Whether you’re just starting out with content marketing or are in need of a quick refresher course, having an effective content strategy in place is important for one key reason: content is king – and always will be.
Content strategies not only improve marketing results and return-on-investment (ROI) opportunities but also enable businesses to more easily identify their target consumer, making other marketing techniques easier to carry out off the back of it.
This guide will provide you with:
- A roadmap of how to develop an effective content strategy
- Key components of a winning content strategy
- Understanding how an effective content strategy can help achieve wider marketing goals for your business
What is the goal of your content strategy?
A content strategy will help you to achieve wider business objectives such as more sales, lead generation and increased website traffic. A successful content strategy engages your intended audience throughout their customer journey using a variety of audio, video, and written material.
Metrics and KPIs are essential when measuring marketing performance and understanding how successful and effective your content marketing strategy is.
A 2023 report by HubSpot on ‘The State of Marketing‘ surveyed over 1,200 marketers to find out which metrics are worth measuring when executing a content marketing strategy.
The report showed that sales, web traffic, and social engagement are the most important metrics to track when measuring how effective your content strategy is:
HubSpot - State of Marketing Trends 2023
How to develop your content marketing strategy
There are five key questions that you need to consider before creating a sustainable content strategy, the who, what, why and how which we explain in more detail below.
Who is your target audience?
When looking to develop a content marketing strategy, one of the more pivotal questions you need to ask yourself is, “Who is my target audience?”
Understanding your target audience on a deeper level is the first step to creating a successful content strategy. The more time you invest in defining your target audience, the easier it will be to tailor your content strategy towards them. This will help to position your brand at the front of your target consumer’s mind when the intent to purchase is at its highest.
Your target audience will often be defined by a number of characteristics and behaviours such as:
- Hobbies and interests
- Purchase intention
If, for example, you have more than one target audience that you’d like to focus your strategy on, this will need to be drafted into your content plan, since it could impact the channels you later decide to use.
Likewise, your target consumer(s) could affect the type of content you produce – so, by focusing on just one type of audience to start with, you could end up overly narrowing your scope before you’ve really got going.
What problems are you looking to solve for your target audience?
The content you have available on your website should address a key issue you’ve identified your target consumer as having.
Take the release of the new Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, for instance. If you’re a technology company that sells both consoles, why not make the purchasing process a lot easier for your target consumers by creating a comparison page on your website that outlines the differences between the two systems?
Your content should build trust and authority and, fundamentally, gently persuade your customers that you’re a company that knows what they are talking about and that they can trust.
What is it that makes your business unique?
Unless you’re running an incredibly niche business, you will probably have a competitor or two offering the same products or services as you do.
Therefore, you need to emphasise to your customers what it is that makes your product, service or brand better than the rest.
Highlighting the key reasons why they should choose you over other competitors will help amplify your brand within its respective industry. This could be anything from:
- Offering a higher quality product with a superior set of features
- Providing exceptional customer service
- Being an environmentally conscious brand
- Building a customer-first community
Communicating this consistently throughout your content strategy will prove to consumers why you are a company worth listening to and spending their money on.
Which type of content is the most effective on which platform?
The types of content you produce and your target customer will greatly impact the channels you use to promote them on.
Blogs, articles and other forms of written content are great to share on your website, for instance. But more interactive content, like videos, images, polls and quizzes, are better placed on social media channels such as TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.
Avoid spreading yourself too thin across too many platforms. It’s better to dominate across one or two platforms than attempt to do it all and fail to communicate your brand effectively on each one.
Keep an eye on the platforms where your competitors have a big presence and high engagement. This will inform how your target audience is being reached, where they spend the majority of their time and how best to engage them.
How to be more consistent with your content strategy
Executing an effective content strategy requires dedication as well as being realistic about how much content you can produce, and when you will be able to execute it.
Do you have the capacity to write one, two or three blog pieces a week or month?
When it comes to social media posts, there are no hard and fast rules as it greatly depends on a number of factors; your product or service, which industry you are in, and the behaviours of your target consumers.
Social media management platform, Hootsuite, analysed data from their platform and with the help of a few industry experts, provided a quick summary of how often to post on each platform:
- TikTok: 3 – 5 times per week
- Instagram: 3 – 5 times per week
- Instagram Stories: 2 times per day
- Twitter: 2 – 3 times per day
- LinkedIn: 1 – 2 times per day
- Facebook: 1 – 2 times per day
- Pinterest: At least 1 time per week
- Google My Business: At least 1 time per week
Creating and publishing regular content is essential from a marketing perspective so it is important to organise your content strategy into a realistic schedule before starting.
