Consistent and high-quality content is the primary key to growing audience engagement, developing your brand presence, and driving sales. Besides, it is a cost-effective way to generate new leads. However, content just cannot simply be churned out for the sake of it, as poor quality content can negatively impact your site.

The best content is not necessarily about you; rather, it should be about your customers and address their most pressing needs and queries. Thus it is of utmost significance that your content delivers the right information to the right customers. And to reach out to all the brand and customer-specific touch-points, you need a robust content strategy. 

In this article, we’ll outline the importance of a content strategy and provide key techniques in how you can craft a content strategy that works for your business.

FIRSTLY, SO, WHAT IS A CONTENT STRATEGY?

The core purpose of a content strategy is to create content that attracts your company’s target customers. It improves marketing results for every company, irrespective of your brand or industry.

A sound content strategy supports all customers, both existing and prospective. Your prospects can then make a quick decision and reinforce the solution you’re offering to satisfy these customers’ demands. 

By having a cohesive content strategy across various platforms, you can engage customers meaningfully on the right channels. 

THE IMPORTANCE OF A CONTENT STRATEGY

The world of digital marketing has evolved rapidly. Gone are the days when posting simply one blog post in a month could potentially drive traffic to your website. In today’s terms, content is multi-channel and forms a key part of your marketing strategy.

Importance of a content marketing strategy. Source: 1827 marketing

Here are some points that help you figure out why you need a comprehensive content development strategy:

  • Content can organically help you increase the search visibility and authority of your brand. For example, a keyword-focused content strategy that identifies the right keyword opportunities for your blog allows you to rank high on search engines, increasing the visibility of your business and brand.
  • An adaptive content strategy keeps your marketing agile and responsive to changing needs. The Agile framework applied to content marketing allows you to test quickly and launch new content projects, giving you insights into your customers and understanding which channels work best.
  • Content can help convert customers across various stages of your sales funnel. If your content is customized to multiple queries that a prospect might have along your sales cycle, you can answer their most significant pain points every step of the way.
  • The process of building your content development strategy can also help you identify new customer segments. Content creation requires in-depth research around new topics and helps you both identify and reach new target audiences who might need your product or service.

To help you understand the tenets of a strong content strategy, you should first familiarize yourself with its core building blocks:

This includes:

  1. Identifying your purpose and differentiating your target audience segments
  2. Identifying and researching consumer personas
  3. Researching key customer pain points and corresponding content topics
  4. Building your content management system
  5. Customizing your content for each channel
  6. Optimizing and updating your published content regularly

IDENTIFYING YOUR PURPOSE AND DIFFERENTIATING YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE SEGMENTS

What’s a strategy without first understanding its purpose and intent? To begin crafting your content strategy, you first need to understand the purpose of your content. Is it to boost brand awareness, improve your Google Search ranking, generate leads, re-engage past customers, or something else?

After you have defined the purpose of your content strategy, you can then move on to determine your target audience. Your business might provide services to more than one customer, hence, your content strategy must serve more than one category of readers. This way, you can customize and deliver different content to each type of audience and engage different customer segments effectively.  

IDENTIFYING AND RESEARCHING CONSUMER PERSONAS

In order to identify your customer segments, you can conduct adequate in-depth research in order to build your customer personas. 

Customer personas are a pivotal part of every successful content strategy. It helps you build profiles of each of your ideal clients and hence understand what kind of content they require based on their different pain points and preferences. 

Example of a general buyer consumer persona. Source: HubSpot

Here are some tactics to conduct in-depth consumer persona research.

  • Conduct online surveys to understand your audience: Once you have identified a potential target segment, email and reach out to consumers that share those demographic traits with a list of questions in order to gather insights and analyze their responses.
  • Leverage social media: Which platforms are your target segments most active on? Search various accounts and hashtags to gain insight into customers in your niche. These are affordable yet efficient ways to know and understand your audience’s pain points and aspirations.
  • Look into your analytics tools to know how and where to engage your audiences: For instance, Google Analytics will provide you with useful insights on your visitors. You can understand the geographic sources and location of visitors, along with the pages they view. Segment your visitors based on socio-demographic factors such as age, gender, location and even mobile device usage. Then track these against the time spent on your website, their bounce rate, and the most popular pages they visit. You can also analyze how these visitors got to your website: is it through social media, referral links from other sites, organic keyword searches from Google, or from one of your paid ads? Likewise, social media analytics can provide useful information about people who interact with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn pages. 

Source: Ahrefs
  • Keyword research is crucial: 90.63% of pages get no organic traffic at all from Google; and this is why keyword research is crucial in helping you understand what your best chances are in soliciting organic traffic. Whether you are creating content in the form of blog posts, social media posts, video descriptions, captions, and hashtags, inserting rightly researched keywords is the prerequisite. Some of the most valuable keyword research software include SEMrush, Google Keyword Planner, Keywords Explorer by Ahrefs, and many more. 

Google regularly updates its search engine algorithms every year, and recent trends also dictate the flux of keyword volumes and popularity. Hence, it is crucial to search for the most relevant and impressive keywords to drive more traffic, which you can do with Google Trends to spot early keyword opportunities.

