A well-thought-out content strategy is a sure-fire approach to getting a competitive edge. But, unfortunately, there’s a lot of stuff out there that’s written without thought, and this method won’t help you succeed in an online business.
For example, relying on “finger in the air” blog material will not help you develop content that gets you the desired outcomes. One of the biggest reasons why marketers that don’t get a return on their content marketing investments abandon and cease devoting resources is because of this.
On the other hand, the content might be quite profitable for your company. “The Content Marketing Institute’s digital content marketing numbers reveal that 72 percent of marketers think the content has enhanced the number of leads they produce,” according to the institute.
When you’re establishing a great content strategy, you want to generate various sorts of content that captures consumers at the correct phase of the sales funnel. You’ll discover that certain kinds of content, from top-of-the-funnel to bottom-of-the-funnel, can generate prospective clients who you can guide down the sales funnel.
We’ll teach you how to create a content strategy that will set you up for success and provide you a clear path for developing and releasing material that will yield quantifiable results in this guide.
What Is a Content Strategy and How Does It Work?
When putting up a content strategy, you must know the difference between strategy and tactics. Consider the following scenario:
Goals are what you wish to accomplish.
Strategy for achieving this aim.
Tactics How will you carry out this strategy?
You will find it challenging to build a plan template if you have not stated your objectives. And how can you map out what you need to do to accomplish it if you don’t have a plan?
You must understand where you are now, where you want to go, and how you want to get there.
“Do not whine about where you end up if you have no clear destination in mind.,” Kevin Gibbons of Re: signal has previously said regarding the significance of having a strategy-first approach.
In terms of content marketing, a content strategy template may assist you in determining what material you need to develop and justifying why you need to create it.
Why Do You Need to Create a Content Strategy Marketing Plan?
- But, first, create a content calendar based on the possibilities you’ve discovered.
- Keep an eye on what your rivals are doing so you can come up with a superior solution.
- Maintain your emphasis on continuously producing material that is in line with your objectives.
- To get your content in front of your audience, choose the correct formats and distribution methods.
- Know who your target audience is and what kind of material they like to read.
- Increase your organic search traffic by ranking better in the S.E.R.P.s for your desired phrases.
- Integrate your social media strategy and increase interaction across all of your social media platforms.
- Establish yourself as specialists and thought-leaders in your field.
- Convert visitors to purchasers on your website.
A Format for Creating a Content Strategy in 8 Steps
Creating a content plan is the first step to achieving success, but knowing where to start is frequently the most challenging aspect.
To assist you, we have compiled a proven eight-step template structure that you may use as a starting point. Additionally, you may utilize the content strategy template to document discoveries as you complete the framework.
1. Establish Your Objectives and KPIs
It all begins with establishing objectives and KPIs. If you have not chosen your goals, you lack a plan. However, what objectives should you select for your content?
This relies to some part on your larger marketing objectives, but examples include:
- Increase the volume of traffic
- Increase the number of conversions
- Reduce your cost-per-acquisition by targeting a buyer-ready demographic.
- Earn contextually relevant inbound links
- Earn social media engagement
- Enhance brand exposure or market share
The reality is that you must consider your objectives and key performance indicators before developing your plan.
Otherwise, you will be operating in the dark.
While we can certainly advise you on the objectives that are typically established by content marketers, you must ensure that the strategies you implement are relevant to your organization.
Determine what success looks like and use this to establish your objectives and KPIs. Then, ensure they are S.M.A.R.T. unsure about the meaning? It is a method for defining objectives that ensures they remain clear and attainable. Your dreams should be:
- Specific (Goals should be clear and precise to allow a definite focus on what needs to be achieved)
- Measurable (You must be able to measure the progress of goals to know when you have completed them)
- Attainable (Goals should be possible but sufficiently challenging to encourage you)
- Relevant (Goals should be connected to your larger company goals and make sense if attained)
- Time-limited (You should always set a timeframe for goals to be measured against to maintain focus)
Goals keep everyone’s efforts focused and serve as the foundation of your approach.
2. Conducting Audience Persona Research
To successfully create content that your audience will want to read, you must understand who you are generating it for. Developing consumer personas is an efficient method for achieving this objective.
