Planning a Digital Publishing Content Strategy
Written by Matt Berringer
July 19, 2022
Even top-quality content can lose views to a social media or search engine algorithm. A content strategy is the most effective way to manage your publication, especially when you’re sharing media across multiple channels and audiences. A well-planned strategy helps you post consistently and at ideal engagement times while optimizing each piece for maximum reach.
Establish Goals and KPIs
The first — and most important — part of digital content strategy planning is knowing your goal for each year, quarter, publication, content piece and beyond. By establishing your goals at the start and committing them, you give yourself a strong content strategy framework to guide each decision.
Follow these steps:
- Identify your starting point: You need a clear picture of your publication’s current state, including your profit margins, audience engagement and retention metrics, cost to produce, subscriber or member
count, search engine ranking, organic traffic and more.
- Set SMART goals: Once you’ve got a better idea of your starting point, you can start setting long-term goals. Each goal should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely (SMART).
- Choose KPIs: Key performance indicators (KPI) are benchmarks that measure your progress for each goal. For example, if one long-term goal is to increase your number of satisfied subscribers, some KPIs might be reader retention rates or the ratio of positive to negative feedback on your social platforms.
- Measure progress: After setting your KPIs, determine how often you’ll monitor them and your method for doing so. Consider visualization software or similar to help track and quantify progress.
Audit Existing Content
Setting goals is the backbone of creating a content strategy, and you can use those insights to audit your existing media, website, social posts and publication content. Keep your long-term goals in mind as you approach each step of the auditing process:
- Create an audit plan: Have a consistent system for rating and measuring those audit factors. How will you determine which pieces are fine and which to eliminate or rework? What qualities should you watch for that might make a piece a good fit for a different application?
- Take inventory: Label each content piece according to its stage of the reader’s journey, like “start of the funnel” content that draws new readers in vs. featured pieces for existing subscribers. Take inventory
of your existing content and note duplicated or under-performing material. Create a separate category for pieces performing really well and get a lot of traffic or engagement.
- Identify gaps: Now that have inventory and quality analytics, start creating plans to bridge the gaps. What’s holding under-performing pieces back? What processes led to duplicate content, and how can you correct that to maximize your team’s time? You should also consider current hot topics and new media types to explore so you can stay up-to-date with audience expectations and interests.
- Update information: Make sure every page works correctly with current contact information, a relevant call to action, keyword optimization and up-to-date statistics where applicable. Repair or replace any
- Repurpose top-performing content: Your top-performing content is one of your most valuable assets. Brainstorm ways to break popular articles into smaller content you can use across platforms, like turning long articles into multiple short blog posts or using interviews as marketing excerpts.
Conduct Audience and Market Research
You know where you’re at and where you want to go — now it’s time to see how your audience fits into that vision. Goals are a great way to grow and track progress, but your audience’s wants and needs are what ultimately win new readers and subscribers. The more you know about them, the better you can tailor content and your marketing efforts.
Start your research here:
- Collect relevant information: Use your website, social media and search engine analytics to collect relevant information about your average reader, including demographics, common pain points, average bounce rate, top-performing keywords and more.
- Create reader personas: You should start seeing patterns and commonalities across your readership. Some might be obvious, like a specific age group or gender, while others are more nuanced, like readers seeking specific types of content. Create multiple reader personas that paint a picture of these “average” customers.
- Know your competitors: Market research also includes knowing your competitors’ strategies. Find content marketing strategy examples that improve their engagement and take a similar approach. Knowing your competitors helps you learn what sets your publication apart so you can lean into those differences.
Set Your Publication Up for Success With Nxtbook Media
Whether your content strategy needs a digital-first solution or a more traditional approach to online publishing, Nxtbook Media has what you need. Request a demo for our platforms and see what they can do for you!