You need to have a solid content strategy to reach your target audience in today's digitally crowded marketing environment.
Your content strategy is what makes you brand visible in search engines. It allows the right customers to find you at the perfect time, and gives them the best user experience.
This guide will provide information on the steps to create your content strategy. We'll also include real-world examples of content strategies from brands that are doing it well.
Let's get started!
- Content strategy is a holistic way to deliver information to customers. This is distinct from content marketing which is the execution.
- Your content strategy should have clearly defined goals and performance metrics. These metrics help you keep your strategy on track and measure its success.
- Buyer personas can be a useful tool to define your target audience before you launch your content strategy.
- For a successful SEO strategy for content, it is important to do strong keyword research.
- Your brand's visibility will be increased by sharing your content on your social media platforms and making it easily shareable.
What is a Content Strategy and Why is It Important?
Content strategy is a comprehensive approach to providing information for customers across all channels and at all stages of the buyer's journey. Content is a strategic asset that your company can use to drive traffic, leads and engagement as well as other business goals.
Companies can choose from many content options to provide information at every stage of the buyer's journey, as you can see. Each stage of the buyer journey has different requirements and information needs. Companies must plan how and what they will deliver each content. A clearly defined content strategy is essential to this effort. It will ensure that you maximize your content ROI.
Content strategy vs. content marketing
It is important to remember that content strategy and content marketing are two different things.
This is how it works: Your content strategy determines the overall culture and mindset for communicating with customers via content. Content marketing is the execution of this strategy. This includes your tools, channels and actual content.
This distinction is critical. It is possible for any company to publish content with very little effort. It is much more difficult to create high-quality, consistent content that helps customers and supports your business goals. SEMRush found this shocking statistic: While 91% of companies use Content Marketing, only 9% rate their results as Excellent.
Where is the missing link? It seems that most companies who are unhappy with the performance of their content have a weak content strategy. You don't need to be one of these companies. Let's look at how to create a content strategy that links the content you create to the business goals.
Here are 10 steps to creating a great content strategy for your brand
Set your goals
Setting clear goals is the first step in creating a content strategy that delivers. These goals will guide your strategy and help measure its success. The SMART goal framework is a good way to set specific, measurable and attainable goals. Knowing your goals clearly and knowing how you want to reach them will help you plan the rest of you content strategy.
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Define buyer personas
Buyer personas help you understand your customers and their motivations. They should ultimately help you understand your customers and what your products can do to help them. This is why it's important to keep your personas focused and focused on actionability, rather than random traits.
When creating personas, try to define:
- Use the content you create for your target audience
- They are interested in the following topics
- They prefer certain types or formats of content
- They use which channels
- The buyer's journey at each stage
- They use keywords to search for and
- They ask questions
These insights will help you decide which content pillars to focus on (more about that next), which topics to cover and what content types will be most engaging for your audience.
Determine content types and pillars
These are the categories that all of your content ideas come from. These pillars can be thought of as the “buckets”, or “themes,” under which all your content can be organized. These are central to your content strategy as they help you determine the priorities of your audience. They also serve to guide your creators so that they can create pieces that fit with your larger goals.
You should make pillars broad enough to allow you to think of a variety of topics and content ideas that will fall under them. This will help you really leverage pillars to drive results. You can tag every piece of content that you create with the appropriate pillar(s), so you can see the content created and the number of them. To give your content the best chance of driving SEO results, you should stick to your content pillars over a longer period.
Your brand voice
Your brand voice is the personality that you project when communicating with customers. It is an integral part of the brand experience and how brands connect with customers. Your brand voice is like your pillars. It guides content creators and ensures that your content is accurate.
You will need to establish guidelines around tone and language in order to build a strong brand voice. You can decide whether your blog posts should be informal and conversational, or more formal and informative. What words and phrases should you use to refer to particular products or buyers?
To help content creators remain consistent and on-point, it's a smart idea to create a guide that outlines the do's and don'ts of brand voice.
Do keyword research to develop your SEO strategy
Did you know that 93% online experiences begin with a search engine? You are virtually invisible to your target audience if you don't rank in search engine results pages for keywords or phrases you customers are searching for.
