Whether you’re the new kid on the block or just going back to the drawing board, crafting and recalibrating your content strategy is the key to increasing brand awareness, traffic and revenue. Sounds intimidating, right? It doesn’t have to be!
We’re going to walk you through nine simple steps which will take you from a content marketer who’s been winging their entire strategy to a content marketing pro who has everything squared away for the next quarter!
Table of contents:
- What is a content strategy?
- How to craft your own content strategy
What is a content strategy?
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If you’re looking to increase brand awareness and revenue, you can’t just create random content left, right and centre in the hopes that it will draw customers to you. You need a content strategy in place to help you figure out who your target audience actually is, what they’re looking for and what it is that motivates them.
Once you know that, you can start to craft content that your audience will want to consume, as well as promoting your business and/or product(s). This could take the form of blog posts, videos, social media posts, and more. If successful, your content strategy will help establish trust between your brand and audience—driving traffic to your website, helping you stand out from your competition and increasing your revenue.
So, without further ado, here are nine simple steps that will help you craft your own content strategy…
1. Know your purpose
Before you even start thinking about what kind of content you want to create, you’ve first got to figure out what the purpose of your content strategy is. The best way to do this is by looking at your business goals.
Are you looking to…
- Promote a specific product or service?
- Increase revenue?
- Draw more traffic to your website?
- Increase social media engagement?
- Beat your competitors?
It’s not just about what you want, though. A good content strategy will help both you and your audience. That’s why you need to think about what your audience will gain from your content. Are you offering a solution to a problem they have, or targeting a pain point they’re unknowingly suffering from? Answering these questions is the starting point for your entire strategy.
2. Define your audience
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Next on your agenda is defining your audience. This is a vital part of your content strategy. You need to know who you’re writing for in order for your content to make an impact. Now, it’s important to make the distinction between your general audience and your buyers:
- Your general audience engages with your content
- Your buyers will purchase your product or service
In order to craft content that will engage your general audience, and potentially convert them to buyers, you can look at demographic data from your website/blog visitors, social media followers and email subscribers. This will give you valuable insights about your audience, including age, gender, location, general interests and more.
Create your buyer personas
Once you’ve got this information, you can start to create buyer personas. These are profiles of your ideal customers based on your demographic data and general research. This is where you start to hone in on your customers’:
- Pain points
- General challenges
- Preferred social media networks
These personas will help you create content that will actively engage your target audience and set you up as a solution to their main challenges and pain points. They’ll also help you figure out what types of content you should be publishing and what platforms you should be using. If you’d like an idea on where to start, try out HubSpot’s Make My Persona tool, which helps you customise your own buyer personas in minutes!
3. Conduct a content audit
Before you can start adding new content into the mix, you’ve first got to assess your existing content to figure out whether or not it aligns with your current goals and what your target audience is looking for.
Convinced you’ve got to scrap your entire content backlog? Don’t start your mourning just yet! Even if you’ve got blog posts that are no longer relevant, you might still be able to repurpose them—taking sections to create new guides, social media posts or even slideshows—or revamp them so that they do meet your new goals.
To do this, you’ll need to create a log of your website and blog content. If the thought of doing this manually gives you a headache, you can make things easier on yourself by using a tool like Screaming Frog, which will crawl your website and give you:
- Page titles
- Meta descriptions
- Duplicate pages
Is it worth it?
Once you’ve got your content log, it’s time for you to determine how much of it is still useful. Is the content perfect as it is? Can it be repurposed in any way? Or, will it need to be scrapped entirely? The best way to find the answers to these questions is by looking at metrics using Google AdWords or another similar resource.
Add a few extra columns to your content log so that you can track:
- Website traffic
- Inbound links
- Search engine rankings
Now that you have this information, you should be able to determine which existing pages/blog posts are performing well, which ones will need reworking to fit your new goals and which ones will likely need to be removed entirely.
