A few years ago, I wrote and published whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted: blog posts, articles, and social media posts. Sometimes, my articles and ideas were a success. On other occasions, they tanked.
For a long time, I didn’t understand why. 🤔
Meanwhile, I started working as a copywriter. I learned from several content strategists that this haphazard approach rarely gets results.
It leads to publishing the wrong types of content, missing deadlines, and becoming overwhelmed. I needed a content publishing strategy. Every creator does.
A content publishing strategy describes:
- Who your content is for
- Your content goals in terms of traffic, views, downloads, or revenue
- What content you're going to publish
- Where you’ll publish it
- Your publishing cadence
- Relevant content objectives
Why Do You Need A Content Publishing Strategy?
A content publishing strategy helps you plan more efficiently and effectively. It enables you and your team members to collaborate on different content. And it prevents spending time and resources on creating the wrong types of content.
For example, a content publishing strategy for a health and fitness site details the specific niches writers and content creators should focus on, like running, yoga, or weightlifting. 🏃♀️
This strategy contains information about the target audience, relevant keywords, tone of voice and format requirements for content creators.
It prevents team members from creating content about other health and fitness topics, for which the site has no topical authority, like meditation or golf.
As a creator, you own the content publishing strategy of your personal media empire. Only you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your business and what contributes most to the bottom line along with satisfying your creative itch.
How To Create A Content Publishing Strategy
Next, let's cover the steps for creating your content publishing strategy in detail.
Typically, you can build out a content publishing strategy alongside or as part of an editorial calendar.
A spreadsheet-like Google Docs is ideal as it’s free and easy to share with others. I also like Airtable. You can also write it up as part of your creative plan. Remember, to refine your content publishing strategy. It’s a living document.
A sample of my content publishing strategy created with Airtable.
Identify Your Niche
Creator Economy Rule - create for everyone, and you create for no one.
Decide what niche you’re in and how your content differentiates itself from competitors. Some common online niches include:
- Health and fitness
- Personal development
- Food and drinks
- Arts and crafts
- News and current affairs
Each niche has specific content types, formats, and topics that perform better than others. If you’re new to a niche, spend time reverse-engineering competitor content to learn more about what works. Buzzsumo is a good tool for this.
Want to learn more? Read my guide How to Build a Niche Website
Map Content to the Customer Buyer Journey
A good content publishing strategy details where content sits along the buyer journey. I’ve also found mapping content out in advance gives me more content ideas for supporting content.
While documenting your strategy, list where specific pieces of content sit in the customer buyer journey. For example:
- Awareness Content answers a question your ideal audience has about a particular topic, e.g. How to Achieve X, Why You Need Y
- Consideration Content encourages customers to decide on what’s ideal for their needs, e.g. Best X for Y
- Decision Content asks customers to buy a product or service, e.g. a demo or trial
I focus on creating and publishing awareness content for my niche websites. However, I also create consideration and decision content for various email funnels.
Define Your Audience
Consider your ideal reader, follower, fan or customer. Can you detail their age range, demographics, questions, needs, purchasing behaviours and other relevant interests?
Survey them. Interview them. Get on Skype or Zoom call with them. Work out their hopes, fears, dreams and aspirations.
This type of research ensures your content speaks directly to your customers and uses language and terms they’re familiar with. For example, content written for start-up founders uses a different type of voice and terminology to content aimed at a freelancer.
Remember good content is:
Create Based on Searcher Intent
What is your audience looking for.... and how can your content help them find answers? 🔍
I spend several hours each week researching relevant SEO keywords and terms for content across my sites. I use tools like Ahrefs and Clearscope. I examine the searcher intent for these articles so I can figure out what topics to include and or leave out.
I use the resulting SEO analysis to brief freelance writers and edit content accordingly. Even if you’re creating video or audio content, it’s still helpful to consider what listeners or viewers are looking for when they open up YouTube, their podcasting or social media app.
