A solid content strategy, in my opinion, is one of the most powerful ways to generate traffic, authority and attention to your site – and … to create incredible impact online.
The usual approach to creating content is to “just get something out there”. After hearing the amazing responses from those that commented about giving content enough time to mature, I want to further entertain the idea of this idea that your ‘content is your product’.
Why a Content Strategy Matters
Value of a post is the direct result of how relevant it is to the person reading it; further stacking this value through synchronous content is a subtle but powerful way to create wildly popular content that people will share.
A post series, for example, is a synchronous set of content that relates to one another; no matter where a visitor begins in the series they will be able to fully understand the scope of the topic. On the flip side, content that bounces from subject to subject may only be as valuable as what a visitor wants to learn that day; this may be evident on your own site when a post receives dozens of comments and the newest barely makes a flutter.
Steve Scott is one of those bloggers that makes the effort to always craft a content strategy. If you look past the post and, instead, at how one another link together you will notice that there are entire weeks that are completely planned out in advanced. Once a reader reaches the end of the line for the strategy they are given monumental posts which pull from previous content and links to relevant internal posts as resources.
Corbett Barr uses this and you may not even notice. Since declaring the creed to ‘write epic shit’, he has made the effort to change the mindset of his readers away from the usual one-and-done posts into a long-term strategy that continues to multiply its value because content syncs with the last (and upcoming).
In fact, there are many amazing marketing strategies being unfolded right in front of your eyes that you may not be aware of.
If you were on the list, receiving Ramit Sethi’s emails about the 1K class you will see the amount of value that was given leading up the launch of the course. After the course was created, Ramit immediately began promoting a smaller course for those that weren’t able to join. Do you think this was on a whim? Certainly not. It was strategy.
The Four Fundamentals of a Content Strategy
So now that you see that a content strategy can be the difference between a visitor digging through your content and one which becomes engrained within your story, we’re going to build our own – does that sound good to you?
Remember, developing a content strategy brings you the following benefits:
Properly schedule what needs to be done vs. playing it by ear.
- Sets the stage for a marketing campaign (whether subtle or not).
- Stacks value to keep a visitor engaged.
- Increases the likelihood that someone may subscribe.
- Opens the possibility to craft a product (more on this later)
The following will be completely dependent on you and your community but these are the fundamentals to creating a content strategy that have worked for me (and others that I’ve observed):
- Discover your Most Valuable Action. Your most valuable action will be the one that gets you closest to your goal. When you’re developing a content strategy you must think of where you want to take your visitors. Blindly leading them through post after post, jumping subject to subject is like a car without a steering wheel: it goes but not in any particular direction. Think deeply about what you want your visitors to do once you’ve completed the scope of your content; think of this as the climax to your movie.
- Balancing your Work Load. You may never realize this but your work load plays a very important aspect of developing a content strategy. Without proper timing and time management you will be forced into falling back to writing content which does not sync with one another simply because you must ‘fill the void’. Quite literally: you need to set aside time in your schedule to not only experience what you plan to cover but enough time to craft your content.
- Think in Tiered Production. When you get down to the nitty-gritty, you’ll need to think in tiered production. One post must play into the next while synchronously drawing upon the last. For example, I am writing this post in relation to the ‘blog maturity’ post because of the underlying factor that content takes time to develop and reach its fulcrum. Don’t just think of your post as content either; think of it as a milestone in what you want to cover which eventually leads a person to a valuable action in the end that benefits both parties.
- Broaden your Media Scope. Don’t think of your content strategy in just terms of just one media platform either. Consider how powerful video can be to add additional value to what you’re covering. Use interviews to reinforce your authority on the matter and build your expertise by sharing social media proof with images directly from your experience with the topic. Always remember that people learn through different mediums; some prefer video, others audio and many just want text. Don’t limit yourself to a single source of media because all of the tools required to explore each are freely available online.
In all, look at your content strategy like a map as if you were launching a product. From the beginning, you’ll think of what you’d like to offer and to whom. Afterwards, you’d think of how to best approach your ventures while simultaneously explore additional options of adding values to both parties. Finally, you’ll find the best vehicle to share your venture which is completely dependent on your own drive and what the community wants.
If this doesn’t make sense or is too heavy as far as wording goes, think of it like this:
Find the topic > Explore your Options > Create the Content > Set the Platform > Create Action
To further explain this…
An Example of My Personal Content Strategy
I take two approaches to my content strategy:
- A list of immediate, most valuable action items
- A content roadmap for relevancy for my posts
As you may know, I’ve created a business called PLRArticlesNow.com which aims to change the game in the world of PLR content. This is a side business venture of mine but I’m drawing upon the experience I’m receiving from tackling this venture as content here on Murlu. Additionally, I’ve mapped how I would like to direct the content on Murlu based on what’s happening with the business and the influence from the community on Murlu toward the venture.
Here is a picture of my some of the items I’m working on that go hand-in-hand with Murlu, PLRArticlesNow and the overall content strategy.
To explain what’s going on:
- I have a set of actions which will take me closer to my goal for PLRArticlesNow.com
- I have a roadmap of how to take my experience with the PLR site and turn them into Murlu posts
- I have spin-off content strategies which further extend the value of posts
- I have optional goals of product creation
Breaking this down:
The products I am creating for PLRArticlesNow will influence the content I plan to create on Murlu as I’d like to cover the experiences I’ve had with the process. I would like to cover how I package these products, distribute them to paying customers and how to replicate this result through a tutorial post.
I then look at how each Murlu post can tie into what I’m doing with my business to inspire and push me toward the next stage of my business venture. Current business journal entries not only share proof of my work but they also add pressure from the community to continue (in a very good way).
Finally, I look at the possibilities of creating a product related to what I’m learning and teaching. Depending on the feedback from the community this may be launched, maybe not. Other factors such as my ethics about free content also play an important role (I’m a firm believer that I should give away as much content as possible).
This may all seem like a marketing campaign on the under belly and I’m not going to sugar coat it; there are certain elements in the overall content strategy but it’s predominantly to leave those options open even if they aren’t pursued. Most successful website owners take this approach whether you know it or not.
Applying a Content Strategy to your Work
You may have some of the same characteristics and quirks as me: I often put myself into situations (good or bad) to have an experience rather than simply researching it. In many ways, it’s Gonzo blogging (mad shout out to Hunter S. Thompson – I miss you!).
I’m not telling you to put yourself in the direct line of fire to get the scoop on a story but in many ways I am. Think of your story as where you’re taking people with your content strategy. Live it and you will gain more credibility, authority and expertise than you can ever gain through research alone.
Do you think Pat Flynn is an expert a niche website creation? You do now because of his series.
Overall, look at what you’re currently doing with your content. If it’s a jumble mess of content that doesn’t truly relate to another than you lack a content strategy (unless you’re just completely going nuts and have a controlled chaos of a plan – who knows).
Make the maximum amount of impact: Align your personal ventures with your content.
Use your website content as a platform to push your personal ventures forward. It’s a symbiotic relationship.
So, right now, begin sketching out where you want your content to move your community. Develop your content strategy and use it as a platform for your personal ventures. Consider sharing it in the comment section below; think of it as lighting the fire under your ass – believe me: the Murlu community can do that to you.
Interesting side note: My future business venture, Okkopus, will be offering this content strategy development cycle. When thinking about it – I can use this post as reference when dealing with clients. If that isn’t future proofing yourself, I don’t know what is.