Last updated on 13th June 2023 at 21:21 by Alex Nicholas
Content strategies are at the heart of any good digital marketing campaign, and this is especially true of web-based companies that sell products and services via their website. And whilst this might sound obvious to many, there are a number of key components to creating a content strategy that will enable you to stand out from the crowd that many won't take the time to consider.
What is a Content Strategy?
A content strategy is a plan that outlines how you will produce and publish content. But what are the components of a content strategy? It can include everything from the topics you will write about to the tone and style of your writing. A good SEO content strategy will help you achieve your business goals by providing direction for all your content marketing activities.
In this article, we will uncover all the essential components of a content strategy and various content strategy examples, including all you need to learn how to create a digital content strategy of your own. We'll also look at some common mistakes that many marketers make when creating their strategies and how you can avoid them.
But first, let's explore the reason why you need a content strategy, to begin with!
Why Do You Need a Content Strategy?
You need a content strategy to help guide your content marketing efforts and ensure that you are producing the right kind of content for your target audience. A good strategy will also include goals and metrics so that you can track how well your content is performing and make adjustments as necessary.
A quality strategy can save you a lot of time and money by preventing you from producing content that no one wants to read or that doesn't help you achieve your business goals. It can also help ensure that your content is consistent, which is important for building trust with your audience.
If you want more information on the importance of content, check out our guide on why blogging is important for SEO and how it'll benefit you when done correctly.
You effectively need to create a ‘moat' around your business that covers your topic(s) in detail and depth.
Now that we've covered the basics, let's take a closer look at each component individually and how they can benefit your content marketing efforts.
1. Content Audit
One key component of any content creation strategy is a content audit. This involves evaluating all of the content that you currently have, as well as any content that you may have published in the past.
The purpose of a content audit is to help you understand what type of content is performing well, as well as any gaps or areas of improvement that may exist.
To do a content audit, you can start by reviewing your website's analytics to see which pages are getting the most traffic and engagement. You can also take a look at your social media platforms to see which posts are being shared the most as this can be an indication of how popular a piece is.
You'll want to review any past content that you have published, such as blog posts or eBooks, to see which topics are resonating with your audience and whether there are any areas where you may have missed the mark.
Finally, once you've completed a content audit, you can identify any content gaps or opportunities, and use this information to improve your website content strategy framework moving forward. For example, if you find that you tend to get more traffic from blog posts than from eBooks, you may want to focus your efforts on creating more blog content.
2. Brand Guidelines
If more than one individual or team is representing a brand, they must have explicit direction on the personality, voice, tone, and language of the organisation. Your brand guidelines should include all of the touchpoints that your customer will experience, including social media profiles, website content, and marketing materials.
These guidelines will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to how the brand should be represented and will help to create a cohesive experience for your customers.
3. Content Strategy Goals
Your content strategy should include specific goals that you want to achieve through your strategic content marketing efforts. These goals might include things like increasing website traffic, driving more sales, or building brand awareness.
Strategy goals are important because they give you a way to measure the success of your content marketing and make necessary adjustments along the way. When you have clear goals in mind, it is easier to focus your efforts and see measurable results.
4. Marketing Objectives
KPIs and objectives for your content marketing efforts will vary depending on your company's needs. You should probably go a step further by establishing distinct metrics for each stage of the buyer's journey. That way, you can ensure that your content is properly aligning with your marketing goals at each stage.
Determine which core objectives underpin the success of your content in the short and long terms, and then align your content strategy with those objectives.
5. Content Topics
One of the key components of any blog content strategy is deciding on the topics and themes that you will write about. These topics should be aligned with your content goals and should be of interest to your target audience.
The right topic can make or break your content marketing efforts, so it's important to spend some time brainstorming and researching before you make a final decision. Once you have a list of topics, you can start developing content based on those topics that will help you achieve your marketing objectives.
6. Data and Market Research
The cornerstones of customer insight and understanding are research and data. This might be historical data (traffic demographics, sales figures, surveys, studies, etc.) or real-time data (online tracking and cookies, etc.). Whatever the source, this information will help you understand your audience and create content that appeals to them.
This customer data can come from a variety of sources, including your website's analytics, social media platforms, surveys, and interviews with customers. By gathering and analysing this data, you can gain valuable insights into your target audience and better understand what kinds of content they are looking for.
Third-party sources, social listening, and interviews can all be utilised to source additional information. Internal analytics and external data may also be incorporated as needed.
