We've all heard the social media mantra "Content Is King." And while that may be true, the real truth is that it can be difficult to manage content across all platforms while keeping it relevant, timely and, most of all, consistent. This is especially true when most CMOs are wearing many hats, content creation being just one of them. In fact, a report by the Content Marketing Institute shows that only 44 percent of marketers have a content marketing strategy. Here are some important things to keep in mind while managing (and creating) content.

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1. Define Objectives for Both the Business and Audience

Just like with any project or campaign, it's important to state goals and objectives from the very beginning. This also helps you realize quickly when you may begin to deviate from those objectives, and it can help you get back on track. According to Forbes.com, these objectives can include increasing SEO, increasing site traffic, nurturing leads and even increasing cross-sells and upsells. It's important to set objectives for your audience as well. For example, is it more important to increase brand awareness, have increased engagement (possibly via social channels) or create brand evangelists? So in order to provide high quality content, for both your business and your audience and try to stick up to these objectives.

2. Keep an Editorial Calendar

Just like the weather, content has seasons within the industries. For example, prime home-buying times are in the spring and fall, so financial marketers will gear up for those months with content related to mortgages. With an editorial calendar, you do the thinking ahead of time and can map out month to month, by quarter or even annually to be sure you're delivering the right message at the right time. Additionally, having content relevant to what is on the mind of your target audience gives you more credibility, as you are viewed as a source of knowledge. One resource for content calendars is Smartsheet, an online spreadsheet tool with various templates created specifically to manage marketing content. Another tool is CoSchedule, an online content management tool created for market-to-handle content, social media and more.

3. Always Stay Alert

Sometimes even the best planning can go awry. What seems like a great idea originally can go south quickly with little notice. It's important to listen to what customers are saying on social media, customer feedback forms and even third-party review sites. Besides, the expectation of brand response has never been so important. According to an Hubshout’s infographic, 42% of customers are expecting a response on social media within 1 hour.
If you are on top of the situation, you can act quickly and change the direction of the content quickly without wasting time and money. There is a great deal of reputation monitoring software to help you manage this. A good free one to get started with is Google Alerts. These alerts can be set by keywords and phrases you choose to be alerted about when they appear on the Internet.

4. Track Your Content Performance

Once you have established goals, created the content and monitored the feedback, it's time to track performance. This is easily accomplished through Google Analytics. This free analytics tool can offer valuable insights into your content's performance, and can drill down into great detail. For example, viewing the New vs. Returning Visitor report can tell you how many new visits have occurred on your site within a given time frame. Also, the Frequency and Recency report lets you know who is visiting often and how long ago the visit took place. And perhaps one of the strongest tools in Google Analytics for tracking performance is the Engagement tab. After all, isn't engagement what most marketers have in mind when creating content in the first place?

As long as audiences are embracing all things digital, content creation is a tool that needs to stay in the forefront of your arsenal. Honing these skills, and embracing a little help from technology, can go a long way toward staying at the top of your customer's mind.