You’ve created a stellar piece of content. It’s informative, packed with actionable tips and even features a sleek looking infographic. So, in the days after you post, suffice to say you’re pretty hyped to check the data and see how it’s doing.

You click refresh … and then refresh again, clean off your glasses and do a double take — it’s hardly gotten any traffic.

What gives?

Developing content that stands out from your competitors’ is only half the battle. From there, you still have a ways to go to get your message in front of the right people at the right time. Good thing you’re about to have a secret weapon for success on your side: a best-in-class content management strategy.

Why Content Management Strategies Are Important

Your content management strategy is your team’s ultimate playbook. It’s a structured plan that ties every marketing asset to your organization’s business goals. Think of it as the “why” behind what you do. It outlines when, where and what is being posted, as well as how each piece of content relates to your overall mission.

Plus, aside from keeping things organized, there’s a good reason why small businesses and industry leaders all use a content management strategy: because it works.

Benefits of a Content Management Strategy

We could go on and on about the benefits that come with sitting down and plotting out your content management strategy. Just a few of our favorites include:

  • Alignment: When you have a structured content management plan in place, it’ll become easier to keep all of your themes and messaging points aligned.
  • Customer insights: Once you get into the weeds of content marketing, you can extract meaningful insights about your audience using data and analytics — all of which can be used to make your next piece of content that much better.
  • Resource optimization: With a documented content management strategy, you can ensure that everything your marketing team puts into your content translates to tangible results.

Whether your goal is brand awareness, sales enablement or a little bit of everything, your content management strategy can take you where you want to go.

How To Implement a Successful Content Management Strategy

Content management strategies: They’re important. So, how can you create your own?

Before we get into that, let’s talk about what not to do. While 76% of respondents told Smart Insights that their organizations take a strategic approach to content marketing management, only 59% had a documented content strategy. For the remaining 41%, there’s still room for some serious headaches when it comes to onboarding new marketing staff, monitoring changes or assessing what is and isn’t working. Why?

Documentation is Your Friend

It all comes down to a little four syllable word: documented. There’s only so much your team can do if your all-important content strategy is a vague idea rather than a fully mapped out plan.

Once your team has created your strategy, be sure to store it in a shareable document that can be accessed at any time. This will not only make it easier for new employees to quickly get on the same page, but your existing team members will always have a source of truth to check in with.

So, let’s get started and make sure you don’t fall into the same content traps that have befallen other marketers.

Your first step: Identify your goal and create a content strategy that matches.

Boosting Your SEO Presence

Your goal: Get your brand’s website in the top 10 ranking for keywords that matter to your audience.

The content management strategy: Pillars and clusters.

A pillar piece is exactly what you think of when you hear the word pillar. It’s the foundation of your content strategy that holds up the rest of your posts. If your pillar topic is digital marketing, then the shorter, more focused articles (clusters) that sit atop it may include something like “How a Good Content Management Strategy Can Transform Your Digital Marketing Game.”

Now that we think of it, that sounds like it would make for a pretty interesting read.

This is a content strategy that works for businesses small, large and in between — you don’t need a team of 1,000 to write a page that ranks. You just need some quality writing, which we know you’ve got covered.

Search engines (translation: Google) aren’t fully transparent about how they rank websites and the order they’re shown to users. However, some of the leading factors include the relevancy of the content, structure of the website and how recently the piece was posted.

Building your content strategy around this goal can basically be broken down into 3 steps:

  1. Find your topic: Think of a subject your audience is interested in. It should be niche enough that it appeals to their unique interests, but wide enough that you could have a lot to say on the matter.
  2. Build your pillar page: Once you have your topic, try summing it up in as few words as possible. Your pillar page should serve as a comprehensive lesson on the subject.
  3. Write some clusters: Take a magnifying glass to one section of your pillar page and go even deeper. Clusters are your opportunity to get into the weeds of your topic and provide your audience with ultra-specific knowledge.

Since a pillar page serves to organize your content and hierarchize it, Google thinks of it far more fondly than it may a standalone piece. That means when your target audience goes searching for your designated keyword, you’re more likely to pop up on that all-important first page.

Plus, while your pillar and cluster articles work in tandem to support your SEO goals, your clusters can also help you achieve other business objectives.

Building Brand Awareness

Your goal: Boost brand awareness in your target audience.

The content management strategy: Introductory and education-focused content.

