What Is Content Strategy? + 13 Steps to Create a Stellar Content Plan
Content marketing is a powerful strategy for attracting and engaging website visitors and encouraging them to take the next step with your business. However, if you want to achieve success with your content marketing efforts, you need a content strategy in place.
So, what is content strategy?
On this page, we’ll discuss what content strategy is and 13 steps for creating a content strategy that drives results.
If you need help creating a content plan that works for your company, call us today at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist about our custom content creation strategies.
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What is a content strategy?
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to answer the question: What is a content strategy?
Content strategy involves the planning, development, and management of written and media content on your website — and it guides the creation and delivery of content.
In other words, an effective content strategy allows you to deliver the right content to the right person at the right place and time in order to achieve business goals.
Typically, a strategy includes:
- Keyword research and topic selection
- Competitor research
- Developing and maintaining a content calendar
- Overseeing writing, editing, and publishing
- Content promotion plans
- Monitoring content results
- And more
Your content strategy provides the foundation for getting started with content marketing — and it ensures you create content that attracts and converts customers.
Content strategy vs. content marketing: What’s the difference?
As you learn more about content, you may see people use content marketing interchangeably with content strategy. It’s important to understand the difference between content strategy and content marketing.
Content strategy is the strategic plan for creating and managing your content marketing efforts.
Just as the name implies, it’s the strategical process you use for determining why you create a specific piece of content, how it’s formatted, and how it will serve your audience and business’s overall goals.
Content marketing, on the other hand, typically refers to the process of researching, writing, publishing, and promoting your content.
Your content marketing process is part of your content strategy. When you have a strategy where you know how to develop your information, you can create content for your marketing process. The only way to be successful and impactful with your content marketing is to have a content plan in place.
How to create an impactful content strategy: 13 steps for success
Now that we’ve answered the question “what is a content strategy,” you can dive into how to make a content strategy that works. Let’s look at the six key components to creating a successful campaign.
1. Audit current content
Before you create your content strategy, it’s important to look at the content you’ve already created. You can’t make a successful content plan without knowing how your current content performs. Your current content will give you a basis which you can use to better understand how to create a successful content strategy.
Let’s take a look at the process of conducting a content audit:
- Audit your content: Take note of all the content you currently have on your site.
- Organize and tag content: You’ll want to organize your content by topic, length, tone, and relevance.
- Analyze engagement: See how much traffic specific pages drove to your site, the level of engagement, the number of social shares, and more.
- Analyze for patterns and gaps: Once you have all the info gathered, you can see where you can build your plan out further, and how you can improve it.
These aspects will help you audit your content’s current status to help you develop a content creation strategy.
2. Identify your target audience
The first step to any successful content management strategy is to establish your target audience.
Who do you want to target with your content marketing?
Your audience is a critical component of your digital content strategy because it determines the type of content you create. You want to create content that resonates with your audience, so you must know whoyoru audience is to deliver better content for them.
Personalizing your web content will drive better results for your business because it will increase engagement with your audience.
3. Pinpoint a problem
Your content will resonate best with your target audience when you pinpoint their probelm and write content to solve it.
This further proves why pinpointing your target audience is so important!
It’s improtant to note that when users are searching for content, it’s because they have a problem to solve. Whether they’re looking for a product or service or looking for instructions on a topic, it’s your job as a content creator to provide answers.
Writing informational, beneficial content for your audience will help build brand trust and encourage them to move through the marketing funnel.
Speaking of marketing funnel, it’s worth metnioning that informational content is known as top-of-the-funnel content since it is used to attract users to your site.
After you inform them with your content, you’ll be able to convert them into a paying customer overtime — highlighting why content is so important.
4. Establish your unique selling points (USPs)
You and your competitors are trying to get your audience’s attention and get them to choose their business. When you create a content strategy, you must indicate your unique selling points (USPs) that help your business stand out from the competition.
You want to show your audience why your business is the best option. The goal of USPs is to help you show your audience why your business is better than the competition or how you’re unique from your competitors.
5. Choose your content format(s)
Before you dive into creating content, you’ll want to establish the type of content you’re creating. There are various formats of content you can create to appeal to your audience. Some of the most popular formats of content are:
You’ll want to use a variety of formats to keep your audience interested in your content. If you want to have a successful strategy, you want to establish which formats you’ll use the most.
When you know the formats, you can better allocate your budget for each type of content.
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6. Conduct keyword research
When you’re looking for topics to cover, you must conduct keyword research to find industry-related key terms.
When you conduct keyword research, you’ll want to focus on long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are keywords that contain three or more words. An example of a long tail keyword is “how to build your credit score.”
Long-tail keywords are better for your campaign because they drive more relevant traffic. If someone is searching that key term, you know exactly what they’re trying to find. They’re looking for information on how they can build their credit score.
