Tell me if you’ve heard this one before:
You control your brand’s content marketing efforts. From social media posts to long-form blog posts, all this work falls on your shoulders — and maybe the shoulders of a few other team members.
But no matter what you do, it always feels like your team grasps at straws trying to accomplish your marketing goals. Or, your content feels subpar — like it never reaches its full potential.
Content strategy boils down to figuring out what content will help your target audience and inspire them to take actions that boost your business.
Doing that successfully requires melding together some moving parts. To name just a few, you need to set goals, research your audience, and map out how buyers will interact with your content.
Why is content
Content creation is the ultimate inbound marketing practice. When you create content, you’re providing free and useful information to your audience, attracting potential customers to your website, and retaining existing customers through quality engagement.
- You’re also generating some major ROI for your company, as these content marketing stats demonstrate
- Content marketing brings in 3X as many leads as traditional marketing and costs 62% less.
- SMBs that use content marketing get 126% more leads than those that don’t.
- 61% of online purchases are the direct result of a customer reading a blog.
- Companies that publish 16+ blog posts per month get 3.5X more traffic than those that post four or fewer posts per month.
Content equals business growth. So, let’s get started with your content strategy
Content Planning and Strategy
You wouldn’t start building a house without a blueprint, a sculpture without a sketch, or a company without a mission statement.
So, there should be no content creation without a plan.
Otherwise you risk getting derailed from your objective.
A content strategy includes everything from brand and tone to how you will promote your content and eventually repurpose it. Let’s go over how to create your content plan, step-by-step.
1. Set Your Content Goals
Similar to a traditional marketing campaign, your content strategy should be centered on your marketing goals (which should, in turn, be derived from your company goals).
Your goals could range from attracting more visitors to your site to generating more leads to anything in between — as long as they’re smart goals. An example of this kind of goal would be to increase organic traffic to the blog by 25% in the next quarter.
Once you determine that, each piece of content you create should be aligned with your goal and contribute to your desired outcome.
In sum, start with your goals, then create your content.
2. Create a Buyer Persona
Building a content strategy is more than considering what type of content you want to create. You first need to know who you’re speaking to, how you want to speak to them, and where to find them.
The key to creating successful inbound content is to make each reader feel like you’re speaking directly to them.
The only way to do this is to get intimate with your visitors, leads, and customers — you need to know them like you know an old friend.
You should be aware of their obstacles, their pain points, their challenges, and fears. Similarly, you should understand their best possible outcome, their dream solution, and their biggest fantasies.
Always remember that you are marketing to humans that want to feel connected.
Ideally you’d know and be able to speak directly to every individual that visits your website, but you can’t. The solution? Create a buyer persona.
Your buyer persona is the person that you want to reach with your content. This semi-fictional character serves as a representation of your target audience, i.e., the people who are most likely to benefit from your message and become customers.
Creating a buyer persona takes a bit of research, some guesswork, and tweaking. But the end result is a clear picture of the person you want to market to and someone who will happily consume your content.
3. Choose the Right Format
Types of content to consider in your strategy:
There are several types of content you can incorporate into your content strategy. One isn’t necessarily better than another.
Whether it works for you will depend on execution, your audience, the topic and more. Here are a few you should consider using:
● Blog posts
Blog posts can inform your audience about your products, answer your customers’ questions or tell your audience’s story.
They also help build organic traffic and can keep audiences engaged long after they are published.
Informational graphics are a visual way to present complex information in an easy-to-scan image.
Infographics lend themselves well to social media.
● Case studies
Case studies help illustrate how your products or services can specifically help your customers.
While they are not as easy to produce as other pieces of content, videos provide a lot of opportunities.
It can make your business more personable. Plus, this is an area that customers want to see more of.
● User-generated content
By using your customers’ photos, videos or words (testimonials) to talk about their relationship with your business, you put the spotlight on them and reinforce your brand’s credibility.
● White papers
White papers break down complicated information, research, or data, providing expert-level information to help audiences make a decision, understand a topic, or solve a problem.
Longer than a blog post but shorter than a novel, e-books allow you to explore a topic at length, all while giving your customers the information they need.
Some companies use e-books as an incentive when they sign up for a newsletter or service. They can also be featured on your website for anyone to view.
While written content is very effective, some consumers will not have the time to read it.
A podcast is a good option for those whom you want to reach but who may not engage with your written content.
● Social media
Social media channels make it easy to connect with your audience.
It also gives you a way to distribute or repurpose the content that you have created.
Whether you use LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, you can amplify your message.
4. Social Media Content
While social media is a relationship building tool, it can be used to promote content. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat are all great mediums to both create and share relevant content. The key is modifying that content to fit the platform.
