The 10 Step Content Marketing Strategy
How to juice social networks, become an authority in your niche, and grow your tribe
THE CONTENT ENGINE:
Create one piece of pillar content. A pillar can be a white paper, a podcast, a video of a speech, or anything else substantial. Traditionally it's long-form written. But video can be good pillar material. Written and audio versions can be created from the video.
Recreate the pillar content in all sensible ways. E.g. a video may become an audio and a white paper. You now have multiple versions of the same pillar.
From the pillar piece create (typically medium length) pieces of content that bring value in their own right. Bring context or developments to them to make them more than just extracts of the pillar. E.g. articles, expanding on the points in the pillar; video interview excerpts with new commentary. Use parts of the pillar that’re likely to resonate with your audience.
From the pillar piece make short pieces of content. Some of these can be, in effect, ads for your pillar; others can bring value in their own right. Creative take offs, memes, quotes, quotes graphically presented, audio snips... Absolutely anything. Different media. Again use parts of the pillar that’re likely to resonate with your audience.
Be creative with the short pieces. They should be inspired by the pillar. They shouldn’t be only excerpts.
Post all versions of the pillar on all appropriate social platforms. E.g. the white paper goes on medium and Linkedin. The video version goes on youtube and Linkedin. Etc. Etc.
When you post a pillar, explicitly ask people to tell you what part of the content strikes them most.
Post the pillar on your website also. Your website is structured for a library of content of different types. Content has ‘read later’ buttons, for the user to get content sent to email. It has email and SMS signups (though content may not be behind a wall). It has links to your social platforms so your users can choose which platform/s they consume your content on.
Post a first round of short and medium length pieces to your social networks. This first round, the focus is on the social networks where the pillar isn’t posted.
Do this soon after posting your pillar. A few mins later is fine.
From these pieces, link to the pillar – whatever version of the pillar makes sense. E.g. one might link to the video version on youtube. Another might link to the readable download on your site.
You might prefer to bring users to one place, e.g. to build your subscriber count on youtube or to get more email signups on your website. Do this where it’s fine for the user; but you will need to sacrifice the tightness of your funnel to cater to people’s preferences. Think: where does the user want to go from here?
Your pillar might not be on Instagram. It might be on Facebook and Linkedin. So link from Instagram to Facebook. (Instagram’s algorithm will be more friendly to Facebook than to Linkedin).
...have different ideal image sizes, ideal video lengths etc. Have a list to hand and repurpose each item for each network.
Post your remaining short and medium pieces. This time you’re including the networks where you posted your pillar. Same deal: link to the pillar. These posts can be the day after posting your pillar and later. (See later note on time distribution.)
Which social networks?
LinkedIn, Quora, twitter, fb, medium, email list, youtube, podcast networks...etc. etc. If in doubt on whether to include a particular network in the list, include it – at least for a while as a test.
Look at comments and engagement. Not just figures – but what are people saying?
Create more short and medium form pieces based on what people are talking about. Post them. Link to the pillars.
Create another pillar. May be based off what you learned of people’s interests in the previous pillar. May be something completely different.
Repeat all steps. Ad infinitum.
What's the schedule / time period to do all this in?
Calculate this based on when your next pillar will be ready. If you're creating 1 pillar per day, distribute your 20–50 short and medium forms across all networks in 1 day. If you're creating 1 pillar per month, distribute the 20–50 short and medium forms over the full month, posting more shorter pieces earlier in the month, and the medium pieces more evenly over the month.
So precisely how many short and medium pieces...?
What and how much you’re creating is contextual. You’re creating short and medium content based on what makes sense in relation to your pillar. With an overall figure of 20–50 short and medium pieces per pillar, including first and second rounds.
How much is too much content? How much social network activity is too much?
There’s no such thing as too much good content or too much good social network activity. The social network algorithms will show less to people less interested. More to those more interested. If people say "Hey you're all over the internet," they are at minimum slowing on your content as they scroll. You want people saying this. Even if that person is a friend who doesn’t really need to see the content, it’s a good indication re others (of course, you also have engagement analytics).
If your content is getting traction, more content means more traction, which ultimately means more sales. But many of the sales won’t come right away. So how much content is a question of what resources you want to put into it. This also relates back to other activities such as the balance of outbound sales versus inbound sales expectations; with some related sales-marketing tie-in considerations outside the scope of this document.
You might decide to put a hard-and-fast figure on number and scheduling of your short and medium pieces
But the answer to the following question should be enough to give you a solid approach:
How frequently will you produce a piece of pillar content?
It’s a long, work-intensive, creative process.
What else on social media?
- Add in PPC / performance marketing to grow your tribe faster
- When you post, you could add a comment yourself with a useful piece of info
- Staff could make comments on posts to bring some activity
- Always respond to users’ comments. So people feel listened to, and to increase activity on your social platforms
- Do all your other social network stuff in addition to the steps in this document – reposting stuff, interacting, posting other updates, etc
You can hire Richard to help with your Brand Strategy, Brand Writing, and Lean Marketing.