Developing a content strategy can seem like a daunting task. Creating a strategic plan to craft content that will rank on search engines and connect you with new customers is no simple job. But – if done right – content marketing can send your website statistics into overdrive.
So it’s best to take a methodical approach when it comes to developing a content strategy. Break the task up into smaller, more achievable pieces and your strategy will come together in no time. Below, we explore some of the critical steps you should consider when developing your strategy.
Developing a content strategy
What are your objectives?
As with all marketing strategies, the best place to start is with your objectives. If you know where your business is now – what your current activity is, what your capabilities are, what budget you have available – then you can make plans for where you want to be.
And these objectives can vary. For example, your objective could be to:
- Increase your brand awareness
- Build your brand as an authoritative voice within your industry
- Attract people who are showing intent to buy
All of the above can be achieved through creating content that will rank highly on search engines.
Understand what content you’re going to produce
Once you understand the objectives of your content strategy, you can start to define what type of content you need to produce to achieve them.
This content could take the form of:
- Reports and whitepapers
- Case studies
So in practice, you should try to tailor your choice of content to what will best meet your objectives.
For example, by creating a series of blogs that all rank in the top 3 on Google, you’ll be putting your brand and website in front of a greater audience; increasing brand awareness.
By producing a thorough and detailed guide to a topic within your brand’s space, those that download it and find it useful will be more likely to revisit your website for more guidance; building your brand as an authoritative voice.
Or by crafting an advertorial (an article with a sales-focused objective, subtly up-selling your business) you can reach, attract and convert those who are looking to purchase your products or services.
But it’s also worth noting that the different types of content have differing levels of ease when it comes to creating them.
Blogs are very easy to produce – provided you’re a good writer, you know your topic and understand SEO, of course! If you do, then you can set aside an afternoon to get one written.
Videos can be highly engaging and tell your brand’s story in such a compelling way. But good quality ones are pricey to produce and a real skill to get right.
Do your research
Once you know what type of content is right for your objective, the next stage of developing a content strategy is to do your research. Thorough research.
Writing a blog on a whim won’t yield results. You need to understand what your customers and potential customers are searching for. By identifying search terms (or “keywords”) that are similar and on-topic with your product or service, you can target each of these with a bespoke piece of content.
Do make sure that these target keywords are realistic though. Don’t go targeting a popular phrase that’s already saturated with content. Instead, pick search terms with little competition. They may only get a couple of dozen searches every month, but those numbers can soon add up.
Source the right skills
Once you have your objectives, you know the type of content you’re going to produce and you know the more detailed list of keywords you’re going to target, you need to ensure you’re properly equipped and resourced to put your content strategy into action.
This means making sure you have the appropriate skills.
Can your team write informative blogs with confidence? And blogs that are optimised for the search terms they’re targeting? Or should you work with a specialist digital content writer?
Can your team conduct extensive primary research to support a report? Or should you outsource that task to a research body?
Does your team have the design skills to produce a series of engaging infographics? Or should you outsource the graphic design work?
Great content can only come from investing in the right skills or capabilities to deliver it at the right quality.
So now you’ve developed a content strategy, but the strategic work doesn’t stop there.
Firstly, you need to ensure that your wider SEO strategy supports your content strategy.
For example, have you addressed technical SEO? Your website needs to be technically sound to stand the best chance of ranking highly. Additionally, are you generating links back to your website from other sites. These are extremely hard to acquire but can be powerful ranking factors. And incidentally, the content you produce can be a good way of generating these backlinks.
Secondly on the strategic front, you need to ensure that you have a social media strategy in place to amplify this new content as and when it’s produced. This social amplification can play a big role in the launch of a new piece of content; kickstarting it with a boost in page views and social shares.
Developing your content plan
Once you’ve finished developing a content strategy and have kicked into action, the final thing to remember is to be patient. Climbing the rankings of search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo can take time. Months or even years. So don’t expect results after a week. Keep posting new content, keep amplifying it with social media and, over time, the results will start rolling in.