The Steps to Creating a Robust Content Inventory for Your Brand’s Online Presence
If you have a business, you need content. More importantly, you need relevant content that gets results. You know this, and maybe you already have a lot of brand-relevant content out there or in the works. But if not, or if you’re not quite sure that your current content strategy is working, here are a few important steps you should take to prepare for content marketing in 2019.
Step 1: Understand What You Have
As tempting as it may be to jump headfirst into creating new content, there’s something very important you must do first: understand what you already have. A content audit will help you assess your brand’s existing content and provide valuable insights into Step 2 (more on that later).
Look at the Big Picture
Take a look at content your business already has created – not just what you’ve used in the past but even that which is in queue for later use. This might include:
- Blog posts
- Social images and posts
- Value offerings (tutorials, guides, checklists, rewards, resources, etc)
- Anything and everything that your brand has used or has created to communicate with your target audience
Now that you can see the content that’s already available, organize it into two categories: relevant or irrelevant. In other words, if any of the content you have no longer fills any need or serves any clearly identifiable purpose for your brand, it is currently irrelevant.
Note: Never completely dispose of irrelevant content. By all means, tuck it away somewhere and ignore it, but never simply delete it. Copy, images, and even design elements that are not useful today may still serve as inspiration later. You may find that as your content strategy evolves that your brand comes full circle – and nobody wants to reinvent the wheel!
Categorize and Tweak
Once you have a general understanding of the content that comprises your current inventory, ask the following questions:
- What are the main types and themes of brand content we currently have available?
- What channels is this content for (website, blog, social platforms, email campaigns, mailers, etc)?
- Is this content evergreen or time-sensitive?
- Are these various files ready for use or do they require further editing/customization?
- Where is this content stored and who has access to it?
Use your conclusions to organize your existing content and make any adjustments and edits as needed.
Step 2: Figure Out What You Need
Based on what currently exists, what further content does your brand need to develop? The more you drill down into your content needs, the better you will be able to create the kind of content that speaks to your target audience and drives results. Only with identifiable goals and outcomes will you be able to tailor your efforts for maximum impact.
Who is This Content For?
Narrow down your target audience as much as possible. Keep in mind you may need to create several variations of your content to best appeal to different sub-demographics, but you can’t do any of that if you don’t know who they are.
Create customer profiles to help you tailor your content appropriately. Your profiles should include enough example information to help you develop a clear mental picture of your brand’s target audience, their pain points, their goals, and any relevant information that will help craft compelling content and calls-to-action.
What Specific Goals Are You Trying to Achieve?
Content that is purely meant to drive sales may look and sound very different from authority-building content or goodwill-building offerings. Every element of your content should have a clear goal. What exactly is your brand trying to achieve? What are the short-term and long-term goals that are directing your content-building efforts?
If you have numerous goals and a vast range of potential content to accompany them, you’ll need to segment your content strategy and creation appropriately. This can be a daunting task, so you may want to consider tapping into the expertise of content strategy specialists.
Will Your Content be Primarily Evergreen or Time-Sensitive?
Strong content inventories typically include a mix of both evergreen and time-sensitive content. While your overall brand strategy should apply to both, there are some elements of individual content pieces that will vary considerably based on when it will be used.
If your content is time-sensitive (such as for product launches, events, and limited-time offers), then you’ll need to craft it to be highly specific and focused. However, keep in mind that even seemingly evergreen content shouldn’t be completely left to auto-pilot once it is created and scheduled. Your content will seem much more relevant if you take into consideration the following:
- Seasons and Holidays – Your audience has been conditioned to expect seasonally-relevant content. Make sure your content reflects this by incorporating seasonal and holiday-relevant elements where appropriate. Also, consider offering special promotions or upsells during times when consumer purchasing is typically high.
- Current Events – Although you should aim to have your content calendar prepared and scheduled well in advance, consider tweaking some aspects of your content in response to any important global and regional news. As many brands have learned the hard way, public perception of current events and trends can play a big role in how your content is received.
Who is Going to Actually Create Your Content?
It may seem like a no-brainer, but don’t overlook the logistics behind the actual content creation process. Knowing what you need is not the same as planning for how it will be accomplished.
Go beyond identifying the who, what, and when of your content needs: Who is responsible for creating the content your brand needs? Will they be creating vast swathes of content and scheduling it for incremental release across an extended period of time? Is ongoing content creation sustainable with the current information and resources they have available?
Once you know what your brand needs, make sure you can communicate this to your content creators and that they have access to the resources they need to accomplish your content inventory goals. If you need to develop a robust inventory quickly, you may also need to consider outsourcing some of your content creation.
Step 3: Evolving Your Brand’s Content Marketing in 2019
Content marketing in 2019 will continue to evolve, and so should your brand. Measuring, clicks, sales, or other forms of engagement should be an ongoing part of your content strategy.
Staying abreast of industry developments, maintaining awareness of new best practices in online marketing, creating brand resources and guidance to keep your content development on track: these are just a few of the ways that you can ensure your brand’s content inventory is ready for whatever lies ahead in the coming year. And as Seth Godin puts it, “soon is not as good as now.” Get cracking!
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