5 steps to content strategy greatness

There's so much shoddy content out there that good content can give your brand a competitive edge.

Prioritizing your content is becoming the cornerstone of every digital marketing strategy. According to eMarketer, 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content each day. There’s so much shoddy content out there that fresh, well-written content can give your brand a competitive edge and accelerate your growth.

A well-oiled content engine helps you exceed business KPIs. If you neglect content, on the other hand, your business could fall flat. So, why is content often an afterthought?

Brands sometimes concentrate more on the technical side of things, hoping that SEO works its magic and keeps users interested in their site. Other, more well-established businesses, who have the luxury of brand heritage, may underestimate content’s role in our digital economy. But, content massively impacts the user experience – even in terms of design and functionality. Content can’t be tossed aside and ignored.

If you want to get the most out of your website, it’s important to think content-first. Year-on-year growth in unique site traffic is 7.8 times higher for content marketing leaders than followers. You need to carefully design your content strategy to get you the best results possible.

Three things that shouldn’t hold you back

Time constraints. You might have campaigns flying out the door or be building landing pages left, right, and center. So, take time out to plan and produce content that complements your additional marketing activities. Time is easily manipulated – it’s not about how much time you have, but what you do with it. Make time work to your advantage.

Resource pressures. Teams and departments across the world are struggling with resource. Either there’s not enough headcount or there’s too much work. In both scenarios, your content shouldn’t suffer. Make being under-resourced yesterday’s problem. Dedicate enough resource to copywriting and content creation, or if headcount is an issue, outsource to a copy agency. Your bottom line will thank you.

Creativity shortfall. There’s an element of creativity in all of us. Plus, creativity stems from all areas of business – not just from your creatives. Blend creative flair from your designers and copywriters with insight from your thought-leaders and strategy from your C-suite executives.

The barriers to good quality content aren’t as high as you think. What’s more, with 73% of consumers purchasing a product as a result of content marketing, overcoming these obstacles will pay dividends.

Without further ado, here are five steps to help you reach content greatness:

Plan your content strategy

Strategy always starts with a review of your content’s performance over the last year; this ties into the fifth and final step of content greatness (monitor performance). Conducting an inventory and audit helps you untangle your content arsenal and decide on your strategy’s direction.

What do you want your strategy to achieve?

  • Website traffic growth
  • Increase qualified leads in the sales pipeline
  • Greater authority amid competitive pressures
  • More brand awareness among prospective customers
Content strategy planning

It’s important to understand how much engagement your content currently generates, and set this against your business goals and audience’s needs. Ensure you’re targeting the right people with a powerful brand message. Moreover, don’t forget to keep a consistent tone of voice.

Don’t forget SEO

Google may have finessed its ability to identify good content over bad, but some things never change. Keep your content strategy focused on keywords, but don’t overdo it. Steer clear of jargon and be concise. 67,000 searches are performed on Google every second – people are looking for you!

Content strategy SEO

Long-form content usually ranks higher than short-form because it contains more comprehensive information. But remember: quality trumps quantity, every time. If you’ve answered questions that your target audience has and is searching for, then your content will end up ranking higher. Plus, nearly 80% of users ignore paid ads in search results. What they’re looking for is a content match.

Evergreen is everything

Content writing is not writing, per se. It’s the composing of different words, sentences, ideas, and quotations in an order that makes sense and flows. Sometimes you’ll grab inspiration from another article or snip a cool idea you found in a blog. This is the art of a good content strategy: drawing on all of your different impressions to compile exactly what you want to say.

Once you start building a bank of great content, you’ll be able to re-purpose it to communicate a fresh idea to your audience in a new way. The secret to pleasing readers and maximizing traffic is consistent, high quality content.

Know your audience personas

One size never fits all. Content is about tailoring the message to a specific reader. Who your readers are depends on many circumstances: interests, lifestyles, demographics, schedules, income, career, etc. Your offering takes a backseat. The stories you tell should resonate with readers in the right way. Remember: you’re there to solve their problem.

According to Quora, 47% of buyers consume between three and five pieces of content before talking to a sales rep. So, for B2Bs, content marketing is the keystone to a healthy sales pipeline. Identify which personas your leads fit into and tailor content that gets them to sign on the dotted line.

Monitor content strategy performance

No matter how creative, memorable, or popular your content piece may become, everything you write and share will ultimately be judged by the impact it makes on your business’ bottom line. Presenting proof of ROI is the most important part of content measurement.

Keep an eye on your analytics regularly to gauge your readers’ behaviors. Whether you report via CRM or Google Analytics, make sure you communicate your metrics to wider business teams on the shop floor. How are people reacting to your content? More importantly, where are they going after they read each piece?

Content strategy performance

Establishing solid measurement practices from the start of every content program means you can track, analyze, and optimize your content’s performance on a continual basis. Don’t forget to set performance benchmarks to make it easier to know what ‘good’ looks like.

Closing remarks

As the consumer’s ability to search for products and services intensifies, the need for great content will only increase.

Marketers need to face up to the content conundrum: an inbalance of content generation and demand. Invest in writing more, better quality content that makes your brand stand out in the crowd. In essence, that’s what your strategy should look like.

Your aim is always to convey to potential customers your authority and knowledge in your field of expertise. They, in turn, will trust and engage in your business.