In today’s digitally-driven world, content is the cornerstone of successful marketing strategies. Yet, without a cohesive content marketing plan, even the most compelling content can get lost in the vast expanse of the internet.
Developing a strong content strategy not only streamlines your brand’s voice and message, but also ensures that your content reaches its intended audience, engaging them effectively, and converting them into loyal customers. In this article we’ll guide you through each of the steps that go into developing a content marketing strategy that yields real results.
What Is Content Strategy?
Content strategy refers to the planning, development, and management of content—be it written or visual—as a part of an overall business marketing plan. At its core, it’s about getting the right content, to the right audience, for the right purpose.
A content strategy can help you create and share content that is high- quality content, consistent, and tailored to the needs of your audience, while also meeting your business objectives.
By mapping out a content strategy, you can feel confident that your content efforts are aligned with your goals and that you’re producing relevant content that resonates with your intended audience. This approach allows you to create meaningful and impactful content that drives engagement, fosters relationships, and ultimately grows your business.
Why Is It Important To Have A Content Strategy?
Having a content strategy is like having a roadmap. Without it, you’ll likely find yourself creating content without a clear direction, leading to wasted resources, missed opportunities, and content that may not resonate with the intended audience.
A content strategy provides clarity and purpose, ensuring that every piece of content serves a specific goal, whether it’s building brand awareness, driving sales, or engaging and retaining customers. A well-defined strategy helps make sure that your messaging is consistent across all platforms, establishing a strong brand voice that’s recognizable and trustworthy.
In a time where content is abundant and attention spans are fleeting, a solid strategy ensures that your content efforts are not just about quantity, but also quality content that will catch the attention of your ideal customer.
How To Develop A Content Strategy
Developing a successful content strategy takes some time and careful thought and planning. When developing your content strategy, you’ll want to follow what we call the content strategy framework.
The Content Strategy Framework
The content strategy framework is made up of these key steps:
Aligning Your Content Goals With Your Business Goals
Before diving into content creation, you must define what you want to achieve. Objectives can range from increasing website traffic and building brand awareness, to generating leads and increasing sales. Being specific with your goals (e.g., “Increase website traffic by 20% in the next six months”) can provide a clearer direction for your strategy and make results more measurable.
Knowing who you’re speaking to is paramount, so don’t overlook this step. Audience research involves understanding the demographics, preferences, needs, challenges, and behaviors of your target audience. You can use surveys, interviews, and data analytics tools to gather insights. Creating audience personas—fictionalized representations of your ideal customers—can also help tailor your content more effectively.
Analyzing your competitors’ content can provide valuable insights and be a great way to gather content ideas. Identify who your main competitors are and evaluate the content they’re putting out.
What do they appear to be doing right? Where are the gaps? What platforms are they producing content on? What formats of content are they producing? What seems to be performing well for them? This research can offer inspiration and help you find your unique voice so that you can set yourself apart from the others in your industry.
Decide What Content Formats You Will Focus On
Different types of content can achieve different objectives. Blogs are great for SEO and establishing authority, videos can be more engaging and shareable, while social media content can be used to foster relationships. Decide on which formats align best with your objectives and audience preferences.
Perform A Content Audit
When it comes to developing a content plan, performing a content audit is important for understanding the current state of your content. This will help you make informed decisions about what to keep, revise, or discard, as well as identify potential opportunities or gaps in the content you’re producing.
Choose What Channels You’ll Publish Your Content To
After determining the format, decide where you’ll share your content. Each channel has its own audience, algorithms, and sets of best practices. For instance, LinkedIn is more professional and suitable for B2B, while Instagram is visual and works well for lifestyle and consumer brands.
Your decision should align with where your target audience spends most of their time. What platforms your audience spends the most time on is something you’ll want to dig into during the audience research step of this content strategy framework.
