Many times when people mention “content strategy,” marketers immediately think about a strategy for written content. Because of this, any other types of content, like graphics, audio, or video, often are a little more disorganized and seem to have a hazier purpose. This causes them to be more unsuccessful and to not make as big of an impact with their intended audience.
Because other types of content have a huge impact on audience reach and brand awareness, not having a content strategy can be a missed opportunity. Podcasts are an example of this. With over 50 billion downloads and streams, podcasts are a huge piece of content for many creators and businesses. The podcast universe will continue to get more competitive as other brands start new podcasts to get more audience reach. Below are the following areas to pay attention to when it comes to creating a content strategy for podcasts and other types of non-written content.
Unique Aspects of Strategy for Non-Written Content
Non-written content includes anything that isn’t mostly text. There are a few reasons why content strategy for non-written content is different than the strategy for blog posts, eBooks, and other content people are reading. These include:
- People often find non-written content in different ways, such as suggested podcasts in iTunes. Content discovery is sometimes completely different and steered by the platform it is on, not by the creator. For instance, we can link to related blog posts throughout a piece of text, but we have no control over whether our podcast is included in the recommended section of iTunes or apps like PocketCasts. This is up to the platform itself.
- People search for these types of content on different platforms, like Pinterest or YouTube. No one is searching for written content on YouTube. Users obviously go to YouTube to find a video about a specific topic. Same with Pinterest, which may link to written content but is driven by visuals.
- People absorb information differently through different mediums. This goes back to the four main types of learners: visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. Someone who learns better through visual aids will likely remember information from an infographic much easier than listening to a podcast episode about it. As a result, it is beneficial to brands to create different types of content to accommodate users’ preferences for learning and absorbing information.
For these reasons, we can’t apply the same content strategy for non-written content that we would with text content. We need to consider all the ways that our audience will find and absorb our content online.
To do this, create a list or mindmap of platforms where all your content resides and can be discovered. This could be anything from your live streams on your Facebook page to a podcast hosting platform, like Libsyn. The basics like search engine results and social media should be included, too. After this is all listed, highlight the areas that are specific to non-written content. From there, we can start outlining what is unique about each platform and how we need to promote or optimize our content differently there.
For instance, iTunes has specific rules about podcast titles, categories, descriptions, and cover images. Without following the guidelines, your podcast title could be cut off or your cover image could look pixelated and hard to read. Each platform that is important to your content visibility needs to be outlined with specific guidelines for promotion and profile creation.
Potential Roadblocks With Non-Written Content
As with any type of content, there are potential areas of frustration with media like webinars, live streaming, or infographics. These include:
- Media is of poor quality and hard to understand. If you want to create videos or podcasts but don’t have the proper equipment or location to record, your content isn’t going to be good quality and will likely lose the interest of your audience. The content you create is also a reflection of your brand and company. Even subconsciously, your audience may see poor content as a sign your company isn’t on top of its game.
- The content doesn’t cover something as well or isn’t as interesting as the written content covering the same topic. Just because you can create something as a video or infographic doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. If there is already a breadth of written content about a topic and you don’t think there’s a need to rehash it through another medium, then it likely isn’t worth the effort.
- Your audience isn’t looking for this type of content and prefers another type. This could be the case with many industries. For instance, if your website covers OSHA topics for workplace safety, videos and detailed eBooks will likely have more of an impact and be more useful to your audience than a podcast about it. When it comes to proper workplace safety, it is helpful to actually see the topics in action through video or to read about specific details of the proper protocol through a written guide.
- If you are creating the content on the fly, there are also several different ways it can go wrong. Poor internet speed, bugs in the technology used, or user error can all mess up the creation of your content. Do a few test runs with your equipment and the recording platform before the actual recording date.
By thinking ahead of what could go wrong and whether or not the content actually needs to be created, you can be more prepared and effective with your creation efforts. Do your due diligence and try to plan for any setbacks. Building this into your strategy and editorial calendar can create more realistic outcomes.