In the handbook mentioned above, Natalia Zhukova states:
Even established firms must sometimes revise their target profile, much alone newcomers who are going to develop their go-to-market strategy.
When you take the time to comprehend your audience and provide the material they are actively seeking, your results will reflect this.
The construction of purchasing personas boosted the number of page views per visit by 100 percent, the length of site visits by 900 percent, and the return on investment by 171 percent, according to research by NetProspex.
Ideally, you will establish many personas that correspond to the various target markets for your company, developing a profile for each (complete with a fictitious name and avatar) across the following:
- Persona characteristics (age, gender, annual income, location, family status, level of education, etc.)
- Occupational standing (job title and level, industry and responsibilities)
- Psychometrics (personal and professional goals, beliefs, and values)
- Pain points and obstacles (personal and professional obstacles and hardships, irrational and rational worries, and pain points)
- Influences and information sources (where they consume material online and offline, respected and followed influencers and thought leaders, and events they attend).
- Purchasing procedures (their involvement in the decision-making process, the product’s life cycle, and purchase inhibitors).
After completing this task, you should have a variety of identities and a wealth of understanding about who these persons are.
To assist you, you can download our customer persona template and fill it out before incorporating this data into your plan and utilizing it to guide the content you will be developing.
3. Perform a Content Audit
Once you have gathered the necessary information about your audience and established objectives and KPIs for your content strategy, it is time to conduct a content audit on the web’s existing content performance.
In reality, virtually all websites may benefit from improving existing content for the first step, even though the majority of marketers make the error of immediately developing fresh content.
Just consider it this way…
Every page of information on your website must have a purpose. Ultimately, if a web page serves no function, why does it exist?
A content audit may help you understand how each page is presently doing and suggest the potential for immediate wins. And believe us when we say that swift victories are always an excellent beginning point for plan execution.
The Semrush Contents Audit Tool may enable you to develop a picture of your site’s content inventory and provide you with the information business need to drive your strategy and make choices around key objectives. For example, you may use this tool to assess your site’s current content using data from sources such as your XML sitemap, and it will return a list of URLs with related metrics.
The outcome of a content audit should be an easy-to-understand content inventory that provides the data you need on traffic, backlinks, social shares, and more to extract actions.
Consider the audit phase as the process of gathering data primarily and then utilizing it to prioritize your activities. If you do not take the time to do this audit, you will likely rush into the development of new content and miss chances to make the material you have previously developed more effective.
4. Prioritizing Existing Content Optimisation
Now that you have conducted a content audit and gathered the necessary data for your plan, it is time to identify where you should begin.
You will go over every page on your website (yeah, really… if you do not do this, you would not be able to see the larger picture. If you have a big website, you may always do this exercise in chunks) and give each page URL one of four actions:
The key to identifying and capitalizing on opportunities is to adopt this basic but effective strategy for translating an audit into action.
But let us go a little more into what each status signifies and how to achieve this conclusion.
- Keep (Content that performs well, generates monthly traffic, and has earned backlinks)
- Improve (Content that is not performing but could be working harder if it was improved or optimized)
- Remove (Content that is not currently performing and does not warrant being improved)
The good news is that you may set the content audit tool to categorize your website’s pages according to the following criteria:
Once you have audited your site’s existing content, you should have a list of actions to make these pages work harder.
However, to improve each page, you must comprehend why those who are presently underperforming fall into this category.
It is possible that:
- Your page does not sufficiently explore a subject to get a high ranking.
- Second, your page’s purpose is incorrect (for more information, read our guide to determining intent in search).
- Third, your page does not have as many backlinks as the competitors.
- You aren’t focusing on the appropriate keywords (or are targeting keywords that you do not have sufficient authority to rank for)
When you’re ready to optimize the content on your pages, it’s a good idea to run them through our SEO Writing Assistant as a starting point. This will assist you in concentrating your efforts on enhancing each page effectively.
5. Content and Keyword Gaps to Be Discovered
It’s important to optimize your site’s current content, but this is only going to get you so far in your content strategy.
No matter whether the site has the most room for improvement, every approach must effectively balance the creation of new material with the optimization of existing content. As a result, you must identify potential avenues for growth.
Identifying keyword gaps is a good place to start. If you have keyword gaps, it means that your main rivals are ranking for search queries that you aren’t targeting right now.
