How to Develop a Content Strategy ?
What is content strategy?
A content strategy is a plan in which content (text/audio/written) is used to achieve business goals. For example, your business goal may be brand awareness. You may develop a content strategy focusing more on SEO, to accomplish this goal for your website to be displayed in the search results for users and to increase your site’s traffic. If your goal is to sell, you must have the right content for all stages of the customer journey from the beginning to the purchase.
A successful content strategy engages your target audience at every stage of the funnel and leads them to purchase; It engages them even after the purchase.
To summarize, the content strategy consists of the following main parts:
- Goal setting (short-term, medium-term, and long-term)
- Brand description (brand identity, values, mission, vision, etc.)
- Description of the business or individual’s products and services
- Knowing customers and audience (demographic and persona)
- Competitor analysis
- Keyword research
- Customer journey map
- Content writing guide (tone, structure, SEO, colors, etc.)
- Channels and how to distribute content
- Content calendar
- Performance indicators
All these sections are written in different formats, such as spreadsheets (Excel files), text, tables, lists, etc. We formulate the strategy once, but we must always have one eye on the system during the work.
We should not deviate from the path developed in the strategy unless the performance indicators in short or long-term reports show that we did not reach the goals. In this case, we modify the design.
Why should we write a content strategy? Is it essential?
If you have experience creating content in a blog or social network, you must have been thinking about finding a topic every day. People often get confused, is this topic that I want to create content related to my site or page or not?
More importantly, without a strategy, we don’t know if what we do aligns with our goal.
Writing a content strategy aims to define what will help you do what and how.
What are the advantages of developing a content strategy?
The benefits of having a content strategy are so many that if you don’t get it right from the start and continue to follow it, you’re just wasting your money and time.
The strategy generally helps get guaranteed and better results from content-based marketing. We can simplify these advantages as follows:
- Reducing the time spent on content creation
- Creating targeted content to achieve business goals
- Increase the probability of success
- Superiority and positioning relative to competitors in the market
- Reducing the cost and time of training employees
- Website SEO improvement
- Content Integrity
How does strategy affect SEO?
Google’s algorithms have become very strong in recent years and are getting closer to human understanding daily. Now artificial intelligence can understand the relationship between words and sentences. The software robots that check the content of websites can understand the topic and its quality.
Google is trying its best to get close to humans. It’s funny how some humans try their best to act like machines. All the Google experts and engineers say you should write your content for users and be at ease—no need to tire yourself out to discover the best Google-friendly structure. As soon as you create content for the user and get their satisfaction, Google will give more value to your content.
Of course, this advice does not mean all SEO tips are useless. In all SEO work, we try to make it easier for the Google search engine to recognize us and our content. So we are not looking for Google’s deception or witchcraft!
So, if you consider users and humans, you are the future of Google. Google’s ultimate destination is humans.
Bottom line: You’re writing content strategy for users, not Google, and the “writing content for users” plan means specifically getting Google’s attention.
Let’s go back to developing a content strategy for your site. In the following, we explain the steps of creating a content strategy.
The steps of developing a content strategy
For any site and business you want to write a content strategy for, you must follow the following steps.
Step 1: Determine your goals for developing a content strategy
First of all, define your purpose of content marketing for your site. If this step is done well, it will guide all your next steps, and you won’t get confused in a pile of raw data.
Targeting tells you precisely what to look for and what channels to check. Your goal is a light that guides you in the dark.
In the following, I will give some examples of goals that you or your client can consider.
- Increase conversion rate
- Increase site traffic
- Increase participation and interaction of users on your site
- Branding for business
- Increase sales and income
Of course, make sure that you don’t need to target only one of the above items; maybe you want to target two or three items at the same time, but please don’t get carried away and don’t set unrealistic and astronomical goals, because you will become all-purpose and useless and will not reach any of the plans. You can’t get it right.
The most important thing about your goal is to have a straightforward approach.
Step 2: Thoroughly review the current state of your business
After determining the overall goal, it is necessary to examine the general condition of your business thoroughly. This review has many aspects; in this section, I will bring you the most important things to check.
1. Checking the general situation of the company
To check this section, find the answers to the questions in this section.
How is the income of this company provided?
Which product or service is the most profitable for this company? Why is this product so good for the company? Is there more market demand for this product, or has more work been done on the branding and advertising of this product? Or any other reason. (This question is one of the most important questions for you because an essential part of your strategy revolves around the company’s most popular services).
What is the structure of the sales team? What parameters are important to them?
2. Review the company’s current content process
What is the trend of the company’s blog articles (if it has a blog)? What has been the company’s current approach to content so far?
Who decides on topics and content?
Is there a separate content team, or is the content produced by staff from other departments?
