9 Essential Steps to Develop a Winning Content Strategy
Every content marketer desires to build content that wins the hearts of the target audience and turns them into loyal brand supporters. But that doesn’t happen overnight. You have to take consistent efforts, within the means of available resources.
Sounds difficult? Well, it is. However, you can make it much easier if you have a solid content marketing blueprint in place. Otherwise, you simply rely on your luck.
Can you take that risk? Of course not! That’s why, your content marketing efforts should always start with building a solid blueprint – your content strategy.
But, it’s not as easy as it may look. Believe it or not, more than 60% B2B marketers don’t have a proper content strategy in place (according to the Content Marketing Institute’s research). They are either too busy with content writing and distribution or consider it an unnecessary activity.
The result is – inconsistent content, poor engagement, and lower SERP rankings!
Crafting an effective content strategy is The Most Important activity in your content marketing efforts. So, here’s a step-by-step guide to create your winning content strategy.
1. Define your goals and KPIs
A good starting point for your content strategy is to define the specific purpose of creating content. Ask yourself, what is it that you are aiming to achieve through your content. Do you want to increase the search engine rankings, or generate more leads? Are you trying to increase brand awareness, or make more sales?
Once you know your goals, make them measurable. To do so, link them to some measurable value that helps determine how effectively you have achieved that goal.
2. Know your target audience
Your content will perform better if you know who your target audience is. Try to collect as much information as you can – their interests, the platforms where they hang out, the type of content they engage with, etc. To know what interests your audience, you can do some research on Google Analytics. Besides, you can use social media analytics like Facebook page insights or Twitter analytics to get demographic information on the audience.
3. Build a Content Calendar (map it to products/ services and stages of the buyer journey)
One important part of your content strategy is to schedule the publishing of your content pieces. Each content piece has a specific purpose and must be published at the right time in the right channel. Schedule your posts keeping in mind the release of your specific product, and align with them. Plus, your content pieces must be published considering the type of content that attracts your prospects in various stages of their buyer journey. To create a content calendar, simply use Google calendar or use any task management tool like Asana, CoSchedule, etc.
4. Decide on content format
Next, you need to decide on the content format(s). Should you produce longer, in-depth content or shorter, bite-sized content? Which content format is more suitable in a particular stage of your buyer’s journey? Ideally, you should have a mix of various formats. But, it’s best to start with one format and build an audience first. Don’t try to do too many formats too soon.
5. Choose distribution channels relevant to your audience
Once you decide on the content format, the next step is to choose the channels where you want to publish your content. Ideally, you should publish your content on the platforms where your target audience is present. This is a sure-fire way to reach out to them. Make sure that your content is appropriately crafted and formatted for the particular channel.
6. Create content that stands out (add immense value)
To create great content, consider your niche and stick to it. Millions of content pieces are published every day. To ensure that your content gets noticed, make it unique, give it a distinct voice, and most importantly offer immense value to your readers.
7. Distribute and promote your content
The success of your content marketing efforts highly depends on how you choose to distribute and promote your content. The type of channels where you publish, schedule for sharing your content, and the type of content, everything matters. Besides, with so many messages struggling to get your reader’s attention, you also need to promote what you publish. You may use email campaigns, influencers, paid and unpaid social media, etc. to promote your content.
8. Measure performance and adjust your strategy
One of the most important tasks is to measure the performance of your content strategy. To do so, you must revisit the KPI’s that you have set at the first step of your content strategy. See if you can accomplish your goals. If you find gaps, don’t hesitate to re-evaluate and tweak your content strategy accordingly.
9. Be ready to talk about topical themes and emerging ideas
You need to keep your reader’s interest up and feed their minds with interesting topics. You can do so by touching upon the current topics or talking about emerging ideas from time to time. This helps in holding the interest of your readers.
Now you know everything about creating a content strategy. If that looks like a complex task, don’t worry. You can always take the help of experts from a content agency like LexiConn to create a winning content strategy for you.