How To Develop A Content Strategy in 7 Easy Steps [2020]

The content strategy is the centerpiece of every content marketing plan.

64 percent of marketers say that learning how to build a content strategy is part of their greatest educational needs.

But you don’t want to produce anything for the sake of having something to publish.

The secret to content strategies is to formulate a game plan before producing any content. And that’s exactly what we’re teaching you today.

By the end of this article, you will walk away with a content strategy that will harvest maximum rewards—more leads, boosted traffic, and more!

Let’s begin!

Image via odyssiant.com

What is a Content Strategy?

A content strategy is all about planning, creating, and managing your content.

Content does not limit itself to blog posts or the words on your landing page. It also has everything do with images, video, and other multimedia.

While content marketing deals specifically with actual content creation and curation, your content strategy is all about the vision. It answers how and why content should be created or managed.

At its core, the content strategy answers what content helps your audience and what will inspire them to take action.

Moz offers this cool diagram that compares and contrasts content marketing with the content strategy:

Image via moz.com

At its core, the content strategy answers what content helps your audience and what will inspire them to take action.

Moz offers this cool diagram that compares and contrasts content marketing with the content strategy:

Developing Your Content Strategy

1. Set your goals and KPIs

When you catch yourself asking questions like, “what are we doing?” or “what is this for?”, you go back to your content strategy.

Compare your current content to the overall vision of your brand.

In a previous post, we discussed that goals must be SMART.

That means they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

These are the factors you need to consider so that the content you produce can be reasonably accomplished.

These are some examples of SMART goals for your content strategy:

  • In three months, we should see a 10 percent increase in blog traffic by updating the blog twice a week.
  • By October 20, our YouTube subscribers will reach 10,000.
  • A year from today, our landing pages will generate 40 percent more leads by revamping the format and style.

Alongside your goals, you also have to pay attention to your key performance indicators, or KPIs.

KPIs are measurable values that depict how effectively you are achieving your goals or objectives.

Businesses use KPIs to evaluate the success (or failure) of their marketing initiatives.

There are sales metrics, marketing metrics, and more! You decide which one you want to track.

2. Research your audience

Previously, we talked about how audience research is crucial for better targeting.

Before you can achieve successful marketing campaigns, you need to figure out whom you’re talking to and what they want out of you.

When dealing with audience research, these are some of the things to look out for:

  • What are their demographics? (age, sex, location, language, etc.)
  • Which social platforms are they active in? (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram)
  • What type of content do they consume? (Blogs, videos, infographics, etc.)
  • What are their pain points/problems?
  • How would you describe their spending habits?

Image via addthis.com

To get a better grasp of your audience, you can also gather information on your existing ones.

You can conduct interviews or do surveys of your current customers to understand their personalities, interests, and dislikes better.

We wrote an in-depth article about audience research, and we guarantee that you’ll find it useful.

Click here to read it!

3. Do a content audit

Content marketing isn’t about creation alone.

It also means taking a second look at the content that you already have.

If you’ve created a content library, review your previous content, and figure out a way to revamp them, especially for the earlier posts that aren’t driving any traffic.

Here are a few steps to guide you throughout the content audit process:

Step 1: Create an inventory

The first thing you want to do is to create an inventory of your existing content.

You can do this by going over to Google Spreadsheets or Excel and listing everything you already have.

It should look like this:

Image via curata.com

Step 2: Repurpose poorly performing content

Content repurposing is all about bringing old content back to life.

The secret is to innovate existing content instead of leaving it to rot on your website.

When you strategize your content, you don’t need to produce new stuff continuously.

Instead, you can go back to the outdated ones you wrote years ago and make them new!

Google will love you more if you have a few content pieces with high impact rather than having an endless supply of content with zero readership.

Quality over quantity, always.

We wrote an in-depth article on content repurposing techniques. I’m sure you’ll find it very useful!

4. Create content

Now is the time to start writing and creating content.

Take some time to think about what you want to produce. Make sure that everything you create aligns with your business’ overall persona or branding.

There are a variety of content types that you can go for, here are a few of them:

  • Blogs
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Social Media posts

As you start creating content, take note of the following criteria:

Tone

Do you want your content to sound professional? Casual? Humorous? Friendly?

Whatever it is, make sure that your target audience is going to be comfortable with the tone you use.

If you’re writing for a bunch of scholars in the academe, then you can add a bit of jargon here and there.

