Through the years, content became one of the most critical parts of the digital industry. Existing customers, leads, and visitors all want the same thing from your business: valuable content. It must be able to reach the audience in a natural, organic, and certainly not disruptive manner. A content strategy allows you to do this. You will attract, engage, and delight your target market by honing your skills in creating the most valuable content. This will further result in you achieving business and marketing goals, such as improved brand awareness, increased conversions, boosted revenues, and establishment of your business as an industry leader, among many others.
If you are starting to design a strategy or are looking for new ideas to refresh an existing one, it will help to reassess and find exciting ways to create and share content that the audiences really want. This article will help you get your content strategy going by providing you with a comprehensive guide about what content strategy is, the different types of content marketing strategies, and how you can create an effective content marketing strategy for your business.
What is a content strategy?
There is a lot of information out there about what a content strategy is all about. To avoid confusion, it would help to remember its simplest definition. A content strategy is converting all business objectives and goals into a plan and using content as the main method of achieving them.
Before diving into the topic further, it would help to know what “content” means and its context in marketing. Basically, content is anything you offer to the audience. Whether it is an in-depth blog post, a social media meme, or a TikTok video. In digital marketing, content typically has four core elements:
- Information – the actual message that you want to send across. It can be based on facts, entertaining, practical, or simply to inform.
- Context – should establish who the content is for, why you made it, and how it is supposed to help the audience.
- Medium – the channel or platform that you publish the content on.
- Form – how content is presented. It can be purely text, graphics design, audio, video, or a combination of any or all types.
These elements have to be present in order to have proper content. Information without context, for example, is just noise. If it is not presented in a form or medium that was planned, then the information may be lost on its way to the audience. The information you put in the content has to reflect both the medium and form that you use. Like when you present some information that needs in-depth discussion, it is more suited to be published as a blog post rather than in a Twitter thread. Likewise, the context will only make sense if you direct your content to the target audience.
Why Do You Need to Establish a Content Strategy?
From the moment you realize why you need content, you already know its weight in delivering resounding success to your business. According to statistics, 80% of marketers consider content creation as a top priority in marketing. Brand marketing requires consistent high-quality and engaging content because they bring a lot of impact to the decision-making process of the audience.
A content strategy gives your content a unique yet identifiable voice and style. It is one that will help with your branding across all content publishing channels. With a well-defined strategy for content marketing, you can establish a sense of credibility and trust in your brand. Other than these benefits, a content strategy also:
- Create loyal brand advocates. Your market sticks around longer because they can rely on you to provide them with positive experiences. Potential customers get attracted and are compelled to return for more because you are able to reinforce a positive brand impression with the best content.
- You get better social media traction. Creating trendy and valuable content is an advantage when you do social media marketing. Quality content is easier to share which improves the performance of your social media campaigns.
- Generate more and better leads. A content strategy ensures that you have a lot of useful and free information to offer the visitors. Typically, visitors are more likely to consider purchasing from a website when they are delighted with what they see. With a strategy in place, you are able to guide the audience with CTAs that lead to your landing page.
- Improved visibility. High-quality content is the best if you are trying to improve your SEO efforts. When you develop a content strategy, you can produce better content that will increase your trust and credibility scores, making you rank high in search results.
- Save money on marketing. Compared to paid advertisements that cost a lot over time, content marketing is a lot cheaper, especially with a good strategy. Blog content, for example, can be recycled or used in other platforms, like social media and newsletters. There are also tools to help you spice up your content to make them look more relevant and exciting.
You see, setting up a strategy of content marketing is pivotal to the success of your business. With a better understanding of how great content is made, you will be able to see improvements in your quest to build brand awareness, increase ROI, and position your company as an authority in the industry you are in.
Create a Winning Content Strategy in 8 Steps
Digital marketing heavily relies on high-quality content. While there are no concrete steps for creating content that stands out, there are best practices and techniques that will definitely help. In a highly competitive marketing landscape, it is time to freshen up your approach and create winning content pieces by planning out an effective content strategy. Here are the steps to do just that:
1. Identify your audience
Who, exactly, are you trying to reach with your content? Having a solid understanding of who your audience is makes it easier to identify what topics to cover for content. This will allow you to formulate a content plan to create solution-oriented content. Find out their pain points and offer true empathy by answering their questions and offering solutions. By uncovering your audience, you are led straight to producing the ideal content that the audience needs and appreciates.
2. Analyze your competitors
The purpose of analyzing the competitors’ content strategies is to understand both their strengths and weaknesses. You can compare it to your own so you can find the gaps and be able to create content that will fill those gaps. Experts call this process as Competitive Content Analysis. You dive deeper into every type of content they create, be it on social media, blogs, or websites. Find opportunities to swoop in and create content that is loads better compared to their weak areas. Doing this will not only help develop a better content strategy but also ensures that you get a leg up on them.
3. List out your goals
Having specific goals allow you to determine if your content marketing strategy is working. The most common goals for establishing content strategy are increased brand awareness, improved website traffic, and better lead generation.
