13 Steps to Create a Killer Content Marketing Strategy in 2023!
That Content is King is undeniable, but without a solid content marketing strategy, your business may struggle to appear on your audience’s radar.
In today’s saturated digital world, you gotta fight for your exposure. 💪
Randomly throwing content into cyberspace, hoping it will magically land on your target audience’s heads, may not be the best results-driven content strategy.
Okay, but HOW do I better promote my content and get more sales?
This post will lay out all the ins and outs of creating the perfect content marketing strategy that will catapult your business to greatness.
Let’s dive in!
What Is a Content Marketing Strategy?
See the content strategy as a well-thought plan in which you elaborate on your business goals and how you will achieve them.
It’s how you will determine what information you’ll share where, when, and how — targeting your ideal audience.
Digital marketing is a top sport, and you will want to stay ahead of the competition. Casually writing a blog post now and then simply won’t cut it.
Your content marketing efforts are best served with a solid plan.
To give you an idea about what’s included in a content marketing plan, here are some examples:
- Targets and goals
- Audience (aka persona)
- Core message
- Publish when/where
Whether you are a multinational or a start-up, content promotion, and content marketing campaigns are critical to building authority and trust. But it requires systematically planning and producing content.
Why a Content Marketing Strategy Is Important
As a content marketer, you already know that quality content is vital for drawing in your target audience, eventually turning them into buying customers.
But will those prospects automatically beam down from Planet Luck right into your lap just because you send your written craft into cyberspace?
Creating a monster list of targeted prospects will not happen by luck. Lead generation requires a solid content plan.
And that’s where content marketing strategies come in!
Here are some marketing strategy benefits:
- Increased website traffic
- Increased brand awareness
- Increased conversions
- Clear vision
- Time saver-plan and work ahead
Before uploading any content, it needs to be crystal clear how you’re going to generate leads, what keywords to target, and which CTA’s you are going to use.
When you’re a go-with-the-flow kind of person, your content may follow you in the wrong direction.
Don’t leave your success to destiny.
With a solid content marketing plan, you put your business in pole position to gloriously win the inbound marketing race.
What Will Your Content Marketing Bring to the Table
1. Who’s reading your stuff?
Probably the first question you should ask yourself.
You construct great content, edit picture-perfect videos, and spend hours on end on social media.
You are on top of your content game.
Yet just ... crickets. 🦗
If you don’t know who’s reading your stuff, even the best content is doomed to fail its purpose.
Knowing what type(s) of people are reading and viewing your craft is critical for success.
2. What’s their problem?
It is human nature to solve problems. And preferably their own.
When you have a product that is the solution to a problem, you are well on your way to glory.
That is when you bring your solution within the eyeshot of those who face the problem, of course.
Your content can even be educational for those who do have a problem but haven’t quite yet identified or addressed it.
And when the content supports the solution you offer, it builds up extra credibility.
3. What’s so special about your content?
Standing out from the crowd isn’t easy, and you’ve got to fight for your spot.
One sure thing to fix is to bring some badass content to the table that’s unique and speaks to the imagination.
Do you level with your target audience? Is your brand voice the language they speak?
And how about the actual content of your content ... is it unique? Or is it merely the same old same old.
Do you write evergreen content that serves for years to come or timely content just to create a spike of interest?
Whatever you send out, always make your content distinctive and worth reading.
How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy
1. Establish your content marketing goals
Each content piece you send into cyberspace must have a purpose. Always know why you’re doing what you’re doing.
By defining a clear, unambiguous content marketing goal, you can lay out the plan for achieving them in greater detail.
Start by crafting a content marketing mission statement. It helps you and your team focus on what’s important.
Your statement should include the following key elements:
- Your core target audience
- What content you'll deliver to them
- The benefit they will get from your content
Obviously, your business should also benefit, right? That’s where your business goals come in.
It all starts with a brand guideline or a brand book. It’s an essential element for creating a clear direction, plus it makes sure that everyone on the team is working from the same page.
With the brand book in place, here are some examples to include in your digital marketing goals:
- Brand awareness
- Social media engagement
- SEO success
- More traffic
- Increased conversion rate
- Increased revenue
2. Establish your KPIs
KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator, and it measures an objective over a certain period of time.