If someone searched “credit score,” you wouldn’t know what they’re trying to find. They could be looking for what a credit score is, how to find their credit score, or how to build their credit score. The search intent isn’t clear, which makes it more challenging for your business to figure out what they want to find in the search results.
7. Research your competition
In addition to keyword research, you’ll also want to conduct research on your competition. There are two aspects of competitor research you’ll want to conduct.
Research who’s ranking for your keyword
The first part of conducting competitor research is seeing who’s ranking for the keywords you’re using. As you conduct keyword research and find relevant keywords, you want to see who’s ranking at the top of the results.
You’ll want to look at the first page of results for your keyword. The companies ranking on this first page are your competitors. You’ll want to check them out and learn about them.
You can include your known competitors in your research, too. For example, if you own a coffee shop, you know Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks are big competitors for your business. You’ll want to include them when you do competitor research to ensure you’re analyzing all potential competition.
Research competitors to find new keywords
As you’re researching your competitors, you’ll also want to analyze keywords they use. You’re not going to find all the relevant keywords for your business through keyword research. Researching your competition enables you to find additional keywords.
When you search your initial keyword and analyze your competitors, you may find additional keywords you can use. It’s a great way for you to expand your keyword list and rank in other relevant results.
With tools like Ahrefs’ content gap tool, it’s easy to find keywords your competitors are using but you aren’t. Finding these keywords will help you remain in competition with your competitors.
8. Assign content roles
Another important part of your strategy is the content management aspect. This part dives into the nitty-gritty of content creation.
You need to manage your content flow so that you always know who is creating different pieces of content.
Secondly, you need to know when you want to publish your content. Having deadlines will help you set goals for people creating your content and give them a timeline for completion. A content calendar can help with this!
Lastly, you’ll want to establish when your audience will see your content. It’s important to know when your content is going live so you can strategically plan your content.
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9. Maintain a consistent posting schedule
When you’re creating a content strategy, it’s important to have a consistent schedule. If you want to be successful with content marketing, you must create a consistent schedule for publishing content.
A consistent schedule will also help you post your content at the right time. If you’re posting content at night, but your audience is online during the day, you’re not going to have as high of engagement. A content schedule will help you post content at the right time every time.
10. Optimize your content with SEO
There’s no point in creating content if your audience can find it. When you’re creating your content strategy, it’s important that you have a distribution plan.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important part of the distribution process. SEO is the process of boosting your website’s ranking in the search results. This strategy helps more people find your content.
When you’re creating a content plan, you want to focus on ways for people to reach your content. SEO enables you to reach people who search for your content. By following best practices for SEO, you can help get your content optimized to be found.
11. Use a content management system (CMS)
Content marketing requires constant creation and publication. It’s challenging to keep up with all the content you’re putting out for your audience. By investing in a content management system (CMS), you can help manage your content for your business.
A CMS allows you to create, edit, organize, and publish all your content. These tools often allow multiple users to use the same program wherever they are. This process creates a more efficient system that allows multiple team members to prepare and publish content.
If you want to be more effective with your content strategy, implement a CMS. It will help you stay organized and put out more content for your business.
12. Develop a content promotion plan
Once you’ve created content, you want people to read it. To get people to read your content, you must create a content promotion plan.
A content promotion plan will help you create a strategy to market your content to your audience. You can rely on your audience and hope they stumble across it. You must promote your content to help you reach the right people.
So, how can you share your content with your audience?
- Through email: If you have a list of subscribers, email marketing is a great place to start sharing content. You can send your content to your subscribers and get them to check it out. It’s also a great opportunity for them to forward it along to anyone else who might be interested in it!
- Through social media posts: Social media is another great place for you to share your content with your audience. You can share a link to your content in a post and promote it to get your audience to check it out. Similar to emails, users can share your content and pass it along to others through social platforms.
- Reaching out to industry authorities: When you have great content, you want others to find it. Reaching out to industry authorities can help you gain more exposure for your content. Since people in the industry trust these websites, they’re more likely to trust a link to your site. You can reach out to these industry authorities and send them your content. Invite them to check it out and see if they will link to it in their own content. It’s a great way for you to build backlinks for your site and drive more traffic.
13. Evaluate content results
If you want to have a successful content plan, you must constantly evaluate your content results. Evaluating your results will help you determine which topics are successful and what kind of content your audience enjoys.
These metrics will not only help you determine if users enjoy your content, but also if they have a great user experience — which is equally improtant to consider.
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Want to create content that ranks at the top of search results and earns you leads and revenue? You need a solid content marketing strategy.
A well-planned content strategy will help you create an impactful campaign that drives more traffic to your pages and increases engagement.
At WebFX, we have a team of over 450 experts that will bring their knowledge and expertise to your campaign. We’ll help you create a Beginners Guide How to Create Content Marketing Strategy that enables your business to grow.