Content 101 | The 3 C’s of Content Marketing Strategy
Did you know that teachers are the ultimate content marketers? It’s true! They generate squillions of activities, assignments, and assessments in order to move their students toward that noble but slightly nebulous goal of “learning.” Their payoff is not in dollars but the very tangible benefits of an educated populace.
More than once in my teaching career, I had the arduous task of designing an entire course from scratch with nothing but the Ohio Academic Standards to guide me. I had a flashback to that past life this week as we sat down to plan Innogage’s content strategy for the coming year.
If you feel like your online content marketing is a bit haphazard when it comes to form and/or function, maybe it’s time to sit down and plan a little. As a teacher (and, further back, a student), I found that the keys to maximizing learning were context, cohesion and consistency:
- Context: I could never assume that my students knew the necessary background information for the day’s lesson, so I always built in a small primer or recap to jog everyone’s memory. I also did pre-assessments to gauge exactly what they did already know. When planning content, it helps to look back on what topics you have been publishing on to help determine what you want to add or improve. Gauge which topics garner the most comments and questions. Write the occasional “beginner’s” post, or publish it as a static page for new visitors to browse through and get a quick feel for your area of expertise.
- Cohesion: It’s hard for the brain to jump from topic to topic, and this is true for both you as the content creator and for the consumers of your content. Identify your primary topics, and pick one to explore in depth for a whole week or month. Place your topics in a logical order, or better yet, draw out the connections between all the topics. (A riff on the teacher favorite concept mapping.) This ensures that 1) You are always producing content relevant to your mission statement; 2) You always have a way to transition your readers from one topic to another. Reference the previous day or week’s content. (Extra credit: internal linking boosts your SEO!) Link to other content providers discussing the same topic, perhaps from a different role or industry.
- Consistency: As a teacher, I was careful to establish rules and routines for the classroom. Hardbound rules may not be that important for producing content, but routines will certainly streamline that process. Decide when and how often you will publish your blog posts, newsletters, or white papers. Establish a set of formats that you can adapt to any subject. When paired with your list of content themes, this eliminates some of the “What do I write?!” angst by multiplying the amount of content you can generate on a particular topic. You may even go so far as to design templates for each format to make it easier on your content producers.
These are three of the general principles that guided my teaching practice and can give strength and shape to your content marketing strategy. Stay tuned for a more detailed explanation of how we planned our own content strategy using some of the planning practices favored by educators everywhere.
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