Keeping up with content marketing can feel all-consuming.
From staying on strategy, to telling compelling stories, to sharing it all effectively and tracking results … the enormity of it can make it hard to stay consistent.
And consistency is important — in strategy, in publishing schedule, in tone and style, and in finding the time to get it all done. Because when you begin to put effort behind your content marketing, you won’t see results if you start, then stop, then start, then stop again.
So how can you stay consistent with your content marketing? Here are some tips to help keep you on track:
Print out the purpose. All of the content you create should answer the one ultimate content marketing question: What is the big objective? It seems simple, but it’s important. Because if you can’t define the objective, then your content cannot meet the big objective. And that means you are simply producing content, not content marketing. Write your big objective in BIG, BOLD LETTERS and hang it on your wall. When you sit down to write, ask yourself how your words will help make that big objective a reality.
Create – and use! – an editorial calendar. Your editorial calendar isn’t just a calendar. It’s a strategy repository. Sure, it should schedule and track your content, but it can also be where you brainstorm new content ideas, review analytics, plan ways to repurpose content and more. Your calendar is only good if you use it, so make sure you build your editorial calendar in a way that works for your organization. We have a free template for you here.
Get friendly with your buyer personas. You didn’t create buyer personas for nothing. Before you begin writing, re-read your buyer personas or audience profiles. This will remind you of whom you are writing for and help you create content that answers their questions and addresses their concerns.
Set audience expectations. If you make your publication schedule public, you will be more motivated to keep to it. Why? You won’t want to let your audience down.
Develop standards. Your content marketing efforts should have a set style, tone and overall look — and these standards should be documented. Yes, even if you’re a one-person school marketing master. Because no matter how good you are at creating your school’s content, you WILL forget the basic standards if you don’t write them down.
Review your top posts. Check your stats and quickly look back at your most popular articles. Was there something about the tone or style of these posts that you can infuse in your upcoming post? This will help you determine how to best connect with your audience.
Schedule it. You won’t sit down to write if it’s not in your calendar. Set a certain time on certain days as your “content happy hour”. Block it out, and you’re more likely to stick to your schedule.
Pre-brainstorm. Prior to your “content happy hour”, start thinking about your topic. Jot down some initial notes or ideas. Step away from your desk. Walk around campus. Think a little more. And then go do some research and see what other people are saying about the topic. (Tip: I always like to pre-brainstorm BEFORE I read other writers’ work so that I can formulate my ideas and opinions without influence.)
Read. A lot. Start or end your day by reading your favorite marketing or school-related publications. No time? Listen to a few podcasts on your commute home. While reading (or listening), keep a journal handy, and make note of any ideas. Remind yourself to ACTIVELY read — look for ideas and inspiration as you go. The littlest kernel of information can spark a big idea.
Enlist help! Writing is hard. When the content development process becomes too overwhelming, consider hiring someone to take on the task — or partner with a writer who understands your brand story and style.
Stop thinking about it as blogging or copywriting. Instead, think about it as storytelling. As a school marketer, you have the amazing opportunity to create stories that connect with students and families, stories that inspire them, entertain them, or teach them something new. It’s the best job in the world.
Ready to create a consistent content plan? We can help.