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The Express Train to Content Strategy Success

nyc-mta-subwayAs I mentioned in my previous post, most marketers, even those that understand that content marketing can no longer be ignored, are missing one thing that can make an enormous difference: a content marketing strategy.

The basis of a good content marketing strategy really lies in two steps…

  1. Create content that asks for an action(i.e. a sale or a subscription).
  2. Make it as easy as possible for people to see the content and complete the action.
This means that the design of your blog, at least in terms of navigation and sending people to certain pages/posts, is just as important as the content itself.
If no one ever sees the content, it doesn’t do you any good.

An Analogy…

Let’s take a look at navigation in the real world – people moving from point A to point B.

The New York City subway system is one of the most famous in the world. More than 10 million people use public transportation in the greater New York City (including parts of New Jersey) area daily! This figure includes buses and other forms of public transportation, but more than half of that total can be attributed to subway use.

People have to use the subway here because most find driving here unbearable. Although I find it kind of fun (finding a parking spot is another story).

Take a look at the map:

Blog Navigation

The trains run like veins throughout the city, getting people wherever they need to go. There are usually multiple trains that run on the same line...but they are not the same!

Getting People Where They Need to Go Faster

Let’s take a look at the red line on the map for instance (my line of choice at the moment). The 1, 2 and 3 trains run on it. And while towards the end of the line they split off into different directions, for the majority of the time (at least the whole time that I’m ever on them) they all run on the same path.

The difference is they don’t run them at the same pace! 

The 1 train is a local train, and the 2 and 3 are express trains. That means that while the 1 stops at every stop. The 2 and 3 skip stops selectively. 

For example, these trains will go all the way from 72nd street to Times Square (at 42nd street). But then they will stop at the very next stop at Penn Station (34th street).

Why? Times Square and Penn Station are large stations/hubs where many people need to go. So the train system obliges.

Provide Express Trains

You need to provide express trains (like the 2 and 3 in the example above) to visitors of site or blog. You need to make navigation fast and easy for them to get them where you want them to go .

That means that the pages you need your visitors to see should be the first ones that catch their attention…

  • Create a home page with links to specific content you want people to see. I don’t have a static homepage on this blog, but some people do set one up, and I’m sure it works wonderfully.
  • Optimize your navigation menu. This is the navigation in the header. Only include links that you want people to visit. The “about” and “contact” pages are fairly standard for a navigation bar, and your site/blog will just look strange and unprofessional without those. But otherwise includes business-driving pages…like my “Let’s Work Together” page. By the way…let’s work together :).
  • Optimize your sidebar. Your sidebar, especially the top portion of it, is prime real estate. Don’t waste it on items that won’t give you any results. For example, Marcus Sheridan recently wrote about Twitter Feeds in sidebars (not a good idea).

While things like privacy policies, disclaimers or sitemaps are a necessity for any legitimate site to have, they don’t need to be taking up valuable navigation space.

For these types of items, a footer link will suffice. Most people will never care to see them, but if they do they can take a bit longer to scroll down and find them (take the local train! :)).

Are you getting your visitors where they need to go?

One More Thing…

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it on your favorite social network. I’ve provided some sharing buttons for your convenience.

Also, make sure to sign up for updates below. And..

Check out the Strategic Content Launch Pad to get more information on how you can get the most out of your content marketing efforts!

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3 Responses to The Express Train to Content Strategy Success

  1. kelly watt says:

    Thanks for the post! Great analogy with NYC subways. Feel free to add me @wikads

  2. What a post Eugene! As I was reading your article I started thinking.. I am not asking my readers to do anything and that is probably one of the reasons why I haven’t received as many subscriptions as i wold like to. This post definitely gave me some ideas and content creation strategies to work on!

    I have my work cut out for me over the next few weeks to get something out there.

    Eugene, do you know of any great WP plugins to ask for a subscription that I could add at the end of each article I post?

    Thanks for your feedback in advance

    • Eugene says:

      Glad I could get the wheels spinning :). It does take a bit of extra work and planning, but it is SO worth it.

      I use the “End Content” plugin for my sites. You place text/code into a form and it inserts that text/code automatically to the end of every blog post.

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