Effective keyword research is key to ranking high in SERPs. It can be done using tools such as the SEMRush Keyword Magic Tool. After you have identified keywords, you can create your SEO strategy by aligning keywords to buyer funnels and content pillars. These steps will ensure that your content reaches the right customers at just the right moment.
Watch the video below to learn more about keyword research using the SEMRush tool.
Create content brainstorming ideas
This is where the fun begins! This is the fun part! This involves defining topics, titles, as well as the types of content that you will create to engage your audience.
You can think creatively about how you want to communicate your topics ideas. A video tutorial on how to use your product might be the best format, but a top ten list with resources on a specific topic might work better in a blog post.
This content brainstorming guide was created by the Content Marketing Institute. It includes techniques that will help you feel inspired, and allow you to be more creative with your team.
Create a content calendar
The execution plan for your content strategy's content strategy is crucial part of your content calendar. This calendar will help you plan when and how you will publish your content. It also helps you stay on track and accountable. For more information on creating a content calendar and template, check out our article. Or download our own template (linked below).
Highlight key metrics
How can you tell if your content strategy has been successful? You'll first need to define the key metrics that you will measure. These metrics will be derived from your original SMART goals. However, once you have developed the rest of your content strategy, you can get more specific.
These are the five key metrics that I recommend to evaluate content performance:
- Traffic – Traffic must be measured. Your strategy won't succeed if no one visits your website.
- Conversions – Conversions are the rate at which web visitors take action after reading your content.
- Engagement – This is how you can measure engagement. You can look at data points like time spent on your site, page views per session, and so forth.
- SEO Performance – Track the SERP rankings and their changes over time.
- Authority – Higher authority leads to better SEO and more traffic. Although authority is not as straightforward as other metrics, you can still use this Moz guide to help you identify yours.
Make amazing content
Publishing consistently is a key driver of content marketing success. Content creation is not an easy task. A strong content strategy starts with a realistic and thorough assessment of who will create and publish the content.
You have two options: either create content internally or outsource it to an agency. Each has its pros and cons. However, I'll say this: outsourcing is the best option if your internal team isn't equipped to create optimized content and has enough bandwidth.
Companies are most concerned about losing control and cost when outsourcing content. Let's discuss those concerns.
Outsourcing comes with its costs, it's not hard to see. Outsourcing is more cost-effective than creating a content team internally if you don’t have one. Outsourcing eliminates the need to worry about office space, salaries, and benefits. You don't need to worry about additional resources or the time required to manage a new team.
Outsourcing allows your current team to concentrate more on strategic work related your core business initiatives.
You have control over the content. A good content marketing agency will spend time getting to know you and your goals. You will be able to view and give feedback on any new content created by your brand.
Learn more about outsourcing in our article on the 11 Benefits to Outsourcing Content Creation.
Enhance your content
This is a simple one! Do not just publish content and expect it to succeed on its own. Make your content as easily shareable as you can and then share it in other places. Use social media to share your content and include it in emails and newsletters. Ask employees to also share your content. The bottom line is that the more content you share, the more people will see it, and the better your ROI.
Here are some content strategy examples to inspire!
Although we are not privy to the internal documents or meetings of other brands, we can still see great strategy when it is reflected in content. These 7 real-world examples show how high-quality content strategy execution can be inspiring.
Hubspot's Inbound Marketing Strategy
Hubspot was founded in 2000 by Brian Halligan, Dharmesh Shaikh and were pioneers in inbound marketing using online content. They realized that traditional sales methods were losing effectiveness as people became more inundated with information and media, so they started a blog to provide relevant content for their customers.
They built a strong brand and established an online presence for a broad range of marketing topics. They are a trusted resource for content and inbound marketing information. Their ability to identify customer needs and create high quality, high-volume content — videos, infographics and original research, among others — that addresses them is the key to their success.
It's easy to see how customers are at the heart of everything they do by looking through their blogs and other content libraries. It's also evident in Hubspot’s customer code, which is the guideline by which all company operations are conducted. Dharmesh Shah's in-depth dives into how to grow your brand with their customer code are worth reading.
Blendtec's “Will it Blend?” videos
Blendtec's marketing team created the video series “Will it Blend?” in 2007. The video featured Tom Dickson, founder of Blendtec, blending non-blendable ingredients to demonstrate how powerful their product was. It was a huge success, increasing their sales by 1000%. Now it has hundreds of million of viewers.
