This is a guest post by Nicole Cowart, an online marketing executive. She works at a cloud-based company that offers smart business solutions. She is currently studying for her Master’s degree in Web Development.
Digital marketing is the future of marketing and doing business. Most successful companies currently have their online websites and stores that generate more traffic.
Nevertheless, online marketing is also the right place for beginners who are taking their first steps in the business realm.
Even if you’re not a professional marketer, you can still design and execute a successful content strategy that helps you establish your status in the online world. All you need is a good process for it.
Successful content strategy is the base upon which you can build your business in the online world. Whether you’re taking the first steps towards implementing BPM, or currently looking for ways to improve on existing processes, it’s always an excellent idea to plan a successful content strategy.
Investing in successful content strategies increases customers’ loyalty and generates more traffic and sales. This is why more small and big companies are devoting more resources to improve their content strategies.
The first step is to come up with a successful plan that you can follow long enough to establish the status of your business. You should follow up progress and make necessary adjustments to cope and keep up with changes in the market.
What is a content strategy?
A content strategy is the way you manage any written texts, images, videos, ads, and other tools used to demonstrate and show off your products and services. Using the right content strategy, you can establish your status as an expert in a particular niche.
Having a content strategy that strives to produce unique and enlightening content is crucial to the success of a business. Every post or image you upload to your website should provide informative value to people who visit your website.
How to Create the Right Content Strategy?
Struggling with creating the right content strategy is a problem for old and new companies. However, some useful steps can help you embark on the journey of successful online marketing.
1. Keep a clear account of the mission
Why do you want to develop a content strategy? What do you want to achieve? The answers to these questions represent the mission statement or the reason why you want to start your business. This brief mission statement serves as a reminder and a guide when things don’t go as planned.
The mission statement should identify the target audience, the content that you can use to reach them, and the benefits they gain from this content. This mission statement belongs to the “About” page of your website. It tells visitors who you are, what do you do, and why.
Developing a content strategy is a daunting task that doesn’t happen overnight. Just because lots of people are launching websites, blogs, and online stores, it doesn’t mean that it’s easy. You should understand the purpose and why you want to start working on your content.
All companies should have a document of the mission that serves as a guide when things don’t go the way they were expected to. This document explains the reason why you’re investing time, money, and effort to do what you’re doing.
2. Define your goals
Do you want to increase revenues? Explore new target markets? Get more traffic? Or reduce marketing costs? You should identify the short-term and long-term goals that you’re always trying to accomplish. But, you should also come up with a measurement system and see if you’re doing things right.
Key Performance Indicators or KPIs help you know if you’ve achieved your goals, or if you need to make more changes. Measuring the impact of your content strategy isn’t easy. But KPIs can tell you if you’re doing things right. These will include lead generation, brand awareness, audience engagement, comments, and social media metrics.
For example, see if you’ve hit a specific revenue target, got more signups, experienced increased traffic, or had an improvement in the number of mentions and shares on social media platforms.
3. Know your audience
Your business doesn’t have one type of target customers. This is why you should study who you’re creating the content for. What do your customers need? What tools should be used to deliver informative content to each type of customers?
Identifying your audience is called defining the buyers’ persona. Experienced marketers know how to create the right content for each persona, but it might be a little bit more challenging if you’re starting your online business. There’re so many tools and channels out there.
Using the right ones shows potential clients that you know what they need and have answers to their problems. You will always think about the buyers’ persona whenever you want to add a new segment to your target market.
You should run periodical researches to help your business grow.
To know your target audience, you have to collect demographic data from email subscribers and social media followers. By knowing their ages, genders, income, and education, you’ll be able to recognize their interests, and accordingly what they need. Social media sites offer tools that can help you know this kind of data efficiently.
Use professional tools like Google Analytics to get useful information about target customers.
Pay attention to feedback. Collect information from current customers and see how they feel about your products and services. Listen to what people say and what their problems are; as this helps you offer answers and products that provide benefits.
4. Assess your position
Most probably you already have some content out there. This includes blog posts, podcasts, videos, and social media posts. Successful marketing experts recommend logging all content, assessing the usefulness of each piece, and identifying gaps. List URLs, erase duplicate pages and create sitemaps to improve your content and maximize its value.
Several online tools are available and help you analyze and assess your content. Check if there’re inbound links and if your content is widely shared across several social media platforms where it can reach millions of target consumers. This way you can identify the most useful pieces that have the most significant impact on your website’s success. This also helps you determine the keywords related to your niche that are yet to be explored.
Check questions that target customers ask and see if you’re not providing adequate answers.
5. Decide on the best channels
Where are you likely going to find your target audience? The answer to this question helps you find out about the best channels that you can use to post and share your content. This way you can focus on the right channels and use them to expand your online presence.
Analytical tools help you identify which channels are granting you the largest exposure. You can also see which types of content are proven successful and desired by the target audience.
This gives you an idea of which channels need more work so you can reach a more significant percentage of target customers.
6. Diversify your tools
A diverse content mix will pay off. Check if there are topics that you’ve already covered several times and areas where you want to add more content. Use such information and prioritize your content, refresh older content, or publish new content.
Blog posts that offer useful and new information will provide great value. They should be well-researched, actionable, and shareable. Blog posts include different types of articles, of various lengths and nature.
