For decades, brands have been telling stories to attract and retain customers. And although content marketing’s been around for more than twenty years, it’s only since the COVID-19 pandemic that many companies realized its power. So why is a content strategy important for your blog and how do you create a successful one?
Marketing Specialist for Setka, at Tiny
The pandemic reinforced the importance of our content marketing strategy. There had been a commitment to it, but now that commitment is company-wide and there is more collaboration between marketing and sales.
Content Marketing Institute
What is a blog content strategy?
A blog content strategy is a plan to achieve your business goals, though the longtail benefits of content. Without one, your content marketing is just a white noise.
A successful content strategy engages your target audience at every stage of the funnel and motivates them to take actions that boost your business. So your content strategy needs to answer the questions: for who and why are you creating content?
Why do you need a content strategy?
According to the B2B Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends: Insights for 2022 report, 73% of organizations report-that their organization had a content marketing strategy, compared to only 5% without one (and with no intention of having one).
Then there’s the statistics from Zippa, that reveal 6+ million blog posts are published each day worldwide, (the majority published in English, followed by Spanish), which adds more reasons to have a plan that helps you stand out.
So exactly why is a content strategy important? Because everything has a goal – your company, your product or service, your teams – and each process serves those goals. Therefore, for your content to achieve your result goals, you need a plan that details how it’s going to do it.
Define your long term and short term content goals
Knowing your goals before beginning your planning, helps to determine the strategy.
Start with long term goals, like what does your blog needs to accomplish? For example:
Providing content to become
a thought leader.
Bringing attention to important non-profit projects, initiatives and problems.
Creating stories to make your publication a go-to source for timely news and relevant information.
Creating a blog that encourages users to convert.
You can have several long term goals – and they needn’t be mutually exclusive. If you create content for each goal, at least once a month, then you’re actively progressing towards all of them.
Short-term goals are more specific and faster to achieve, generally within 3-12 months, and they’re more measurable things, like ‘increase blog traffic by 10%’. These goals can also be tied to individual posts and/or campaigns.
Short-term goals should be able to be subdivided into even narrower goals, which can be reflected in individual blog posts. ‘This post is aimed at selling products’ or ‘this post is meant to develop backlinks’ are suitable goals for individual posts.
Understand your audience
To have a successful blog, you need to know your audience.
Your buyer persona is also known as your ‘ideal client’, who you’re targeting to purchase your product or service. By understanding who they are, their problems and needs, and how to reach them, you’ll be able to serve them with the most desirable and useful content that meets their goals.
Map your buyer’s journey
Attracting readers to your blog is a first step.
But you also have to think about the buyer’s journey along the entire marketing funnel. Your content plan has to cover all the stages of the journey – brand awareness, consideration, purchasing decisions, and retention. Aim for a balance across your content plan to connect with your buyer personas’ different needs, during every step of their journey.
Run a content audit
A content audit is an essential step in your content strategy.
If you’ve already been creating content, reviewing all your existing content helps you assess your top-performing and lowest-performing content, if there’s a balance across the buyer journey, what resonates best with your audience, what’s missing and which direction to take next. A content audit also forces you to look back at your old content so that you better understand what needs updating with newer or more relevant information.
Run a competitor analysis
Checking what your competitors are doing can be a great way to determine what’s working in your industry.
Some of the content they publish will be unique, but you have similar audiences so it can be useful and inspiring to think of different ways that you can cover the similar topics on your site. The idea is to never copy their approach, but to make content that’s better or has a different twist.
Do keyword research
After your competitor research, you’ll need to come up with more tailored and original content ideas.
You also need to know what content to develop for your own audience and where your brand fits. Doing both broad and narrow keywords research helps you to understand what keywords you should be targeting with your content. Third-party tools like Moz and BuzzSumo offer valuable data like keyword volume, difficulty, and click-through rates. Gather all this information and compile a list of primary and secondary keywords to incorporate in your blog writing.
Brainstorm content ideas
Get your team together and generate as many ideas as you can, both good and bad.
Run a few brainstorming sessions to identify those ideas that meet your goals, satisfy the buyer journey needs and are aligned with the resources you have. These sessions can also cover the type of content you want to create – ebooks, white papers, blog posts, infographics etc.
Create an editorial calendar
Before starting to create the content, you need an editorial, or content calendar.
Remember, it doesn’t have to cover the whole year, it’s usually a draft version for the year and a firm plan for the immediate next two to three months. The calendar should include but not be limited to:
What content is going to be published and when
Who is responsible for what
When deadlines need to be met
CTA’s to be included
What products/services are to be included/featured
How and where the post is being promoted on social media
Develop a distribution strategy
Your website blog is not the only way to distribute and promote content.
Take a look at your audience analysis to find out where they look for content – on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Quora etc. These channels not only help you to share your posts, but also offer opportunities for you to interact (first0hand) with your audience and gain insights into what drives and inspires them. However, start with organic distribution in the beginning and build both a following and reputation for great content, instead of jumping straight into paid distribution.
Time to launch
By this step, you should have a clear vision on:
Why you’re creating content
Who is your audience
Who’s handling the content marketing efforts
What you’ll create
When you’re going to publish your content
Where you’re going to distribute content
Now you have everything to start publishing epic content and seeing what results it gets.
Check in with your results and goals in order to know what’s working and what needs a tweak in the strategy.
Creating a content strategy is time consuming at the start. But having a plan is key to success and a way to save you time, nerves and money.
With these simple ten core tactics, you’ll be able to create a strategy that drives you towards your goals.