Content strategy is no longer sexy. What used to be the little black dress of marketing has become that maxi dress you wore to the beach three summers ago and is now hanging in the back of your closet.
But, just like the memories you have from that beach vacation, you hang on to it because you know it’s a good go-to outfit for your next beach vacation—plain and simple, it works.
Content strategy is something that pretty much all companies and organizations use in order to foster new relationships, keep current clients or customers informed and then create loyalty.
Anyway, spring is here so it’s time to dig into the back of your marketing closet, grab that maxi dress and turn it into the stunner it once ways.
Here are 5 ways you can breathe new life into your content strategy—immediately. Beach vacation optional.
1. Look at your content like a new relationship
New relationships are super fun. Whether they are new friendships, blossoming romances or even a new mentorship. They create excitement because we are unsure where they are leading us, but we feel they are leading us somewhere good.
We get comfortable after spending some time together, which is a good thing. But, we’re no longer infused with that roller coaster free-fall feeling. That’s when it’s time to do an audit.
According to Lawdan Shojaee, CEO of Axosoft, “there are all sorts of ways we create content strategy; you come up with the strategy then constantly iterate on it.” She continues, “if you designate a time to go back, ask questions and investigate to see if the original strategy was successful, you’ll see if the strategy did what it was meant to do or if it went astray.”
Comb through your past blog posts, social posts, white papers and check your metrics. Did your messages reach the folks you wrote them for? Yes? Yay! No? Don’t freak out. Just start over. You did it once, you can do it again.
2. Form the right relationships for you
Figure out who you want to talk to. Who are your customers, your fans, your tribe? Who needs what you’re offering? More than likely, a couple years ago, you identified personas—a general biopic of these folks. They probably read like this: “Ted is 26 and lives in Wisconsin. His challenge is that his project management software is just, well, lame and he doesn’t want to use it. He’s looking for something he can bring to his boss that will make him look like the winner he is.”
Because someone wrote these for your organization or team a couple years ago, it’s probably time to take another look. Revisit Ted. Does he still have those same needs? Have new types of folks emerged? Maybe there’s Susan now, who is 32 and needs a development tool that will help her visualize her team’s progress?
According to Shojaee, you really need to understand where your personas are within the purchasing cycle.
She recommends identifying every single person that takes that buying journey with you. Because, “they are not always the people who you think they are. They could be the accountant who will be on that initial call because they need to know the costs; project managers or developers,” she says.
Once your initial buying personas are identified, you need to consider another set—those who need content that helps them understand why they need the product. They may not be the same person who wanted the product in the first place. There’s a difference between the consideration and purchaser set.
Got it? Different people need different things from you. And these people change; some need convincing and others need educational resources from you. So check in with them periodically. You may have to rekindle the romance.
3. Get over your paralysis
Stop thinking so much. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by metrics and traffic and the inordinate amount of information you need—or think you need. Sometimes, there’s so much stuff to learn and keep track of, some people just stop doing everything. This is known as “paralysis by analysis” and it’s bad because action is always better than staying stagnant.
“I’m reading a book about General Patton,” says Shojaee. And of course she is because being a CEO requires strategy, stamina and strength—just like military leaders. “There’s a famous quote from him that says something like going into battle half ready, but aggressively, is better than having a perfect plan and going into battle.”
Yes, the data can be overwhelming. But, once you go back and look at your data, you may see that the same number of people have come to your content through Twitter, your newsletter or organic search. Maybe the numbers aren’t that different from one another.
The tendency to overthink and hypothesize and run the numbers again is tempting. However, “if you keep doing this, you will find yourself paralyzed,” says Shojaee.
Don’t fall into this trap and plan as best as you. According to Shojaee, “Quit and start over again. Each time you do it, you’ll get better. Keep doing this until it’s fixed. Push forward. It’s better to do something efficiently and to the best of your ability rather than stewing over the idea of a perfect plan for it.” Forward, march!
4. Change your perspective with a change of venue
The very nature of content is based on delivering interesting “stuff” whether it be in the form of interesting blog posts, instructional videos, straight-forward white papers, witty social quips or fresh infographics. So, what do you do if you’ve been doing it for awhile and you just simply run out of ideas?
You’ve done it all, you think. You are tapped out. You simply cannot write another article about agile methodology or A Day in the Life of a Developer one more time. Is it time to pack it in? NO!
“This is why our team at Axosoft is so diversified in a lot of things we do. Switching up habits and thinking patterns is not just fun, it’s necessary.” Shojaee explains that this is why the company sends employees on a trip at their 1-year and 5-year anniversaries.
Sweet! you may say. But, there’s a catch: you have to go somewhere you’ve never been before, and get out of your comfort zone. You have to do research and learn new habits. “This is inherent in the culture of the company,” Shojaee explains. “Changing the way you think affects everything.”
5. Stop everything. Just do it again
So, you’re running your content strategy, loving it, nurturing it, pumping out meaningful content, and just frolicking through wheat fields with it into the sunset. Happily ever after, you may think. Not true. Once you’re comfy cozy, that most likely means it’s time to change something because if you’re that good, it’s time to get even better.
Shojaee is all for taking risks. Because this is how you grow and learn.
Granted, we’re not a marketing agency, but, I’m the Content Strategist in our marketing department and we work hard to market the Axosoft products and brand. So, we feel comfortable sharing our advice with you! We’d love to hear what your thoughts are on content strategy. What are some tips you’d like to share?
If you’re interested in finding an agile project management software tool that “makes you look like the winner you are,” (Just like Ted, above) check out the features of Axosoft.
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