Owning your own media is a great idea. Of course, you can find lots of free online images, and videos, but designing your own images and videos is something else. You can always hire professionals who can do the parts of the job that you can’t do on your own.
You can also find essay writers to write excellent blog posts to attract users if you don’t know how to write compelling content yourself, or you’re still building your team.
Take a look at the successful brands in your niche. Uniqueness is what characterizes successful website content strategies. Your potential customers already know their products and services. This is why you need to offer something different. Use visuals, infographics, videos, and other tools that will make your content unique and valuable.
Video marketing is a successful tool that helps you reach thousands of users. It engages visitors and keeps them interested in checking your website for new posts every now and then. In articles, images, and videos, use links to direct visitors back to some of your older or newer content, so you can guarantee that you’re building a loyal fan base.
Other content types include webinars and online tutorials. People love these because they decrease or eliminate the feeling of abandonment and make visitors feel that they belong to a group or a cult. E-books and other sources are offered for free to email subscribers.
Potential customers will be interested in becoming regulars if they see an actual value.
7. Distribute resources smartly
Regardless of the size of your online business, there is a limit to resources. Every website manager or company owner needs to think about the tools and resources required to create and share various types of content.
Who will be in charge of your content? You can’t do everything on your own. Even if you write and take pictures, you will eventually need the help of a professional to post your content, update it, manage your social media page, and keep visitors engaged. As the company or website grows, you’ll have to hire more people to keep the workflow steady.
Outsourcing is usually a good option for bigger websites. This way, in-house employees will have their entire focus dedicated to taking care of business operations. Freelance experts are available to offer their services to potential clients.
Check the best content in the niche, and see if the top contributors are ready to lend you a hand.
8. Stick to the calendar
When are you going to publish new content? What exactly are you going to share on every platform or channel?
Prepare a content publishing calendar that contains ideas for blog posts that you want to publish and stick to the dates.
Having a content calendar keeps you on track. All your content will be scheduled and ready. Make a few adjustments if needed. This is a great tool, especially if you have a big team so that everyone knows their roles and what they’re expected to do.
Task managers allow the content strategy director to monitor the workflow, make necessary adjustments and keep everything under close supervision to avoid mistakes.
The best and easiest way to create a content calendar is to base your posts on questions customers already ask. There are different websites where you insert the main keyword, and a list of all possible questions will appear. This way you offer visitors what they’re already looking for.
9. Create valuable content
Now that you’ve answered all the questions, it’s time to actually create the content strategy that will attract visitors to your website.
All content should be well-researched. If you are posting blog posts, you need to make sure that they’re optimized for search engines so that they will help improve your website’s ranking. Proofread and edit your posts before publication to guarantee that they will have a positive impact.
Your brand’s personality should be reflected in every piece of content you share. This will increase a brand’s loyalty and help you build a devoted fan base across various platforms. Use email marketing to promote posted content. Invite people to share and subscribe for benefits, so they keep on checking your website.
Think about collaborating with the famous names in your niche. Influencer marketing is a useful tool that helps you spread your content and increase the brand’s exposure.
Assess the results and adjust the strategy accordingly. Check how your content strategy is performing and see if more changes should be done to improve the outcomes.
These steps will help in creating a content strategy that will actually work. A good content strategy will help you establish and improve your online presence. It takes time and effort to do it right, but the results are always worth it.
Using Process Street for your content strategy
Process Street is all about building and documenting processes to help you do your recurring work tasks. In fact, it’s our company mantra to make recurring work fun, fast, and faultless.
For example, you might need a process for preparing blog content for publishing. In that case, you’d create a template and then every time you needed to publish a blog post, you would run the checklist.
It’s really that simple.
In fact, our internal blog writing process used to look very similar to the template embed you can see below, which is a pre-publish checklist. So you’d run it when you needed to make those final checks, edits, and all that good stuff before you hit publish.
With this blog pre-publish checklist you can enforce a higher quality control and be sure you don’t publish content full of silly errors.
This checklist is a form of organizational tool that will help you to improve the quality, efficiency, and presentation of your content.
While it’s designed to be useful to anyone, I would recommend adding it to your Process Street account and editing the finer details to be more tightly optimized to your own needs.
Process Street can help you tighten up your entire content marketing workflow. Check out this video for an idea of what Process Street can do for you:
More content creation resoruces
Check out these other Process Street articles for tips and tricks that will streamline your content creation strategy:
- Content Creation Workflows: Why You Need One and How to Build It
- A Look Inside Bolton Remote’s Content Marketing Process
- The Content Promotion Process We Use to Generate Over 100,000 Monthly Pageviews
- How to Organize a Content Marketing Workflow for Your Team
We also have a bunch of pre-made templates that you can use for your content strategy, completely free:
- SEO Checklist: The Keyword Research Process
- Social Media Influencer Outreach Checklist
- Blog Image Design Process
- Social Media Image Design
- Animation Design Process
- Podcast Publishing Checklist
- Accepting, Formatting, Editing and Publishing a Guest Post
- Advanced Content Promotion Checklist
- How To Promote Content For Maximum Reach
If you want to use any and all of these templates, all you have to do is sign up for a free Process Street account (takes about 2 minutes).
What’s your content strategy? We’re always striving to learn and improve our processes, so we appreciate all feedback on our content. Let us know in the comments below if found this post useful, or if you’d do anything different.