But if you want to be more appealing to the masses, a conversational, “me and you” tone should do the trick.

Relevance

How will this piece of content be useful or relevant to your audience?

Does it talk directly about your products and services, or is it about something that your target customers will actually find useful?

Relevant content is all about addressing a customer’s pain points.

For example, let’s say you run a digital marketing agency.

With enough research, you will be able to determine what your audience’s needs are.

Let’s say you found out that your audience struggles with launching a website.

Naturally, you would want your content to talk about that topic since it addresses a particular pain point.

Length

The internet is loaded with an abundance of information, so your customers can consume an endless supply of content.

This is why you need to pay attention to your length.

Reports say that the average human attention span has shrunk to eight seconds.

Yep, shorter than a goldfish’s .

Ask yourself how long each piece should be. Will length affect how your audience consumes it?

Make it too long, and you’ll bore them; keep it too short, and your content will run thin.

Figure out which they prefer.

5. Select the best content channels

With so many social platforms available today, it’s impossible to have a solid online presence on every single one.

This is why you should narrow things down and only select the ones that will be beneficial for your business.

Optinmonster taught us that the right place to start looking is in our analytics.

On Google Analytics, for example, you can go to Acquisition > Social > Overview to view the social networks where users are sharing your content.

It will redirect you to a page that looks like this:

The image above tells you that most of the social activity happens on YouTube, with a percentage of 94.86.

On BuzzSumo, you can type any domain on their search bar, and it will automatically give you figures on total engagement as well as the top content of the year.

We tried analyzing Brian Dean’s Backlinko. Here are the results:

6. Make a calendar

You’re almost done!

The next thing you’re going to do is to create a content calendar.

Once your content is ready for the web, plot out your publication dates beforehand. It’s necessary to have your content properly scheduled.

You can go on Google calendar (or any calendar you’re comfortable with) and write down the dates for each piece of content.

Keep in mind that you have to publish them at a time when most of your audience is online and active.

Of course, there are management tools available that can make your life easier.

Buffer is one great example.

Image via Buffer.com

Simply connect your social networks to Buffer, and your content can be scheduled for posting once your audience is online.

Once a post is published, you can even monitor engagement statistics such as comments, shares, and likes.

A cost-effective alternative is Trello.

Image via Trello.com

This is another organization or management tool that is extremely effective when collaborating with a team.

Trello is highly flexible and customizable, and it comes with cards, boards, and lists that can take your organization even further.

And it’s not exclusive to creating content calendars; you can also use it to complete to-do lists, plan campaigns, and track your progress on a specific task.

Sweet!

7. Measure results

After all those steps,  it’s time to evaluate the performance of your content strategy.

You can go back to your goals and KPIs that you previously set upon starting this content strategy. It will help you determine whether you’ve reached your target.

To measure results, you can do any of the following:

 

  • Check Google analytics or your analytics tool of choice to see how well (or how poorly) your content is performing.
  • Measure your social sharing activities (a useful tool for this is BuzzSumo or other alternatives)
  • Track specific metrics on Google Alerts. It will tell you if your content is being mentioned or shared online.

By continuously monitoring your progress, you’re able to adjust your content strategies according to your weak points.

It also helps to use some analytics tools to make things more convenient for you.

Click here to see our list of marketing analytics tools that are worth your while!

Conclusion

That wasn’t so hard now, was it?

Now that you know how to develop a content strategy of your own, get out there and knock ‘em dead!

Remember that with all marketing initiatives (content strategy included), it’s going to take some time before you can reap the fruits of your hard work.

In the meantime, like us on Facebook for more useful guides, blogs, and marketing advice.

If you’ve got anything else to share, leave a comment below!

References

Hall, Sharon (2019 Oct 6). Optinmonster. 11 steps to create a content marketing strategy to grow your business. Retrieved from https://optinmonster.com/how-to-create-a-successful-content-marketing-strategy-in-8-simple-steps/

McGill, Justin (n.d). HubSpot. How to develop a content strategy: A start-to-finish guide. Retrieved from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/content-marketing-plan

Moz (n.d). Chapter 2: Content strategy. Retrieved from https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-content-marketing/content-strategy

Teicher, Jordan (2018 Nov 27). Contently. How to create your content strategy from scratch. Retrieved from https://contently.com/2018/11/27/create-content-strategy/

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