What is content strategy?
It’s how you plan, create, and publish your content. Creating a content strategy ensures you achieve your marketing goals. Without one, creating content, even if it’s great, might be a waste of time.
Why? Think of it this way. You’ve written a great blog post that generates organic traffic. Great! But you didn’t include any CTAs or links to your other content.
Plus, none of your other blogs receive the same traffic. You have just one blog which receives decent traffic. In short, that great blog post was just a fluke. And it didn’t even benefit your business.
A good content creation strategy replaces occasional flukes like this with consistent results. Employing a good content strategy means you publish the right content for your audience at the right time and drive business results.
Of course, creating a good content strategy plan isn’t easy.
That’s why we did the hard job of creating this guide with content strategy examples and a content strategy template. You’ll learn everything from how to create a content strategy to how you can create engaging content and refine your strategy over time.
Step 1: Define Goals for Your Content Strategy
You need clear content goals to build a content marketing plan. Ask yourself what you’re creating content for. Do you have one of the following goals or a combination of them?
- Increasing brand awareness
- Generating leads
- Converting users
- Increasing engagement
Think long and hard about what you want. You can’t create a single piece of content that does everything.
You’ll need different types of content for different purposes.
For example, blog posts are great for increasing brand awareness but not converting users. Ads and landing pages are great for converting users, not increasing brand awareness, etc.
Your content strategy goals ultimately dictate what type of content you should produce.
For instance, if your goal is to increase lead generation, you need to achieve the following:
- Acquire potential customer information
- Increase qualified leads
- Convert leads to customers
Let’s say you run an HR software company that targets HR managers. One way to achieve goal no. 1 is to distribute a free e-book, ‘How to retain your best employees.’
The e-book will attract your target audience. You’ll ask visitors to your site to provide their email addresses to download your e-book.
This way, you’ll get valuable lead information and establish your company as a thought leader.
To achieve goals no.2 and 3, you’ll deliver personalized content to the email addresses you gathered by distributing your e-book.
Step 2: Identify and Understand Your Audience
You can’t build a good content marketing strategy without knowing your target audience.
Your content needs to match your audience’s needs to win them over. Even the best quality content won’t perform if you show it to the wrong audience.
Not understanding your audience’s preferences will lead you to create lots of content that won’t perform. You want to avoid wasting your resources on content that won’t perform.
For example, Facebook audiences love video content. A video on Facebook generates up to 1,200% more shares than image and text-based content combined.
That means you’ll get a better ROI by producing video content for your Facebook audience instead of text or image-based content.
The best way to learn your audience’s preferences is to research the type of content they prefer. You should learn the following:
- Which type of sites do they visit?
- Which social media platforms do they use?
- What type of content do they engage with on different sites?
Thankfully, Google makes answering these questions easier.
Enable Google Demographics and Interests to learn which sites your target audience visits.
And use Google Analytics to discover what type of content they engage with.
Step 3: Create Engaging Content that Fulfills a Need in the Market
Most online content is either plagiarized or provides no value. Most people won’t even view 99% of this content because it doesn’t appear on the top of SERPs. You don’t want to create content that neither your audience nor Google like.
Instead, your goal should be to create engaging content that fulfills your target audience’s search intent.
Consider a blog post about ’10 Ways To Protect Your Data From Hackers In 2023′ as a content planning example.
This content is relevant and helpful.
The blog post teaches you how to protect your data from hackers. You likely care about that if you’ve searched for data protection from hackers.
Plus, it’s about how to do that in 2023. So it’s relevant. The blog post provides the latest information on how to protect your data.
Potential readers benefit by learning the latest techniques for protecting their data because the information in the blog post is novel and helpful.
Ideally, you want all your content to be like this.
The more specific and helpful information you create online, the more you’ll establish yourself as an authority on that topic.
Techniques to enhance your content creation strategy
Use the following techniques to improve your content creation strategy and create engaging content.