Goals are best achieved when you make them specific and measurable, and KPIs will let you know whether you’re right on track.
Note, however, there are different KPIs. For example, in addition to content marketing KPIs, sales KPIs can help you measure sales growth, sales targets, and more.
Also, beware that you don’t mix up KPIs with ROI! Your KPI measures each step towards the outcome, whereas ROI informs you about the end result.
For your marketing strategy, think of using them to measure:
- Revenue growth in a week, month, quarter, or year
- How much organic website traffic your content generates
- The ranking of your main keywords
- The number of shares across various platforms
- Number of page views and how long a visitor stays on a page
A good KPI tracks different variables, provides you objective information about your end goal, and helps you make better decisions.
3. Define your target audience
One of the most crucial elements — which may never be left out! — is determining the specific audience(s) you will target.
Here are a few essential steps to take:
- Create a buyer persona — it’s pivotal for effective content creation, product development, and all of your sales activities.
- Demographic analysis — collect data such as:
- Their challenges
- Feedback questionnaires — ask your customers what their needs are and how you can help solve their problems.
- Market research — effective research helps you classify your target audience and help determine their pain points and specific needs.
- Customer Journey — map out the customer journey your potential customer will travel before, during, and after product purchase.
4. Conduct a content audit.
Let’s face it, all the content you create includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. Apart from the brilliant, of course.
Now ask yourself: do I know in detail which of my content performs best?
If the answer is no, you may want to conduct a content audit.
A content audit provides you the insights about:
- How your content is (under)performing
- What your audience likes and dislikes
- Identifying where your content needs to be updated
- Whether your pages are SEO optimized
- Identifying new SEO opportunities
When you execute a content audit, you log all your content pieces, such as blog posts, guest posts, videos, newsletters, podcasts, etc.
Once you identify the level of success and to what extent the content is valuable or not, you can then identify and close some of the possible content gaps.
The following tools can automate your content audit to make life easier:
- Screaming Frog: A ‘website crawler that helps you improve onsite SEO by extracting data and auditing for common SEO issues.’ You can download the first 500 URLs for free.
- Ahrefs: Ahrefs’ Site Audit program crawls all your web pages, provides an overall SEO health score, and provides recommendations.
5. Choose your content channels
You may already have a pretty good idea of where your target audience is hanging out through their digital engagement, likes, and shares.
And even though it’s tempting to be prominently present on every social media channel, the best practice is to focus on the ones that already give you the best results and build from there.
Chances are, not every available channel will be a perfect fit. Much depends on the characteristics of your audience, your marketing objectives, and of course, your budget.
It all demands a strategic approach and the gathering of specific information.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Which channel generates the most conversions?
- What channels are my competitors using, and how often are they posting?
- Is my focus on text or visuals?
- Do I have the time to engage on multiple channels?
A helping hand to collect essential customer insights is Google Analytics.
6. Pick a content management system
Here are a few key points to focus on when picking a CMS:
- Ease of use — an interface that’s quick and uncomplicated to use
- Design options — check if there are various templates to choose from and customizable to your wishes.
- Extensions — just in case you need extra features.
- Support — most software is pretty straightforward, but a little help here and there may be needed.
The most popular and widely used tool for CMS is WordPress.org. It allows you the flexibility to build any website you want and manages your content without the hassle of coding or any other technical difficulties.
Another good option is Hubspot. The Hubspot CMS platform is an all-in-one system for building and managing your website and content.
7. Choose your content types
Content comes in different variations:
- Blog posts/Articles
- Longform content
- Email marketing
- Lead magnets (webinar/eBook)
- Social media post
- White papers
No need for stress, as you won’t need to pull up magic forces to instantly create EVERY content type. Just pick your favorites and start small.
Brainstorming about what content format makes a good fit is your first step. You need to know where your potential customers hang out and what content type is their favorite.
Check out marketing tools that can assist in mapping out your content:
- BuzzSumo — collect meaningful insights and discover valuable content opportunities.
