Here’s a practical guide to create a content strategy:
Creating content consistently is good but do you have a blog content strategy? It’s 2021, the year you work with process and change perspective.
I know you already have a lot planned for the year. You might already have a list of amazing content ideas written somewhere.
But the best way to start is by developing a blog content strategy for your business.
Without a content strategy, it becomes difficult to track and monitor your content marketing campaign.
According to a survey by CMI, about 63% of marketers do not have a documented content strategy. Only 37% of the surveyed marketers have a documented content strategy.
When asked why some of them will not be developing one in the next 12 months, 67% complained about having a small team.
But here’s the thing, developing a blog content strategy doesn’t have anything to do with whether you run a small team or not.
A content strategy should be your process on how you plan to meet your business objectives through content marketing. Who shouldn’t have access to that?
I will be straight with you; content marketing isn’t easy. There’s a lot that goes into content marketing.
But to be in control of your brand’s image and content, you need a content strategy for your blog.
Either you are outsourcing your content marketing or doing it in-house, you need a content strategy.
Here’s a practical guide to help you develop an effective content strategy.
Let’s dive into it.
What’s a Content Strategy?
Simply put, a content strategy is tying the nut between your business goal and your content marketing goal.
A content strategy is a detailed plan that maps out the process of creating content and also distributing the content to meet business objectives.
It is a blueprint on how the content creation process will be done, the type of content to create, the format of the content, target audience, content experience, and the distribution plan.
It’s the science behind content creation. For better understanding, content strategy is the process behind creating content to solve a business objective.
You could create content to generate awareness, you could create content to increase sales, etc.
Why is a Blog Content Strategy Important?
Marketers with a documented content strategy are 313% more likely to report success.Coschedule
To break down the reasons you need a blog content strategy, I’ll be painting a scene here.
Take a look at the problems the customer support goes through when attending to customers.
To be exact, the more customers you have, the more complaints the customer support receives.
And to answer them all and give your customers a top-notch customer service experience, there are two obvious options.
- The first is to hire more customer support reps.
- The second is to look for a way to automate some parts of the work.
You’d agree with me that the first will cost more money than the latter.
So the best option is automating, and that’s where a content strategy comes in.
Other than sales, a content strategy can reduce cost and also provide excellent customer service on your behalf.
Blog content strategy Example Using a Common Problem in the Customer Support Unit
- Start with a frequently-asked-questions page (FAQs). To do this, the customer support rep needs to identify the questions that are being asked most.
- Provide the best answers in a written form for others to use.
- The FAQs can also be used in an AI chatbot to answer questions through the live chatbox.
- Incorporate a demo video, free webinars, and documentation tutorials to make it more accessible for your customers so that your customers don’t have to contact a customer support rep.
And even if they do, your support team can direct them to a page that contains the solution.
And that’s a lower cost and a straightforward way of solving the increase in customers’ complaints and queries.
The process of identifying the common problems and questions being asked to compiling and providing them, alongside identifying the goals of the content, is the content strategy.
Well, that’s just, by the way, there are many other things you can solve by implementing a content strategy.
Here’s a breakdown of why you need a content strategy;
#1: To Cut Cost
You know what, we’ve had enough of content waste.
The internet doesn’t need another content without intent, and you shouldn’t waste your money on that.
If you go through your content archive, there’s a high tendency that there are blog posts without intent or goal of what they’re meant to achieve.
You create content because your competitors do have similar content. And when you do so, you also incur the wastes that your competitors do.
But it shouldn’t be so, you need to cut out the waste and create each content with a purpose of what they’re meant to solve.
An example is creating content to solve all your customers’ queries and reduce the workload on your customer support unit.
And this is one of the reasons why you need a content strategy.
#2: It Increases Productivity
You don’t want to spend half of the day, sourcing for the content to produce.
Likewise, you don’t want to spend the whole day explaining your plan and process to your boss or whomever it may concern.
You know I get the point, as a content marketer, there’s a lot to do but you need to manage your time. And the one that pisses me off is having to re-explain my work process and plan to a boss.
If you have been doing this, then you might not have to anymore.
With a content strategy, you’ve got the perfect thing to refer to whenever you’re stuck or out of ideas on what to do next.
A content strategy has got you covered.
