We know that content marketing is the next big trend in business marketing and promotion. Most of the leading organizations are using content marketing to provide relevant information that is useful to the customers and engage them. Content marketing also works to establish your thought leadership in the industry and develop trust among the target customers.
However, it is crucial to share the right content, at the best time and on the apt platform to ensure that it reaches the preferred audience and delivers the intended message. Developing a content strategy ensures that you create meaningful content that speaks to the target audience and converts them into paying customers.
However, you need not be an expert digital content strategist to start content marketing for your business. There are some easy tools and techniques available on the internet that will help you in developing a solid content strategy that can boost your content marketing ROI. Understanding the importance of content strategy for your business will help you to choose the right tools for the purpose.
Importance of Content Strategy
While everyone knows that it is critical to have a well-planned and documented content strategy contributes to the success of content marketing campaigns, most of the content marketers fail to understand why we need a content strategy in the first place.
- The world is getting highly connected and digital. Everyone has access to loads of information. Providing well-researched and up-to-date content is crucial to attract the attention of the target audience and engage them.
- The content strategy helps to identify the gaps in the existing content and to create quality content that bridges the gap between the audience’s demands and the existing content.
- A majority of the consumers are tired of the paid advertising tactics used by brands. They install ad-blocking software to get rid of these paid promotions. In such a scenario, high-quality content helps to reach the target audience and develop trust in them.
- Creating high-value content helps to build brand awareness and improve brand recall value. The audience engages more personally with brands that provide relevant content that helps to solve their everyday challenges and increase their knowledge. As a result, they will remember your brand whenever they require products or services that fall into your niche. Moreover, a highly engaged audience is also more likely to recommend your products to others.
- Search engine algorithms value good content and reward it with high rankings. Publishing quality content on your website gets more organic backlinks as more people refer to your content, which establishes your thought leadership in the industry. This not only makes you the go-to source for information for the target audience but also improves your search rankings.
Now that you know the importance of content strategy, you need not go running to hire an expert digital content strategist to create the content strategy for your website. You can develop a decent content strategy to guide your content marketing efforts by following a streamlined approach. Before we proceed further to know how to create a content strategy, let us know the important characteristics of an effective content strategy.
Characteristics of An Effective Content Strategy
A successful content strategy comprises of both front-end and back-end systems and processes that work in perfect sync to create an effective strategy. Here are some other features that make the strategy effective.
- Sustainable – The strategy needs to be sustainable in order to be effective. You should be able to execute the strategy on a continuous basis. You should have the resources to execute the strategy in a time-bound manner.
- Clear – The content needs to have a purpose and intent in order to be effective in reaching out to the audience and engaging them.
- Engagement Driven – The content you create should be able to attract the audience with its quality and relevance. It should motivate the audience to act in a particular manner that benefits your business.
- Multipronged Approach – The content strategy should consist of a multipronged approach. It should include multiple platforms and outcomes.
There is no one-size-fits-all process for developing a successful content strategy. Here are some useful tips from an experienced digital content strategist to help you build the right strategy for your business.
Effective Tips to Build a Content Strategy
A well-documented content strategy is crucial to develop quality content that strikes a chord with your audience. It helps you to identify the requirements of your customers and create engaging and informative content that adds value and provides a unique experience. Moreover, it also helps to align your business goals with the content marketing campaigns and produce a better return on investment.
Define Your Content Marketing Goals
Before creating a content strategy, you first have to define your goals. Make a clear note of what you want to achieve through content marketing. It can be creating brand awareness, increasing website traffic, generating qualified leads, increasing conversions, or developing trust in the customers. Once you have identified the goals it becomes easy to develop a content strategy to achieve them. It is important to note that the content requirements differ depending on the audience’s position in the sales funnel. You have to choose the right content-type based on your buyers’ journey.
Perform Audience Research
You can use tools such as Google Analytics to find out about the age, gender, education, income and other demographic information of your audience. You can also use the analytical tools provided by social media platforms such as Twitter, and Facebook to collect your user demographics. This data will help you to create buyer personas.
Create Buyer Personas
Creating buyer personas aids to understand the content requirements of your target audience. The buyer persona should mimic your users in terms of pain points, content requirements, content consumption, and other behavioral aspects.
Perform a Content Audit
It is essential to know the quality and relevance of your existing content, and performing a content audit will help you in the purpose. You have to assess the present content and determine ways to create and present content in a different manner. If you are already running content marketing campaigns, it is likely that you have a variety of content such as website content, blog posts, social media content, etc. already existing. If you are a new business, you can miss this step.
There are various content audit tools such as Screaming Frog, SEMRush, Aherfs, etc. that help you to analyze and audit your content. These tools help to
- Identify duplicate pages
- Create search engine friendly sitemaps
- Analyze the page titles, tags, and descriptions
- List content titles
- Identify content length
- List backlinks and social shares
These factors help you to determine whether your existing content is performing as per the plan, identify loopholes and create the right strategy to enhance performance.
Choose the Best Channels
Choosing the right channels to publish and distribute the content is the next step in developing the content strategy. You have to choose the platforms which are preferred by your target audience. You can use tools such as Google Analytics, Buzzsumo, Sprout Social, etc. to identify the platforms where your content is shared the most. Start with the channels you have a good presence on and build your strategy to expand to other channels.
Decide Content Types
Decide on what types of content you want to create. There are different types of content such as blog posts, how-to articles, guest posts, ebooks, whitepapers, podcasts, videos, etc. that can be incorporated in your content strategy. Choose the content type that resonates with the target audience, and engages them to take the desired actions.
You can use tools such as Buzzsumo, OptionMonster, blog about, Feedly, etc. to discover popular content ideas. They help you know about the most popular types of content and how to use it to gain customers’ attention.
Allocation of Resources
Once you know what type of content to create, and where to distribute it, the next step is to allocate resources to produce and publish the content. You have to determine, people responsible to produce and maintain the content, what are the tools and resources required to create the content, and what is going to be the content creation process.
Preparing the Content Calendar
One of the main reasons for the failure of the content strategy is the lack of planning. Creating a content calendar helps you to schedule the creation and distribution of different types of content. A content calendar helps to create diverse and well-balanced content that appeals to the audience at different stages of the buyers’ journey. Apart from the content calendar, you can also create a social media calendar to create and distribute content on social media platforms.
Choose The Tools to Track and Measure the Performance
You have to choose the tools to track and measure the performance of the content from time-ti-time. Continuous tracking and measurement of key performance indicators are critical to ensure the success of your content marketing strategy.
You can use tools such as Google Analytics, Buzzsumo, Optionmonster, Mention, Google Alerts, SEMRush, etc. to track and measure the performance of different types of content.
Creating a content strategy does not require you to be an expert digital content strategist. A little bit of research and homework will help you to master the process. There are many tools and techniques available on the internet, which can guide you in the process of creating and setting up your content strategy.