When it comes to developing a successful marketing strategy that meets the needs of modern-day consumers, content is a central factor. Us marketers use it to meet a client’s primary goals, which include reaching and resonating with their target audience.
Content marketing strategy is a broad term encompassing many different practices and distribution outlets. Content marketing is essential if you’re interested in creating meaningful relationships with your audience.
This post will look at what a content strategy is and how it translates to modern-day marketing methods. You’ll also learn to develop a content strategy that increases your brand awareness and moves you towards meeting your business goals.
What Does Content Strategy Actually Mean?
In its purest form, a content strategy is a comprehensive plan that focuses on content design, execution, and delivery. But this broad meaning often leaves people scratching their heads because it’s a broad definition.
Content creation comes in many forms, including blog posts, website copy, white papers, case studies, infographics and video content – and that’s to name a few!
More importantly, a content strategy encompasses a range of practices that move a business towards its particular goals, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
The Two Sides of a Content Strategy
A content strategy essentially falls into two categories: organic and paid.
Organic strategies refer to any marketing activity recognised as part of the core business – rather than an addition or extra expense. For example, if your brand has a blog or company news page that regularly publishes new content, that would be considered an organic strategy.
Paid strategies are activities, such as advertising and social media campaigns that a business pays for to reach its target audience.
Why Is a Content Strategy Essential For Every Business?
It’s important to remember that a content strategy is not just about creating great blog posts. It also encompasses distributing your content across every platform, from social media channels and websites – to email marketing services and newsletters.
In this sense, a well-developed content strategy ensures you’re consistently reaching out to potential customers in an authentic way, where they are already engaging with other people online. As a result, these individuals will be more likely to engage with your brand too!
Great Content Builds Brands
It’s no secret that content marketing is king – and it always will be. Why? Because content gives your brand a voice that resonates with your target audience and develops meaningful relationships.
The most prominent brands have one thing in common; their customers love them. It’s no longer enough to have an excellent service or product because your audience wants to know who you are.
If you’re unconvinced about why content marketing is so essential for brand loyalty, check out this article by Forbes.
It Improves Your Organic Traffic
When it comes to making content for your website, you need to think about the bigger picture. What does this mean? Well, search engine optimisation (SEO) is all about creating great content that people will love – and therefore share with their friends online.
And how do SEOs measure success? By looking at organic traffic! The more time somebody spends on your website means they’re interested in what you have to offer. It also reduces bounce rates, essential if you want high rankings on Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages).
Content Marketing is Cheaper Than PPC
It’s no secret that search engine marketing (SEM) is expensive, and if you’re not careful, it can eat into your advertising budget. The simplest solution? Stop using paid ads!
Content marketing allows you to reach a much wider audience for less money, especially with PPC campaigns. In addition, content can be promoted across social media platforms as well as SERPs, meaning more people will engage with your website too.
How Do I Develop A Content Strategy That Works For My Business?
Many brands struggle when it comes to developing their unique strategies because there isn’t one definitive process for doing so. Below we’ll look at some approaches you can take to establish your very own plan.
You’ve probably figured out by now that there isn’t one correct answer for developing a content strategy – every business is different, after all! However, everyone shares their own unique set of goals and challenges.
That’s why it’s essential to sit down and analyse your business objectives, target audience, and the channels they use. From there, you can start creating content that will help you reach your goals.
Here are a few more tips on how to get started:
– Define what success looks like for you (and measure it!)
– Know who your target market is and what they want
– Research the best channels for distributing your content
– Always be planning – even when you don’t have anything new to publish!
How to Develop a Content Strategy
Now that you understand the two sides of a content strategy – let’s look at how you can develop a comprehensive content strategy for your business.
The following steps will help you create a plan that is tailored to the unique needs of your brand and audience.
Step One: Define Your Goals
The first step in developing any marketing strategy is defining your goals. What do you want to achieve with your content? Are you looking to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website or convert leads into customers?
