Bringing It All Together: Content Strategy

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I hear from a lot of people I consult with that they have several different types of output or creative production and they don’t know which one to focus on, or the best way to display each type of content. Usually the best answer is very customized to the client, but a few helpful guidelines can help you decide on the best way to distribute or display your content.

First make a list of the types of content that you produce or need to market. These might include actual products you sell, finished portfolio items to market your services, creative outlets or fun ideas that exist for the sake of creativity.

It’s great if some of these creative outlets are less “professional” and more fun or creative. Publishing content for no reason other than that it inspired you humanizes you in the eyes of the people who visit your page, and probably inspires them too. It’s also a fun way to develop  your brand, build your network and engage people who are already in it. A big part of gaining new clients is word of mouth, or them simply remembering your name when they need the kind of services that you can offer. Give them a reason to.

Next make a list of the methods of publication that you have at your disposal. This could include your website, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, SmugMug, Etsy, Google+, print, IRL storefronts, or any other platforms that you use. I typically work with clients who need digital marketing services, so that is what I am most familiar with.

Once you make these two lists, it’s time to make a diagram, or a flow chart. Connect the types of output to the outlet that it would be most appropriate on. This is where you may need to fill in some gaps too. Make a list of the types of audiences you are reaching, and the ones that you would like to reach that may not be on your list yet. Do you need Pinterest or Instagram, for example?

Are there certain things that you aren’t publishing to anyone because you are being too precious with them? If you are being too precious with your content, then nothing will make it out the door. There is no such thing as Perfection.

Also, keep in mind that you can cross-publish through certain services, and connect them as needed. Buffer can push to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. IFTTT can help you automate too. Most of the photo sharing platforms have cross platform integration. Find the system that works for you, and put it in place.

For a few examples, if you’re a professional photographer you may want to maintain your portfolio on your website, a running blog that gives an overview of your latest news or favorite shoots, and an Instagram or Tumblr for random inspirational pics you take during the day on your phone that have no commercial purpose, but are totally awesome in their own way. You can feed all of the updates on these platforms through Facebook, and Twitter, where you already have established audiences. If you’re a fashion designer, you may also have your professional website, feed latest favorite trends through Twitter, have a blog with fashion tips, and use a service like Polyvore to build inspiration boards and engage other designers.

Once all of this is done, at the end of your diagram you should come up with a schedule for publishing and stick to it. Remember that efficiency and budgeting your time are key. How many times a week do you need to post fun content, and how often do you need to update your professional portfolio? Make sure to be honest with yourself here, or else everything will fall by the wayside and you will leave your brand looking like a ghost town. Be consistent.

The last step is to iterate. In a month or so, reassess how your progress has gone in the past few weeks. If you aren’t able to stick to your schedule, or if no one is seeing what you publish, you need to establish new guidelines for content publication and address engagement. If you’re doing great, try to up the ante and add more.

Good luck! Tweet me @CynthiaCoffield to let me know how it’s going #BringingItAllTogether.