Like many creative entrepreneurs, I sometimes postpone updating my website while I’m helping clients with their online content, brochures and other marketing collateral. When I return to my blog to conduct a basic content strategy checkup, a set of sticky notes is my favorite low-tech hero.
A basic content strategy checkup looks at scheduled entries, drafts and ideas.
Get your sticky notes ready.
An editorial calendar is a simple way to create deadlines for future entries, but first, whether you write your own content or hire a writer, you need ideas. I always have several drafts – some almost finished and other concepts sporting only a post title – waiting in my WordPress dashboard. A few other potential topics are already scrawled on the sticky notes resting on my desk; I add new sticky notes for the titles of unpublished WordPress drafts.
Build your buckets.
You’ll need places to park your sticky notes. I use manila folders, writing the name of each “bucket” on a file, but the most important thing to choose here is not found in the office supply aisle. What do you want or need to measure most? Buckets can be based on targets or topics.
- Targets. Who are you trying to reach? This is your target audience, but you could also create buckets/folders based on topics your target audience finds useful.
- Topics. What five (or more) topics, often related to keywords, do you want to emphasize in the next three, six or 12 months? If you’re an independent insurance agent, for example, these buckets could be general (such as “auto”), various life events or specific products and endorsements, etc. Existing tags and categories, as well as a quick look at your other online “properties” such as social media accounts, can remind you which topics have already generated positive reactions from your target audience. Consider expanding your coverage of any recently popular topics while interest is high. (Bonus tip: Watch your “signal to noise” ratio. Don’t let sales “noise” drown out the positive “signals” of helpful information you offer readers.)
Sort and evaluate.
Whether you’re using sticky notes, 3×5 cards, a list in your word processing software or an online planning tool, you can see where your ideas are starting to pile up, and which topics or audiences will require more attention. Ideas flow more easily when you know your goals and your needs. Some low-value drafts or ideas can be discarded at this point.
As a component of your brand’s online identity and your marketing strategy, your blog needs regular attention and planning. If you are not feeding your blog regularly, a writer with content strategy skills can work with you to generate ideas and create fresh, relevant posts.
Again, this is a content strategy checkup in its most basic form, but I’ve found that reaching for paper and pen can help people see their data differently, whether that information lives on a homepage, in a blog or in a social media account. That’s one reason I recommend a card sorting approach to information architecture in some situations.