Rising to the top of the SERPs and building an incredible brand you can be proud of are about more than making sure all the little details and technical aspects of your SEO approach are correct.
Incredible content that resonates with your audience and attracts the trust of search engines is the heartbeat of any digital marketing strategy.
But you can’t simply guess what will work and produce content at random if you’re serious about getting results. You need a solid plan based on research, data, and experience.
A content strategy helps provide that structured plan. Here’s what you need to know to put together a good one.
What Are the 3 Components of Content Strategy?
A content strategy plan encompasses everything involved not only in creating web content but also in delivering, planning, and managing it. And content doesn’t start and stop at written words, either. Videos, audio content, multimedia graphics, and various other types of content are relevant too.
Embark on your journey toward a truly fantastic content strategy plan by understanding what digital marketing experts refer to as the three components of content strategy, and keep them in mind as you proceed with your plans.
1. Brand Focus
Brands have more in common with individuals than you might think. They possess personalities, unique perspectives, and voices.
Modern consumers often base purchase decisions on how well they can relate to a brand on a personal level, and a good content strategy plan takes this into consideration.
A well-thought-out content strategy involves selecting topics and approaches that align with a company’s established brand identity. These themes should also be relevant to both the company’s business goals and its customers’ needs.
2. Customer Experience
User experience is currently a major focus, and this emphasis continues to grow.
Search engines like Google prioritize truly helpful content that effectively addresses searchers’ questions and satisfies their needs.
Content that delivers a positive user experience excels on multiple fronts. It resonates with what matters to your visitors and maintains their engagement.
It’s also formatted with readability, reader comprehension, and user-friendliness in mind.
3. Content Distribution
A stellar content strategy plan encompasses more than just the content itself. You could have the most impeccably crafted, relevant content on the entire internet, and it still won’t succeed without a practical approach to content distribution.
That said, your content strategy needs to be complemented by a solid plan that outlines where and when you’ll publish it. Choose channels, timings, and posting scenarios that are most likely to positively impact your audience’s engagement with your brand.
What Are the 5 Steps to Developing a Content Strategy?
No two brands or companies are exactly alike, so it only stands to reason that no two content strategies will be, either.
However, there are certain key steps every digital marketer needs to take to ensure that all bases are covered.
The following are known as the 5 steps to developing a content strategy. Carefully consider how they apply to your brand and how to implement them to reach your unique goals.
1. Set clearly defined goals
Content that helps your brand connect with readers and boosts your bottom line is content that was created with a clear purpose in mind.
Therefore, the first step toward creating a successful content strategy plan is defining both your long-term and short-term goals for your content.
- Are you looking to build your audience, establish your unique brand identity, or achieve other objectives?
- Is the objective to sell a particular product, gain newsletter subscribers, or build your social media following?
You need to know where you’re going before you can start your journey.
2. Understand your target audience
Yes, part of the point of putting together a winning content strategy is to impress Google and rank your site highly in the SERPs.
But it’s crucial to keep in mind that Google’s algorithm is designed to deliver search results that real people are looking for.
Therefore, content that resonates with Google is always going to be content that also resonates with real people looking for information and answers to their burning questions. So get to know your audience inside-out.
- What demographics do they belong to?
- Where do they live, and what unique concerns might customers from those areas have?
- Do they have families or own homes? What are their approaches to those things?
- Which types of jobs do they work, and how much do they make?
- What are they afraid of, what inspires them, and what are they hoping for in the future?
- Where do your company and product fit in with these concerns?
A solid set of buyer personas can help you answer questions like these and tap into what your existing (or desired) audience would like to see from you.
3. Audit your existing content
At this point, you don’t just know what type of content you’re looking to produce. You also know which audiences you’re writing it for and why. However, your content strategy plan isn’t complete yet.
First, you need a better understanding of where your current content catalog is and what purpose it’s serving.
- What’s the underlying message or point of view? Is it in line with your current brand identity?
- Which pieces resonated well with your audience? What do those pieces have in common?
- Are there any content gaps that need to be filled moving forward?
A content audit can help you answer questions like those in preparation for putting a new content strategy into action.
An audit may also involve updating staple content, removing posts that no longer serve your purpose, optimizing your on-page SEO, and making some adjustments to technical SEO.
