Why you need a content strategy

· Content strategy,Writing,Featured

Mastering your content strategy is the only way to make sure your content is performing as well as it should be. It can be an undertaking, but we’ve broken down the steps involved. 

Content marketing is one of those things that everyone is doing, but few do really well. And for the brands that do, this is rarely an accident. Follow our simple tips for assessing your marketing communications from all angles, and take a critical look at the value you’re adding to the reader. You’ll end up with a documented strategy that acts as a roadmap towards your organisation’s goals. 

Why follow a content strategy?

There are many benefits to applying strategic thinking to your content - the first being the opportunity to attract customers. When readers regard an organisation as an authority on any topic, that brand remains top-of-mind when it comes time to purchase. Excellent content also allows brands to position themselves within the market, by communicating in an authentic voice and generating awareness of their brand personality.

Search visibility is another important reason to plan your content well. Google rewards websites that provide valuable information, placing them higher in search rankings. Keep in mind that content marketing often adds more value than paid advertising, as it allows you to answer specific questions, acting as a helpful personal guide to a solution no matter the industry or niche. And, since we’re all about working smarter, not harder, a strong content strategy optimises your marketing department’s efforts, saving time and money for producing content that converts. Your strategy will involve measurable criteria, so you can adjust and improve your content production in response to what works. 

So how can you plan, produce and measure content that meets your organisation’s marketing goals? 

Keep in mind that content marketing often adds more value than paid advertising, as it allows you to answer specific questions, acting as a helpful personal guide to a solution no matter the industry or niche

How to create a content strategy

1 - Consider your goals and audience

First things first – understand what you’re trying to achieve. In as much detail as possible, decide what your company wants to accomplish with its online presence, what value you offer to customers and what you’d consider a success. These goals will drive all future content you create. You should also include an audience analysis – who are your current customers and who do you want to attract? What media channels do they use? How digital-savvy are they? Often referred to as “buyer personas” these customer profiles greatly influence how you should communicate. Then, think about potential questions that users are asking at each stage of the purchasing process – ask us about a user needs workshop to help with this. 

2 - Carry out a website and asset audit

Understanding the scope of your current content is the next step in any effective strategy. This is the time to read through and evaluate your existing content, ensuring the site map and structure is up to standard. Use Google Analytics to assess content with high and low page views and consider how they can be better optimised, moved around or removed. This is also the time to do an SEO check – review meta descriptions and things like H1 and H2 headers optimise the visibility of your pages. 

3 - Card sorting and keyword content map 

Using your list of keywords (if you don’t have these, we’ll happily provide keyword research), group your content based on corresponding keywords. Known as content mapping, this process will give you an overview of which keywords you’ve covered, where the overlaps are and which keywords you should create new content for. This is also the time for a card sorting exercise – a technique used in user-experience design to group information in a logical hierarchy that enables readers to find what they’re looking for. 

4 - Brainstorm content ideas

Now the creative part begins. Brainstorm ideas for content that deliver on your goals, offer solutions to your user needs and target your keywords. Your audience insights will determine the best formats for new content, and think outside of text too. Consider their inclination to watch a video, download a PDF, click through a photo gallery or listen to a podcast. Now use your specialist knowledge to offer information that highlights your services, expertise and points of difference.  

5 - Enter the content calendar

When you’re brimming with ideas for topics to focus on, create a calendar to plan your year of great content. Keep in mind how frequently you can publish, while maintaining existing content, and assign each piece a date. Plan around seasons, holidays and potential busy periods to ensure your content plan is relevant and timely. Ensure each piece of content relates to your goals set out in the first step. 

And that’s it. Use these tips to create an iron-clad content strategy. Alternatively, reach out to our strategy experts for advice, a second opinion or to do it all for you.  

By Alison McGarry, Writer/Content Specialist 

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