It’s essential to be clear about what you hope to achieve, as this will dictate the type of content you produce and how you distribute it.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
Knowing your target audience is essential for any successful marketing campaign. If you don’t know who you’re trying to reach, it’s impossible to create content that resonates with them.
Start by creating a buyer persona, which is a fictional representation of your average customer. This should include information such as age, gender, occupation and interests.
For example, if you’re a cosmetic business that caters to women in their 50’s, you’ll want to create a persona that looks something like this:
Janet is a 50-year-old administrative manager. She’s married, with teenage children and wants to age gracefully. Janet doesn’t want bold makeup and prefers a natural, sophisticated look.
Her interests are spending time with her family, dinner with the ladies and going on luxurious holidays.
- Finding makeup that offers good coverage but doesn’t feel too heavy
- She wants to understand how to look after her skin more
- She needs some help learning how to adjust her cosmetics according to her age
Once you have a good understanding of your target audience and the buyer’s journey, you can begin creating content that appeals to them. Another example – if you sell luxury cars, your blog posts might focus on topics like travel and high-end fashion.
Let’s face it, anyone who can buy a luxury car won’t be concerned with the cheapest shops to buy new clothes, so it’s all about tailoring your content for the people that will read it.
What Do You Want Your Content to Achieve?
A clear understanding of your target audience and their interests is integral to developing a content strategy, but it’s not the be-all and end-all.
You also need to think about what you hope to achieve with your content – are you looking for brand awareness, or do you have specific conversion goals? What are your KPIs (key performance indicators) that measure success?
For example, if one goal is increasing traffic to your website through blogging, this would track towards views on your blog posts. If you want to increase leads, you may track conversions from blog posts to landing pages.
Step Two: Do a Content Audit
Once you know what you’re working towards, it’s time to audit your current content. This involves looking at everything that’s currently being produced – and determining if it’s helping you meet your business goals.
If certain pieces of content are performing better than others, note what works and why – this will help when developing new pieces later on in the process. Two types of content you should know about our organic and paid content.
The type of organic content you produce is really up to you and depends on your industry. For example, if you’re an eCommerce retailer with a blog, some topics that work well include: product features, brand history and seasonality trends.
You could also write about service or delivery updates too! If these posts receive positive engagement from your audience – continue producing them, so they remain relevant for consumers at different points throughout the year (such as Black Friday).
With Paid Strategies, you’ll mainly be looking at social media ads. A good strategy here is to create new content that links back to your website – this will help increase traffic and conversions from organic search results!
Step Three: Competitor Analysis
You wouldn’t go to a party without knowing the dress code, would you? It’s precisely the same with your content strategy. To put it simply, you HAVE to understand what your competitors are doing.
An excellent way to start is by looking at what content they’re producing and the tone of voice that they use. Are they being funny? Informative? Serious? You’ll also want to look into their social media strategies, as this can give you an idea of the kind of paid ads they’re using.
Once you have a good understanding of your competitors, it’s time to think about how you can differentiate yourself from them. What makes you unique? Why should people visit your website instead of theirs?
Our Top Picks For Competitor Analysis Software
There are plenty of competitor analysis software options available, but we tend to go for BuzzSumo and Mention because they offer a lot of value for money.
As well as helping you to find keywords, Buzzsumo can also tell you what content performs best for any topic or competitor. You’ll be able to see how many shares an article has received and where it was published, too – all things that your competitors will consider when creating their own content.
With Mention, you can keep track of who’s talking about you online (as well as your competition). If someone mentions a product similar to one on your website, this could mean the chance for cross-promotion opportunities – so make sure to stay up-to-date with mentions! This way, if anyone talks positively about another business in your industry – then get in touch and see if you can work together.
Step Four: Implementing Your Content Strategy
Now that you understand your audience, goals and competition – it’s time for the fun part! Time to create a content calendar. This will help outline all of the content that needs to be completed and shared and when it’s due to go live.