An additional advantage to conducting your own content audit is that it will show you whether there are any gaps in your content that are worth exploring, such as keywords that you haven’t targeted and key topics that your audience is interested in.
4. Focus on your topics
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Now that you’ve got your audience locked down, it’s time for you to focus on your content topics. It’s not enough to simply write about your product(s) or service(s). Though it’s important to promote yourself, you also need to focus on topics that your audience cares about and wants to learn more about.
With that in mind, you should try to brainstorm topics. If you can, try to involve as many departments as possible, as this will give you different angles to target—a marketing department will have different ideas to those in sales, or those who are working in customer service.
5. Carry out keyword research
With your new list of topics in hand, it’s time for you to carry out some keyword research. More specifically, you need to figure out which keywords you need to be targeting with your new topics and what types of questions your audience are asking.
To gain an edge, use resources that will give you actual search data. Here are some to get you started:
If you can, try to create a list of short- and long-tail keywords. Short-tail keywords (up to three words) are relatively general, but high in search volume. In comparison, long-tail keywords (over three words) drive lower search volumes, but tend to be more relevant to what people are looking for. Remember: it’s not just the number of visitors that counts, but also their quality!
6. Develop content ideas
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Now that you know what topics and keywords you want to focus on, you can get to work developing your content ideas. Arguably, this will be one of the most exciting (and important) aspects of your content strategy.
Don’t just assume it’s all about web copy and blog posts! You want to develop a wide range of content types to target your audience. Let’s say, for example, that you’re looking to promote new products. Though it would be easy to write a blog post about them, creating a series of videos that can be easily shared on social media and in email newsletters might be far more engaging.
Focus on your buyer personas and think long and hard about what content types might work best for you:
- Blog posts
- How-to guides
- Email newsletters
- eBooks, white papers and reports
- Social media posts
7. Manage and publish your content
So, you’ve created a new batch of content and you’re raring to go. Time to start publishing everything, right? Nope! As tempting as it might be to just throw your new content ideas at the wall to see which ones stick, you need to be slightly more methodical about it.
You need to create a collaborative content calendar that will allow you to monitor the creation of your content, the editing process and publishing. If you use something like Trello, you can organise your content into columns by week or month, use labels to differentiate between content types and attach deadlines. You could also create a separate calendar to track your social media content.
Most businesses tend to incorporate specific holidays into their marketing strategies. So, don’t forget to pencil in events like Halloween, Christmas and New Year’s Eve if you intend to take advantage of them to appeal to your audience.
8. Repurpose your content
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Once you’ve published your content, don’t just brush it off and forget about it. Content isn’t a one and done deal. You can always return to it to improve it and, most importantly, repurpose it to appeal to audiences who might prefer a different format.
If you’ve created a how-to guide, you can repurpose it to create an infographic, a slideshow or just simple social media posts. Short-form content can be combined to create an eBook or a white paper. Even videos can be cut up or combined, depending on the audience and platform.
9. Monitor your progress
Congratulations! You’ve managed to craft your own content strategy and seen it through to the end. The final step is to see if your hard work has paid off. Though it’s unlikely that you’ll be an overnight success, you should gradually start to see results with some of your content.
The best way to figure out just how successful your content is, is by looking at:
- User behaviour metrics: page views, unique visitors, average time on page, bounce rate and pages per session.
- Engagement metrics: likes, shares, mentions and comments.
- SEO metrics: organic traffic, backlinks and keyword rankings.
- Company revenue metrics: number of new leads, conversion rate and cost per acquisition.
You’ll want to record this data and use it to figure out what you’re ranking well for, which content types are most effective, what impact the time of day/week has on engagement and so on. This data will then help you to determine what needs improvement and also give you a better idea of what interests your audience the most—making it much easier to craft future content.
And there you have it! You now know how to craft your own content strategy in nine simple steps. If, however, you’d rather let the professionals handle it, then you’ve come to the right place. Contact Supersede Media to see how we can help you to become content kings!