Building an Editorial Calendar
After outlining where your content is being seen and what types of content are most important to your audience, it’s time to build an editorial calendar. As mentioned before, building in testing time and scheduling out content creation are all critical aspects of an editorial calendar that includes all your types of content. A master editorial calendar can help you see how your content fits together and helps you figure out variety, promotion, and balance.
Many content marketers use an Excel or Google spreadsheet to build an editorial calendar, but there are other platforms you can use, as well, like CoSchedule or Trello.
Start building a calendar spreadsheet with a template to get you started. We built this one for Search Engine Journal back when I was the executive editor; you can make a copy, or here is a simpler one that could be helpful if you don’t have as much content to organize.
Before filling out the blocks, write a list of how many pieces of different content types you have being published every month. Here’s an example:
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|Podcast||Weekly; every Friday (4 total)|
|Webinar||Every 1st Wednesday (1 total)|
|Blog Posts||3x/week (12 total)|
|New landing page||1x/month (1 total)|
|TOTAL||18 pieces of content|
Next, you can start scheduling. Some of these automatically go into a specific spot, like the webinar that is every 1st Wednesday and podcasts that are every Friday. After these are filled in, you can space out the blog posts and landing page accordingly. For instance, you probably don’t want a blog post going out the same day as your webinar or podcast, so in the first week of the month, your blog posts can be published Monday, Tuesday, Thursday.
Since you create one new landing page a month, put this in a week that isn’t as busy. In our example, this means you’d never publish the landing page the first week of the month since you already have a webinar and your other content going out (a podcast and blog posts). To space things out evenly, perhaps the landing page could be published every 3rd Wednesday. This type of planning does allow you to be a little flexible with when your content is published. It also helps you account for the months where there are five weeks. You could space out your blog posts a little bit more to create some breathing room for that month. Compensating for holidays and other big product launches is also a necessity. Your content may also need to be published at different times to coincide with major launches or products.
Publishing to and Promoting on Other Platforms
Once the content has been created and scheduled, it’s time to think about promotion. Go back to your list or mindmap of where your content is going out and schedule out publication and promotion of the content accordingly.
For instance, if you upload a new podcast episode every Friday on Libsyn, then you know it will appear everywhere you’ve added your podcast RSS feed, like iTunes, Stitcher, and other podcast platforms. Once it goes out, you can cross promote it to your other marketing platforms. For instance, you can pull the episode links from the top platforms and share them in an email or blog post: “Listen to our latest episode on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher now! You can also download the episode here.”
Ahead of time, before content goes live, you can also pull key insights from slides, show notes, or the content to promote on social media. Pre-write tweets or a Facebook post about the content and schedule it to go out with the link as soon as the content is published. Be sure to tag any creators or guests so they will share the content, as well: “See what Dallas Mavericks owner @mcuban had to say about how exercise changed his productivity in the latest episode of @ProductivityPodcast, live now: URL.”
All of these steps should be included in your editorial calendar as a separate column and in a workflow document so all team members are able to complete the tasks as needed to cover for others or just to stay organized.
Tying In Written Content
Finally, even though this post is all about non-written content, your written content still has a very valuable place in promoting projects like a webinar series or a monthly infographic. Your blog is a very useful channel for promoting and repurposing the content you are creating. You can do blog write-ups about new podcast episodes (like this example from Young House Love, where they also embed a podcast player right in the blog post), or even transcribe the entire episode using a service like Rev.com.
An infographic needs to be shared somewhere, so putting it in a blog post with a few written stats and an intro will help the infographic gain more visibility (since search engine crawlers don’t currently crawl text in images). It’s important to tie in written content when you can as part of an inter-connected strategy. Otherwise, your content might not get the love it deserves.
As thousands, if not millions, of new pieces of content are created online every day, it’s important to create an organized strategy and plan for everything you are creating. Failure to do so can result in less engagement, views, and audience interest. While many marketers feel the pressure to just get the content out there, it may fall on deaf ears (or blind eyes) if it’s not created, published, and promoted properly. Think about how your content works together as an ecosystem and create an ongoing regular schedule to make sure your content strategy for podcasts is the best it can be.
Screenshot taken in October 2018.