Content Calendar Template
Once you’ve identified your goals, start creating a spreadsheet with the relevant information in each column (this should include: goal, audience, tone of voice and type of content).
Then collect all of your existing pieces into one list on the right-hand side; this is where we find having a template comes in handy! It also helps keep everything organised for later use.
To make things easier on yourself – try grouping like topics together (for example, product features might fit nicely with another category such as ‘brand history’). This will help future planning, too, once you have multiple pages to feature under one topic area.
Step Five: Creating The Content
Once you’ve created your content calendar, it’s time to get creating! We like our blog posts to be informative (and fun!), so we tend to stick with writing between 1500 – 3000 words per post.
It ultimately depends on your business, but we know from experience that long-form blog posts receive more attention and have a better chance of ranking on the search engine results page.
We also try to keep the tone of voice relatable; this helps us connect with our audience easier – plus, they’re more likely to find what we have to say helpful, which will hopefully lead them back through the sales funnel later.
Finally, don’t forget to keep an eye on your competitors once you’ve published something new! You should be looking out for how they’re using their content; this will help inform future strategies and give you another chance at getting ahead of the game.
The Best Content Streams For Growing Businesses
There are a lot of content streams that you can tap into as a business – it just depends on what stage your company is at. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
As we’ve already mentioned, blog posts are great for informing and engaging your audience. They’re also one of the best ways to rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Make sure each post is keyword rich and informative – but don’t forget to have fun too!
Video content is becoming increasingly popular, so it’s something worth considering. You can create explainer videos, customer testimonials or even product demonstrations. If you’re not sure where to start, look for online video creation tools that make the process a little easier.
If you’re not sure whether or not podcasting is for you, give it a go! You can record them in your own time, and they’re perfect for those who like to listen to content on the go. As with anything, be sure to experiment until you find what works best for you and your business.
Another great way to present information is through infographics – these are easy to digest and often go viral if done correctly. If you’re struggling with design, there are plenty of free infographic tools out there that can help get the ball rolling.
Case studies are a great way to show off your product or service in action. Not only do they help with conversion rates, but they can also be used as social proof (which is always handy).
Not everyone enjoys writing content, and it requires time and attention. If you’d rather focus on other areas of your business, there are plenty of blog writing services available.
The Best Content Marketing Tools
Now that you know what type of content to produce, it’s time to start creating! Thankfully there are plenty of tools to make the process a little easier. Here are some of our favourites:
If you’re not familiar with WordPress, it’s a content management system that helps you easily create and manage your website’s content.
Canva is a free online design tool that makes creating graphics super easy. You can create everything from infographics to social media posts with ease.
If you’re looking for a social media management tool, Hootsuite is a great option. It allows you to manage all of your social media accounts in one place and schedule posts ahead of time.
Buffer is another great option for those who want to schedule their social media posts. You can add links, images and videos to your Buffer account, and it will automatically post them at the times you choose.
There are plenty of other tools that can help with content creation – these are just a few of our favourites! As always, experimentation is vital for finding what works best for you and your business.
Creating a Successful Content Strategy: Final Thoughts
There’s no one ‘right’ way to create a content strategy – but the more research and planning you put into it upfront, the easier your life will be later on down the line.
Make sure you consider your target audience, the type of content you want to produce and what tools can make the process a little easier. And most importantly, have fun with it!
Remember, the blog post is one of the best ways to boost your position on the search engines and receive more organic traffic. As far as content strategies go, there will always be some elements of trial and error – but in the end – it’s completely worth it.
Would You Like a Free Content Strategy Template?
The best way to get started is by downloading our free content strategy template! It’s a great starting point for creating your very own strategy. It has everything you need to plan and deliver a dynamic content strategy that reaches the right audience and delivers organic growth opportunities.
Better still, it’s completely free and easy to edit. What are you waiting for?