What kind of content has the current team produced so far?
What are the essential branding factors for the company?
To make your work easier, I will specify three general processes for checking the current content of the site:
Check current content based on Google Analytics criteria: check all site pages, blogs, and landing pages based on Google Analytics indicators. You must pay attention to essential things that include bounce rate, average time on site, and the number of page views.
This step will help you gauge your site’s potential keyword potential. See which keywords your site has a good position in, which keywords you should invest more in, and which keywords your content is weak in and needs extra energy.
Review based on SEO criteria: At this stage, you only need to do a brief review on the quality of backlinks, the validity of the site’s domain, and things like that.
Current Content Landscape Review: Is the current state of your content user-friendly? Have users interacted with it? How much feedback have you received? What type of audience have you attracted with your existing content? Where is your content in the marketing funnel? (If you are unfamiliar with this fundamental marketing concept, be sure to read the article on the impact of content on the marketing funnel on our blog).
3. Relate your brand identity to the content
If you’ve established your business’s brand identity and are just starting content marketing, your brand needs to be visible in the content.
Step 3: Find keywords for your business
Let me put it this way. Almost everything is related to keywords; Keyword research is essential for three reasons:
- Keyword research helps you understand what users are looking for, what questions they have, and what they need in your field of activity.
- Keywords are among the most important portals to enter users and drive traffic to your site through Google.
- Google also identifies your business more efficiently. Keywords are Google’s primary tool for understanding your business and your field of activity.
But be careful that all your strategy should not be written based on keywords and SEO. Keywords and SEO should be essential factors in your content strategy. Keywords can spark good content creation in your mind. But this is not enough. It would help if you combined these keywords with the ideas and needs of your business so that you can write the best content possible.
How to do keyword research?
There are dozens of different tools and services that help you find keywords. Note that having a long list of keywords related to your business and product is insufficient. It is essential to categorize and prioritize these keywords.
Tools like kwfinder, keyword tool, suggested terms in Google search, and one of the best, Google Keyword Planner, are helpful. The rest is up to you. Of course, always remember that personal analysis and judgment are of primary importance in identifying keywords and the user’s intention to use them.
Step 4: Check your competitors in your business
One of the most essential and essential steps to developing a content strategy for your website is to analyze your competitors. There is a convenient and practical method for competitor analysis:
Ask the great Google for help. How? Search the keywords you want in Google and identify the links at the top of the search results. This easy task means identifying the most critical competitors in your activity. Now it is enough to visit their sites and check their various facilities.
For example, do they have a blog or not? What are the categories of their blog, what topics have they covered in the blog, and in which social networks are they present? Visit their social networks and check them out.
Of course, this is not the end of the story.
Now you have to go to similar businesses or foreign competitors and check foreign sites. This will also help you a lot; Because, generally, foreign sites and blogs are of high quality, and if you can approach a global scale in your field of work, you will win and get ahead of all your competitors (or maybe even all competitors).
Don’t worry about imitating; almost all successful businesses in any field are as similar as possible to foreign examples. It is enough to get ideas from them well and intelligently.
Step 5: Create your customer persona
Customer personas are fictional characters with behavior patterns, goals, needs, and personality traits very close to our ideal audience. Persona helps you know your customer’s behaviors, how they react to different issues, what mental barriers discourage them from you, what are their goals, what they need, and finally, what you can do about them. After knowing the audience, you can organize an effective marketing plan, meet the audience’s needs and turn them into one of your brand’s loyal customers.
Step 6: Evaluate your information
Now you have gathered all the information you need from here to there. But these are just a bunch of useless raw data unless you analyze them. In other words, at this stage, you will convert the essential information into usable information for formulating a content strategy. After the review and analysisare, you should put these analyses next to your goals and check the relationship between these data and plans. Let me give you an example.
For example, you have an online cosmetics store that aims to attract wealthy and luxury customers. But in the surveys you have done, most of your customers are the middle class who are not very rich and tend towards cheap products. So you have gone the wrong way and now have to lay the foundation of the content strategy differently.
One way to categorize customer information is to order current customer status based on the pyramid I’ll cover in the next item.
Step Seven: It’s time to build a content marketing funnel
Well, now that you’re done with all the basics in the world, it’s time to sit down and patiently create a content funnel for your business. You already have a relative understanding of the situation of your customers and audience. This funnel shows you exactly where each customer is in this funnel. Before discussing this further, I would like to draw your attention to the image of this funnel to explain it to you more fully.
This article is the result of our experiences in formulating content strategies. Other things can be added to this article; you also have much experience in this field.
The comments are precisely where you and I can chat and talk about different experiences. So write us any words or comments you have.