Lauren Reed, editorial services manager at Honolulu, HI-based iQ 360, defines a content strategy as “your business’s approach to creating and distributing content for your target audience.” While a content strategy may be straightforward, it’s easy to get wrong if you don’t prioritise content that’s relevant for the right audience.
It’s also essential that you document a content strategy that focuses on providing value to your audience. “A successful content strategy,” Reed continues, “is one that seeks to understand what your audience wants and needs, and focuses on developing content that is useful, educational, relevant or otherwise valuable to them.”
We prepared this full of insights and great advice Expert Panel to help you make all the right steps when preparing your content marketing strategy!
SEO copywriter and Founder of Tia Says
Creating a content strategy is absolutely important to launch a successful business. I wish someone would have told me this.
A content strategy keeps your business targeted at the audience you want to speak to. Creating a content strategy is also simple.
My best tip is to start with creating topic clusters. Ever heard of them before? Let me tell you what a topic cluster is.
A topic cluster is a group of blog posts that talk about one particular topic in detail. It has one parent topic and a bunch of sub-topics also called child topics.
For example, SEO can be your parent topic.
And keyword research, audience research, internal linking, link building, on-page, off-page and more are your child topics.
Do you know topic clusters help you rank for difficult keywords? Yes, Here’s how to do it in your niche.
- Find potential blog content ideas by researching the competition, using Quora, Reddit and more.
- Create a parent topic blog post of 2k to 3k words long. Use your competitive keyword as the target keyword.
- Create child posts of 1k to 1.5k words long and use LSI keywords in these blog posts.
- Interlink them strategically such that they follow a hierarchy.
And this is how you make a topic cluster easily.
The 2 most important things to take into consideration are quality and consistency.
Firstly, the content you produce should be of the highest quality. There is so much content being published on the internet every single day that it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out. Taking the time and effort to create your best work is important instead of just pushing something random out. This creates trust and builds up your credibility.
Secondly, it is important to be consistent. Choose a frequency (of content publishing) that you are comfortable with. For instance, if you can only commit to once a week of content, then do just that. It is essential to ensure that your content strategy is realistic. It has to be something that you can follow for years to come.
EMEA Managing Director Staffing Future LLP
Do your Keyword research – Sufficient volume, low competition, high relevancy, high cost per click
Here are a few things you have to master:
- Strong execution & show personality
- Think about your channels and imagery/infographics
- On-site discipline and consistency – interlinking
- Distribution and visibility
- Deep dive into your analytics
- Original and interesting content – which is updated
- Relevant high authority backlinks/shares
To understand how to build a content strategy it’s important to look at the influence of wider culture and how your brand fits in. But rather than ask ‘what’ changes culture, it can be more effective to look at ‘who’.
The change-makers, taste-makers, mavericks and renegades who challenge the status quo, that’s who.
Every culture-shaping product follows a set of characters who, in their interactions with wider communities, have captured some kind of zeitgeist and created something new: a new way of speaking, of behaving, of expressing themselves. Brands then follow: think of Nike Airforce One, the iPhone and TESLA; they all followed actual people who captured a zeitgeist and leveraged technology as catalysts for cultural change.
In other words, people – and the norms and customs and ideas they develop — exist when there is no actual product involved. People and their ideas come first. Always.
Often when someone is disruptive, people turn to look, and this attention can create a small movement of people, ideas or ideals; a small wave. Just as a maverick disrupts and gains attention, so too do emerging sub-cultures. Initially led by a small group of individuals, subcultures are interesting, different and refreshing. In their originality, they are inherently creative, bold and risk-taking
Depending on the impact, benefit and timing of this new movement, wider culture may start to adopt some of its elements. This adds and shapes culture while adding fire to the sub-culture until it becomes absorbed and appropriated by the mainstream. We’ve seen this countless times as disruptive technology, sport or politics becomes the norm.
To me, this is emblematic of the transition of followers being ‘core’ to a movement moving to those who are following the ‘lifestyle’ of that movement. Core has credibility that can only be earned through exclusivity and via a highly influential group of people. As that area of culture is adopted by the mainstream, the core becomes a lifestyle.
The decision for brands wanting to create cutting edge content strategies is often at what point to align with, facilitate or buy into a movement. Do they embark on a journey when embryonic subcultures, which may be seen as controversial but are tightly knotted to a hard-to-reach audience, are taking early steps that may eventually influence masses of people, or do they stick to the mainstream and leave this all alone?
Ultimately, the opportunity a brand has to influence and shape culture lies with the former. Done right, a trifecta is formed: through their content the brand is supporting and facilitating new expression, the (sub)culture benefits, and consumers see what is happening and buy into the product on a deeper level based on their values.
There is of course the process of cultural commodification, and the contradictions intrinsic to the relationship between culture and commerce. An important subject, no doubt – but best left to experts.
For now, it seems clear that through content brands can play a role in shaping and facilitating culture – and if they can do that with integrity, allowing more people to create and develop their ideas while pursuing their dreams, then that can only be a good thing for all involved.
Senior SEO Director, ForwardPMX/Assembly
I generally separate my content into 2 main categories. Content for:
- Content Marketing
Content for products and services highlight all the information a website visitor needs to know about a product or service. This may be across a few pages or thousands of pages or more, depending on the nature of the product or service. The content here helps the potential customer make the buying decision. The content should help influence or compel them to buy.
But when we talk about content for products and services for sites with 100k to millions of pages, some type of algorithmic optimization should also be implemented, which this is dependent on the richness of the structured data on every page that can help formulate rules for the default values of various page elements, such as the title tag, meta description, image alt text, headings etc.
