How to Build a Content Strategy
With content marketing as the digital marketing tactic of choice for many businesses, it can be hard to decide which type of content you should focus on and when. There are blogs, social media posts, whitepapers, eBooks, podcasts, and more – each with different goals. The success of content marketing, however, depends on a well-documented content strategy.
Any brand can increase awareness here or there, but the ones that stand out and gain long-term benefits have a plan in place to guide better decision-making. According to Content Marketing Institute, 65% of successful businesses have a documented content marketing strategy, and 86% of the least successful businesses have no written content strategy in place.
So, what are the steps for building a content strategy? This guide will discuss nine simple steps to building a content strategy that’ll help you grow your business while saving time and money. Let’s get started:
What Is a Content Strategy?
A Content strategy involves planning, creating, distributing, and measuring every form of content against your business and marketing goals. It’s your business’s approach to creating and distributing valuable content to your target audience.
A robust content strategy addresses some critical issues for you and your audience. By answering these questions, you not only promote your products or services, but you’ll strengthen your relationship with your audience. These questions include:
- What’s your audience?
- Which solutions is your content offering?
- How will you make your content different from that of your competitors?
- How will you reach your audience? Which channels will you use?
What Are the Steps to Build a Content Strategy?
While businesses handle the process of building a content strategy differently, there’s a basic blueprint all content marketers can follow to ensure they’re not missing any important points. Here are the top nine steps that are essential to developing a solid content strategy:
1. Determine Your Mission and Goals
Before creating content, you need to define the goal and mission of your content strategy. Having a clear purpose will help you to make better decisions when building a content marketing strategy. Start with stating the mission of your content marketing. The mission statement should outline your target audience, the type of content you’ll create for them, and the benefits they’ll enjoy.
The mission statement defines what your audience will get from your content marketing strategy, while the goals cover what your business will benefit from the strategy. Consider what your brand stands for, your marketing objectives, and the needs of your business. Some of the goals that a content strategy may address include:
- Creating brand awareness
- Generating more traffic to your site
- Creating a positive perception of your business to help gain trust and authority
- Creating effective content that’ll reduce the cost of marketing
- Increasing social media engagement
- Nurturing leads into conversions
- Attracting and retaining employees
Goals shift as your business grows. For example, in the beginning, your main goal can be to build brand awareness, but as you grow your attention can shift to nurturing leads and increasing sales. Always review your content strategy goals to keep them aligned with the needs of your business.
2. Set Your KPIs
The most effective way to achieve goals is to make them SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound). This means establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) for your strategy. The KPIs will include what you plan to achieve, and they’ll help you measure results.
For instance, you may want to:
- Reach a certain sales target within a specified time
- Improve the rankings of your pages on Google
- Get more email subscribers
- Get more engagement with your onsite content
- Get more page visits within a certain period
3. Know Your Audience
Get to know your target audience. Find out where they spend their time online, what they spend their money on, and how you can solve their problems. This will help you to create content that’ll attract your prospects and lead them every step of the way to a purchase.
You need to know and understand your audience before creating any content. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What does your audience like in terms of content?
- What are their daily worries?
- What are their purchasing behaviors?
- Which social media platforms do they spend most of their time?
Answering these questions will give you a better understanding of your target audience while also giving you ideas for the content you want to create.
4. Examine Your Competition
Research your competitors and look at what they’re doing and what seems to be working for them. Also, find out the things that no one else is doing that you think would resonate with your audience. Use competitor analysis tools to access your competitor’s keywords and monitor how your shared audience is engaging with their content.
5. Develop Content Ideas
After research, you understand what your audience likes and in which types of channel they’ll likely engage with your work. Come up with content ideas that’ll best meet your content marketing needs. If you’re looking to have more page visits, maybe you should create top-notch blog posts frequently. But if your main goal is to illustrate how a product works, then you need to have quality videos showing your product in action.
Come up with different content ideas, even those that have not been done before, and cut down to what works best. Depending on your target audience, you’ll need to decide on the type of content that’ll fulfill your purpose.
6. Identify and Allocate Resources
Now that you know the type of content you want to create, who it’s for, and where you plan to share it, it’s vital to have all the resources you need to make your content marketing strategy a success. Make sure you have someone in charge of creating and maintaining content, appropriate digital tools, and money for use where necessary.
7. Create a Content Calendar
When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Make sure you have a content calendar to guide you on what type of content to post. You also need to know when you should publish your content on every channel you intend to use.
You can use Google Calendar to manage less content or use task management tools like Asana or CoSchedule if you’re publishing many pieces of content. These tools will help you to manage your team and production workflow.
8. Create and Publish Your Content
Now it’s time to create your content. You may choose to create your own content or outsource it to a content marketing company, but make sure to follow what you’ve learned throughout the content strategy building process.
After developing content, conduct research that’ll help you determine the best time to publish it. Create a schedule and stick to it. Make sure you post your content consistently but remember not to compromise quality for quantity. Always post credible content and as per your audience preferences so that you can meet your content marketing needs.
9. Monitor Engagement and Follow Up
Now you’ve delivered something beneficial for your audience, but your work doesn’t end there. After publishing your content, keep on monitoring engagement and collect data. This data will help you analyze what worked and what changes you need to make for future content strategies.
Even after publishing your content, keep a conversation going with your audience. Respond to their comments and show them that their feedback and opinions matter. This will help to strengthen your relationship with them and build brand loyalty.
Get Help with Developing Your Content Strategy
It takes precious time and effort to build a robust content strategy. A great content strategy can yield long-term benefits that make all the planning well worth it.
Ready to build your content marketing strategy? We can help! Contact us today.