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How Do You Create a Content Strategy?
An effective, SEO-based content creation strategy is essential to helping your business grow. But 63% of businesses either don’t have a content creation strategy or haven’t documented the process. It’s not easy to create a content strategy from scratch, but with the right approach, you and your team can develop a sustainable, effective process that supports your overarching marketing and business goals.
1. Perform a Content Audit and Competitive Analysis
The first step in forming a content creation strategy is to perform a content audit and competitive analysis.
To do a content audit, look at your current content creation. Are you producing any written, visual, or audio content? What does it look like? Where are you posting, sharing, or publishing it? Who is it written for? Is it achieving any concrete goals?
Next, study your competitors’ content. The goal of a competitive analysis is not to copy anyone, but to discover trends in your industry, get a sense of what others are doing, and brainstorm fresh ideas.
Once you complete these steps, you’ll have a strong foundation for setting actionable goals with your content creation strategy.
2. Set Content Marketing Goals
After studying the current strategies of your company and your competitors, you can set goals for your content strategy. Your business may have goals in different areas, such as:
- SEO goals: Traffic, clicks, domain authority
- Brand goals: Awareness, credibility, trust
- Sales goals: Increased leads and conversions
Some businesses may prioritize leads and conversions, while others may choose to focus their efforts on web traffic. Whichever goal you target, over time, you’ll start to see results. Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing but brings in three times the number of leads.
3. Understand Your Audience
Now that you’ve set goals for your content creation strategy, you can actually create content. This process starts with understanding your audience.
Marketing content is only valuable if it’s relevant to the people you’re trying to reach. If your content is bland, boring, or irrelevant, you won’t engage your audience, and you won’t achieve any of your SEO, brand, or sales goals.
You’ll need to understand a wide range of topics about your audience, including:
- Who are you targeting? (Marketers use personas to craft specific profiles of their intended demographic)
- Where does your audience spend time online? What platforms, apps, and websites do they use?
- How do they consume content?
- What types of content do they consume?
- What are the particular struggles they’re trying to fix?
For example, if your business offers coaching services to mid-level professionals looking to change careers, then you may focus your content creation strategy on producing high-quality podcasts and webinars with career advice that you share on LinkedIn.
Conversely, if your online boutique sells accessories for young girls, then you might create short videos on fashion trends featuring your products on TikTok.
In order to authentically and successfully connect with your audience, you have to understand them — their desires and fears, their habits and quirks. If you don’t, the content you create will miss the mark, and you won’t see results.
To get a better understanding of your audience, you can set up focus groups, send out surveys to your current customers, research common demographic trends online, and engage with your existing community on social media. Quora, Reddit, and YouTube are great resources to find niche communities and drop in on the conversations they’re having organically. All of these efforts will help you start strong with your content creation strategy.
4. Develop a Content Creation Framework
Once you have a firm understanding of your audience and how to develop a content strategy, you can begin to create content. Many companies struggle to maintain consistency with content creation. That’s a big problem, because if you don’t regularly post or share, then your audience will quickly lose interest.
To prevent that scenario, it’s best to create a content creation framework that standardizes content production. You’ll need to set up a clear process so each team member understands what they’re responsible for. Use a shared calendar to schedule content a month in advance and keep track of projects.
Savvy marketers use repurposing in their content creation strategy. Instead of burning out by churning out completely original content, they repurpose or update existing content in a new way.
For example, if your team publishes a blog post, then you could take that content and repurpose it into a video, an infographic, or an eBook. 51% of marketers said repurposing content is the most efficient way to boost content marketing performance.
5. Build Authority in Your Niche
Once your content creation strategy is in motion, you can start building authority and credibility in your niche. With content marketing, the goal is to provide potential customers with genuinely helpful and relevant content that creates a good impression, nurtures a positive relationship, and ultimately leads to conversions.
Focus on creating content that your audience can’t help but share. It should be easy to read, shareable, designed well, and tailored to the reader’s unique needs. As you slowly build trust with your audience, your authority and reputation will grow.
6. Factor in SEO
SEO (search engine optimization) is a crucial factor in content marketing. In fact, over 75% of marketers said SEO was their number-one tactic in content marketing.
You can create the most spot-on, relevant content out there, but if potential customers can’t find it, then it goes to waste. Making SEO a cornerstone of your marketing strategy will ensure you get the right content to the right people. Here are some common SEO strategies marketers use in content marketing:
- Use keyword research to find rankable keywords
- Track your competitors and their keyword rankings
- Use a backlink strategy to increase your domain authority
- Implement the pillar/cluster model to help Google understand your content and site structure
- Use 404 redirects to limit broken links
If you’re not sure how to get started with SEO, then outsourcing to a reputable SEO agency is a smart move. These agencies have the technical know-how to manage SEO for you and get fantastic results.
7. Analyze Results
The final step in developing a content creation strategy is to analyze your results on a regular basis. As you continue to produce content, determine if that content is achieving the goals you set up.
For example, depending on the type of goal you’re targeting, you can use the following metrics to assess your strategy:
- SEO: Traffic, bounce rate, domain authority
- Brand awareness: Comments and shares, mentions on social media
- Sales: Leads and conversions
Analyzing the results of your strategy will help you identify areas of both strength and weakness. You can study your successes to see what you’re doing right and use that knowledge to address the areas where you’re struggling.
To create a healthy content marketing strategy, you need to keep track of it. Find the metrics that matter to you and commit to checking in on them weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly.
While developing a content strategy may feel overwhelming at first, you can break the process down into manageable steps. By following these best practices, you’ll be on your way to forming a successful content creation strategy that supports your overall marketing goals. Need help with your content strategies? Let the SEO agencies in our list help.