For example, Google's Consumer Barometer can help you better comprehend various demographic sectors and their online purchasing actions. Knowing how your audience thinks, feels, and acts will enable you to produce content that more precisely speaks to their needs.
7. Awareness Content
Top-of-the-funnel content is also known as the ‘awareness stage' and it focuses on increasing brand exposure. These articles attract people to your site who are looking for subjects that are less than one degree removed from your brand (meaning they are not actively searching for specific products or services).
It could include blog posts about industry news and trends, infographics and videos that highlight specific industry issues or challenges, and even user-generated content such as testimonials and customer reviews.
The goal of these pieces is to get potential customers interested in your brand and what you have to offer. By providing helpful and informative content, you can start to establish yourself as an authority in your industry and increase brand recognition.
This sort of material has little to no commercial impact. However, these pieces act as valuable resources for other websites, getting them links from other blogs. By improving website traffic and general brand recognition, awareness content can help to drive leads further down the funnel.
These articles are intended to educate your readers, improve site authority, and promote brand recognition.
8. Leadership Content
You may establish yourself as an industry expert by producing thought leadership material. These articles are based on your many years in the business and offer a different viewpoint or a specific solution to your audience's challenges.
Thought leadership content may include blog posts that discuss industry trends, white papers about emerging technologies or processes, or even case studies that demonstrate your company's successes.
This type of content is usually geared toward people who are actively searching for specific products or services. By providing helpful and informative content, you can establish yourself as an authority in your industry and increase brand recognition.
Your competitors will post these types of blog entries on social media, bookmark them for future reference, and raise your authority as an influencer.
You'll need to think outside the box to get your message out there. You can do this by conducting interviews with industry experts, writing guest blog posts, or even speaking at conferences and events.
Thought leadership content is intended to establish your company as an expert in its industry, educate your readers about the latest developments, and increase brand visibility.
Increased trust and belief in the value of each piece of content you produce are just two of the many benefits that come with practising thought leadership.
9. Current Content Fit
From a content marketing perspective, it's crucial to recognize your customer, but it's also critical to understand the present state of content in your market so that you can plan and implement a content strategy that will help you stand out from the crowd and gain more backlinks from other related sources and influencers.
This includes evaluating your competitors' content to understand what topics and formats are popular. You'll also need to determine the types of content that perform best for your product or service, which media channels are most effective, and which content formats will work best for your audience.
Once you have a good understanding of the content landscape, you can start to develop a content strategy that aligns with your business goals and helps you achieve better brand awareness, more website traffic, greater trust and credibility, and a higher conversion rate.
It's also necessary to pay attention to the state of media behaviour and content consumption formats, including device usage and visual styles. These formats are rapidly changing and evolving, so it's important to stay up to date on the latest trends to create content that will appeal to your target audience.
With so many new formats emerging, it might be easy to want to compete on several distinct content channels, including writing, photography, and video. However, it's important to focus on a few key channels and produce high-quality content that will be well-received by your audience.
Decide which 2-3 content types you wish to focus on, and try to repurpose them into different vehicles and post forms on different platforms.
By doing this, you can save time and resources while still delivering a variety of content that your audience will appreciate.
Podcasts can be reused audio from videos you've made, and microsites may include all of your material organised by a certain campaign or topic, for easy skimming.
The most important point when it comes to the content domain or topic selection is to choose topics that you're knowledgeable and passionate about.
When you are confident in your expertise, it will be easier to produce engaging content that your audience craves to read and share!
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Creating Your Content Strategy
1. Not Defining Your Target Audience
One common mistake that marketers make is failing to define their target audience. Without a clear understanding of who your content is intended for, it will be difficult to produce material that engages and resonates with them.
2. Failing to Align Your Content Strategy With Other Marketing Efforts
Another common mistake is failing to align your content strategy with other marketing efforts, such as SEO and social media. It's important to ensure that your content is optimised for search engines and that you are posting on social media regularly.
3. Not Having a Clearly Defined Goal
Another common mistake is failing to set clear goals for your content strategy. Without a clear objective in mind, you will likely find it difficult to measure your success.
If you want to create an effective content strategy, it's important to avoid these common mistakes. By focusing on your target audience and aligning your efforts with other marketing channels, you can create content that engages and resonates with your audience.
Creating a content strategy can be a daunting task, but by avoiding common mistakes and focusing on your target audience, you can create content that resonates with them and helps you achieve your marketing goals.
Are there any components of a content strategy that you're still unsure about? If so, as an experienced freelance SEO consultant, I'd be only too happy to help you nail down your content strategy.