The Mission As with every business, it’s always best to start with a mission statement. What are your goals? What do you want to achieve? More money? How much more? More likes? How many more? Keep your list short and specific. The focus of this statement will be reflected in the rest of your strategy, so spend time pondering it and tightening it up. Don’t set these goals too far into the future, either. Make it something you can start working on today and see results 3-6 months from now. Short-term goals tend to come in bite-sized chunks. Long-term goals can get lost in the haze of dreams. The most effective content marketing strategists think 3 months ahead. Who Am I Selling To Who is your public and does that match your vision for your business? Define your public. Break them down geographically, by age, gender and income. What do they want from you? Are you giving it to them? Can you give them more? Is there any group of potential customers that you would like to bring in, but haven’t been successful yet? Why is that? Who is able to bring them in? What are they doing differently from you? Content Audit Do a content audit. You can find a company that analyzes content or you can do your own content audit for free. Kapost offers a free content audit and Screaming Frog breaks down other useful data and stats. Using them together gives you a good idea of your site’s profile. Other tools you can use for your audit are Google Analytics, Google Webmaster tools, SharedCount. A content audit should help you answer the following questions: Which pages are performing the best? What are people most interested in? Which times of the day and days of the week yield the most traffic? Which strategies have given you results and which ones have missed the mark? A content audit will tell you how you’re performing, so you can strategize to perform better. The Competition Check out your competition. It helps to see what other businesses with successful content strategies are doing and how they’re doing it. If there were medals for content strategies, Coca Cola might win the gold. Check out a break down of their strategy here. Ok, but Coca Cola is a multi-national corporation with tons of money and it practically sells itself. So, what about businesses that aren’t so well-known? Check out some strategies for businesses that sell “boring” products. And definitely check out the strategies of competitors in your niche. You can use tools like QuickSprout, WooRank, Nibbler and Uberflip to get a comparison of you vs. your competition. Tweak your content for SEO If you write a blog about Turkish carpet weaving and someone types in “Turkish carpet weaving” on Google, how easily will they find you? If your public can’t find you, that’s a problem. Most people have the basics of this down, but in order to become really SEO proficient, you have to think about working keywords into every aspect of your blog. Post titles, first and last paragraphs, About page, photo captions, etc. The better you get at SEO, the easier it will be for the right people to find you. Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a good tool for helping you to come up with the right keywords. Make Sure You Share Your Content on Social Media and Email Social media makes the world go round and will make your business grow, too. Make it easy for people to share your content by including share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. WordPress people can add plugins like Socialize and Flare. Choose the most appropriate time for posting so that your content attracts as many eyeballs as possible. The best time to post on social media varies depending on where you’re going to publish. For example, tweets posted on the weekends usually have better engagement than those shared on other days (you can get more insights from Buffer’s Guide To High Quality Social Media Sharing). Be sure to share your content with your email list as well. Include it in your newsletters or send as a separate message but don’t get spammy. What’s It Going to Cost Now that you know what you have to do, think about how you’re going to do it. Maybe you’ll write the content yourself. Maybe you’ll need to invest in a content writer. Then you need to look for a reliable person who is preferably an expert in your field or at least has some experience in writing about it. Check out freelance platforms or ask friends to get a notion about price range. How big is your site? Does it have 20 pages or 200 pages? How much time is it going to take you? Maybe you’re going to have to hire an assistant. What about advertising? How much money is it all going to cost? Set your budget. Then rework it because usually the first budget it out of line with reality. Make a Schedule Content marketing is all about strategy. Plan out how you’re going to do all this. Make a schedule that includes how many posts you’re going to publish per week. Also make room for topics research and ideas generation as well as fact checking and editing. Create your pay schedule if you’re hiring writers or assistants. Plan ahead for the next 3 months. After that, it’s time to do another content audit and start all over again. A nd remember that sometimes plans can require slight adjustments or even major changes, so keep a flexible mindset, still, be determined and consistent. Images: “Handwriting of Content Marketing word in notebook on the wood table/Shutterstock.com“ ________________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. 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