Maybe you’re a newer start-up company or are simply looking to grow your existing business. Either way, blogging for brand awareness can be an ultra-effective way to widen the top of your sales funnel and draw in more leads.

This type of content targets customers who have just started to look for answers to a question or solution to a problem they’re having. Let’s go back to our pillar topic, digital marketing, and brainstorm what some potential awareness-based pieces could look like. Some concepts for these assets may include:

  • What is digital marketing?
  • How digital marketing can boost sales.
  • 5 reasons you need a digital marketing strategy.

Just remember: What your top-of-funnel readers want is content that helps them answer questions and make the best purchase in the end. What they don’t want is a random plug to a product or service before they even know how to define the problem at hand.

Increasing Profits

Your goal: Generate more sales.

The strategy: Sales enablement.

It’s time to put on our sales hats and close the deal. Well, maybe you won’t personally be the one shaking hands and saying “sign here,” but your content will be. Sales enablement is the process of providing your sales team with all of the materials they need to educate potential customers and build a case for your brand.

Sales content that targets customers toward the end of the buying process should:

  • Answer questions that the sales team frequently hears.
  • Highlight the biggest differentiators between you and your competitors.
  • Provide case studies and examples of prior customer success stories.

These aren’t the only ways that your content management strategy can be used to propel a business goal, but should instead be treated as examples to inspire your own plan. Content marketing is highly customizable. It can (and should) be personalized and tweaked for the specific stage of the customer journey you’re hoping to impact.

How To Streamline Content Creation

With so many moving parts, even the most experienced content marketer can feel overwhelmed when it comes time to start developing, executing and tracking a brand new strategy. The good news is that you don’t have to go at it alone.

Creating your content management strategy should be a collaborative project. However, to actually execute it, you should divide and conquer. By splitting up responsibilities across your team, you can not only streamline the content creation process, but you can also reinforce your goals and strategy on a continuous basis.

Let’s start with the basics: Who owns each process across your content workflow?

If you don’t know the answer to that question just yet, that’s OK — this is exactly where your content management system (CMS) can come in handy.

For many marketing teams, their relationship with their CMS starts and ends with scheduling posts. However, the tool can do far more than that. Think of it as an extension of your team rather than a piece of technology. You should be able to lean on it to create and assign responsibilities throughout the content workflow, including creation, approval and monitoring.

Sit down with your content team and map out the content creation process and each of its steps and include this in your content management strategy document. Not only will this provide clarity for each employee involved in the process, but it will also help you minimize the chance for a deadline to go unnoticed due to a miscommunication.

How to Know if Your Content Management Strategy is Working

Once you’ve assigned roles for your team and started posting content, how do you actually know whether your management strategy is working?

The short answer: It varies.

Depending on the goal you’ve set out to accomplish, your definition of success will look a little different from other teams. Let’s go over some of the key performance indicators to track based on the marketing strategies we’ve covered so far:

SEO Authority

  • Impressions: How many times has your website popped up in a search?
  • Number of page rankings: What number of pages are you ranking for?
  • Domain and page authority: How does your page score against your competitors?

Awareness

  • Website traffic: Have you seen an increase in activity across your website since you posted?
  • Social mentions: Has your piece been shared or mentioned on some of the social media channels that are relevant to your target audience?
  • Referral links: Are other websites linking back to your content as a source of trusted knowledge?

Sales Activity

  • Sales: If your content is specifically promoting a new service line or product, has it seen an increase in sales?
  • Conversion rate: How many of your readers are taking action after they engage with your piece?
  • Feedback from sales: Has the sales team been able to successfully leverage your content during conversations with potential customers?

Just remember: You’ll need to track these numbers over time to create a benchmark for yourself. Checking in on a regular basis will help you to better understand whether your content management strategy needs some tweaking. Additionally, if your goals ever change along the way, so too will the KPIs you’ll want keep an eye on.

Accomplishing Goals and Increasing Productivity

Long story short? As you work to develop and execute your own content management strategy, just remember that each piece of content your team creates should have a clear and measurable goal. This way, you can track its success and make any changes you need along the way, ensuring that all of your hard work doesn’t go to waste.

Looking for more information when it comes to creating a content marketing strategy? Check out our newsletter for insights, advice and opinions about all things digital marketing.

Amanda Ciarci is a senior writer and editor at Brafton. When she isn’t busy overusing the em dash, she can be found playing with her cat, drinking pots of coffee at a time or finding her next concert to attend.