Reactive Content Marketing and Strategies
Content Strategy: Don’t Plan. React!
When I first started out as a content strategist and writer, we used to spend days and weeks preparing content strategies. These were built on pillars, usually derived from basic insights we gleaned from keyword research — or if the client was lucky: Actual research (gasp!).
What is a content pillar?
A content pillar was a topic that was broadly considered to be interesting or relevant for the perspective audience. Content Strategists like to attribute a certain percentage of posts or articles at the time of rationing out the strategy to each of these pillars, and then that would form the basis for content planning.
It might look something like this:
Inspiring Content 30%
Education Content 30%
Humorous Content 10%
Product-based Content 30%
You’d then give this to the content team, who would bash out content according to the schedule, and publish it as soon as it were ready.
Why Won’t Content Pillar Strategies Work?
In my opinion content pillars and planning content like this doesn’t work.
It’s contrived. Often it’s an artificial need. It’s not what someone actually wants, it’s what we think someone wants.
It’s stale and not of the moment. Planning to write a story in two weeks based on a content brainstorm in an office in South Melbourne isn’t exactly going to be in the moment or for that matter, relevant.
It’s hard. Like, really hard. Partly because of the above, and unless you’re a brilliant writer (of which, I’m not), writing for things you don’t believe to be of any use is not why any of us started out in this game.
How Should you Create Content for your Business?
Essentially, rather than being predictive to customer and clients needs, be reactive to what they are looking for and provide simple, short articles that answer their specific needs.
For instance, if a client comes to you and asks you about what you do, or for further information, write it in an email back to them, and then, adapt that email into a short article and post it on your site.
Better yet - if you have time to write the article before you reply to their email, you can write to them with a summary along with a note: “Here’s an article that I wrote for you on the topic”.
Reactive content strategies start with an actual need or query from an actual customer, and result in content that solves that need for them, long with being available for any perspective customer.
Essentially: Think of it as <Your Company’s niche> Journalism.
By providing answers and advice to your customers, you are delivering value and improving your own business processes, expertise and intelligence.
But - if you’re still not convinced, here’s more reasons why we think it works really well:
Reactive Content Strategies
The most important reasons why reactive content strategies work are:
It meets Google’s main advice for ranking, being: E-A-T (Expert, Authority and Trustworthy)
Your clients will find it useful
It’s easy to do.
Anyone in your company can contribute.
Other Benefits of Reactive Content Strategies
You are creating long-tail keyword-focussed articles (that you don’t really have to think about too much)
You can build creating content into your daily workflows, and, once you get into the habit, you’ll never have to ‘plan’ content again
With a little bit of structure around topic clusters, you’ll be showing search engines that you are an authority for certain short-tail keywords.
It gives new and existing customers great insight and an understanding about your products and expertise.
It helps streamline your customer service approach too (especially, if you are providing a useful guide or something along those lines!).
You are a subject matter expert about your business, so - you don’t have to do too much research, just write about what you know.
Write as often as you want – don’t plan around how many articles you should or shouldn’t write, just write whenever you are trying to help a customer or client.
If you were to take one thing away from this article, it would be - content strategies can be complicated, but they really don’t need to be. Solve for your actual customer’s needs, wants and interests first, and the traffic will follow.