- Feedly — filters your industry's trending topics, events, and trends.
8. Target keyword research
Becoming best friends with Google is a bucket list item for content marketers and content strategists.
Even though many believe they are no longer the determining factor for ranking, the keyword ship has not sailed yet.
Adequate keyword use can still drop your content on the all-famous Page One.
Depending on your target audience, you can use competitive and non-competitive keywords. The latter will bring down the number of leads, but their quality is superior.
Another tip is to use related keywords. Research your keywords’ variants and synonyms, and check out what other questions your audience asks Google.
Create a topic spreadsheet that includes all essential keyword information to avoid getting lost in keyword land.
As always, help is nearby;
The Ahrefs keywords explorer finds the keywords your customers are searching for.
Another great tool is Ubersuggest. Its newest feature lets you type in your competitor’s domain name to get better keyword content ideas.
Bottom line: keyword research still matters in 2022!
9. Create your content
When all the prepping is done, it’s time to get creative and create content!
Before putting pen to paper, have a clear idea about your brand voice and brand tone. Always speak your customer’s language!
Furthermore, you must write engaging content that adds value to the reader, or else they will quickly abort mission and search for the next best post.
You now know the subject you will write about, and you may even have a gripping headline ready.
The research never ends, though, and this is when you need to scour the internet to find out what existing, relevant content is already out there. It will also give you an idea about the ideal length (word count) of your post.
Ideally, you will want to outperform the top-ranking blog posts that cover the same subject. So find those and see where you can make your article slightly better.
Create an outline (headings, images, etc.) and start drafting your masterpiece!
10. Utilize influencer marketing
You bring your product fast and furious in front of millions of people by targeting the right influencers.
The cheapest way for content promotion is to just reach out and ask for a share. However, not many will even bother to answer your question.
Most influencers these days use product promotion to pay the bills, which makes it unlikely they will promote your product for free.
A best practice is to negotiate either a fee or free use of the product.
Do make sure the influencer you’re targeting can add value to your product. There’s no point asking a bald man to promote your hairdryer, for example.
11. Create a content calendar
‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’ — Benjamin Franklin
Consistency is vital in keeping your audience engaged and bringing in new prospects.
When you lack solid content planning, the chances are that your consistency in uploading new content goes down the drain.
Therefore, having a content calendar (or editorial calendar) will be one of the most essential items in your content marketing campaign toolkit. It will be a ‘live’ document to be used by your marketing and content team.
A content calendar schedules your content and is a practical way to document where and how it is published.
Streamlining your marketing by making your content planning visible and orderly keeps you organized and on track toward your business goals.
12. Focus on internal linking
An internal link is a hyperlink in an article pointing toward another relevant page or content piece on your website.
Using internal links is a way for Google to better understand your website, which will benefit search engine optimization.
It is, however, of prime importance not to just hyperlink random words!
Use high-quality descriptive anchor text, preferably even SEO-optimized keywords.
It’s the best way for Google to understand which of your site’s pages are most important.
This content strategy may be complicated when you’re just starting with your business and don’t have enough existing content.
In that case, just add relevant links whenever a new piece goes live.
Another WP plugin option is Internal Link Juicer — fully automated with flexible customization.
13. Track your results
When all is set and done, it’s finally time to sit back, relax, and appraise your content marketing effort.
Pull up those KPIs and see if your content goals are nicely on schedule.
There are a few ways to measure your results:
- Via Google Analytics
- Web traffic analysis
- Conversion tracking
- Email sign-up tracking
The quality of your leads, how long the audience stays on your site, whether they click through, or engage and comment on articles, are all good indicators for success.
And not to forget social sharing.
Social media strategy is still very much alive, and creating share-worthy content can shoot your website to the moon. Therefore, the number of social shares is an excellent indicator for tracking your results.
Get Your Marketing Mission Going!
You've learned that haphazardly uploading your content onto the world wide web without a clear strategy is doomed for disaster.
And you don't want that, do ya?!
You want potential customers to turn into loyal customers, gluing them onto your products.
You want a mouthwatering retention rate.
Well, the jewel of the crown is your unbeatable content marketing strategy.