You spend a lot of time researching, planning, and creating all kinds of content online. But if you’re like a lot of brands, you probably don’t spend as much time as you’d like facilitating the spread of that content online – really maximizing its reach. It’s a common challenge. Everyone is busy. We push brochureware, product copy, and editorial content left and right–and immediately its time to create more.
Taking a step back, how synchronized are your marketing programs to facilitate the spread of your content? And how well are you measuring this spread and its impact near and long-term?
For brands generating a lot of content it’s ideal to establish an editorial calendar and take advantage of the many content optimization, PR, social marketing systems, and software choices available. But there’s also a lot of internal work that needs to be done if you are a larger brand with an internal marketing department.
Establishing an Editorial Board
It’s one thing to have an editorial calendar, but organizing your online marketing programs including organic search, paid search, social marketing, public relations, and email marketing is essential to getting the most out of all your content publication efforts. Think of it as a holistic optimization effort to maximize the impact and reach of all your content. Start getting these marketing stakeholders involved in the editorial process by creating an editorial board consisting of them as well as content producers and any analytic stakeholders or other agency representatives you deem necessary.
It’s not as important to have a large editorial board as much as it’s necessary to get the right people at the same table and on the same page. Have this team meet regularly to discuss everything needed to improve the quality of your content and maximize market reach:
- Add flesh to the overall structure of the editorial calendar, together. Calendars are more likely to be adopted if stakeholders have their say in the creation, especially if time is scheduled regularly to review them. Designating an editorial manager will help with ownership.
- Determine the goals you wish to achieve with individual content pieces or projects in general and what metrics to focus on. Separate your content by type and invest time into discovering where the team spends the majority of their time. It’s imperative to understand if certain content production is taking too much time with very little return. Review your data together.
- From the data you can determine what content needs to be created, who the target audience is, and then plan the focus and overall purpose of the content. Utilize analytics, SEO, PPC, buyer persona, and email data.
- Determine who needs to be involved in the creation processes for different content types (content resources, design and development resources).
- Work together on a system to help the editorial board stakeholders stay informed of their roles, task completion checklists and sign-offs for any particular project.
- Determine how to position your content and how it should be shared online.
- Where is the target audience online and how can you become a part of the conversation by adding value?
- What is the game plan to ensure the best coverage possible – how do you plan to synchronize your marketing teams to maximize reach?
- How will you measure impact and report results back to the editorial board to influence future content initiatives?
Understand how your content is performing and be aware of the compound effect
Among other things, you’ll begin to understand what to expect in general for certain content being published. For instance, your editorial board may realize most forms of newly published content receive very little if any ROI near-term (depending on your metrics). However, as your marketing programs begin to align, each supporting the efforts of the other and complementing one another, you may notice improvements in both ROI and time to achieve ROI.
You may also realize certain content makes an immediate impact, especially to the bottom line. Obviously try to replicate these efforts, but also consider how to use this content to prop-up other relevant and promising content that deserves more attention. Think critically about the paths, i.e., calls-to-action and links you have in place with your more popular content. The social and link value these content pieces have gained can be passed through to other pages to help increase engagement on the site overall.
These paths can also move users into a conversion funnel and improve user experience in general. Not only does the site benefit through increased business, but also all non-paid programs can benefit from this intentional internal linking. Your organic search presence in particular will likely increase. A self-sustaining content marketing ecosystem will begin to emerge. Each new content piece contributes to the overall value of your site, and the authority your site has already established will boost the visibility of your new content.
Aim for immediate impact but realize gradual gains are more likely
Apart from large campaign-specific content initiatives, most brand publishing will be on a much smaller scale – updates to product copy, derivative blog posts from an ebook, whitepapers to accompany email promotions, etc. What does the impact of these initiatives look like in real life? In my experience with organic search, gradual gains can be expected over time:
Really, what’s important to remember is you’re developing a sustainable content marketing system to incrementally earn qualified traffic, and you’re giving yourself more opportunity to engage with your users and turn them into customers. There are no secret SEO or social media tricks here and you are not manipulating organic rankings. You are simply growing your organic footprint naturally by identifying content needs based on target audience research and publishing it in a strategic, optimized fashion.
If it’s important enough to develop, it’s important enough to share. This is not just in reference to a single piece of content, product or service. Really, this advice applies to everything your brand publishes online. Social media is word-of-mouth marketing online. A relative few likes and shares on a product listing or blog post today may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of your marketing efforts. But like any great content program rolling up to a business gaining marketplace momentum, it’s true value will compound over time and people will begin to remember your brand, remember your products, engage with your content contributors, and connect with your business in a meaningful way that will create new business.