Read my guide to the Best Content Marketing Tools
Set Content Publishing Goals
Unless you’re creating for a hobby, every piece of content needs a business goal. Otherwise, why are you spending time and or money on it? Some popular content goals include:
- Acquiring website traffic
- Generating leads
- Building personal brand awareness
- Answering customer queries
- Validating a business idea
- Building a content hub full of supporting relevant content and resources
- A purchase or sale
As a niche website owner, I decided on publishing a set number of awareness articles each week that build traffic to my sites. I also include some evaluation content that's monetised via affiliate marketing.
If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing, check out my guide on how to become an affiliate marketer.
You can tailor a goal based on your preferred format, audience or platform. If you’re a YouTuber or podcaster, you may decide to publish a series of episodes or videos that answers your followers’ most common questions.
Determining a content goal helps you evaluate its success and if you should create more or less content of that type.
Pick Your Publishing Channels
Repurposing content is all the rage. As a creator, you can take one piece of content and publish it across LinkedIn, Quora, Instagram, Facebook, Medium and Twitter. That’s hours saved, right?
It's relatively ineffective to publish the same content across multiple channels without editing it for those channels. Repurposing takes time and resources.
If you’re writing long-form articles for your website, does it match the intent of people searching for those topics? What takeaways can you pull out of that content for use on Twitter? That process is far more involved than copying and pasting text.
If you're recording a video series for YouTube, are you regurgitating an article or mirroring the format and style of competitors who are achieving success with their videos?
If you’re a sole creator, why not focus on one or two channels and create high-quality content there instead? If you can afford it, hire a team member to help. For example, I only started podcasting when I was able to afford a podcast editor.
Select an Ideal Format
Understanding the common content format requirements helps you brief the other content writers and freelancers on your team. Some content formats to consider include:
- Articles and blog posts
- Ebooks, guides and whitepapers
- Case studies and testimonials
- Emails and newsletters
- Social media posts
- Sales pages
For example, let’s say you hire a freelance writer. Are they going to be writing a blog post, guide, whitepaper, e-book, or for social media? All formats have different requirements in terms of headlines, word-count and call-to-actions. Thus requiring different writer skill sets.
But what if you’re creating alone? Does any of this matter? To avoid being overwhelmed as a creator, focus on a few of these different types of content. Think about which provide the most relevant content for your business needs.
If you’re a sole creator, understanding the ideal format is a type of creative constraint. However, it is necessary to keep you focused on creating what is most important and what content offers the best return on your investment.
Create Your Content
Creating content is the fun part. Recording a video, interviewing an influencer, and writing an article are all rewarding pursuits. If you’re the face of your content business, they’re also the best ways you can spend your time.
Ideally, your advantage lies in your ability to record videos, podcasts or write quickly. A good strategy frees you up to focus on content creation.
Alternatively, having a content strategy gives you the necessary oversight to hire other creators as needed.
Determine Your Publishing Cadence
Deciding how often you are going to publish content will help you plan ahead more effectively. It also helps you build an editorial calendar.
I like scheduling relevant content for one of my niche websites several weeks in advance. This approach enables me to plan content production based on available resources in terms of other writers, budget and time constraints. I also feel more comfortable about taking time off knowing approved content still goes live on time.
When I was a member of a corporate content marketing team, we used an editorial calendar to decide what pieces of content to publish and promote in any given quarter.
That said, many niche website owners publish as much as they can as often as they can. It’s a good approach for new website owners eager to build their brand and their audience. However, long term, this is not a viable nor sustainable business plan. It also won’t work for a podcaster or vlogger. Nor is it ideal for social media either unless you like spamming followers.
For new projects, publish as much you can, as fast as you can, until you’ve earned an audience.
For established projects, decide what cadence works best for you, your team, audience and preferred channels. Use tools to schedule your content in advance.
Publish Your Content
If you’re publishing a single article or uploading one video to YouTube, publishing is relatively painless. But what if you want to scale the number of videos you’re posting, for example, uploading one every day or building out an editorial calendar with dozens of articles?
