Creating a proactive content strategy

If you’re a content marketer, have you ever asked yourself: “How do I know what people will want to read about next?” Or: “How do I know people will be interested in the content I’m writing?”

You might use various tools to pick keywords relevant to your audience, or evaluate how users engaged with the content you shared on your blog or on social media in the past. But even if you analyze old content, it’s not certain people will also engage with similar content in the future. While in the old days, it was good enough to “just throw something out there that has keywords related to my niche”; these days, Google is really after something a little more substantial.

So how do you go about finding the ‘next big thing’ your target personas will want to read about?

For our content to be truly engaging, we have to be much more aware of our audience. We need to be able to anticipate our customers’ needs and strive to meet them even before they have identified the need. With such a demand, it’s no wonder that great content marketers are thought of as magicians (well, we think of them as such, anyway).

These people know what’s what. They know what’s next. In many cases, that’s because they are part of the audience (I know, how meta!) Those people who write posts which resonate, you have to ask… how did they know to write that?

The answer to that question isn’t as easy as you think.

Step 1: Planning your Content Strategy

While you’d like to believe that the best marketers in the world just came up with it on their own, they’ve gone through a lot of work to create the right content strategy. They struggle, plan, and throw noodles at the wall, just like you do.

Not only that, but these ‘greats’ use content marketing tools to not only identify their content gaps, but to put themselves firmly at the head of the content parade for their niche. The greats don’t have to worry about what the Joneses’ are doing because they ARE the Jones.

There are any number of tools out there which can point you to successful content or content which has engaged hundreds or thousands of people. While these tools are fantastic, they only tell part of the story… they don’t show you what’s next. It’s like getting the ‘once upon a time’ without the ‘happily ever after.’

By using the right technology, content marketers can quickly analyze masses of data and determine what comes next, in creating a content strategy plan that works. It helps you make your content proactive, to give people the answers they need and the content they want before they need it.

Step 2: Don’t forget the Human Factor

The second, most important, part of the proactive content equation is the human factor. It’s easy to discount that and commoditize our content instead. While most of the information available to us is in the public eye, it takes the human factor to really put it all together and make it special. And, even though a content marketing tool can tell you what to write, it still can’t tell you how to write it – because that demands your own special spin.

Anyone can create a 5,000-word piece as sublime as Neil Patel or Joe Pulizzi, right? Or they can be as punchy as Ash Ambirge on a whim. I’m sure that anyone’s use of imagery is as poignant as Stephen King’s, right?

So, how do you determine what’s next?

To know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been. In our latest eBook, we talk about a huge number of ways to get ideas for your next piece and how to overcome writer’s block, so you can start making some magic of your own.

Interested in finding out more? Click on the link below to learn how to overcome writer’s block and where to find the right ideas to create a proactive content strategy: