What’s the one thing Benjamin Franklin, Johnson & Johnson, and Jello salespeople have in common?
The knowledge that content marketing works.
In 1732, Benjamin Franklin used it to promote his book, “Issuance of Poor Richard’s Almanack.” In 1888, Johnson & Johnson applied it by creating a publication to sell its products. And in 1904, Jello salespeople used content marketing principles to increase sales by over a million dollars.
Fast forward to 2022, and content marketing is still a darling of marketers. In fact, according to HubSpot, more than 90% of marketers agreed that they plan to continue investing in this channel.
And while it is very well established that content marketing is a fine and dandy channel that can help you increase sales and awareness, one might wonder how you can scale its operations.
Worry not, this article is for you. In this guide, we’ve outlined a simple six-step strategy that’ll help you get started on scaling your content marketing operations.
Step 1: Define a Goal and Prepare a Strategy
First things first — we’re not going to get anywhere without a strategy (like Brody said, we can’t hit a target we can’t see). Defining a content strategy helps you outline what goals you want to achieve, how you want to achieve them, and what steps you plan to take to reach them.
Besides, having a strategy in place helps you unify your operations to reach your goals instead of creating a patchwork of ideas (trust us, your audience will know when you don’t have a strategy in place).
How to start creating a strategy, you ask? Here are a few elements you should consider:
- Use data to your advantage — see what works and what doesn’t.
- Make a list of goals you want to achieve and why you want to achieve them (that’s to say, what benefits do you expect to see once you accomplish these goals?).
- If you haven’t already, create a style guide (here, thoroughly define your target audience, with what intent they interact with you, what’s your tone of voice, what’s the brand image you’re trying to portray, who your competitors are, etc.).
- Do keyword research and identify topics, content gaps, and distribution channels you want to target.
- While your goals should remain the same, you should consider creating separate strategies for separate channels (for example, a separate strategy for blogs and social media).
- Look for ways to optimize the strategy (for e.g., you can consider backlinking opportunities, refreshing old content, reaching out to the community for content promotion, making articles SEO friendly, etc.).
Step 2: Create a Content Calendar and Ensure You’ve Documented Milestones
While the common stance is that content marketers should create content calendars, our two cents is that they should also mark down milestones they wish to achieve with the content.
Your calendar should ideally contain information about the stuff you plan to publish on your marketing channels, creators you hope you partner with, the audience you aim to reach, and the deadlines to create, edit, and publish content.
Once you create a content calendar, create a separate strategy document of all the milestones you hope to achieve along the way. For example, you could write goals such as “hoping to increase website visitors by XX% by XX date” or “aiming to increase engagement on LinkedIn by XX% on XX date,” etc.
This document will allow you to understand whether the strategy you have in place is getting results. If not, you can alter your game plan accordingly.
Step 3: Build a Team of the Right People and Partners
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your content marketing operations won’t scale without augmenting your team. If you wish to stay on the trajectory of creating high-quality content, reaching your goals, and capturing your audience’s attention, you’ll need to bring on or partner with the right people.
Everyone has their own set of expertise, so leverage them to get the best possible outcomes.
For example, you can partner with:
- Pro writers who know how to create eye-grabbing content.
- Content strategists who can help you achieve your goals.
- Researchers who can assess content gaps and access information your competitors might not have.
- Interviewers who can get in touch with SMEs.
- Designers who can create artistic visuals.
- Influencers who can promote your content.
Pro tip: Make sure you create strategic partnerships. You might not want to get an Android influencer on board if your brand is focused on iOS products and you only have an audience who interacts with you for that reason.
Step 4: Automate Whatever You Can
Automation is a massive part of scaling any business. And why shouldn’t it be? If there’s an option to cut the same repetitive tasks that add no value, then you really should take it. And there are no shortage of opportunities within the content automation arena.
If you asked them, there’s a strong probability that your team could list — right off the top of their heads — several mundane tasks that they have grown to detest doing every day. Just imagine the time (and sanity) you’d save if you employed some automated shortcuts. Speaking of which, here are a few shortcuts we recommend:
- Use Zapier for workflow automation and team collaboration between multiple platforms.
- Use templates and guides for generating email marketing campaigns.
- Try Buffer or Hootsuite to increase engagement on social media.
- For design tasks, consider using poster templates.
- To scale content production, use AI-based content writing software or paragraph rewriters to get inspiration.
- Keep track of how your campaigns performed with marketing automation.
- Use DivvyHQ to plan out content and manage workflows.
- Try other tools for pricing management and partner management.
These are just a few suggestions — see what tools, systems, and processes work for you and your team, and then revise usage accordingly.
Step 5: Take a Step Back
What we mean by taking a step back is to look at the bigger picture and see if your current strategy matches your long-term goals. If it does, do you have the right processes in place? Is your content calendar driving the results you hoped for? Have you achieved your set milestones?
To evaluate if your content strategy is a hit or a bust, consider questions like:
- Is it reaching the intended audience?
- What does their response look like — is it positive or negative?
- Will they keep interacting with my content if the strategy remains the same? If not, what changes can I make?
- Does the content match the reader’s intent?
- Are the people I’m partnering with the right fit for the content I publish?
- Does the current strategy preserve my brand image?
- Is the current strategy getting the expected results? If not, which areas require changes and why?
- Does any aspect of my current strategy affect my long-term content goals?
Chances are, while you might get some data on how your audience interacts with your content through analytics software, you might not get a definitive answer on what your audience likes about your content and what they don’t.
You can ask them what kind of content they wish to see. But we believe you might find more success by hanging out at the platforms they hang out at, joining customer support calls, and checking social media to see what they’re talking about.
Step 6: Test and Invest in Channels That Work
Say, all is good and dandy in the content marketing land, and your audience loves the way you’ve been scaling your content marketing operations.
Well, you can keep doing the same thing as you are right now (but that can get boring pretty soon). Or, you can test and retest aspects of your content marketing strategy to see what can be improved. How to do that, you ask? Employ a two-step process:
- A/B test all parts of your campaign(s) — test out different landing pages, content styles, length of text, images, messages, emails, CTAs, content structure, subject lines, navigation links, buttons, offers, etc., to see which get the most attention from users. (For example, most companies often test subject lines, CTAs, content structure, and buttons when running an email marketing campaign.)
- See what works for you and what doesn’t. No two customer subsets are the same, and what works for one brand may not work for another. Once you identify which aspects work best, you can double down and invest more in them. For example, if, after considerable tests and retests, you see that your blog content performs better than social content, then it makes more sense to invest more in blogs.
To Sum It Up
There’s a saying in the marketing world, “what works today won’t work tomorrow.” While the six-step process we’ve laid out for you should help you scale your content marketing operations today, one never knows the systems or processes that tomorrow may bring that could shake up the entire process.
In case you wake up tomorrow and see a new world of content marketing, don’t panic! DivvyHQ is always one step ahead of the curve and will always focus on creating tools and resources to empower content marketers and content creators. Request a demo today to take a closer look!