For social media content management, we would recommend taking a look at:
To help streamline content production, check out:
7 golden rules of content marketing
Now that you have understood your target reader, the types of content you wish to produce and the schedule, it is time to start on the content strategy itself.
Developing your content strategy depends on the individual business in question. A construction company that targets locally, for example, will require different content to a global SaaS corporation.
Talk to Maxine about developing an effective content strategy for your brand
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1. Define your content strategy goal
When defining the goal for your content strategy you need to ask yourself two questions – why do you want to create a content marketing plan in the first place? And what exactly are you looking to achieve from it?
If you identify and define your content strategy KPIs upfront, it will help shape your strategy and determine whether the content was successful or not.
The granular metrics that you identify will be bespoke and relevant to your overall strategy and will likely fall within the four most common content marketing goals:
- Improved brand awareness
- Higher engagement
- Increased lead generation
- Increased conversion rate
2. Conduct market research
Identifying and understanding your target market through market research is another golden rule of content marketing. It is especially important for startups and smaller businesses to consider.
In essence, you need to create your content strategy around your target consumer. So, the easiest way to do exactly that is by knowing how they think, act and interact with various content channels.
The most common types of conducting market research include competitor analysis, interviews, surveys, and customer observation.
3. Run a content audit
If you have been creating and publishing content already – whether it be website content, blog posts, newsletters, videos, eBooks, etc – it’s a good idea to conduct a content audit, a detailed analysis of all the content created so far.
In doing so, you’ll be able to understand what has worked, what has not and use these insights to inform your strategy moving forward.
While it may take a bit of time to do this, it will help align your strategy with data-driven insights and can also highlight untapped potential for example, updating or promoting existing content on new channels.
4. Set up a content management system
While you may find it easy to keep on top of the content you’re producing at first, it will become more cumbersome over time. It is worth thinking about how you will create, manage and track your content and looking at ‘off the shelf’ content management systems (CMS) system or a spreadsheet to do this.
This will help you keep on top of all the information you need including the publication date, backlink profile, analytics etc and ultimately will help when you look back at the goals and success criteria set.
By identifying the best system to utilise within your business as part of your content strategy, you could save yourself a lot of time as a result, helping you focus your time on the actual content itself rather than organising it.
5. Think about your channels
While you may largely think of content in its written form, there are several different ways to publish your content.
From videos to eBooks to case studies to infographics to videos to podcasts, it’s up to you to decide which channels are most relevant to your business and target audience.
Going back to our Xbox vs. Playstation example, this sort of topic could work great as a podcast topic, video or written article. However, it may not work so well utilised as an infographic or eBook, largely due to the type of quick short-form content it is.
Therefore, with every bit of content, you decide to include within your strategy, you’ll also need to determine how best to publish it. Otherwise, you could end up producing a lot of quality content that people simply won’t see.
6. Get creative
OK, it’s time for the fun part – coming up with creative content ideas.
Now you know your target audience and the best type of content channels to use, the content ideas should be flowing, seamlessly addressing any knowledge gaps you noticed while conducting your market research.
However, if you’re struggling to come up with your own ideas, Google, BuzzSumo, Reddit and Feedly are great tools to utilise, highlighting some of the key things consumers search for that are relevant to your industry.
And ‘relevancy’ is the key thing to remember here; if you aren’t publishing content that meets your target consumer’s needs, you’ll only end up wasting time.
7. Manage your content strategy
Your content strategy doesn’t end after you’ve hit ‘publish’ – you’ll need to carry on managing it effectively to ensure you develop well-balanced and diverse content assets across your website and other channels.
To help with this, you should create an editorial calendar to organise the content you want to produce, and when. You can then organise the evergreen ideas you came up with originally and make space for the time-sensitive topics that you won’t be able to see coming just yet.
Cadence is vital when it comes to shaping an effective content strategy. Without publishing content on a regular basis you can lose vital trust signals.
To combat this effectively, produce your content in advance and utilise your CMS to publish it at the appropriate time – as well as in line with your editorial calendar.
We’ve covered the whats, whys, whens and hows of developing a content strategy and you should have enough information to get started. The key thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a one-approach-fits-all-type solution when it comes to content marketing.
Depending on what it is your business does, who your target consumer is and what you’re trying to achieve, the content you produce should be tailored to your individual circumstances and updated on a regular basis. At Hive19 we love creating engaging content for clients. If you would like help with a content strategy or require blogs for your website get in touch to see how we can help.
Creating regular, consistent content requires commitment and hard work but, it’s one of – if not – the most effective marketing technique there is.