- Competitor Analysis
Learn what your competitors are doing by:
- Visiting their websites
- Checking their social media
- Reading their ads and newsletters
And identify what works for them. It’ll likely work for you too. Include their strategies in your content plan.
- Keyword Research
Use keyword tools like Moz and Semrush to better understand where your content ranks. You can also use the Google Keyword Planner to identify missed lucrative keywords.
- Brainstorming methods
Analyzing your competitors and identifying your keywords will teach you which topics you should target.
The next step is to brainstorm how you can produce unique and novel content about those topics to engage your readers.
You could do this by:
- Calling potential customers for their pain points
- Conducting surveys to identify what customers want to know
- Create mind maps to explore potential topics
- After this step, you’ll be ready to create your content calendar.
Step 4: Measure Your Results and Optimize Your Content Strategy
A good content creation strategy is dynamic. You change it during execution if the data suggests you should.
Imagine if you made a video, but hardly anyone watched it. Should you still promote it? Or, even worse, create more videos like it? Of course not. You should only create and promote content that drives actual results.
But you can only do that if you routinely measure your campaign’s performance. You need to know what your audience likes, dislikes, and why.
Track these two metrics to better your content’s performance.
- Traffic Metrics:
Your website traffic reveals how good your content is at attracting visitors. So record traffic metrics, like:
- Page views
- new vs. returning visitors
- referral sources
This data will reveal which of your content performs better. You can then focus on producing similar high-performing content.
- Engagement Metrics:
Engagement metrics reveal how your audience interacts with your content.
Engagement metrics include:
- Time spent on page
- Bounce rate
- Social media shares
- Social media comments
Monitoring these metrics reveals which content your audience likes and engages with the most. That way, you can create more engaging content.
Monitoring these metrics isn’t easy, but a good analytics software can make it easier. Mandala Analytics provides detailed data analysis of marketing data to track your content’s performance.
Integrating Mandala Analytics into your content marketing strategy makes tracking marketing data, visualizing data trends, and discovering actionable insights easier.
Step 5: Amplify Your Content Strategy
Creating great content is just half the work of a content marketing strategy. The other half is ensuring that as many people see your content.
You can amplify your content’s effectiveness by promoting your content in the right channels.
Ideally, you want to amplify your content in as many channels as possible, including:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Improving your content’s SEO increases its visibility in search engines and drives more organic traffic to you.
You can improve your SEO by:
- Integrating relevant keywords
- Optimizing meta-information
- Creating high-quality backlinks
- Paid Ads and Boosted Posts on Social Media
Boosting social media posts increases their visibility to your target audience. This increased visibility also means increased engagement.
Using paid advertising also places your content in front of audiences that wouldn’t have viewed it otherwise.
The best part is that you can use targeting options for both social media boosts and ads to reach your desired audience.
- Partnerships and Influencers
Partner with complimentary brands and industry influencers to boost your content’s reach.
Relevant influencers will have audiences that overlap with yours. So having them promote your content puts your content in front of relevant people you didn’t have access to.
Optimize Your Content to Keep it Fresh
Creating optimized content is a process, not an event. In fact, it’s a continuous process.
You need to continually improve your content to keep it engaging and SEO-friendly. Doing so ensures your content provides the most value to the changing needs of your audience.
Say you’re an accounting firm that’s published a blog about paying corporate income taxes in 2022. It’s 2023 now. So you could update the information you’ve provided in your blog to make it relevant for audiences in 2023.
The goal is to keep as much of your content relevant and engaging for audiences for as long as possible.
Find Out For Yourself!
Building a good content strategy is hard but rewarding. A good strategy means you’ll have the right approach for creating engaging and high-quality content that delivers real business results. You’ll have to invest time and energy to achieve it.
But by reading this blog post, you’re already one step ahead of your competition. You’ve learned how to create a content strategy.
The next step for you is to start. Identify your target audience. Research their habits. And build your first content marketing strategy. You’ll succeed if you’re proactive and continually improve your approach.