Your Go-To Guide to Creating a Content Strategy (From Start to Finish)

Your Go-To Guide to Creating a Content Strategy (From Start to Finish)

Developing the right content strategy is key to achieving success in marketing and sales, but where do you get started and what are the things you must include?

Ensuring you have the right content marketing strategy in place is a key part of meeting your business goals. It essentially includes any media that you create as a company or put your brand to so it's easy to see why it's so important to get right.

A lot of organizations know that the type of content you create - and how you do it - is essential in the modern world, but far fewer understand how to execute an effective strategy.

Although curating content has its value, there is much more potential behind creating your own blogs, whitepapers, infographics and any other type of media. It performs better on search engines, Google ranks it more preferably, and it positions you as an industry leader.

Like any element of business, having a plan in place for your content marketing is a key part of ensuring you are putting out the right media, reaching the people you need to, and being as effective as possible in doing so.

Here is a five-step guide to simplify how to create your content strategy from scratch, which will cover the most important things you need to consider:

Step one - Finding your goal

You need to make sure that your content strategy has a clear direction and the easiest way to do this is to determine its overall goal. This should be supported by smaller targets, with KPIs and metrics in place to measure your progress and identify what success looks like for each campaign.

Your content goals should be clearly aligned with your business values and other marketing ambitions you have. In addition, you need to know exactly what demographic or persona you're targeting, how this helps your business goals, and why they will be engaged by your content.

Step two - Getting to know your audience

Before you start deciding what content you want to put out there, you need to understand as much as you can about your target audience. This will help you identify what content types - and platforms - will help you engage with your personas.

Although this is most important if you are starting from scratch with no marketing data from previous campaigns to help you, it's wise to do regular persona research to see whether it has evolved or changed in any way.

Step three - Coming up with ideas

With your key personas, their pain points and motivations in mind, the next step is to think of content ideas that will engage them with your brand. There are a number of tools that can help you come up with topics for your content strategy, such as HubSpot's Blog Topic Generator, Feedly, and BuzzSumo. These allow you to do a lot of the groundwork yourself, which helps you get a much better picture of how your content will engage your consumers.

You may want to start with three or four topics that you have identified from your research as popular and then refine these into individual content pieces. If you haven't already, you'll need to consider what types of content will perform best with your target audience. Most companies do some form of blog content and it's a great way to get started but there are many other options:

Infographics

Did you know people respond better to visual content? Infographics can be a great way of getting a complex message across to your audience. They also perform better on social. Here are some great examples from AbbyRyanDesign and Wine Folly.

Ebooks

If lead generation is one of your key goals, then an ebook could be really effective. Longer and more in-depth than blog posts, they're usually placed on your website for visitors to download for a fee, some personal details, or to register interest.

Videos

Although they are a bigger investment than other media types, videos can be a fantastic way to explain or demonstrate something to a consumer. They are also incredibly shareable, making them a great way to boost brand awareness and drive leads.

Step four - Setting up tracking

Depending on what content management system (CMS) you're using, there are likely to be integrated ways to track what articles perform best on your website. It's important to make sure you have ways of seeing how each element of your content marketing strategy is performing. This may be through impressions on social media, Google Analytics or conversions.

Tools like CoSchedule's Blog Post Headline Analyzer can help you refine your blogs but won't tell you if they're helping you achieve your wider goals, so it's important to use other resources. It's also a good idea to do a content audit to see which blog posts are getting the most engagement or driving the highest number of people to your website.

Once you have this information, you can identify ways that your content strategy can be improved. It may be a case of just sticking with what you're doing or changing up certain elements to make it more effective.

Step five - Celebrating your content

The last step in devising a content strategy is to make sure it's getting the attention it deserves. You can do this through social media or outreach campaigns but it's important that your personas are actually seeing the incredible content you're putting out there.

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