If you are using WordPress as your CMS, and haven’t thought about content strategy, you are likely missing out on some of the core benefits that WordPress can contribute to your marketing and branding goals.
What is a Content Strategy
For businesses, content strategy means unifying your online publishing efforts behind a common goal. Really, that goal can be anything, and you don’t even need to be a business to have one — I discuss the topic with non-profits and hobbyists all the time. A viable content strategy will enable your business to produce and publish content that meets your company’s goals and missions.
Today, we’ll discuss some tools, and procedures for maintaining a content strategy within WordPress.
Unifying Your Content Production
As I mentioned above, a content strategy is all about unifying behind a common goal. While you may be communicating this goal in weekly strategy meetings, or even through a daily email to your marketing and writing teams. Granted, you might not have marketing and writing teams to unify behind your marketing goal. In which case, these subtle (and sometimes obnoxious) reminders might not come up, in which case you might need some tools to keep you on track.
One of my favorite tools for staying on point is actually a widget that appears in my WordPress dashboard. Its called Dashboard Notepad, and is a really simple way to remind yourself about various tasks that should be demanding your attention. It also allows you to share the notes by specifying who can see or edit them, or if they can be read by the public. This makes it useful for sharing random thoughts that might not be deserving of an entire article, or to remind users of procedures to follow when publishing new content.
Qualifying Your Content Before Publishing
Next, before anything gets published, it should be checked to ensure that it fits inside of your current content marketing efforts. With everyone entering their author sessions with your goals in mind, it is important that their content actually communicates a message that contributes toward that goal. One option is to have an editor review posts before they go live. If an editor isn’t an option, I have two plugins that I recommend using to improve the quality of your content before it goes live.
First is the After The Deadline plugin that is included as part of JetPack by Automattic. Think of this plugin as a writing aide that prevents your authors from submitting content containing many common writing faux pas. Specifically, enable proofreading for hidden verbs, cliches and biased language. Now, when your content goes to an editor (if you employ one of course), it is devoid of any of your undesirable writing characteristics.
Next up is WordPress SEO by Yoast. In addition to the plethora of SEO features this plugin includes, which I’ll touch on next week, it also has one tool that is of particular use for determining the categorical relevency of new posts. When adding a new entry, just scroll down to the WordPress SEO by Yoast widget, specify a focus keyword, and save. Now you’ll be able to click on “Page Analysis” and get a lot of important information about your article.
As always, if you are generating your own content, there are several guides out there for writing better content. Following one is never a bad idea.
Sharing Your Content
Now that you are producing and publishing better content, it is time to get it out there for mass consumption. This means sharing your posts on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and (if applicable) LinkedIn. Personally, I prefer crafting my own social shares, it adds a bit more special touch, and allows me to reshare and remarket content as needed. If you can’t be bothered to do this yourself, and you can’t afford a social media manager to craft these social shares for you, then you might need to resort to an auto-share plugin.
Jetpack has one of the better sharing plugins included in its package, named Publicize, complete with automatic post support for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Additionally, you can configure sharing buttons to help your readers spread the word about your awesome content.
Monitor Your Content
The final puzzle piece in a content strategy boils down to analytics. You need to know what is going on with the content you are publishing. How many visits are you getting, where is your content being shared, how are people finding your pages. All of this comes together to help you refine and perfect your strategy to better focus your efforts on content that works.
For WordPress, specifically, stats don’t really get better than WordPress.com stats (included in JetPack). Specifically, WordPress affords you insight into individual post performance without having to configure a more robust Analytics package. However, if you are needing to track and monitor conversion data, those more feature complete packages are going to be in your best interest.
If that last sentence applies to you, I recommend using a plugin that has a dashboard widget, like Google Analytics for WordPress. This way you can turn your dashboard into powerful information gathering tool, with the ability to monitor inbound traffic, recent articles, comments, and more without having to dive too deep into any one area.
Some Final Thoughts
If you are unfamiliar with content marketing and strategy, it may be time to consult with an expert in the field. Especially if you are attempting to overcome specific obstacles that might block you from realizing your full potential. Many content marketing specialists are very familiar with WordPress publishing, and can help you maximize your efforts in improving consumer trust and subject authority without necessarily costing more than you can afford.