Formulating an effective content creation strategy is the key to your content success. Having a strong yet flexible content plan is the means to guarantee that your efforts will not go to waste as a content marketer. Content strategy underpins your brand’s presence in the industry. Content creation which is now a huge part of content marketing is simply the development of content that educates the target audience. Its purpose is to attract and retain an audience with a clearly defined intent. Most new businesses assume that a content strategy is simply a nice addition, but in fact it is one of the most valuable assets in the contemporary marketing world. It enables users to build a strong relationship with brands based on trust on communication. Let us guide you through it so that your content marketing effort is recognised!

So, why do You Need a Content Strategy?

Did you know that more than 56% of businesses don’t have a documented content development strategy in the digital marketing world? And that most content marketers run out of ideas after their very first content pieces? So, what in the world is a content strategy? A content strategy is simply a map to attain your business goals using high-quality content. Having a well-formulated content strategy can practically determine the overall success of your business. Content marketing has fundamentally evolved in the past decade, and it is now crucial for you to master the technical bits of content creation to stand out in the fierce marketing competition. Creating a content strategy allows you to plan your brand’s development while building a relationship with your target audience throughout the process. A plan will help you in generating and choosing the best content type for your audience across various channels.

According to a Smart Insights survey, 69% of the most successful B2B marketers in 2020 had a documented strategy which means there’s no magic trick; the key to success lies in your content strategy. Time and again, content strategy is only recognized as part of the funnel top. An effective plan should be aiming at much more than brand awareness. 

Content strategy should cover all funnel features, from generating brand awareness to establishing intent to product evaluation, purchase and building loyalty. We will cover some of best practices for you to optimize your content creation and distribution.

Why should you consider a solid content Strategy

Be Cognizant of Your Content Marketing Goals.

Identify your brand values and understand your audience. Consider how your content marketing strategy can meet your business goals. The end of an effective content strategy is to measure its success accordingly. The ultimate idea of content creation is to produce brand awareness and procure ROI, even though these are not always directly linked to content itself. By defining your business aims and identifying how content can contribute to your business success, your strategy will instantly have a more reliable structure. For example, if you’re an online clothing store, you’re most likely to gauge your success through conversions and sales. If your business is subscription-based, it will be more significant to measure the lifetime value of users brought in through your content strategy and proven ROI. It helps to define what metrics need to be used when calculating the success of your content, whether it concerns campaigns or user engagement. 

You should never create content without intent else; it’s simply a waste of time and bound to fail! Sad but true! Using a free content calendar allows you to keep up with your goals on a monthly or yearly basis. The trick is not to get lost in the process. Marketers are easily carried away by the process of content creation and often forgot why a content creation strategy is required in the first place. 

Metrics should be set according to what you seek to achieve with your content strategy. Keep in mind that short-form and long-term content will be quantified differently. More on that here.

What to remember: 

• Content success is intricately linked to your goals. 

• Determine how you will measure the success of your content creation strategy. 

Content Optimization Should be Part of your Content Creation Strategy.

You can power up your strategy with insights and customized content optimization through content intelligence tools. These tools enable you to create content based on research, collaborate with team members and organize your content planning. We’d suggest utilizing a content management system or a content intelligence tool that enables you to create, manage, optimize content and monitor your distribution and competitors’ success, all in one place.

Being out in front is determined by the strength of your content strategy. Optimized content can help you rank higher in search engines and generate leads. Using images and videos that directly/indirectly showcase product features is an excellent technique to increase engagement.

Conduct A Content Audit to Evaluate your Content Strategy.

Knowing your goals is a great start to get your content planning started. Using a tool to precisely understand what your target audience is looking for saves you a lot of time on research and makes planning for new content more manageable. Plus, it helps you to optimize content based on in-depth analysis. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy. Your audience will keep evolving according to market trends, and if you’re in the content department, you should keep track of new SEO tactics, ways to optimize your content, and so on. You can use……..to compare your content to others to see how your content is performing and keep an eye on your competitors. As we already mentioned, your KPI will differ according to your industry and goals.  

Your audit should again indicate your business goals. Identifying why some of your content is underperforming is critical; you need to check for gaps between your brand’s voice and content. Followers frequently feel disengaged when they notice a lack of authenticity or relevance in your content, which leads to lower engagement.

Determine the best voice for your brand by comparing where you stand and which content style works best for your product. Your audit should allow you to understand which piece of content performs best on your chosen platforms.