And if your boss needs a re-affirmation on what you’re doing, you can send them a copy of your content strategy (fair enough?).
#3: Content Strategy Helps you Measure Result
First of all, tracking and measuring the success of your content marketing can be overwhelming.
But with a content strategy, you can track the result of the small tasks and actions to measure the overall performance.
A content strategy makes your analytics trouble-free.
And since you are in control of the content, you can also track the performance of each content to estimate the overall performance.
#4: Content Strategy Enables you to Automate your Process
You know what sucks the most, having to re-explain everything to a new member on your team.
For a better understanding, you would have to onboard a team member and also explain how your content creation process works.
But you don’t have to if you have a content strategy.
Instead of repeating yourself over and over again, a content strategy makes your content process less overwhelming.
A content strategy will also include your guideline and tone for content creation, your editorial guidelines, and many other things to understand.
Besides, as a content strategist, you can go the extra mile by documenting your process (SOPs) to break it down for anyone to implement.
Finally, you can create onboarding video tutorials that walk your new member through the process.
What you’ve been looking for (Think: Automation for Content Marketers) is knocking at your door (Think: Content Strategy).
And here’s the big question – how do you develop one?
Let’s dive right in.
How to Develop a Blog Content Strategy
1. Break down the Goal
That’s it. This is the first place to start. I will be sincere that this process has been overemphasized.
However, a lot of marketers still don’t have a real goal.
Fine, your goal is to grow your company to six figures, seven figures, you name it. Okay, yours is to grow your sales to a particular figure.
All these are goals, but they aren’t what is expected of you when it comes to developing a blog content strategy.
Break down these goals to minute ones that can be measured and also influenced directly.
A better example is this. As a Saas founder or marketer (an assumption), you need more customers to increase sales. Your goal is to grow your Saas company to a multi-million dollar company.
That’s the big goal, but that wouldn’t help you take the actions needed now.
You need to break it down into those little goals that will help you reach your destination.
For example, you should talk about generating more awareness for your business (targeted traffic). The more people that know about your Saas product, the more customers you’ll get.
And when it comes to generating awareness, you should break it down to social shares, mentions on big platforms, organic traffic from Google, and many others.
And these above are your finite goals that can be accurately measured and tracked.
Put in mind, some of these goals can still be broken down to achieve our big goal.
For example, to rank higher on Google and get more organic traffic, you need backlinks to your content (I’m sure you are aware).
As a content marketer, you could have a content strategy goal of building more links to your site. This is achievable through content marketing.
If you’re looking to create content for the sole purpose of getting backlinks, you should think about something very valuable like White Papers, Statistics, Tools, etc.
Why these? It’s because these content attract more mention than the usual informative content.
And that’s why being clear about your goal matters.
A finite content strategy goal gives a clear direction on the content to produce.
2. Have an Audience Persona
Just as I guessed, you’ve heard of this too. Having an audience persona isn’t a new term for you. But the question here is, do you have an audience personas?
This seems to have been over-emphasized on all marketing blogs but the reality is that it’s underrated.
Just the sight of how easy the process looks, a lot of marketers are yet to apply it to their business.
But here’s the thing. Developing an audience persona helps you gain better clarity about your business and whom you serve.
It’s okay to have two audience personas. There are businesses who have 8 to 10 audience persona.
3. Run a Content Audit
A content audit is just what it is, it enables you to find loopholes in your content marketing.
Before now, there are already content opportunities that you should have taken advantage of, but you can’t identify them until you run a content audit.
Content audit is very under-rated. The SEO value of carrying out a content audit is immense.
You get to uncover keywords that you can create content around. You get to uncover long-tail keywords that you can re-optimize your present content for.
Your well performing content should be consistently updated and improved to improve its search appearance. Build links to it and you might as well add an upgrade.
Aside from that, a content audit helps you identify where you have been lacking.
Maybe there’s a content that isn’t yet ranking, then you can upgrade it and optimize it for a better keyword.
How to Carry out a Content Audit
No better tool than Google Search Console to carry out an in depth content audit on your business blog.
Search console is a powerful tool that most marketers don’t know how to leverage for their marketing.
Here’s How I Carry Out a Content Audit
Right from the Search Console dashboard, I navigate to Performance. Right from this section, I tap into the well of data provided.