One way to set goals is by using your analytics, like social media insight tools, and other types of metrics. This gives you an idea of whether your content is serving its purpose when it has a significant impact on your metrics and how much. By having a baseline to work with, you can create goals that you can measure later on using key performance indicators (KPIs) and the objectives and key results.
When you list out your goals, make sure that everyone on your team is aware of them. This allows them to work with you and help each other to achieve the company’s goals.
4. Brainstorm ideas
It can be a tedious task to make a list of potential topics to cover. By brainstorming, you can identify which content topics interest the audience, what formats are most likely to help with conversions, and which channels drive the most traffic.
When brainstorming ideas, it helps to start thinking of an initial topic to make content about. Then discuss the different mediums or formats that you can use for that topic. Agree on a content structure then exhaust all ideas that you can think about for that topic. When you think everything is covered for that topic, it is time to move on to another and do the same process. Whether you are alone or with a group, this process will have you generating endless creative and unique ideas for fantastic content.
5. Create a content calendar
It is not enough to come up with several ideas for content topics and not have a solid plan for executing them. It is necessary to organize your thoughts and create a content calendar or an editorial calendar. A content calendar is simply a schedule of when and where you plan to publish your content. Aside from the upcoming topics, you may also add to the calendar all your planned promotional activities, content updates, and business status updates (new product launches, etc) so that you can also add them or create supplementary content about them.
The importance of a content calendar is that it helps you stay organized and ensure that all content-related tasks are done. You get to publish often and are reminded to update past articles to stay relevant. With a content calendar, you can collaborate with your team more effectively as it keeps everyone on the same page.
More than anything, a content calendar provides a clear overview of the entire content strategy for the next few months. This ensures that nothing falls between the cracks which usually happens when you are disorganized with the content production schedule.
Aside from making sure that you publish on schedule, you may also use the content calendar to guide you where you need to publish content. Every platform has certain formats to follow so your content will be most effective if it is posted with the right format on the right platform.
The internet is flooded with too much content. Many of these pieces of content are useless since they are either reposted or don’t provide any real value to the audience. To avoid having content that belongs in that pack, you need to do research about what type of content is lacking, what offers genuine value, and which allows you to raise the chances of establishing yourself as an authority in your niche.
Research keywords – Use keyword research tools and user surveys to identify popular terms.
Keyword research tools provide you with insights into content marketing trends. It centers your strategy on relevant topics. Knowing what keywords are popular with the audience helps you identify topics that they understand and can define a strategy that will meet their needs. Aside from this, keywords also help increase organic traffic. Optimizing content with keywords increases the visibility of your site. It helps with SEO so you are able to hit two birds with one stone.
7. Write compelling copy
Craft engaging and informative content that is optimized for SEO Optimize each piece for SEO so it can reach a wider audience.
Engaging and informative content is a must but what makes them more efficient is when you write copies that are optimized for SEO. Compelling and valuable content that follows standard SEO best practices will increase the relevance and authority of your content. It improves your Google ranking, securing a top spot that makes it accessible to your target readers. Good SEO content is also shared more so you can reach more audience
8. Promote your content
Reach out to relevant influencers, bloggers, and publishers in order to spread the word about your content.
Posting amazing content without the intention to promote it may reach only a handful of people. Boosting your post by reaching out to relevant entities can increase chances for engagement and sharing. It is an effective way to drive people into your content and make them aware of your existence. It will fuel their desire to seek more content from you and eventually be encouraged to do business with you.
Aside from relevant people, you may also interact with people who have read your content. Take advantage of the conversations or even likes and shares by acknowledging the audience. It will make them significant and will attract more attention because you are also paying attention.
Bonus Tips to Make Your Content Strategy More Effective
Monitor Content Performance. As you already know, the audience is faced with hundreds or even thousands of content from your niche. You need to assess how your content fares against the competition so you can create high-performing content if needed. You need to evaluate what type of content works, analyze if there are patterns that you can replicate in terms of content creation, and take action on content that performs poorly.
Develop a Content Strategy Template. Creating content is a constant in modern marketing. Having a content strategy template will make it easier for you to produce a consistent flow of impressive quality content. It will guide you in developing robust content without having to start from scratch every single time. With a template, it will be easier to generate fresh content ideas, create topic clusters, promote content, and repurpose content to make it relevant.
Content is vital in attracting customers without doing the traditional “push” advertising techniques. A winning content strategy will allow you to organically engage with customers and allow them to want to discover your brand. Instead of merely providing them with information, content marketing makes the audience interact by finding you and discovering the topics and concepts at their leisure.
It is your content that pulls people into your brand. It will serve as a force that will guide them to learn something new, solve their problems or reach their goals with the solutions that you provide. With this, you will realize that more than encouraging customers to make a purchase, content strategy is all about showing your expertise. It is about making your target audience believe that you are the one to be trusted in the industry. Instead of purely promotional or transactional, a content strategy adds value to your brand, making you move forward to your business goals.
Short Bio: Jenn Pereira is a Content Strategist who uses her extensive experience in understanding user needs to create custom content strategies that engage users. At Kittl.com, an intuitive design platform offering tools such as a logo creator and t-shirt design maker, she ensures the content is customized to fulfill the diverse requirements and expectations of users.