Six steps to a successful content strategy
Done well, content is one of the most powerful tools in a marketer’s arsenal. Or at least, it should be – provided it’s actually relevant to your customers, and they can find it at the right point to begin with. You see, there’s a lot more to successful content than just writing a blog and bunging it online. To really get the most from your assets, you need a content strategy.
An effective content strategy should give any media asset that your brand puts out a purpose. Piecing a plan together isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but it is worth taking the time to do. It’ll help you to engage your target audience, capture crucial information, nurture your prospects and customers at key points, and even establish you as a thought leader in your industry. All of which sounds pretty appealing to us.
Ready to begin? Check out our six tips for developing a content strategy below.
- Carry out a content audit
Chances are you already have some valuable content resources at your fingertips. So, before you get going on a sparkly new content strategy, take stock of your existing assets. See how they’ve performed (using metrics like views, time on page and conversions) to figure out what’s doing well and what needs tweaking. Also keep in mind where this content sits across the sales funnel (awareness, consideration, decision). From here, you can fill in the blanks of your content strategy, without duplicating on work you’ve already done.
- Work out who you’re targeting
Who do you want to engage with your content? The CIO of a global company, or the fast-moving entrepreneur behind a tech start-up? To create successful content, you need to know who it’s for, which might mean doing some persona research.
But don’t worry. The time you spend on this will quickly be repaid, as your findings help you figure out exactly what you should be saying to the people you’re most keen to start a conversation with. And over time you’ll build up a greater understanding of your key personas (from that research you did) and how they engage with your content.
- Define your goals
Once you know who it’s for, work out what you actually want your content to do and say. Before you start any creative process, define your goals – that’ll inform every decision you make from thereon in. Also, work out whether you’re looking to attract new visitors, nurture leads, or even delight existing customers, and plan content accordingly. Your audit should help here, as you’ll know where content fits in your strategy and you’ll know what’s missing and needs to be created.
- Research your topics and titles
Now, it’s time to plan some topics. What can you say, better than anyone else?
Start by working out the main challenges you want to help your customer overcome. Try and plan your content for at least the quarter ahead, thinking about funnel stages and using a content calendar to help you identify any time-sensitive content opportunities. And remember, if you’re sharing content online, keyword research is king. You can spend hours crafting a masterpiece, tweaking and polishing every last sentence – but it all means nothing if people can’t find it in the first place.
Make sure your content flags up to the people who need it most by doing your keyword research, and keeping SEO strategies in mind as you write.
- Figure out your formats
Say the word ‘content’, and most people’s go-to move is a blog post. There’s nothing wrong with that – blogs are a great way of ramping up your SEO efforts and educating your customers on key topics. Just like this one, right?
But there’s a big, wide world of formats to explore, including eGuides, navigable PDFs, videos, animation, direct mailers, events, interactive digital platforms, parallax sites and ads. And they’ve all got something to offer, depending on what you’re trying to say, when you want to say it, and who you’re saying it to.
- Pick your platforms
You might have finished writing, polished your design and clicked publish, but the work of your content strategy isn’t done yet. Once your asset is live, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to draw attention to it. Whether that’s promoting on social media, paid ads, eDMs, or something else entirely. Whatever it is, make sure it’s aligned to where your target audience is hanging out.
Still struggling with your strategy?
An effective content strategy is a thing of beauty. But hitting all of these points involves a lot of different skillsets. The best writer in the world might know nothing about paid advertising, just like a persona research expert might not be up to speed with SEO. So, to really reap the benefits of content marketing, make sure you have a team in place who can support your efforts across all of these points.