The Performance section of Google Search Console reveals keywords your site is already appearing for and their position on SERPs.
This helps you find keywords you’re yet to rank on the first page for and then optimize your content.
Another way I use Google Search Console Performance data is to create a new blog post that targets the keyword my site already has potential to rank for.
For instance, if I write a blog post on “SaaS Marketing” and the blog post is ranking on the fifth page for “SaaS marketing examples”, rather than re-optimizing the post, I’ll create a new blog post on SaaS marketing examples.
This is a working strategy. And it’s a good way of benefiting from your content audit.
4. Content Research
After auditing your content and identifying the loopholes, you need to carry-out thorough content research.
I tagged this content research because you’re not only uncovering keywords, you are discovering content opportunities alongside their audience personas.
Content research means that you identify those things that will be covered in each content. Instead of stopping at keyword research, you need to look for similar questions and queries that will be incorporated into the content.
You’re looking for a whole content opportunity and not just a mere keyword.
At this point, you can use any of the keyword research tools in the industry.
I’m using WordTracker here. You can also analyze your competitors to uncover content opportunities for your brand.
Not just one or two, you need to invest time into your content research to find opportunities that you can leverage on for the next few weeks or even months.
5. Decide on Content-Type
Here’s another big deal that a lot of marketers make mistakes. Are you also stuck choosing a content type to produce?
There are a lot of content types (formats) that you can leverage on for your brand, but which is best?
I don’t have the answer for your particular business, but I’ll explain how to find out yourself.
But first, let’s look into the various content types we have:
- Case studies
- Press Release
- White Papers
- Online courses
- Research Data and Statistics
There’s a tendency that I’ve missed some. In essence, there are a lot of content types with different names, and that’s why choosing a type for your content can be overwhelming.
Without further ado, let’s dive into some of these various content types and when you should use them.
Blog : A blog is where you share your long-form content. You should create a blog post if you’re targeting free organic traffic.
A blog post should be given priority most of the time because you can easily incorporate the other types of content alongside a blog post.
A blog post is your sure bet if you’re optimizing for a keyword or creating content for organic traffic from Google.
Infographics: Infographics are graphics and pictures that consist of valuable information. An infographic passes more value than the regular picture or images.
You should go for Infographics if you are dealing with a complex topic. An infographic can be an additional form of content for your blog post.
Infographics break a complex topic into the simplest form to understand. It should be used as additional content, although it can stand alone.
If you plan to outsource your infographics, I recommend, ContentKeen.
Case Studies: Case studies are a type of content that involves sharing an experience or the result of an experiment carried out.
A case study is useful to convert your prospects to become leads. You can use case studies to show how you have helped your past customers or current customers achieve great results.
A case study is a machine for proving your authority and the fact that you can solve your prospects’ problems.
Ebooks: Ebooks are exactly what they are. They are written content that is processed in downloadable formats (PDF).
You can process your content into an ebook format if it’s broad or long. It could also be short though.
A better scenario of using this format is when you want to generate leads. Turning content that has been well accepted into an eBook in exchange for your prospects’ contact information will go a long way.
You can process a case study into an eBook to get your audience’s contact information. So you give away the eBook in exchange for their email address and name.
White Papers: White Papers are very similar to Ebooks. But there’s a slight difference between a white paper and a regular eBook.
White Papers are official and cover a specific topic. White Papers are reports that create awareness about the state of something likewise the problems that surround it.
You can think of writing white papers as an academic report for marketing.
You can use White Papers to attract more mentions from industry leaders.
Webinars: These are best for creating tutorials about your products. Webinars are great ways of creating an explainer video on your product.
You can also use webinars as a way of passing informational content other than promotional content.
Besides, you can use webinars as a lead generation magnet to turn your website visitors into prospects.
By promoting your webinar on your website as a popup, you can increase the conversion rate. And the best part is that webinars have a higher conversion rate than the regular blog post you publish on your blog.
Tools: A tool isn’t the regular form of content you do know. But over the years, tools have been used as a form of content to provide value to customers.
You’d agree with me that some information is best served via tools. Instead of just writing about book publishing alone, why not create a book cover design tool?
Just thinking out loud. Besides, this type of content isn’t cheap. Plus, the majority of us are content marketers with no experience in coding and development.
