Setting a content strategy may not be at the top of your list of things to do this year. In fact, many marketers take an ad hoc approach to content marketing, usually leaving it to ‘when they have some time’….which we all know, is never.
We don’t need to explain to you how important it is to rank well on search engines…they provide our websites with potentially limitless and highly relevant traffic. We also know that to improve our search engine ranking we need to take our content marketing seriously.
That is why it is a great idea to set a content strategy. Although it takes a little time to set up, ultimately it ensures the consistent creation and publishing of high-quality content. It also saves you time in the long run, meaning you don’t have to review past content and generate new ideas on a regular basis.
For super-busy marketers, setting a content strategy can actually save you a vast amount of time. Sharing your strategy and content plan with an agency or freelancer can mean you maintain control over marketing but can achieve autonomy of the delivery – taking a laborious task off your plate, letting you focus on the bigger picture.
(Yes, we can help you with that).
So, now you are likely asking:
‘How do I set a content strategy?’
Chill – we have you covered.
Goals. Goals. Goals.
Before you start investing any time, energy or financial resources in developing a powerful content strategy…you need to ask yourself why. What are you hoping to achieve from your content? Generate leads? Drive more traffic to your site? Position yourself as a thought leader?
The likelihood is that you will want to achieve many things with your content. By setting out your goals at the start of your strategy, you will ensure that every action you take contributes to achieving those overall goals.
Try and make your goals SMART as this will make it easier to measure your results as you continue to execute on your strategy. You can always adapt and change these as your strategy develops.
Who do you need to reach?
So, you know what you want to achieve. But who do you need to reach to achieve it?
At this point, you want to get granular with who your target audience is. Ask yourself:
Where are they based? What age groups are they in? What are their interest and past times? What is their social position? What are their current goals?
Finding this information will allow you to create 3-4 detailed buyer persona. These personas will allow you to sense check all your content marketing efforts, ensuring they appeal to those that matter most to your business.
Find your keywords
Keywords are the key to successful content marketing.
Finding the right keywords will help drive large and consistent amounts of traffic to your website. It will also ensure that the content you create is relevant once those individuals are on your page.
When creating your keyword list, start with your personas and goal in mind. Consider what your personas may be searching for in order to find the sort of information you want to supply them with.
Once you have created this initial list you can use a tool like Google Keywords Planner to understand how successful that keyword might be and generate new ideas closely related to your keywords. Other tools and methods can also be used to further increase keyword effectiveness.
Know your persona
Your research so far will have highlighted what you want to achieve, who you are marketing to and which keywords are going to help you reach them. Your buyer persona should also help you understand which platforms are best for your content marketing strategy.
Although you are most likely to host the majority of your content on your own website, you will also need to understand how best to promote that content. To do this you should seek to understand where your audience/buyer personas are ‘hanging out’ online.
When doing this you can certainly look at data on platform demographics to give you an indicator wh uses which platforms the most. However, by far the best way to do this is by simply asking as many of your current customers as possible where they go to find information. This could be anything from popular media sites and forums to social media sites.
Once you know where they are, create platform-specific content to target that audience and attract them to your content.
Tone of voice
Marketers LOVE talking about tone of voice. But what does it really mean?
Your tone of voice is how your business talks to your audience. For example, a business that specialises in sportswear may have a young, energetic and ambitious tone of voice. On the other hand, a business which deals in investments may have a sophisticated, authoritative tone of voice.
Deciding your tone of voice ensures both consistency and that each piece of your content is appealing to those you are trying to connect with.
Inbound marketing experts HubSpot suggest that brands who want to smash their content marketing develop content pillars.
To put this simply, a content pillar is an area in which you want to rank for. For example, our content pillars are:
- Influencer Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Paid Social Advertising
- Organic Social Media
- Marketing Strategy
- Digital Marketing Campaigns
(You will also notice that these are our services)
To start, these content pillars offer a structure to your content marketing – allowing you to quickly and efficiently develop content ideas that help you rank as a leader. Ultimately, you can also use these pillar topics to create pillar pages which act as comprehensive sections on your website. This will further develop your ranking as a leader on those topics and boost your position on search engines.
Create a content plan
Finally, all the research and information you have gathered will allow you to create a comprehensive content calendar for your business. To do this you will need to ask yourself:
- How often will I be posting content?
- Who will write the content? In house or agency/freelancer?
- How will I promote the content?
You can create a spreadsheet which should detail information including:
- Content title
- Date of final draft
- Date of publishing
Ideally, your content calendar should be planned for no longer than 3 months. This time period allows you to remain efficient whilst maintaining relevancy and allows you to easily pick up on hot topics and trends as they appear.
Content strategy: In summary
Creating a solid content strategy for 2019 is going to help you take your content marketing to the next level. Following the simple steps we have outlined in this guide will take a little time investment initially, but ultimately will help you to save time and create consistency throughout your content campaigns.
Need a little help creating your content strategy? Have a great strategy, but need some support to deliver it? We have years of experience in developing powerful strategies and delivering high-quality content for our clients. We are also HubSpot Content Marketing Certified.