How to Prepare an Effective Content Strategy That Gets Results
You’ve spent weeks diligently creating a Content Strategy, but after all of your hard work, you’re still not seeing results.
What’s going on?
If you’re not seeing the results you want to see then read on. We’ve broken down the various steps of planning and preparing your content strategy to help you achieve the results you are looking for.
What are you trying to achieve?
Before you begin to plan and prepare your content strategy, the first thing to think about is what are you trying to achieve. What do you need your content to do for you? This may sound obvious, you want to use it to attract new customers! But also, think about the customers you already have. What does your content need to do for them?
Start by analysing who your competitors are. A quick search of Google to identify keywords that people are likely to use to find your website is a good start. For example, if you searched ‘inbound marketing’, you would find that HubSpot is the first organic search result. This shows you who your customers are finding before you.
Have a good look at your competitor’s content, who they are linking to and who is linking to them. You can use a tool like BuzzSumo to analyse what content is performing best for your competitors and your industry in general.
You could also look for your competitors on social media. How often are they posting? Are they getting a lot of likes and shares? Are they getting more of a response / following than your company? If yes, can you investigate why this is? If they are posting better quality content more frequently, then it is likely they will have built up a strong following.
Can you learn from this? Is there anything your competitors are doing that you can include in your content strategy?
Your existing content
Have a look at your existing content and see where your leads are coming from. Are there blog posts that have generated more leads than others? Which of your posts have been shared the most and where? Whilst you might have a number of posts that are getting a lot of views, what percentage of those views are turning into actions by potential customers?
If you identify blog posts with low conversion rates, it may be possible to turn this around. One way of doing this is by adding offers, in the form of Calls To Action, to this content. These offers could be free e-books or workbooks etc, that are linked to the keywords you have used. For example, if you have a post on tools for inbound marketing, you may offer a free inbound marketing workbook.
Add an action to your content strategy, to regularly check conversion rates and to adapt poorly performing content.
Your Buyer Personas and the Buyer’s Journey
When creating new content and auditing what you already have, it is important to refer to your Buyer Personas. For new content, you need to know that what you are writing is going to align with the keywords your Buyer Personas are searching for. When reviewing existing content, if you feel that a piece is not well enough aligned to one of your specific personas, is it possible to re-work it, so that it does meet requirements? This should not be a full re-write, but perhaps changing a few sentences to include relevant keywords.
What are you offering?
What is your unique business offering? How are you going to put this across within your content? This will be easier to define for some businesses than others. If you have a totally new product, then this may be what is unique about your business. However, it may be more subtle than that. Perhaps it is something to do with your team or the way your business works? Whatever it is that is unique about you, it is important to define it at this stage.
What do you want to achieve with each piece of content?
When you are creating new content, aside from taking into account the needs of your Buyer Personas, you need to think about what sort of content you are writing and what you want it to achieve. For example, if you are writing a free ebook or a free template then this should appeal to companies further along the Buyer’s Journey, rather than those just having a quick look at a blog post. Content such as ebooks or templates can be referred to as Pillar content. This is a piece of content that you will re-use regularly and that you may base other content such as blog posts or emails around.
What are you trying to say with each piece of content? Are you writing a piece that you intend to show demonstrates that your business is a reputable source of information? Or are you writing a piece that you hope shows your business is a fun place to work? Or is it a combination of the two? It is helpful to map this out for each piece of content so you are able to ensure that what you are writing is what is required at that time.
Who are your content leaders?
Regardless of the size of your business, you need to think about who is ultimately responsible for creating, maintaining, distributing and promoting content. This needs to be included in job descriptions and clearly identified in your content strategy. If you have a marketing team, then this will most likely fall to them, but it is still important to have someone who takes overall responsibility for this. You need to ensure that distribution is coordinated and that organisational aims are thought about for all content created.
Who is responsible for the results your content produces?
You may have different individuals doing different jobs within content production, so it is helpful to define who is responsible for the results content produces. Is it the individuals who write the content? Those who distribute it? Or those who promote it? Will this responsibility sit with marketing or sales or another person entirely? It is important to include this in your strategy so that everyone knows what is expected of them.
We hope that the steps above will give you the tools you need to prepare an effective content strategy that gets results. For more information on content strategy, download our free workbook below, to help get you started.