How to Develop a Strong Content Strategy for Your Website
Whether you’ve been using content marketing for a while or it’s something completely new, having a solid strategy that’s engaging and innovative is a must. Why? Because the competition is fiercer than ever before – according to HubSpot, nearly 70% of companies are investing in content marketing.
So, in order to stay ahead of the competition, you’ll need to come up with some fresh ideas to include in your content strategy.
If your budget allows it, consider hiring a digital marketing agency. A digital marketing agency will help you develop a strategy and create content. Such partners are crucial in engaging customers and increasing brand awareness through different products and services like SEO, blogs, and consultancy. Hiring a digital marketing agency allows you to get started with your campaigns almost immediately without having to navigate the learning curve or setting up a team.
If you’re ready to dive in on your own, here are 6 tips that will help you create a strong content plan for the upcoming year.
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1. Define Your Objectives
The first step to creating a successful content strategy is knowing what you want to achieve. Some of the most common goals that a content strategy might address are:
- Increasing brand and product awareness
- Providing effective customer support
- Increasing free trial signups
- Boosting conversions
- Building customers loyalty
- Attracting and retaining employees
As your business grows, these objectives will change. For instance, new companies are mostly focused on building brand awareness and attracting customers, whereas established brands might move to nurturing leads. That’s why it is important to review your objectives from time to time and make sure they’re aligned with your business needs.
2. Identify Your Target Audience
When it comes to getting to know your audience, think about who you want to reach and what they care about. In addition, think about what their pain points might be and what problem your business or product solves. Knowing this will allow you to create content that educates and helps your potential customers make their life easier.
Next, you need to figure out how your intended audience prefers to consume information and which channels they use. Do they prefer reading blog posts or watch videos? What social media platform they like to hang out on? When do they turn to Google for information? Is there a chance they’ll subscribe to your email list?
Once you have these answers, you’ll be able to figure out what topic to address, which types of media to use (blog posts, video, images, influencer endorsements), and what channels to focus on (social media, SEO, email, paid search, PR, forums).
3. See What Your Competitors Are Doing
Check out your competitors to see what they’re doing. Determine what works well and what isn’t and see whether there are things that no one else is doing but you believe could resonate with your target audience.
You can even use specialized competitor analysis tools to see competitor data like their organic and paid keywords, where their traffic comes from, audience interests, backlink profile, etc.
4. Incorporate SEO
Today more than ever, search engines reward white hat SEO, i.e. genuinely earning attention and recognition by helping people meet their goals. That’s why SEO should be a core part of your content strategy.
After you have identified your audience, you’ll need to research the keywords relevant to that audience. These keywords will become the backbone of your content development. Today, brands expect the majority of their traffic to come from search—up to 70%-80% in some cases. So, how you rank for keywords related to your business could ultimately make the difference between bad and good brand awareness.
There are many tools that can help with keyword research like Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs. You can create content around these keywords that improves your SEO rankings and drives traffic to your site.
But be careful – if you want to remain in Google’s good graces, you’ll need to play by the rules. Follow webmaster guidelines from the search engines and create content that builds your brand instead of just stuffing keywords.
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5. Create a Content Calendar
Before you start creating your content – make a plan. Create a calendar to schedule your content for each of the platforms you want to use.
Your calendar should incorporate all of the research on topics, keywords, and formats. Considering that the main objective is to capture attention and build customer loyalty, make sure to include core pieces of content as well. Go after big topics that will make a difference from an SEO aspect as well, and address any pain points your audience might have.
If you are not publishing lots of content, you can use Google Calendar and simply put the due dates for each piece of content there. However, if you have a content team to manage, you should consider using productivity and task management tools like Trello or Asana or a purpose-built editorial calendar tool like CoSchedule.
6. Measure Your Results
Once your content calendar is ready, you’ll be able to start creating and distributing your content. But your job isn’t done yet. In order to determine whether your content strategy is successful, you’ll need to track and measure your results.
- Use tools like Google Analytics to see how your content is performing
- Use tools like Mention and Google Alerts to see whether your content is being shared and mentioned
- Measure social activity using social analytics tools like Buzzsumo
- Use tools like SEMRush to assess your content’s search rank
- Check the analytics in your email marketing software to track email signups.
By monitoring your progress, you will be able to make the necessary adjustments and improvements to your content strategy in order to increase its effectiveness.
When it comes to creating an effective content strategy, these tips are just the foundation. You should also consider a number of finer details, such as the voice and tone of your content, which are the crucial elements to building a strong brand identity. Remember – always follow the rules and remain focused on your objective and the results are sure to come.
Dave is a serial entrepreneur who co-founded Shortlist in 2018, a marketing un-agency that serves as an outsourced dedicated marketing team. He has also co-founded Less.churn, a churn reduction app, prior to selling it in 2018. In 2012, he quit his job to travel the world, and has visited over 65 countries.