In this guide, you’ll learn how to create a content strategy framework that works in 2022. By implementing everything you’re about to learn, you’ll grow your search engine traffic, improve your authority, and bring more customers into your door.
Why is content strategy important?
Instead of working from a detailed plan that’ll help your business get more traffic and customers, you’ll be following the publish and pray approach of writing random articles and hoping they move the needle.
Creating content won’t grow your business, improve your search engine rankings, or bring new customers into your business. But, creating content that’s in alignment with a well-thought-out content marketing strategy will help you do all of those things, and more.
Even the best laid out website content strategy won’t always deliver the results you anticipated. It’s difficult to predict what’s going to succeed, this is doubly true if it’s your first time executing a content creation strategy.
To truly succeed you’ll need to continuously test, experiment, and refine your strategy. Luckily, there are all kinds of tools that’ll give you accurate data and feedback, so you can see what your readers and visitors are responding to most.
Publishing content isn’t about volume alone, but instead covering every topic you want to highlight in-depth. Instead of publishing one-off content pieces whenever you feel like it, you’ll be able to publish a steady flow of content.
How to Develop a Content Strategy
1. Set your business goals
2. Define your target audience
Keep in mind that your audience isn’t wholly made up of buyers as well. Your audience is simply the overarching group of people who are interested in your topic. This also includes followers, buyers, and advocates who not only buy but spread the word about your brand.
3. Research your audience content needs
When you’re planning out your content it can be helpful to research what your audience is already looking for. By creating content that serves their needs you’ll cut out a ton of guesswork and ensure your readers will be interested in your content.
4. Identify what’s working for competitors
5. Run a website content audit
To create a website content strategy that’ll succeed in 2022 and beyond you’ll want to take stock of what’s currently working. If you’ve been creating content without a plan in place, then you probably have a lot of dead content that isn’t serving your business.
6. Develop a content marketing plan
7. Create the best content possible
This was mentioned briefly above, but you should always aim to create content that’s better than your competition. As you analyze the search results take note of how you would improve what’s currently ranking the highest.
There are two approaches to pillar pages. The first is creating a long, in-depth article that covers every single detail about a topic. Or, it can be a category page that links out to other relevant articles you’ve written.
8. Optimize your content for the web
9. Publish and promote your content
One great way to do this is to strategically mention well-known brands within your content. Then, when you publish the post you can reach out to them via email or social, and let them know they’re mentioned in the post.
10. Measure the effectiveness of your content strategy
The only way to create a content strategy that brings your business results is to analyze how your content is performing. This will help you determine what kind of content/topics are connecting with your audience, and what’s helping you reach your goals.
Content Marketing Workbook
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A content strategy is a plan in which you use content (audio, visual, and/or written) to achieve your business goals. A successful content strategy will attract your target audience at every stage of the funnel and keep them engaged even after a purchase.
Say your business goals include increasing brand awareness. To achieve this, you might implement a content strategy that focuses on SEO to increase your website’s visibility on the search engine results pages (SERPs) and drive traffic to your products or services.
New business owners might assume a content strategy is a nice-to-have, but not necessary early on. However, producing high-quality content can be invaluable in building trust with new audiences and succeeding in the long haul.
In essence, a good content strategy is the foundation of your Attract and Delight stages in a buyer’s journey that follows the inbound marketing framework. Along with attracting prospects to your brand, you can leverage a content strategy for sales enablement and customer satisfaction.
1. Who will be reading your content?
2. What problem will you be solving for your audience(s)?
Ideally, your product or service solves a problem you know your audience has. By the same token, your content coaches and educates your audience through this problem as they begin to identify and address it.
A sound content strategy supports people on both sides of your product: those who are still figuring out what their main challenges are, and those who are already using your product to overcome these challenges.
3. What makes you unique?
4. What content formats will you focus on?
5. What channels will you publish on?
This, again, will reflect where your audience lives. If your audience prefers long-form video content, you may opt to publish your content on YouTube. If you have a younger audience that likes quick content, you may opt for TikTok and Instagram.
6. How will you manage content creation and publication?
Today’s content strategies prevent clutter by managing content from a topic standpoint — as explained in the video above. When planning a content editorial calendar around topics, you can easily visualize your company’s message and assert yourself as an authority in your market over time.
How to Create a Content Strategy Framework
1. Define your goal.
2. Conduct persona research.
This is especially important for those who are starting out or are new to marketing. By knowing your target audience, you can produce more relevant and valuable content that they’ll want to read and convert on.
If you’re an experienced marketer, your target may have changed. Do you want to target a new group of people or expand your current target market? Do you want to keep the same target audience? Revisiting your audience parameters by conducting market research each year is crucial to growing your audience.
3. Run a content audit.
Early on, most brands start with blog posts. If you want to venture out into different formats, you can run a content audit to assess your top-performing and lowest-performing content. Then, use that information to inform which direction you take next.
4. Choose a content management system.
5. Determine which type of content you want to create.
6. Brainstorm content ideas.
Want to discover popular content and content ideas? This company offers a number of market research tools, one of which uses social media shares to determine if a piece of content is popular and well-liked.
Get your mind gears going with IMPACT’s blog title generator. This tool works a bit like Mad Libs, but instead of joke sentences, it shows you common headline formats with blanks where you can fill in the subject you have in mind.
This brainstorming technique helps you put general ideas in contexts that would be appealing to your target audience. Once you have a headline you like, BlogAbout lets you add it to your “Notebook” so you can save your best ideas.
4. CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
5. HubSpot’s Website Grader
This is a great tool to use when you want to see where you’re at with your website and SEO efforts. The Website Grader grades you on vital areas of your website performance and sends you a detailed report to help you optimize.
7. Publish and manage your content.
Many of the ideas you think of will be evergreen (i.e.: just as relevant months or years from now as they are today). That being said, you shouldn’t ignore timely topics either. While they may not be the bulk of your editorial calendar, they can help you generate spikes of traffic.
If there are niche holidays that might appeal to your audience, it could be worth publishing content on your blog or on social media. Check out this ultimate list of social media holidays — keep an eye on it when you’re planning your calendar.
Data asset management
Digital asset management (DAM) solutions can store – and retrieve – all kinds of digital assets, including text, images, videos, etc. With all of your content in one place, your team can use and reuse content more efficiently.
If you want to improve your brand guidelines, there is no better organization to study than Cleveland Clinic. Its content team created a website called OnBrand (shown in this screenshot) that includes guidelines, assets, and other materials that anyone writing about the Cleveland Clinic can use. (It’s available for internal and external writers.)
Getting your content to the right person at the right time and having teams that work efficiently don’t need to be “someday” ideas. If you educate yourself on the topics discussed here – and partner with one or more content strategists – you can work toward those goals today, transforming not only your audience’s experience of your content but your team’s experience as well.
Are these topics of interest to you? If so, sign up for our Content Strategy for Marketers weekly email newsletter, which features exclusive insights from CMI’s Chief Strategy Officer Robert Rose. If you’re like many other marketers we meet, you’ll come to look forward to his thoughts every Saturday.