Decide How You’ll Manage Your Content Production / Create A Content Calendar
Establishing a content production process is crucial. This includes deciding who is responsible for content creation (an in-house content team, freelancers, agencies). This also includes creating a content calendar, commonly referred to as an editorial calendar, to plan topics and publishing dates.
You’ll need to develop a workflow for content approval and how you’ll publish content, or who will be responsible for publishing the content. There are tools such as Hootsuite, that allow you to schedule posts to be published to different social media platforms. There are also tools for streamlining and automating some of these processes like Trello, Asana, and Content Management Systems (CMS).
Content Types To Consider When Building A Content Strategy
As we previously mentioned, when building a content strategy, one of the components you have to decide on are the formats of content you’ll be producing. So let’s take a closer look at four primary formats of content.
1. Blog Posts
Blog posts are written articles that are published to your website. They can range from long-form detailed articles to short updates or news. Blog posts are instrumental in driving organic traffic, enhancing search engine optimization (SEO), and establishing your brand as an authority in a given topic or industry.
Depending on your target audience and business objectives, you can tailor blog content to be educational, informative, entertaining, or a mix. Topics can span industry insights, how-tos, product updates, and more. To improve your website’s SEO, you’ll need to regularly update your blog with fresh content. It’s also beneficial to incorporate relevant keywords, use engaging visuals, and promote sharing.
2. Google Business Profile (GBP)
This is a free tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence on Google. Leveraging a GBP can help you attract new customers and share important information like your business hours, phone number, and location. It also serves as a place for customers to leave reviews, which can boost your credibility. Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on your Google Business Profile.
Always make sure that your business information is accurate and up-to-date. High-quality photos of your business, products, or team members can make your listing more attractive.
A nice feature of GBPs is that you can share posts to them, the same as you would on your social media profiles. It can be very beneficial to add this into your content plan. Sharing educational content and updates shows potential customers that are searching on Google that you’re active and engaged with your audience.
Utilizing your Google Business Profile can also help boost your SEO marketing efforts. To learn how, check out our article on Google Business Profiles and SEO.
3. Social Media
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others, allow you to engage directly with your audience. These platforms facilitate real-time engagement, feedback, and community-building. They’re also excellent channels for increasing brand visibility and driving traffic.
For content on these platforms, you can share a mix of entertaining industry-related content, engaging stories, customer testimonials, promotional content, and industry news. You should tailor your content to fit the platform’s audience (e.g., more professional content on LinkedIn, visual content on Instagram). Engage regularly with your followers by responding to comments, sharing user-generated content, and participating in relevant trends or hashtags.
You can learn more about the strategy we use for our client’s social media content and marketing in this article.
Video content can range from short clips for social media to longer, in-depth tutorials or webinars. Videos can convey complex information in an engaging and digestible manner. They’re also more likely to be shared, increasing their reach. You can use videos for product demonstrations, behind-the-scenes looks, customer testimonials, educational content, and more.
Platforms like YouTube also offer a robust environment for hosting and sharing. If you’re going to use video, make an effort to produce good video and audio quality. If you’re creating longer videos on YouTube, consider using timestamps to help viewers navigate to sections of interest.
Need Help With Your Content Plan? Let Alchemy Develop An Effective Content Strategy For Your Business
Navigating the world of content planning, creation, and publishing can be overwhelming- especially for a busy business owner who wants to produce great content with impactful results.
That’s where Alchemy comes in! We’re your go-to content strategist with years of expertise under our belt. Having developed successful content plans for businesses across a variety of industries, we have the experience and know-how to transform your content into tangible results.
Whether you’re looking to refine your blog posts, optimize your Google Business Profile, elevate your social media presence, or create compelling video content, Alchemy can help you develop and implement a plan. Every business is unique, and we understand the nuances and specifics required for each type of content to ensure it resonates with your target audience. So reach out to us today and find out how we can help you create a content strategy that takes your content marketing efforts to the next level. Call us at 877-978-2110.