It's a great example of content strategy. I love the brand voice they use in their videos. Blendtec realized that selling practical household products didn't have to be boring. Blendtec created a funny, relatable brand voice that was easy to understand and instantly made their brand memorable.
John Deere's The Furrow publication
Is content marketing still possible in 1800s? The answer is clear if you look at the original issues of John Deere’s ‘The Furrow' magazine. John Deere has been publishing The Furrow since 1895, for over 100 years. It helps farmers with common problems. John Deere products are secondary messages, but they are interwoven into stories and articles that show how they can improve farmers' lives.
Since 1895, a lot has changed. John Deere's team has remained true to The Furrow's content strategy roots. The brand is still a leader in farming equipment and has a long-standing focus to satisfy customer needs.
What about The Furrow? It is still delivered to more than 500,000 customers each year.
This is the lesson: When potential customers recognize you in your industry as a thought leader, a brand that they can trust for information, they will also remember you when it's time to buy.
American Express OPEN Forum
American Express has been a strong supporter of small businesses customers. OPEN forum is one of their most innovative ways to do this. OPEN forum is a place where small business owners can find thought leadership to help them grow their businesses. This forum covers topics such as finances, marketing, and management that are important for small business owners. But here's the catch. The catch?
Customers have found it valuable to host a forum where small business owners can exchange ideas and learn from each other. The OPEN forum is an integral part of American Express' content strategy. American Express has been able to build community with customers and create content on a greater scale through the OPEN forum.
Here's a recent OPEN Forum article by Brian Hecht, Inc. Magazine columnist, about how to write business plans.
Moz's Whiteboard Friday series
Moz's Whiteboard Friday series, which covers topics that address customer challenges and needs, is another example of a brand that provides real value. Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, created the Whiteboard Friday series. It was launched in a young Moz. Rand used the videos as a way to discuss complex topics within the industry in an engaging and visual manner.
The series gained momentum quickly. SaaS professionals found the content valuable, and they subscribed in large numbers to their channel. Rand is no more with Moz, but the series continues to publish every Friday. It is now one of the longest-running B2B video programs.
This episode of Whiteboard Friday focuses on optimizing competitor's branded keywords.
Patagonia's emphasis on sharingability
We talked about how important it was to amplify your content. Patagonia's team is a pro in outdoor apparel and gear design. They produce highly shareable content that is both hard-selling and full of meaning. They focus on what their customers care about: sustainability and helping the environment.
Ads such as the one below, part of Patagonia’s famous “Don't Buy this Jacket” ad in The New York Times, were also published in blog articles. They are easy to share and increase awareness.
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Patagonia also has several blogs that are targeted on platforms such as Tumblr. For example, their Worn Wear blog where customers share their stories about wearing Patagonia gear. Crowdsourcing this type of content on platforms that encourage sharing? This is a smart content strategy. It is easy to share, has a strong brand presence on platforms where customers are already present, and includes social proof for every post.
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Red Bull's experiential content
Red Bull is a global content marketing brand that the world knows well. Red Bull's brand personality is a blaze with each piece of content that they create. They also use many content types across different channels.
Red Bull's success in content marketing is due to their emphasis on selling experiences. Red Bull's content marketing success is not about the products, but rather the Red Bull culture. Red Bull is now synonymous with extreme sports and high-adrenaline. This niche has allowed them to create a loyal customer base through their content.
You can take a quick look at the YouTube channel homepage (which boasts more than 10,000,000 subscribers!) This shows precisely who their target audience are. This is effective target marketing!
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Are you ready to create a content strategy that works for your business?
Begin with what resources you have. Make a plan and stick to it. Continue to develop your content strategy while learning more about your customers. Engage with them to build a bridge between your brand, and the people for whom your business exists.
Need help getting started? Get help getting started with SEO Blog Writing Services today or request a consultation for a complimentary one-on-one consultation!
Marketing Insider Group's post How to Develop a Content Strategy (with examples) originally appeared on Marketing Insider Group.
By: Michael Brenner
Title: How to Develop a Content Strategy (with Examples)
Sourced From: marketinginsidergroup.com/content-marketing/content-strategy-examples/
Published Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2022 11:00:25 +0000
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