Last Updated on 19 August 2020 by Lukasz Zelezny
What is ‘Content’?
It is difficult to provide an exact definition for content, especially the one that is agreed upon by all SEO experts and Content Strategists. As difficult it is, some of the top rank marketers have from around the world have given us definitions of content that gives us a solid starting point.
Content is high-quality information that entertains, enlightens, teaches, or provides solutions to the people who consume it. The content can be in the form of audio, video, text, images, and/or presentations. The content can be for your web landing pages, blog posts, presentations, marketing campaigns, etc.
For the success of a marketing campaign, it is extremely important that the content is of good quality. The content found on the internet is not always of good quality and it does not provide any type of relevancy or usefulness to the intended audience.
Therefore, building a content strategy is important and necessary to successfully run a marketing campaign. In this article, we will answer all the questions related to blog content strategy like what content strategy is, how to create a content strategy plan, how to use content, etc.
What is Content Strategy?
Content strategy refers to planning, development, management, and distribution of content. In simple terms, Content strategy means getting the right content to the right audience, at the right time and right place.
It is a set of rules and guidelines that is responsible for satisfying business goals and requirements through content creation. Your content strategy addresses the goal that you have in mind for your business, whether that be making your business easily approachable or differentiating your business from your competitors. It also creates a consistent message and style so that the content created across teams conveys the same message. And while the content created may vary by platform, but it all serves the same purpose.
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How to plan a content strategy in Five Steps
Planning a Content Strategy is important and necessary to achieve the desired results in the online world. It is not as demanding as it sounds. Few hours of your day are more than enough to come up with a well-written content strategy plan. Here we will guide you on how to plan a content strategy in five steps. So, let us get started.
Step 1 – Define Your Goals
“What should we create and, why? “
Defining your goals is the answer to the above question. Your goal is your ‘WHY’. Having a clearly defined goal will help you to push through all the other steps and all the obstacles that are bound to show up.
Now, the next question is how you will define your why? Answer the following questions.
Do you want to…
- Drive traffic to your physical shop or online store?
- Increase sales or generate leads?
- Build a brand or promote an established brand?
- Update your customers on what is going on and what are you planning to do with your business?
- Educate customers on what you do?
- Attracts people only from your local area or from overseas as well?
After answering all the questions, choose no more than two or three of the above objecting for your blog content strategy. More objective will make your blog unclear and it will not be able to achieve the desired results. Also, be very specific with your goals. Simply stating the objective “increasing sales or getting more traffic” is not enough. Your goal should include how much sales you want to increase and in what timeframe.
For example, A freelance artist has a blog whose primary goal is to build a brand name around his name by educating customers about what he does by showcasing his work, with the secondary goal of increasing sales by 10% in 3 months.
Once you have you’re why it is time to figure out where you want your content to reach. In order to do that, you must go through targeted market research.
Step 2 – Target Market Research
Defining a specific goal is not enough until you have information about your target audience. For that, you must do target market research.
So, how do you do target market research?
To begin with, ask yourself the following questions:
- Where does my customer spend most of their time on the internet? – Reading certain blogs, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or forums, news, etc.
- Where and when they read the content most? At Work, At home, Before bed, Early morning, etc.
- What sort of content do they most enjoy reading? – Reading informational articles, how-to articles, reviews, and comparison articles, etc (You can use BuzzSumo to see what your competitor’s most shared articles are.)
Above questions will help companies to know about their customer’s demographics (i.e. who they are, where they live, how old they are, etc.) But the important thing they do not know is about their psychographics (i.e. why they buy).
According to Brad Smith, the content expert behind Codeless, to date, the successful blog posts follow the old PAS (Problem Agitate Solution) copywriting principle. Such articles begin by introducing the root problem the readers are facing, then they dig into the symptoms, and try to target readers’ pain points. Finally, the provide a solution by offering an idea, a product, or service or anything else.
Using PAS principal effectively for creating blog content, you need to understand three things.
- What your readers are trying to achieve.
- What is stopping them from doing it?
- What will happen to them if they do not achieve it?
