An A-Z Guide On Developing A Solid Content Strategy

If you have a hard time keeping up with the ever-changing digital marketing landscape, a content strategy can help you get it right. There was a time when a short and sweet informational piece with a few keywords tossed in would help your site rank higher in searches. However, those days are long gone. Now, to get on a search engine’s radar, quality is key. You not only have to create a variety of content, but you also have to make sure your audience is actively interacting with it. Before you write a single word, it is critical to have a strategy in place to keep you on track. That is where a content strategy sets you up for success.

What is a Content Strategy?

Content strategy refers to the way you manage all of your digital media, including blogs, videos, social media posts, and anything else you can put online. Content creation is vital to growing your business, but without a strategy, your business looks like it has no clear direction. A random dump of content will only confuse your audience and hurt your rankings.

With a clear direction and quality content, you can turn followers into customers and boost your business fast. Before you start to develop your strategy, there are a few things you should have a solid understanding of:

Who Is Your Audience?

When you make a piece of content, such as a blog post, who is it that you are trying to reach? You want your content strategy plan to include a variety of content types so you can reach a wide range of customers. Knowing the kinds of customers you want to attract will help you to decide which types of content are most beneficial to you.

What’s Your “Thing”?

Imagine you have decided to make a food blog. Anyone who has ever done a google search for a recipe knows there’s a multitude of blogs that cover everything you have ever wanted to know about any aspect of cooking. So how would you make a food blog successful? That is where you need to focus on what makes yours unique. If you have an angle that makes you stand out from the rest, like focusing on recipes that take less than 30 minutes, then you develop most of your content around that idea.

Find Your Format

There are a lot of options for what kind of content you want to develop. You can make videos, blog posts, podcasts, or any other number of things. Not all content is relevant to your audience, so you can use that research mentioned above to decide what to focus on first. It is better to do a few things that you are confident you can pull off than a lot of junk that just ends up hurting you.

Another good way to decide what to focus on is by creating a solid project budget to guide you. Keep in mind where you want to publish your content. Different platforms, such as Facebook or Instagram, may have content formatting restrictions.

Why Is Content Strategy Important?

According to Search Engine Watch, only 39% of marketers are actively using a content strategy.  A content marketing strategy keeps you organized and prepares you with practical solutions to managing various types of content. With a solid plan in place, you can be sure you are consistently productive, which is essential to encouraging engagement.

Additionally, it can help you get an at-a-glance picture of your brand identity and ensure your content is in line with your brand. With a consistent and cost-effective content marketing strategy that supports your product, you are well on your way to generating leads that turn into customers.

Create A Killer Content Strategy

Now that you have a good idea about what a content strategy is and why you should have one, we can dive into the steps you need to take to create your strategy.

1.) Make a Goal

Why are you here? What are you trying to accomplish and why do you want to create a content marketing plan? It is vital to outline your goals before you get started. Knowing what your end game is allows you to keep yourself on track. Different content will support different goals. If you still aren’t sure how to figure out your goals, there are some solid templates available, like this one through HubSpot. If you are going for brand awareness, social media might be your go-to. But if your goal is to educate, you could develop a content marketing strategy that steers you towards an eBook or webinar.

2.) Know What Your Customer Wants

You can’t expect to create content that drives sales without defining your target audience.  You generate leads and convert them to customers by creating content that is relevant to their needs. Researching your audience is an essential step to developing your strategy. Google Analytics & Demographics can help you identify content that your audience is already gobbling up. Knowing what your audience is already into takes a lot of the guesswork out of content strategy planning.

Even if you are a seasoned marketing professional, if you want to expand your market to include a new target audience, it is critical to define who you are including in that expansion so you can create content that appeals to them. Additionally, as someone who has had their hands in the marketing game for some time, you should regularly audit your content creation. This lets you see what you are currently doing, what you could do differently, and plan your trajectory from there.

3.) Get Organized with a Content Management System

A content management system is a piece of software that helps to manage the creation, editing, and publication of digital content. Typically, a content management system will allow multiple people to collaborate on a project. There are many types of content management systems out there for you to choose from. It is essential to decide what tools are most useful to you, like social media integrations or SEO tools, when selecting your software.

4.) Time to Brainstorm

Now that you know what your goals are, who you are targeting, and have a system to help you stay organized, you can begin brainstorming content ideas. There’s plenty of information out there to help you generate ideas but make sure you are focusing on content quality. You can put a lot of work into your website’s look and proper keyword placement for SEO but if your audience does not connect with your content, it is just a waste of time.

Measure Your Results

Once you have started implementing your content marketing strategy, you will want to measure the results and adjust to maximize your budget. Here are a few key steps to measuring your results so you know how to tweak your content strategy:

Calculate the Content Cost

You know you decide which content to make based on your budget, but there are most costs to factor in when measuring your results. There’s always a cost attached to producing content, whether it is in-house or outsourced, so factor in any salaries or fees that are attached to creating that content. Additionally, you should add in any costs connected to peripherals like stock images or videos.

The Cost of Distribution

Add up how much money you spent on paid advertising or any other paid promotion you may have participated in when implementing your content strategy. You should also include the cost of any software you used while executing your strategy.

How Many Sales Were Made

Quality content that is distributed according to a well-researched strategy should deliver leads that convert. You should calculate the revenue that came from your content to see how much you have earned. It is easier to track your sales if your content has a clear call-to-action, like a “shop now” button.

Do The Math

To see how much you have profited from your content, you can do some simple math. Add the cost of content creation to the cost of distribution. Subtract this number from the total sales that were made, and you have the dollar amount that you have earned for your given period.

How to Use This Information

By calculating this number for each piece of content, you can start to get a picture of what drives revenue for you and what does not. If you find that your content isn’t generating the income that you want, you can adjust your strategy to focus on something else or use these tips to up your game.

You’re Just Getting Started

Now that you know how to create a content strategy that sets you up for success, it’s time to get started. As you progress, you can use your strategy as a framework for success and quickly pinpoint the areas that work best for you. A consistent audit of your performance lets you adapt your strategy to the ever-changing digital marketing landscape and ensure your business stays profitable.