Create a content strategy in 4 easy steps with Beck Jane West.
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In this episode, we speak to content producer Beck Jane West who will walk us through the 4 steps to creating a content strategy for your business. The episode will be about uncovering audience insights, finding out what content works, plan it out using smart tools and refine and revise.
Beck: Thanks. Thanks for having me.
Mark: Excellent. Not a problem. So tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do.
Beck: I would be what is considered a content producer so I help businesses with content strategy and how to produce their content and how to plan their content schedule.
Mark: And you’re really good at getting to the bottom of what works for clients and their audiences and delivering some really great looking content as well as content that engages. So can you just talk me through, if I was a business that you were going to be doing the content for, where would you start with me?
Step 1: uncovering audience insights
Beck: The one thing that amazes me time and time again when I go in and work with a company is what they perceive their target market to be, and what they think their target market is interested in. So I always really advised people to jump onto Google Analytics, have a look what interests are based off the people that are following your website, or going to your website, having a look at what has worked in the past and trying to get a really good understanding of your target market because I think that’s the biggest problem that business have is just not giving the right message to the right people
Mark: So you do that through Google Analytics, what would you look for if you went to Google Analytics Console?
Beck: When you jump into Google Analytics, you can actually get a really good insight as to your audience so you can go in and have a look in their interest, their age, their gender, their location. And from that, you should have a pretty good idea of who you’re talking to, and who’s interested in your product.
Mark: So Google will tell you who your customers are?
Beck: Pretty much, yeah. Its actually a lot easier than a lot of people think
Mark: Okay great, so that’s based on their interest and their behavior and the websites they interact with online through Google?
Beck: Yeah, and this is only the beginning when looking at who you are talking to, because you might already have done customer surveys, or you might already have a good idea but it certainly does sort of hit home. The data never lies, so sometimes people can just be a little bit off on who they are talking to. It’s always good just to go back and look at the actual data for that one.
Step 2: finding out what content works
Mark: Alright, and are there any other things you look for in Google Analytics?
Beck: If you are already producing blog posts, obviously you could go back through and have a look at what some of your popular posts are, same again if you’re already producing a bit of content for your social. You’re certainly going to have a look at what’s been working in the past whether it comes down to tone, image style, what you’ve been sharing, or maybe interest based stuff. Certainly going through and having a look at everything that you’ve done to date and really analyzing what has worked for you will give you a very good idea movingly forward.
Mark: So Google Analytics will tell you who your audience is and who you should be talking to. And it also tells you what sort of content your audience is responding to already.
So once you have a good idea of the sort of content that your audience is looking for and the interests, and I guess who they are, who you should be talking to, what’s the next step in developing content for businesses?
Beck: It really depends on each business. I always recommend having a good combination of video and images, maybe using a couple of third party links you can tag out to a couple of external companies. But it’s always good to have a good combination. Obviously, video has a lot of cut through at the moment in Facebook. So it depends on what platform you’re really excelling in. I find most businesses have one platform that they’re doing really well in. And working out what type of content is the best for that particular platform.
Mark: So the next step is, deciding what sort of content to put out there based on the analytics. Should businesses double down and only focus on one type of content, like video? Or is there a certain type of content that suits one type of business?
Beck: I think that it’s a good mixture. You couldn’t deliver every single message, or every single product video. That would be really time consuming, unless you’ve got a massive production team, then sure but most people are a one to three people marketing team. There is no way that you can deliver video that is really good quality and be delivering the message every single day. So I think having a combination of all of thee, like images, third party links, short chitchat, a blog post, and keep it mixed up. A good variety is going to appeal to a wide audience because not everyone loves video, not everyone loves blog posts, so the more you can give people and liquify your content, the more people your going to reach.
Mark: So mix it up! Now, we’ve gone through Google Analytics, and were looking at different types of content styles we’re going to use, whats the next step that you would take when doing a content plan for a business?
Step 3: plan it out using smart tools
Beck: Usually we would next look at doing a content calendar. Again, it varies on each business and some people have a really good idea on if they want to post daily or weekly, how often they want to post, how often they’ve been posting in the past, etc. So put together a content calendar which has all your different content types, and detail whether you’re going to do videos, images, whether they’re going to be interest based, what the message is going to be, and detail if they are going to be sales or interest based. Put that all together in a spreadsheet, so at least you have an idea what sort of content you need to start creating.
Mark: Are there programs that you’d use to schedule that or would you do that as you need to by taking the time to schedule it one post at a time?
Beck: It comes down to what content you’re posting. I love using Hootsuite. I always recommend this program, especially when people are starting up. It’s really and intuitive sort of software program. It’s really easy for people to use and it covers all of your platforms unlike a few others that are out there. Once you got your content created and its ready to be scheduled, then you know you can jump on, schedule it, plan your mix of daily and third party links If you have stuff that’s going to be more industry news based, that’s going to be more daily or topical then obviously you can jump on and do that daily as it comes up.
It’s a combination of scheduling in advance what you can so that you’re not chasing your tail, and then jumping on a daily basis for timely posts. And obviously doing your community management daily as well.
Mark: So community management is a big part of content, is it?
Beck: Definitely. Once you’ve put all this work into doing your content and you’ve scheduled it all and people are starting to respond to it, then if you’re not going in and being part of the conversation you’re not really engaging your community so you certainly can get a lot more customer service brownie points for getting in there and talking back to all of these people that are engaging with you.
Step 4: refine and revise
Mark: You’ve given us a really good outline of exactly what to do when a business needs to create a content strategy, are there any last things were missing out here that we should be doing?
Beck: Once you’ve got all of your content going out, your continually refining what you doing in order to get biggest bang for your buck, or to get the most organic reach. So once everything is going out, and especially if you’re just starting out and you haven’t developed this sort of concept before, what you going to want to do next is jump in and have a look on all of your different like Facebook insights, and Twitter insights. You’re going to want to go and see what your top 5 post for that week were. And make a note if it was video, or photos, maybe it was third party links, and maybe it was a post about your products, maybe it was a funny little short humorous post.
After you’ve done all that hard work, you really want to go through and refine the content and do more of what’s working because the main aim for doing all of this content is reach and engagement.
Mark: It sounds like we’re back at the beginning now when you were looking at Google Analytics to see what had worked historically?
Beck: Exactly. It’s just a cycle and realistically, you want to do that at the end of every week so that you can keep refining. If you spending all this time doing content you really want to be putting stuff out there that does get that engagement so if you’re not reviewing it and you’re not checking what’s working, then you’re really missing out on a massive chunk of the pie.
Mark: I think that everyone can get a really good idea of exactly what goes into a content plan. Thanks very much for giving us some insight Beck.
Beck: No worries
Mark: And thanks very much for listening to another episode of 10 minute marketing.
And as always, if there’s someone who you think would benefit from the tips we’ve given away on the podcast, please send it their way.