This is also a great opportunity to evaluate how your competitors are approaching content production – especially if they’re outranking you on the SERPs. What are they doing that you’re not? How can you learn from what you see and improve upon it?
4. Brainstorm themes for your content
This is the point where you start applying what you know and have learned about your target audience to the creation of new content. Start by identifying the key strengths, priorities, and themes attached to your brand identity.
Collectively, these will become the foundation for your new, emerging content strategy plan. Ideally, the goal is to do more than simply drive traffic and sell products.
Great content is a brand’s opportunity to bring something unique to the table.
At this point, there really isn’t anything such as a new content idea. The uniqueness of a great piece of content comes from the one-of-a-kind point of view behind it.
So decide what you’d like to say, as well as what media forms and platforms are the best fit for it.
5. Integrate your content strategy into your marketing funnel
Naturally, members of your audience won’t all be at the same point in their buyer’s journey, and they’ll occupy various positions within your digital marketing funnel as a result.
Some will be just starting out and still in the process of exploring the possible solutions that are open to them. Others will be primed and ready to buy. Then there are those in between or who may be looking to get more out of a purchase they’ve already made.
Each of these consumer types has a different set of needs, so your content strategy plan should consider all of them.
There are also 3 broad content types to make sure to include in your strategy.
- Hero content is content designed to speak to huge chunks of your target audience at once – the backbone of your catalog.
- Hub content consists of pieces that support your hero content by continuing narratives and fleshing out your larger message in meaningful ways.
- Hygiene content is a form of supporting content designed to help by answering frequently asked questions, addressing common concerns, etc.
What Is the Core of Content Strategy?
Once you’ve got a winning strategy in place, it’s time to start creating pieces that entertain, inform, and resonate with exactly the people you’re looking to reach. That’s where the 3 Cs of your content strategy core come in.
The 3 Cs of content strategy
Naturally, the content itself is going to be a huge part of the core of any strategy, so this C covers all the considerations that go into making a piece of content incredible, including:
- Themes and broad considerations, like whether a piece of content is more focused on your audience’s interests or something specific about your products
- Format choices, including classic written articles, infographics, videos, ebooks, etc.
- Target length of your content, as quick 250-word blurbs work very differently from long-form articles, that are several thousand words long
- Volume concerns, including how often you’re publishing on each of your platform choices
Your approach to content channels can make or break whether your content even gets seen in the first place, so it’s crucial to choose wisely. This is especially important for companies just getting started at building an audience. Essentials include:
- Social channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as potential alternatives like Quora, TikTok, or Pinterest
- Sponsored content and other forms of paid distribution
- Email, as this is still one of the most effective ways to distribute content and reach an audience
This factor covers who will be helping you bring your content strategy plan to life because it’s unlikely you’ll be doing everything alone, especially as your brand grows. Positions you may want to hire for or outsource potentially include:
- Content writers to help you produce blogs, articles, and more
- Videographers and photographers
- Graphic designers
- Social media managers
- Research analysts
What Is a Content Strategy Framework?
A content strategy framework is a blueprint you create once you’ve outlined the basics of what you want to achieve with your content and why. Think of it as the skeleton that supports your larger content catalog, especially as it grows.
A solid content strategy framework explicitly outlines the types of content you’ll produce, your target audience, content formats, publication platforms, and frequency. It’s essential for keeping your content production team aligned in the long term, as consistency is key to long-term success.
Key steps in building your content strategy framework include:
- Reviewing your primary goals and how they fit into your content plan
- Researching and, if necessary, creating new customer personas while updating existing ones
- Auditing your existing content catalog to assess what’s effective and what’s not
- Selecting a content management system aligned with your goals, needs, and audience expectations
- Defining the types of content you’ll focus on (and their frequency)
- Generating content ideas through brainstorming
When it comes to brainstorming, numerous sources can inspire posts that resonate with your audience. You can comment on industry developments, address emerging social trends, respond to common customer concerns, or answer specific questions you’ve received.
Furthermore, closely monitor your competitors’ content and identify opportunities where your unique brand voice can excel. Keep meticulous records of your efforts to understand what works and what doesn’t, allowing your next content strategy plan to be even more effective.
Now you have insights into what a content strategy plan entails and how to create one that aligns with your ongoing business objectives.
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