Do you need assistance figuring out where your keywords are missing? This may be done using the Semrush Keyword Gap Tool.
Your domain and up to four rivals may be entered into the tool, and you will be able to see which keywords your competitors are ranking for but which ones you are not.
An excellent beginning point for developing a plan that bridges the gaps between you and your competition. It’s a great way to discover chances you would have otherwise overlooked. But, of course, to be successful, you’ll need to look beyond what your rivals are doing. After all, they may have lost out on chances as well.
You can find out more about keyword research in 2020 by reading our SEO keyword research guide.
Finally, tracking the success of your keywords may provide a wealth of information. Open the ‘positions’ tab in the Organic Research Tool.
You’ll get a list of all the keywords for which your site is now visible in this section. To see keywords that are close to making it into the top 5, we propose filtering for positions 6–20.
You may check for keywords that don’t precisely match the purpose or content of the ranking page by comparing the keywords you are visible for to those on the ranking page.
Search engine optimization changes may be found by providing the material that is highly relevant and including noticeable internal links from the original page.
6. Developing New Material
After identifying keywords and themes for your new content, you should take the time to carefully design these pieces. Content is often developed and authored by a variety of individuals. As a result, copywriters may resort to a well-thought-out strategy as a reliable means of conveying a project’s specific requirements to them.
And there are two reasons for this:
- Understanding the purpose of a user’s search
- Establishing guidelines for copywriters to follow in the creation of content.
Identifying Searcher’s Purpose
If you want to develop competitive content, you need to know what other people are trying to do with the material that is currently ranking. This might be as simple as looking at the top ten most popular sites for your target keywords.
Enter your core term into Google’s search bar. What are the goals of the top-ranking pages? These might include, but are not limited to:
A searcher looking for information would have a difficult time if they tried to rank an eCommerce category. Similarly, if a searcher’s aim is transactional, you won’t need to write a 5,000-word guide.
Do you need another example from the actual world? Taking a look at the search statistics for ‘financial internships’ is a good place to start.
If you want to rank for this term, you’ll need a list of active internships that can be applied for, not a tutorial that explains how to apply for an internship in detail.
The structure and style of the page you write should be guided by an understanding of the keyword’s purpose, so be sure to do your research before writing.
Creating a Structure for Your Content
Every piece of content you want a copywriter to develop should be provided with a framework so that the copywriter may get insight into topics like:
- Your primary keyword(s)
- Secondary keywords
- The ideal length of a word
- Title and meta description keywords to use
7. Planning a Distribution and Promotion Plan for Your Content
If you don’t advertise your material, you won’t be able to achieve your goals. Despite what some may assert, very few firms can produce content and have it succeed without making an effort to disseminate and amplify the pieces themselves.
The Pareto Principle states that 80% of your time should be spent on content production and 20% on marketing.
I know it seems ridiculous, but it really works.
How can you expect people to take action from your material if no one knows about it? So what are you going to do to get people to your work? You won’t be able to do it. Or, at the very least, not right away.
You may advertise your material in a variety of methods, but you need to plan out your distribution strategy as part of your overall plan.
Your best options for promoting and distributing your material include:
- Using social media to spread the word
- Influencer collaborations
- Pay-per-click advertising on social media networks
- Including in your e-newsletters
- Email marketing is a way to get in touch with
- Sharing on Reddit and other social media sites
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8. Measuring the Results
Your content strategy begins with objectives, and it will conclude with a detailed plan for how each article you post will be evaluated for its success.
To measure your content, you’ll need to make sure you’ve established SMART objectives, so you should already have a solid concept of how you’ll do so.
A good rule of thumb is to track your progress against a time-bound statistic every week and compare it to your objectives.
Have you established a six-month target to double your organic traffic?
As an example, you may track organic hits, impressions, and ranking positions every week to see how close you are to your benchmark and your ultimate target. Making adjustments to your approach based on the data you collect each week is another benefit of doing weekly performance reviews.
Setting the groundwork is essential to creating a strong content strategy. Your efforts will be in vain if you don’t have them. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you implement a new plan.
It is possible to create a content strategy based on a tried-and-tested technique that has worked time and time again if you follow our proven template structure that we have given above.