There is an art to creating content for social media. But it’s well worth your time since there are 2.6 billion users across social media platforms worldwide. Plus, someone who follows you on social media is like a warm lead — they already like you and are interested in what you have to say. So, you have an eager audience that’s ready to engage with your
Facebook can be used to build micro communities via Facebook Groups or to share to a mass audience on Facebook Pages. When it comes to sharing content, questions and videos reap the most engagement.
Instagram is best for sharing high-quality imagery and short videos with brief captions. Hashtags work well on this platform as long as they’re relevant to your account and business. Instagram Stories has introduced a new way to engage with your followers, from quick polls to questions to real-time videos.
YouTube has 1.3 billion users and counting. Users frequent this platform to watch content ranging from DIY videos to parodies. Some of the most successful content on this platform are how-to guides, vlogs, product reviews, and educational videos.
Twitter best practices include short messages, supporting images, relevant hashtags, and retweets. And, of course, replies go a long way to win over your audience.
5. Website content
Website content should focus on three things:
1- your buyer persona
2- your target keywords.
hot tip : use your target client terminologies and mimic their language if you’re writing something to them
3- your solution to this problem
Not unlike your blog content, the copy on your website needs to guide visitors to your solution in a cohesive and natural way. Think of web content like a map to your product.
Be careful not to turn visitors away through social media feeds and other distracting elements. Once you you’ve attracted a potential customer, you must do everything you can to keep them there, and that’s the key function of your website content.
5. Time to develop a content strategy
There is a lot that goes into developing a content strategy
Here’s where to start:
1. Set goals
Define why you want to create content and how it will tie to your goals.
Some goals may include:
- Converting leads
- Growing your organic traffic
- Building customer loyalty
Inspiring more people to sign up for free trials
Make sure your goals are both measurable and timely.
For example, “Increase organic traffic to service landing pages by 15% year over year” is a goal that is easily measured and has a clear time frame associated with it.
2. Define your audience
Defining your audience starts with establishing a buyer persona to serve as a fictional representation of your customer.
Start with your most common type of customer and consider their geographic location, their interests, their aspirations and their needs.
Flesh out a full picture of how this person comes into contact with your brand and what would help usher them along your sales funnel until they make a purchase?
3. Analyze your content
Even if you have never created a content strategy before, you have likely used content to interact with your audience.
Look over what you have created.
Consider content on your website, social media channels, email, text messages and more.
What have you done well?
What hasn’t worked?
What could be improved on?
Pull whatever analytics are available to you to understand what types of content have succeeded and which ones haven’t driven engagement.
4. Learn from your competitors
Just as you analyze your content, you should analyze your competitors. Visit their websites, follow them on social media, and subscribe to their email newsletters.
What do they do well?
What doesn’t work?
Replicate the approaches that have been successful for them, and fill in the gaps where they haven’t built a strategic advantage.
5. Think about keywords
Analyze your own keywords with tools like SEMRush and Moz so you better understand where you rank. You can also use search engines and Google Keyword Planner to find keywords that you may have missed.
6. Brainstorm ideas and create a content calendar
After examining keywords, your content and your competitors’ content, you should know what topics you want to target.
From there, you can begin to plan your content calendar.
7. Find your tools
What content management system (CMS) will you use? Will you use a spreadsheet or something more robust to build your content calendar?
When choosing tools, consider how your current systems may fall short, what features will make your life easier and how you plan to keep yourself organized.
8. Decide how you will measure results
To gauge how effective your efforts are, you must have a way to track results and measure ROI. This may be page views, time on page, social media engagement, number of new customers, newsletter signups or more. What matters most to you will depend on your business’s goals.
9. Determine content type and cadence
Consider your resources, and determine what kind of content you can produce and how often you can create and publish them.
You can include this in your content calendar.
10. Publish and distribute content
The last step is to get your content out in the world.
After you publish your stories, you should look at what channels provide the best results for your content.
You can do this by leveraging Google Analytics to review the performance of your blog and the landing pages on your website.
Additionally, you can use the analytics tools on your social media page, email marketing software and the other software solutions your business uses to track key performance indicators (KPIs), such as user bounce rate, clickthrough rate, and more.
A content strategy is informed by your business goals; it provides a clear vision of what you want to accomplish and how you plan to accomplish those aims, but it should be flexible.
While content strategy elements will differ among businesses, you must have a clear understanding of your brand, whom you are targeting and what you want your content to accomplish ,there are different types of content will engage your audiences differently; no one type is better than another.
To build an effective content strategy, define your goals and target audience, analyze your content and your competitors’ content, narrow down your keywords, create a content calendar, find tools that will help you manage and streamline your content production process, and measure your results.