often blogs tend to look like a random mish mash of a wide range of topics. Sometimes there isn’t even navigation to see other relevant blogs, or category indexes. That’s because the company or brand hasn’t taken the time to organize their content.
If you want people to read your blog post, and then potentially more blog posts or other site pages, you need to lead them in the right direction. If you aren’t organized in a helpful way, you’ll lose those readers forever.
Without planning a content strategy before you begin to produce content, it will be difficult to evaluate what categories of content you already have, and what are the areas where you need to produce more. You can also risk creating duplicate posts, and lose opportunities for recycling existing content. Start your production with documenting your organization of content, and you’ll be thankful you did in the long run.
The right content won’t be delivered to the right audience at the right time
Strategized content marketing is all about tailoring the content you produce to the right audiences when they are at the best times in their buyer’s journey. If you create a whitepaper on sales team KPIs and deliver it as a pop-up to anyone who visits your site, chances are your content piece will crash and burn.
First, a whitepaper on KPIs should only be delivered to audiences who have at least read other blogs or visited pages on your website regarding services and products. Secondly, not everyone who visits your site is going to be interested in an in-depth piece about hard data. This is a prime example of why producing content just for content’s sake is not effective. Keep deeper level content reserved for landing pages, email newsletters, or other forms of gated content so that they are only reaching the audiences who want it.
Producing content for content’s sake is not a good methodology for attracting and converting potential customers. Content marketing is a long game and takes time to be effective, so don’t waste valuable time and money without having a clear purpose and a strategy in place.
If you want to stop simply producing content and need to build a strategy, check out our service packages to see how we can help you get started.
Image: Adobe Stock © Alextype