While content is used for content marketing purposes, even if it may also help convert into a sale of a product or service, another use of the content in content marketing is to also improve the popularity of the webpage. Content marketing pages are often featured in a blog, but they may also be in other forms such as FAQs, knowledge base, forums, how-to guides, and more. Content will not always be only text, but can also be in various forms, such as images, videos, interactive pages like quizzes, games, surveys, downloadable pdfs, software, tools, etc. The content here intends to be more engaging and promotes to get the content shared in social media to increase visibility. Topics here stretch the relevance of simply selling a product or service. It can talk about the application of it, or tips and tricks, other use cases, events, or things that are just interesting, informative or even inspiring. As more people see this content, it helps improve brand visibility, thus improving brand recall which helps general demand. And as an effect also, more potential natural links go to these useful pages, which also help out in SEO ranking.
Director, Niro RS
Content creation in today’s business world is everything, especially when it comes to attracting new logo customers.
I’ve personally found that video content designed with the customer’s needs in mind, solving business issues in a clear and pragmatic fashion via the likes of business-led social networks IE LinkedIn is paramount to success here.
Twitter & YouTube are also good outlets for video content, alongside the more fresh approaches that can be made via Instagram & TikTok, entirely dependent on your target market/customer demographics.
In summary, when creating content – think from your ideal clients “needs & wants” and strategise your content to create a clear interest in your services to prospective buyers. This applies to video, imaging, blogging and all other content entities.
B2B Copywriter and Content Strategist
The foundation of any successful content marketing strategy depends on three steps:
- Define the target audience or audiences for your content. If you have more than one type of customer, you will have more than one target audience. Decide which content type and the channel will be most effective for delivering your content to each audience.
- Work out what problem you will be solving for your audience. Your content should be able to engage both people who know what their problem is and those who are still figuring out what their main challenges are.
- Identify what makes you unique in solving your audience’s problem. Your audience needs to know why they should choose you over your competitors. When you have pinpointed your unique quality this needs to be a core message in your content.
Organic Social Media Strategist
I like to approach content strategy differently based on who I am working with. Still, one thing that always remains the same is ensuring that we are clear on the problem we are solving or the benefit the audience will gain from engaging with the content.
Get clear on who your ideal client is; some businesses go into it thinking that if they advertise, they will reach their ideal clients anyway, but you’ll make your life a lot harder and waste money if you don’t define your ideal clients. Things can vary significantly from one generation to another, and the same goes for other market segments.
When it comes to content creation, I always recommend leaving room for flexibility and trying to be one step ahead. Visit Reddit, Quora, and answerthepublic.com to see the types of questions asked regarding the industry or niche that you are working with. Take those questions and questions you may receive on social media to create helpful content.
In terms of the type of content, if you’re new to the online world, test the waters with various formats, videos, carousels, reels, live videos, graphics, and GIFs. Make it a point to regularly spend time with your analytics so that you can refine and define the best type of content for your audience. Really nailing down who your ideal client is will also play a big role in you knowing the type of content that will work best for your audience.
First focus on a topic related to your business where you know people are interested. Verify the level of interest by undertaking keyword analysis on Amazon and Google. Time taken to research keywords is time well spent as this will verify you are targeting a significant audience. If you want to target a very small number of people target them individually.
Secondly, write out key information your audience must know in order to succeed or protect themselves in your chosen topic area to set yourself up as an expert. Work out a step-by-step guide, a calculator, or system and make an offer to send it to them, or tell them where they can get it from. As the mafia might say, make an offer they can’t refuse!
Then give it to them, although they have to request it, as increasingly you cannot give information and track them anymore as you could, due to privacy changes.
When you start you may find this difficult to do, but after a while, you will find there are lots of options available to you. Most of them are low-cost and free. I have outlined some of them in my new book: How to Start A Business Without Any Money. Get your copy from Amazon.
10 Martin Cox
Strategic Development and PR Director – Copestone Marketing
Data and Insight are your best friends when it comes to developing a content strategy.
Tools such as SEMrush or Ubersuggest allow agencies to understand the relevant terms being searched for, and the frequency (and potential value) of those terms.
Armed with this quantitative data, we look to create a qualitative understanding, so the data then speaks more than numbers to us – this analysis adds significant depth to the process and allows us to hone in on key terms and understand the rationale behind those searches.
Once we have both terms and an understanding of the why of those searches, and only then, we can start to craft a content strategy that is answering those questions, and solving problems for our potential customers.
And the how? A multi-layered approach of blogging, social media, PR, Video, and even memes – all helping our customer to solve their challenges.
Solve their problems, add value, win trust.
We are a business providing knowledge, insight and wisdom for CEOs and senior executives to build the future that will ‘Make your future work’.
We have decided that the primary channel for content should be LinkedIn personal accounts as we have a set of business to business service offers targeting the engagement of senior leaders. These channels are supported by LinkedIn company pages and other social media platforms such as Vimeo, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
However, all longer-form content is posted on our product specific websites to provide an archive of valuable evergreen content.
Our approach is to provide a full set of free resources so that potential customers can ‘do it yourself but will recognise that our ‘do it with you’ and ‘do it for you’ services increase impact and success.
We are using an evolving blend of:
- LinkedIn articles
- LinkedIn Live (propagated across other social media channels)
- On-demand webinars
- Free on-demand e-mail based courses
- Quiz based self-assessment tools
- Partner podcasts with complementary affiliates
Critical to our strategy is:
- Sustaining a regular frequency and quality of our content
- Measuring and optimising the use of the channels we have adopted
- Leveraging our content to start a meaningful dialogue with potential clients
- Establishing an authoritative voice amongst our audience
- Being unafraid to have a distinctive and sometimes controversial point of view in our content
Overall, we are committed to using our Content Strategy as a tool to build increasing reach and deepening awareness of our offers so that clients have the time to recognise their needs and will approach us when they are ready to buy.