Evaluate your current content strategy. By conducting a content audit, you can identify gaps and recognize your weaknesses. An audit will help you to develop a better strategy. It might consist of evaluating your assets, such as the suitable form of content created to accompany the buyer’s journey, did your content strategy consider short-form content and interactive pieces. By using analytics, you can track which content form performed better. Was it the one with infographics and videos? What stage of the funnel were users more engaged, and what % of that engagement turned into sales? You can divide your analysis into topics and identify possible gaps in between themes. Identifying your gaps using a simple spreadsheet will enable you to create a strategy that recognizes whether your content format is suitable for your audience. Evaluating your existing content also gives you the possibility to repurpose content for future use.

Using a tool to know what exactly your audience is looking for saves you a lot of time spent on research and makes planning for new content, so much easier. Plus, it helps you to optimize content based on in-depth research. There is no one-size fits all strategy. Your audience will keep evolving according to market trends, and if you’re in the content domain, then you should keep track of new SEO tactics, ways to optimize your content and so on. As we already mentioned your KPI will differ according to your industry and goals. However, setting up a plan underpins your brand and increases business growth.

Research your audience.

              Producing content is a means to enrich your potential customer’s life. The point of creating quality content is to add value to your user’s life and convince them that you can somehow help them. It can be through excellent after-sales tips or simply product-related short-form content. By developing a customer persona, you can address the needs of your target audience. One of your content creation strategy purposes should be to educate your audience through your unique voice and stories. Captivating your audience while educating them is a great way to keep their interest piqued.  A keyword research will enable you to know which keywords were used by the best-ranked content in your topic area.

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  • Research your competition and identity what can be improved or done differently. 
  • Set the proper metrics for your efforts.

Setting Metrics Accordingly

Okay, now that you have determined the goals of your content creation strategy, what’s next? Decide whether you want your content to rank high for keywords, and yes, we mean long-tail keywords or whether your content is only meant to fuel sales. In the first case, for instance, you can track your success using Google Analytics. Need to know where you stand or compare your ranking with your competitors? You can use this tool to determine where you stand and how you can improve your ranking. Researching key terms takes a few minutes and helps you optimize your content as it provides the users with answers to their questions,

On the other hand, if your goal is to create a sales funnel, you will need to measure your conversion rates. Conversation rates are simply records of the % of users who have executed an anticipated action. There are several ways to calculate your conversion rate; for instance, you can calculate your conversion rate by simply dividing your total number of users who ‘convert’ ( for example, by subscribing, commenting, querying, or clicking on an advert) by the general audience size. 

Once again, your goals will determine the best KPIs to keep tabs on your progress. E.g. If your content strategy is based on increasing awareness, your KPIs are most likely to be connected to the time spent on your page and your bounce rate, i.e. people who walked away from your page. If you aim to acquire a higher rate of organic traffic, consider focusing on metrics such as your search ranking and your inbound link score. To improve your organic traffic, you can conduct topic research and get an insight into user intent. A quick investigation can help you improve your content strategy by analyzing word clusters that generate sales for your competitors.

There are many ways to measure your content’s success. It can be through social media engagement, user behaviour or an analysis of your SEO results. Bear in mind that metrics are often indirectly bound to capital. For example, you can calculate the value of your inbound leads by aggregating your number of leads by the value of each lead. This method allows you to have a basis for estimating your ROI. Other marketers recommend using leads, sign-ups and other forms of user engagement as the indicators for calculating content ROI.

After determining how you quantify success and ROI, you can check the effectiveness of your strategy within a few minutes by conducting a topic research. It allows you to check where you stand. An analysis of keywords can help you fine-tune your content strategy. By analyzing their clusters, you recognise your user intent and can better address potential requests. However, bear in mind that well-established brands will require shorter keywords than other brands. A high-authority domain is likely to rank high and be allowed several URLS (up to 3) for the same keyword phrase. Nevertheless, a comparison between your content strategy and other similar companies will allow you to recognize your hindrances.

Define your Content Distribution Strategy.

To generate leads from your consent assets, you need a content strategy and a content distribution strategy that allows you to increase brand awareness and enables your business to grow. You can monitor the effectiveness of your distribution and its durability using this tool. Plan your content distribution and the durability of your material in external channels. Use automated notification to keep track of expired articles or lost links: plan whether you want to pursue paid or organic distributions. This content intelligence tool, for example, makes it easier for you to track the efficiency of your distribution channels and allows you to handle your content distribution more effectively.

Set up a Content Calendar.

A content calendar is your best friend when it comes to outlining. Implementing weekly or monthly aims will help you visualize your goals and achieve them more efficiently. 

