Content creation is one of the most effective ways to grow your presence online. As Bill Gates once said, “content is king.” But, if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail. To get great results, your content marketing should always start with content strategy.
This article will go over the basics of content strategy and provide you with seven simple steps to create one.
Content strategy is the process of creating a plan for your content marketing. This includes considering research, planning, creation, and distribution.
Content strategy may include:
A content strategy is also about understanding what type of content you’re going to focus on creating, whether that’s blog posts or YouTube videos.
Content strategy is important because, without it, you don’t know which direction you’re going in and why. With a clear content strategy, you understand your goals and why you’re planning content and topics in a particular way. Knowing this information allows you to constantly improve your content creation as you can assess how your strategy is performing against KPIs you’ve set. If it isn’t performing, you’ll be able to adjust your plan accordingly.
Without a content strategy, you’re just publishing content and hoping for the best. While it’s not impossible to get results like this, you’re much more likely to get predictable results long-term by starting with a clear plan of attack.
Creating a content strategy is not as difficult as you may think. Here we’ve broken down seven steps to help you strategize and make the best content possible.
The first step of a good content strategy is to set clear goals. Start with the end in mind by asking yourself, what’s the most important thing I’m trying to accomplish? This is an excellent time to look at which content marketing KPIs you want to prioritize, such as total organic traffic and conversions. Now is the time to set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console so that you can start tracking these metrics from the get-go and track your progress from beginning to end.
Without deeply understanding your target audience, you won’t be able to create the most compelling and valuable content possible for them. When determining your target audience, you must get as specific as possible.
If you’re targeting marketing agencies, then know who you’re writing for (is it the marketing director?), is the content you’re writing for marketing directors at small agencies with fewer than 50 employees. Which country are they in? What are their goals? What are their challenges? The more you can understand your target audience, the easier it will be to create content that truly resonates with them.
Once you understand who your target audience is, see who the most successful competitors are targeting these people.
Find out what type of content is working for your competitors, what content isn’t working, and what type of content is most similar to what is appropriate for your brand to produce. You can use tools such as Ahrefs Site Explorer to look at competing websites and see which of their pages and posts are getting the most traffic so that you can reverse engineer this content and do it better.
Keyword research is an essential step for finding topics that you know have a chance at performing well. If you’re creating blog content, you can use tools such as Semrush, Ahrefs, or Google Keyword Planner to see how often specific queries are searched for and how competitive they are. You can then create your content around these keywords to capture the attention of people searching for these terms.
Without proper keyword research, you’re just guessing what people are searching for, and so it’s an important step to do before you start creating content.
The next step is to select which distribution channels you’re going to use. This should be simple to do at this stage as you know who your competitors are, who your target audience is, and how your competitors are reaching them.
Is blog content working well for your industry (if it’s B2B?), or does YouTube or social media seem to be a better platform for your B2C business? Decide which distribution channel(s) to focus on based on where your customers spend most of their time and what’s working for your closest competitors.
After you know who you’re targeting and the type of content you’re going to create, it’s time to plan and create your content. Once you’ve started building your content, it’s time to set up a consistent publication schedule.
Consistency is key to the success of any content marketing campaign. Start with a reasonable frequency, e.g., 2 x blog posts per week that you know you can consistently meet, and scale up from there as you grow.
A clear content schedule and editorial calendar will help you and your team keep track of your content and ensure you stay consistent.
The last step and often the most underrated is to assess the results of your content strategy. Using tools such as Google Search Console, you can see how your content is performing, what keywords you’re ranking for, what position they are in, and which ones provide the most clicks. You can use Google Analytics to track other important blog KPIs, such as which content is converting the best.
The truth is no matter how much you plan, research, and strategize, you’ll never know what works best for your brand until you assess the results of your labor. Analyzing your content and then doubling down on what provides the best ROI should be a crucial part of your approach to your content marketing.
Starting with a content strategy puts you miles ahead of most of your competition. It’s an essential step for any successful content marketing campaign.
Before investing resources in creating content for your blog, YouTube channel, or any other distribution channel, take the time to understand your target audience, your competitors, and how you can create the best content possible.
Hopefully, this article has given you a good starting point. If you need professional help, it’s worth consulting with a content strategy agency.