Hey Divi Nation! This week the tables have been turned and the interviewer becomes the interviewee. In today’s episode, guest host Josh Hall, interviews me!
Since the early days of this show there have been members of the community suggesting that I should be a guest on the show. As a longtime WordPress user and big fan of Divi (obviously) I was always willing, but wanted to focus on sharing other people’s stories. Since, you know, it’s my job. But after several requests (and a whole lot of other Elegant Themes staff came on the show as guests) I decided it was finally time. So when Josh reached out to me about it I was happy to say yes. Today’s show is the result!
Nathan B. Weller Answers Community Questions & Talks Content Strategy- The Divi Nation Podcast, Episode 37
In today’s episode Elegant Themes blog contributor and previous guest of the Divi Nation Podcast, Josh Hall, interviews our regular host (me). In share my WordPress story, talk about how I got involved with Elegant Themes, and how I keep up with managing a blog that produces 700+ blog posts and 300+ videos a year. I also share a much abridged version of my presentation for this weekend’s WordCamp San Diego called, “7 Keys to an Effective Content Strategy”.
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Preview of My WCSD Presentation: 7 Keys to an Effective Content Strategy
The sections below are the same points I’ll be going over this weekend (in much more detail) at WordCamp San Diego. I plan on recording the presentation myself in addition to their official recordings. That way no matter what I’ll be able to share the end result with you all.
In the meantime I hope these keys give you something to think about in terms of your own content strategy. Whether it be your blog, social content, YouTube, or something else.
Your content strategy needs…
Key 1: A Compelling and Believable Brand Story to Tell
Your brand is a story you’re telling the world. One in which all of the available storytelling elements—you, your team, your products, your services, your website, your design aesthetics, your content, your community, everything—it’s all being used to craft a story that people care about. That they want to be a part of.
Key 2: A Realistic Return on Investment
Personally I think the term “Return on Investment” or it’s shorthand, ROI, are often over-complicated.
To determine your return on investment, you don’t need to hire an accountant or someone with an MBA to figure this out for you. All you have to do is answer these two questions:
1) What am I putting into this?
In terms of time, energy, money, or other resources.
2) What am I getting out of it?
(Then, deciding if it’s worth it.)
Pro-Tip: if your main focus is blogging, it’s probably not a good idea to set your heart on establishing a direct 1:1 relationship between publishing a piece of content and generating X number of sales. It rarely works that way.
Key 3: Advantageous Positioning
For those unfamiliar with the term, positioning is simply taking stock of how you measure up to your competitors and then finding an area of focus that gives you an advantage over them; if not overall then with a particular segment of your target demographic.
Key 4: Well Organized, Data-Backed Content Planning
This is where most people START, and that’s a mistake. If your content plan is not directly informed by your brand values and achievable objectives that provide a return on your investment, then you’re going through a lot of trouble for a fraction of the impact your content could be having.
But assuming that it is informed by those things, its effectiveness will be greatly enhanced all over again with a written plan. Preferably in a digital format like a google doc and/or spreadsheet. That way it’s easily accessible, updatable, and always being referenced and refined. A plan that selects things like content topics, content types/formats, and content priority based on the data available to you via analytics, survey results, and any other source you can get your hands on.
Key 5: A Streamlined Content Production Workflow
Whatever types of content you decide to create you’re going to want to develop, refine, and most importantly stick to a clearly defined production process. Even if it’s just you. But especially if you have a team of collaborators.
For us at Elegant Themes that means we have a system for assigning people their topics, a production handbook everyone has to follow, a submission process, and editorial process.
By clearly outlining and in some areas documenting things in detail, we’re able to identify friction points quickly and address them.
Key 6: A Dependable, Repeatable, and (Preferably) Automated Promotional Playbook
There are a lot of schools of thought out there about promoting content. You’ll find that a lot of “growth hackers” recommend these meticulous and time consuming promotional strategies that often-times take longer to implement than it took to create the content in the first place. And that’s fine. In fact, if you’re starting from scratch with virtually zero organic traffic then that might be your best option.
But personally, I’d only do those elaborate and time consuming methods until I found one or two promotion channels that worked dependably and that grew dependably. Then I’d hit those hard every time and leave the rest of the traffic on the table.
That might sound crazy to some people but I’ve found you get about 70-80% of the traffic you would get if you were going all out, and you spend a fraction of the time and energy on it. Time and energy that you can then spend creating more content.
Note: this is the perspective of someone who publishes two blog posts and a video a day. So there’s a lot of pressure to make sure new content is always being created. If you have a low volume strategy you may want to spend more time on promotion.
Key 7: Meaningful Metrics and Analysis
The great thing about creating content for the web is that everywhere you’re publishing and sharing, there’s most likely some form of free analytics for you to view. Use it. Learn what each metric means and inform your content planning and production decisions based on what you learn.
A content strategy is a living thing. It should always be responding to new information and changing circumstances.
See You Next Week!
Well that’s all for this week’s episode. I’d like to thank Josh for initiating this whole thing and everyone who submitted questions via Facebook for participating in this interview too.
I hope you enjoyed our chat as much as I did. If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments section below!