Consider repurposing content and using it across different channels to maximize awareness and generate leads. For example, an Instagram post will be more visual and is likely to be limited in terms of words. It should transmit the same message but in a different style. Your voice should remain consistent across all channels. A content calendar works as a pipeline; it enables you to collaborate with your peers and optimize results. Coordination between various parts of your business will allow you to detect potential shortcomings and address them promptly. 

Tasks are better organized according to the requirements of the calendar, which makes it easier for goals to be met. A three-tiered calendar can cover content that will align with marketing campaigns, permanent content, and some hero content which is all about getting your brand noticed. Hero content should be sparsely used. A few times a year, not to oversaturate your audience, product launch events, for instance, make up for excellent hero content. 

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Create Relevant Content to Follow the Funnel. 

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. They intend to find a solution. So, at the very top of the funnel, consider implementing infographics or listicles so that you transform awareness to interest. Everyone loves a good visual; it’s easy to memorize and transmits a large amount of information through a laid-back medium. The first stage should only raise awareness and suit your consumer’s research. Do not give away too much at the start. Use these shorter forms of content as teasers so that you can move to the interest and consideration stage.

Think of including links to more specific content to move to the next stages of the funnel steadily. As you progress further into the funnel, pay attention to how you interact with your users; assessments, quick quizzes, or any other form of interactive content allows your audience to evaluate your products and gauge your offers. It’s a means for you to acquire intent and evaluation.

Ideally, the final stage content should focus on your offer and product application. You may use calculators, reviews and even case studies to show how your solution fits your user’s needs. You might think that sealing the deal means that content creation is no longer required.

No! Continuous content creation can help you retain existing customers, create a buzz and strengthen loyalty.  

Okay, now is the time to set your Content Strategy! Build a life-long relationship with your audience through content from the awareness stage to the post-sale stage. Your content strategy should cover your audience’s buying journey, which means you have to underpin their choice after purchases as well!

How to address setbacks?

Monitor your visibility regularly to ensure that your content is aligned with your business goal and that you are not left behind in the competition. Although people tend to think of content as passive, the whole process behind its creation requires you to be active to maximize benefits from it. Tailoring your content according to the topic that is intricately linked to your business goal will enable you to achieve higher visibility. Include keywords that increase the efficiency of the content you produce. Each URL can be analyzed to improve your content and double-check your content strategy at every step of the game. 

Utilizing optimal semantics can help you address user query. Consider semantic variations throughout your article to achieve high visibility. 

Note: Keyword cannibalization is a recurrent SEO issue that prevents your content from achieving optimal visibility. It simply means that you have several articles ranked for the same keywords in Google either because your topics have too many similarities or you have you use one keyphrase for multiple topics. You can resolve this matter by determining which page should appear for a given term, and then devising tactics for internal linking, backlinks or other content should be considered.

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For example: Using a keyword tool will help you achieve semantic variations. You can optimize your content by creating keyword clusters for specific topics. It is also a good technique to avoid content cannibalisation!

Putting it all together

Effectively setting up a content creation strategy is a cycle that needs to be optimized regularly to keep up with the audience. A strategy provides you with the right tools to deal with potential drawbacks and increase visibility. Content creation tends to be overwhelming; moreover, if you don’t have a strategy that works, your efforts might not pay off. Use the above ideas and tricks to develop a strong content strategy that puts your business priorities first. Consistency is everything. By using a content planner and a cluster map, you can identify what should be your next content piece. If you think sporadically creating and posting content will get you a higher engagement, you have to rethink your strategy. Keeping in mind your user’s intent, you need to address their queries and provide them with solutions. If you don’t, they will go to someone else. Your strategy should be aligned to your user intent and ultimately to your business goals. 

Remember: Successful content marketing relies on high-quality content and a solid content strategy.

What to remember?

• A content audit will help you evaluate your strategy’s potential and tackle various issues. 

• Using content intelligent tools allows you to save time and work on several projects at once. You can monitor your content distribution strategy, optimize content, keep an eye on competitors and even create content in the same place.

• Use the questions in our Content Audit section to build a strong content plan and recognize potential gaps.

• Identify your brand’s objectives: awareness, interest, online or offline sales, or loyalty. 

• Align your objectives with your content strategy.

• Research your competition and do better. 

• Stick to your audience persona to create content that suits user intent. 

• Set the proper metrics for your efforts. Define success according to what you seek to achieve with your content creation.

What are your tips and tricks for a killer content strategy? We’d love to hear and learn from you!