Many content marketers struggle to “feed the content beast” with a steady stream of useful, relevant information. Creating a tasty smorgasbord of content requires an understanding of your readers and a willingness to use available ingredients in creative ways. If created and curated content is like a main course, it should be sandwiched between front-end and back-end strategy.
Without that strategy, the beast might lose interest and get lured away by the tempting smells wafting from a competitor’s kitchen. Here are the steps that should go into crafting your content “sandwich.”
Front-end strategy: Perform these steps at the beginning of your creation process to ensure that the beast keeps coming back for more content.
1. Set goals. Without goals, you have no way to measure the success of your content menu. Goals might include increasing site traffic or lead generation, improving SEO, building industry credibility, or creating community around your brand and the industry. Once you’ve established these goals, you can design your content meal to meet them.
2. Research your approach. Don’t toss out content for the sake of content. Analyze your audience, topics, and content formats to better determine the optimal diet for your content beast.
A few questions to consider:
Who are your readers and what do they look for in content? What are their pain points (things that keep them up at night or prevent them from reaching their own goals)?
What topics do you want to be known for? Who is already leading the conversation in those areas? Where do people currently get information on those topics?
How frequently should you publish and how will you promote your content?
3. Test your content. Spice up your content and ensure that it satisfies the beast by testing it. Here are some common elements and factors to test:
Headlines – Are readers more likely to click on headlines that ask a question or include a number? How does the font size or placement of the headline affect its impact?
Topics – What topics generate the most shares or comments? Are there ways to put a creative twist on those topics so they won’t get stale?
Calls to action – Does the font size or color of the call to action impact its effectiveness? What about the placement of your call to action?
Design – How do the colors or layout of your website impact reader behavior?
Length – Do readers respond better to long, thoughtful posts or more casual, short posts? Does including subheads or bullets in longer posts make a difference?
Frequency – Do readers respond well to daily updates? Or do they want to hear from you more or less often?
Back-end strategy —Now that the beast has polished off your meal, it’s time to tweak your recipes and brainstorm ways to repurpose any leftovers so nothing goes to waste. Here are the back-end steps that will ensure that the beast gobbles up your content.
4. Measure and optimize. Pay attention to the beast’s food preferences. Did the beast come back for seconds or recommend your content meal to others? What is your competition serving? Take a look at their menu to identify your own strengths, weaknesses, and differentiators. This can help you discover your secret sauce, the thing you do better than anyone else.
5. Repurpose. A hungry beast can rapidly devour content, but serving it in different formats and mixing it in with new content can help keep the beast satisfied. To repurpose content you’ve already created, you might pull memorable sound bytes from a white paper or report and post them as tweets or Facebook updates or use them to create graphics for posting on visual platforms like Pinterest. You could post a transcript from a webinar or podcast so that people who prefer reading over watching or listening can “snack” on your content.
Just as restaurant patrons have different food preferences, readers prefer to consume content in different ways, so using multiple formats ensures that your content reaches more of your audience. By following this recipe for the content sandwich, you’ll improve the likelihood of keeping the beast satisfied.
Want more tips on creating and curating content? Download the free ebook, How to Feed the Content Beast (without getting eaten alive).