Newer content creators underestimate the amount of work that goes into publishing a piece of content… and that’s before repurposing. For example, after writing and proofing a blog post, you must:
- Check the URL structure
- Add internal links
- Set up tags and categories
- Check external links
- Add images with alt tags
- Include a call-to-action
- Send to your email list
That’s quick and easy if you’re publishing one article, but it’s a chore if you post several a day.
Detailed operating procedures and a checklist for publishing content. It ensures each piece of content meets your publishing criteria. And you can easily outsource the process to a team member or a virtual assistant. This frees you up to create while others take care of the nuts and bolts of your content publishing strategy.
Plan Content Promotion
Promotion isn’t just for digital marketers. A good content strategy details how you're going to let your target audience know about new content.
Let’s say you’re a podcaster. After an interview, will you follow up with guests and provide them with an audiogram to share on social media?
If you’re writing a series of articles, will you send these articles to email subscribers as part of a weekly broadcast?
If you’re linking or featuring other influencers, will you let them know so they can potentially share or at least become aware of who you are?
Personally, I don’t follow a lot of popular growth hacking tactics. I stopped using other tactics like Facebook ads, and I loathe link-building. I prefer to create and publish lots of content regularly rather than promoting one big piece of content a month.
I usually email new articles as part of a weekly broadcast, share them on social media and let interviewees know about their episodes.
Some tactics I left out may work for you. Every content creator needs a promotion strategy if only so they know what to concentrate on versus avoid.
Review Your Content
As part of your content publishing strategy, review if your content is meeting your business goals. Track key lead and lag measures and other metrics related to your content once a week, a month or a quarter.
- How did your content perform in terms of traffic, downloads or engagement?
- Do you need to adjust the tone of your content?
- Should you publish more or less content about this topic?
- Is your keyword strategy proving effective?
- Should you increase or decrease your publishing cadence?
For example, I regularly commission and publish articles on my niche website, which take a few weeks to gain traction in SERP results and even longer to become profitable.
That meets my goal as written content has a long tail. Other publishers prefer acquiring lots of backlinks from authority sites to rank faster. Similarly, a YouTuber can tell much faster if a new piece of content is performing.
Using content metrics will help you understand what works and adjust your content publishing strategy over time.
Optimize Published Content
Find top-performing pieces of content and identify how to double down on the type, format and topic to increase traffic and revenue. For example:
- Inserting content upgrades
- Adding stronger call-to-actions
- Including more relevant internal links
- Adding comparison tables to product reviews and comparisons
- Publishing supporting content about the same topic
A few months ago, I published a series of articles whereby I compared X product to the Y product. I improved revenue from some of these articles by adding comparison tables to the top of them.
I also spent several months in early 2021 overhauling old articles on my site as part of a content audit.
I relied on tools like Clearscope and Marketmuse and some search engine research to spot underperforming articles. I picked the ones that tanked in terms of website traffic, email subscribers and earnings.
Read my guide to the Best Content Optimisation Tools
I spent hours figuring out what was wrong with this content. Using 80/20 analysis and a trusty spreadsheet, I contrasted these articles with effective content that generated traffic and affiliate commissions. I also use content optimisation software to figure out if the article met searcher intent.
In some cases, I set about optimising and fixing these articles, adding hundreds of new words. In other cases, I deleted or merged articles. I also updated old statistics and information, fixed typos with software like Grammarly, broken links and even a confusing UX.
I spent three months optimizing some 300 articles. It's also a good exercise to review your best performing piece of content every few months.
Content Publishing Strategy: The Final Word
Savvy content creators rely on a content publishing strategy to figure out what to work on next. It helps them plan and collaborate effectively with other people on their team.
Even if you’re a sole content creator, step back and review your strategy so you can figure out what to work on next. It’ll help you serve your audience and grow a profitable creative business.
Content Publishing Strategy FAQs
What is the difference between content strategy and content marketing?
A content strategy describes what you’re content to publish, for who and when. Content marketing describes creating content like blog posts, videos and podcasts to build your business.
What are the Benefits of Content Publishing?
Content publishing is a great way of attracting an audience as it’s free and the internet thrives on content. You can publish content consistently and slowly grow and monetise a following.