Every marketer understands the crucial role high-quality content plays in their marketing strategy. Whether it’s a product description, web page, blog post, or some other form, content is what attracts your audience, helps build trust in your brand, and ultimately elicits an emotional response that leads to a conversion.
With such a high demand for content, brands need a content manager who can wrap their arms around the planning, creation, and promotion of it all. Certain behaviors are necessary for a content manager to consistently deliver meaningful, relevant content to your audience. In this post, I share some best practices for successful content management.
Have a Strategy You Can Map To
You know you need to produce awesome content. But what kind? Where will it go? What business goals will it support? All of these questions (and more!) can be answered if you have a strategy to guide you.
A content strategy defines the goals your content should meet, how you’ll accomplish them, and how you’ll measure success. It should also identify where you’ll focus your efforts and how all your content will work together across platforms and channels. What this strategy looks like will be different for every content manager, and that’s okay. Some brands may develop a standalone content strategy, while others may prefer to integrate it into their overall marketing plan. Either way, what matters is that you have a guide as you develop, execute, and measure your content efforts.
And, don’t feel like your strategy must be set in stone. Your audience needs, business goals, or industry standards may change, and you should adapt your content to stay relevant to all of it. Have regular check-ins to review and update your strategy to make sure your content still aligns with your overall objectives.
Establish an Ideation Process
You should also create a robust topic ideation process. Your content strategy provides a framework for what you need, and your ideation process lets you get specific about how you execute your content strategy.
What topics should you be covering? What form should it take? Who will create it? The ideation process is the time to get those questions answered, so you can be prepared to source and schedule your content with your contributors.
It’s also time to determine the frequency at which you want to ideate new content. Does it make sense to do this annually? Twice a year? Monthly? At Portent, our content ideation team meets quarterly. We chose this frequency because it gives us the opportunity to be nimble with the content we produce: responding to what subjects are getting the most engagement, what information our clients are looking for, and what industry trends are on the horizon that we should be talking about.
Maintain an Editorial Calendar
When you’re managing content, particularly content you’re getting from multiple contributors, you need a way to actually manage the content. You should use an editorial calendar (also sometimes called a content calendar) to schedule and assign content, stay on top of internal draft and copyediting deadlines, and track your publishing cadence. A calendar also adds transparency to the publishing process because you have a place to manage where your content is coming from and when to expect it. The process also helps your contributors maintain accountability with an easy way to track when tasks are due.
An editorial calendar is also a great resource when you want a quick snapshot of historical content data. Including things like the author, topic area, and keywords you were targeting gives you information to reference when you want to measure organic performance and how people are engaging with your content.
Keep a Robust Tool Kit
As a content manager, you’ll be switching between a few different hats as needs arise. Whether you’re researching keywords for content pieces, copyediting a blog post, or analyzing the traffic and engagement your content is driving, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the right tools at your disposal. There are plenty out there, but here is a list of the ones we use regularly at Portent:
- Ahrefs for keyword research
- Google Analytics for measuring traffic and engagement
- Buzzsumo for tracking social trends and engagement
- Grammarly for copyediting support
- If your brand has one, a TOV guide is a great resource to ensure consistency in brand voice across all of your content
Again, the options are endless, and this is just scratching the surface. If you’re looking for more content research and creation resources, check out this post: The Best Research Tools to Write Killer Content.
Continually Analyze and Audit
Web content is never set-it-and-forget-it. It is a living thing and must constantly evolve in order to stay meaningful and relevant. And as a content manager who is responsible for the success of your content initiatives, you’ll need to make sure your content is adapting to meet changing demands.
Regularly analyzing traffic and engagement is a great place to start. With that information, you can see what resonates with your audience, what information they are looking for, and how your content is playing a role in your conversion goals.
Get into the habit of regularly auditing your content as well. A content audit is a great way to shed light on the qualitative aspects of your existing content inventory. The audit can illuminate ways to improve stale or outdated content or identify gaps in content that your users are looking for. Set up a frequency for auditing your content, based on the type of content you are evaluating.
Empathy is a consistently hot topic when it comes to content marketing, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it here. One of the most important things a content manager can do to be successful is to practice empathy.
First, you need empathy for your audience. Understand how they think, what information and resources they need, and what motivates them to take action. This will lay the groundwork for identifying the right content to provide your users when they need it, and where they are looking for it.
You’ll need empathy for your content creators and internal collaborators as well. The best quality content comes from understanding what your subject-matter experts are passionate about and aligning that with your content strategy.
Regardless of the type of content you are managing or producing, and how it works to support your overall content goals, every content manager must be able to execute strategy, meet deadlines, and drive meaningful content forward.
Your content should engage your audience and build your brand. Following the best practices outlined in this article will establish a foundation for continued success.