RESEARCHING KEY CUSTOMER PAIN POINTS AND CORRESPONDING CONTENT TOPICS

As you wind up the consumer personas research, it’s time to brainstorm ideas for content creation. Note down all themes and subjects that you think will resonate with your audience. 

After you have drafted a list of ideas, start delegating to your team and researching each of them in further detail. 

For a search engine optimized (SEO) content strategy, you should adopt keyword research, break up each topic into a series of keywords or phrases, and understand the keyword opportunity using a tool such as Ahrefs or SEMRush. 

A valuable keyword opportunity is when your phrase or keyword has relatively high search volume (for example, 1,000 monthly searches) but a low keyword difficulty (ranges from 0 to 100, with 0 being the easiest to appear higher for).

Run an audit on existing content

In addition to researching new topics, you should also run an audit on previous content that your company has published. Keep track of how your content has performed in the long run, analyzing both the good ones that have ranked high on search engines or are highly well-received by your customers versus the ones that have performed poorly, perhaps with low engagement or not ranking on search engines at all. 

Run an audit to determine how your blog posts, social media posts, events, and web pages are affecting your audiences’ sentiments. This way, you can then use these customer insights to identify the topics, content formats, and platforms that are driving maximum traction for your business.

BUILD YOUR CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CMS)

You need to build your content management system (CMS) in order to create, manage, and track your content. Content creation, content publication, and content analytics are a few vital parts of your content management process. Moreover, a content calendar can help you outline your content creation strategy and distribution schedule. 

Alongside your CMS, you should keep track of your content schedules with tools such as Notion to build a knowledge repository of ideas, as well as a project management tool like Asana to delegate content topics, send content ideas for approval and edit, and track your key performance indicators.

CUSTOMIZING YOUR CONTENT FOR EACH CHANNEL

Your content should be customized according to each channel that you plan to adopt in your content strategy. Source: BlogTyrant

Create long-tail keyword-rich blog content for search engines

Whether you are planning to make a blog post or an article, plan your content format in a way that includes all your researched and relevant keywords. Focus on using long-tail keywords, which are keyword phrases of 4 words and above. These keywords have a higher chance of converting customers and they also have less competition, as it is more specific to your niche.

While creating the content development strategy, plan out your content structure or format. Simultaneously, make sure to put your long-tail keywords in appropriate sections, including the title, meta title, meta description, introduction, heading (H1), subheadings (H2, H3), image alt text, and conclusion for SEO optimized and keyword-rich blog content.

Use different content formats for other channels

It’s not necessary to create all of your content in a singular blog-type format. In fact, in a recent survey, 74% of respondents claimed that videos are more effective in generating leads than blogging. 

Source: Databox

Apart from that, you can use other formats, such as videos for YouTube and Instagram. If your customer segments include the younger generations (teens to young adults), you might even look into TikTok marketing to reach these younger customers at scale.

Other formats include audio on podcasts, and short-form content for social media posts, tweets, and witty one-liners. You can also adopt customer marketing psychology in your email marketing campaigns. Your content format selection also depends on your objective, target audience, as well as your resources budget.

Add images and be visual

Regardless of your content channel, apart from text, images, illustrations, and infographics, it should feature heavily and will add more value to your blogs and social media posts alike. Therefore search for meaningful and high-quality pictures that work as an informative element for your content.

Include case studies on specialized landing pages

One of the best ways of creating a content development strategy is by publishing checklists and case studies. Besides, it helps you build authority, credibility, and, not to mention, trust among the audience. As of HubSpot’s State of Marketing Report 2020, 13% of marketers believe that case studies are one of the primary forms of media they can use within their content strategy arsenal.

You can do this by simply listing down your client’s queries and highlighting how your products/services helped resolve the problems. This creates a broader impact on the customer when he is on his buyer’s journey and is actively comparing solutions and providers to fix a problem he is experiencing. 

A case study in the form of PDF or download will work as an effective social proof and will add to the value of your content. You can then also build your email lists by asking customers to opt-in to receive your newsletters before downloading your case study.

Optimize your content regularly

In the digital world, content web pages can supposedly live forever. Therefore, to make your content relevant and result-driven, it is crucial to create a content update strategy. This will include using high-ranking keywords, updating metadata, testing user experience, and identifying audience intent by regularly conducting an audit of your content.

This helps you understand what works and what doesn’t. As for blog content pieces that did work, you can then update them to help them rank higher, include more queries and answers, and improve their overall quality just to help you maintain their popularity and/or gain even more traction.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

In summary, a strong content strategy works alongside other marketing channels, as part of your overall digital marketing plan (such as paid ads and PR) to drive customer acquisition for your business.

Now that we understand what comprises a strong and coherent content strategy, it’s your turn to get cracking on.

To recap, these are the key points to create a content development strategy:

  1. Identifying your purpose and differentiating your target audience segments
  2. Identifying and researching consumer personas
  3. Researching key customer pain points and corresponding content topics
  4. Building your content management system
  5. Customizing your content for each channel
  6. Optimizing and updating your published content regularly

Author’s bio:

Jaron Soh is co-founder and COO at Traktion, the platform that makes hiring for growth simpler, agile, and more profitable for businesses. Prior to Traktion, Jaron founded the e-commerce marketplace Artisan & Fox, with operations across 10+ countries.

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