So if this is the content-type you choose, you’ll need to outsource the tool creation to a programmer or buy source codes.
This form of content is expensive, but it attracts more links and mentions from big sites. So, if you can, then you should consider it.
While I’ve tried my best to cover it all, I would put a stop here. These are the form of content that I consider essential.
Let’s move on with developing our content strategy.
6. Create a Content Calendar / Content Plan
You need a content calendar (editorial calendar) to organize your ideas.
Your editorial calendar should specify the topic, the keyword you are optimizing for (if it exists), the form of content, publish date, creator (who’s in charge), etc.
You are in charge. There’s no exact formula or rule to the columns you should have, so the decision is up to you here.
You can even include the links to the docs and many others.
In essence, all you need is a content calendar to manage your content. However, what I’ll advise is that your content should have a similar focus for each month.
You shouldn’t write about marketing this week and write about hiring next week. Though no one will punish you for that, you need to have a content focus to see results.
Google award blogs that exercise topical authority. So you’d want to cover everything under that particular topic before moving to the next one.
Your aim is to become an authority and not a content producer alone.
Also check out: Best Content Calendar Tools for 2021
7. Content Experience
When it comes to content experience, it can never be over-emphasized. Not yet a popular topic, but it matters a lot.
Your content experience has everything to do with how your audience engages with your content.
Either quality content or not, it’s at the mercy of the content experience.
If your content does not render a good experience, your audience will be forced to take their leave and look for other alternatives.
Why should I watch a video that has poor quality when there are better alternatives.
If it means redesigning your site, then you should. Having quality content isn’t enough, providing quality experience is equally important.
If you’re thinking of content experience, then you should think of CoSchedule and HubSpot. These two sites excel in their content experience.
You can check out the way they render their content. For each of the content on Hubspot, there’s always a free eBook or template to download.
You get a similar experience on CoSchedule and Backlinko. Backlinko is one of the blogs that excel when it comes to content experience.
The things to look out for are the white spaces, the font style, the images, infographics, headers, CTA, and your UX.
8. Create and Distribute Content
What’s the essence of creating content without promoting it to your audience? There’s no point.
If you don’t have the budget to distribute your content, there’s no point in creating lots of it.
Content distribution is very essential. If content is king, then distribution is queen.
Besides, it’s 2021 when ranking on Google requires hard-work. To start getting traction on your published content, you need to promote your content.
Don’t know where to start from?
Here are some content distribution channels to promote your content:
- Quora – answer questions related to your content on Quora. Link back to your content whenever possible and applicable
- Reddit – Share your content to subreddits where your prospects are. Answer questions on communities and link back to your content when possible.
- Pick a unique or valuable quote from your content and turn it into social media posts.
- Promote to Twitter
- Promote to Facebook groups and communities
- Turn your content into a series for publication on LinkedIn
- Create carousels for LinkedIn and Instagram
- Create pins for pinterest
- Use paid promotion platforms like Quuu to promote your content.
These are just blog promotion ideas you can implement. There are many other ways to promote your blog posts than the aforementioned.
You can check out KhrisDigital blog promotion guide.
9. Measure your Result
Right here, you need to measure those minute goals that you came up with while developing your blog content strategy.
I’m not talking about the big goals, the broken down goals are what I’m referring to.
Was your content goal to attract links? Then measure the result using a link tracker to see the number of new links you got thanks to the content.
If yours was more traffic, then going through your Google Analytics dashboard and watching the trend from the date you published will help you measure the result.
No matter how minute your goal is, you need to measure it to be able to improve on it.
That said, here are some things you should measure and track:
- Website Traffic
Blog Content Strategy Template
I’m presently working on a content strategy template that includes every template you need to plan and execute your content strategy.
Do you want to get notified when I’m done with it?
Drop your email so that you’ll be notified once I’m done with it.
Putting the Pieces Together
Finally, creating a content strategy isn’t trouble-free – I agree. But following the above steps will help you develop a better content strategy.
Besides, if you don’t have a blog content strategy, you have customers and money at stake. A blog content strategy will reduce your content expenses and increase your conversion rate.
With a lot at stake, seclude a day and create a content strategy for your business, blog, and clients.
Finally, I’m happy you made it down here, but I’ll be happier if you found this helpful.
What’s your thought on developing a content strategy?