You can find answers to these questions by conducting surveys, interviews, etc.
Once you have all the information, you will be able to create blog content that will do a lot more than just increasing your social shares.
Step 3 – Keyword Research and Topic Ideas
After defining your goals and conducting target market research, the next question that comes up is: How do we know which topics and phrases to create content around?
The answer is Keyword Research.
Keywords are the base of an effective blog content strategy. Without them, it will be extremely challenging for you to rank your page well on the search engines. So, before we do anything else, we should figure out which keywords and questions/phrases interest our target audience.
Keyword research is not all difficult. It can be done in four simple steps-
- Start by finding some keywords that are relevant to your niches. The keyword you want to rank for should have high search volume and low competition. There are various tools that you can use for keyword research like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ubersuggest, etc.
- The next step is to narrow down the list of keywords by filtering out the topics that have business value and traffic potential.
- Write informative and great quality content that includes your main keyword in the title, body, header, also image alt text. Although you do not want to overdo it, depending on the length of the article, 3-7 times is enough.
- Now, work on getting backlinks to that article with your main keyword as the anchor text. But you have to be careful not to overdo this either.
There are other parameters and complications like page load speed, number of shares the article received, time spent, etc. that can affect your ranking on search engines. Also, you do not need to base all the article topics on keyword research. SEO should not control your content strategy. It should factor the topics and message of your content. If you may not find an opportunity for a specific keyword, it should not stop you from sharing your knowledge and information with your target market. The generic keyword with Best Possible Content will also help you to rank higher in search engines.
Step 4 – Build Amazing Content
Now, you have got your keywords and you have narrowed down a list of high potential topics to create content around. Now it is time for you to build your own content. While building content, it is all about finding the balance between quality and speed of content production. An amazing piece of content needs to be built not just written.
- Content should be well-written without any spelling and grammar mistakes. You should try to avoid the use of any complex language and terminology until necessary.
- Try to include stats, case studies, examples that show you have done proper research.
- If your content includes images, make sure to use high quality and relevant images only. You can find free high-quality images form MyStock.Photos or even make your own using tools like Canva and others.
- Content should be Formatted for skimming which means it should include headings, subheadings, bulleted lists, blockquotes, bolding, and italics.
Step 5 – Promote Your Content
If nobody sees your content, then nobody will become your customer. Hence, in the final step, Promotion is an important part of content strategy. There are many ways in which you can do that. Few ways are-
- Paid Ads- If you already know who your target audience is, paid ads are the fastest way to get your content in front of the audience. You can run paid ads on Facebook, Google, Twitter, Pinterest, Bing, etc. The best part of paid ads is trackable results. You can track impressions, link clicks, and even conversions with the help of these ads. In the beginning, you can start ads with very little budget. After tracking and analyzing the results you can further increase or decrease your budget.
- Email List- Email marketing is the oldest and most effective way to promote content. Every time you create and post new content, you can inform your subscribers by sending an email and encouraging them to click on the link. If you already don’t have an email list of subscribers, you can use paid ads to generate leads.
- Repurposing- Sharing the link and title of your content through forums and social media is not the only way to promote your content. There are tons of other ways to promote your content. You can promote your content by sharing the snippets of data, by creating infographics and sharing them on social media or by sharing “how-to” tutorials.
- Search Engine Optimization- SEO is the best form of content promotion method. With SEO optimized content, you do not have to promote your content to your customers-they will naturally find your content in search results. These people are already interested in the topic and will understand your business value. Hence, SEO is the best long-term strategy since you get leads passively with every new content you will publish.
When it comes to content marketing, many people have no idea where to start. Their focus is only on the “content creation”. While it may be tempting to start posting your blog posts as they come to mind, having a blog content strategy in written will save you hours and will show more results.
It only takes a few hours to put together a blog content strategy. Consider the content strategy equivalent to sharpening your ax. Sharper the ax, a better chance to cut down the tree. Similarly, you will have better chances of succeeding if you have a written content strategy.
If you have any question about crafting a content strategy for your business, blog, or website, feel free to mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with us on our social media handles.