It’s 2015 and you still haven’t developed a content strategy. Why the heck not? Haven’t you heard that content is king by now?!
Maybe you have. And maybe you’re just looking to boost your content marketing efforts.
Either way, the good news is that since you’re reading this, you’re at least entertaining the idea that you need to start building out your website with content or looking for ways to make your content efforts more successful.
But where do you start? There is so much content on the web already, and you may think that yours will never rank or be effective.
Luckily, I’m here to help you get your content marketing efforts off the ground and running (or on the web and ranking!).
So, let’s talk about the first and most important step in your content marketing efforts — your content strategy.
What Is a Content Strategy?
A content strategy is the planning for the creation and distribution of your content marketing efforts.
Where to Start Planning the Process
1) Create user personas
The most important part of your content strategy needs to start with your user personas. User personas are fictional, generalized characters that encompass the various needs, goals and observed behavior patterns among your real and potential customers.
In order to get people to read your content, you need to make sure that you’re creating useful and helpful content that your potential customers are looking for. Always be thinking, “Will my audience benefit from this and will it help them succeed?”
How do you define your user personas?
Think about the role this person would play at his/her company. Try to define their goals, their challenges, what currently works for them and how you are going to help take it to the next level.
You can even interview some of your current customers to get a better idea of who these people are. Ask your Sales Team these questions. They’re the ones on the front line talking to these potential customers on a daily basis.
Our clients often ask us how many personas they should have. It varies, really, depending on the size of your company and product service offering.
A general rule to follow is to have 3–5 user personas. Any more than this and you’ll find that your marketing efforts won’t be as targeted as they should be.
2) Create a keyword list
Now that you’ve identified your user personas, let’s move on to keyword research.
It’s extremely important to rank for the right keywords and to pick keyword phrases that your user personas are searching for. You want to make sure that the visitors who are coming to your website are the right type of visitors.
To start, we recommend coming up with a list of your company’s top 500 keywords. It may seem like a daunting task, but spending a handful of hours on this will help shape your content strategy in the long run.
3) Create an editorial calendar
One of the best ways you can stay on track and produce content on a regular basis is by creating an editorial calendar. This is an important step to help you write with a purpose and attract your user personas.
Creating an editorial calendar also allows you to save time when it comes to writing.
You won’t have to sit there and try to think about what you’re going to write on that Monday morning while you’re still thinking about the fun you had over the weekend. It will already be planned for you, and you’ll have your keyword research to help you stay focused (and also coffee, lots of coffee!).
4) Promote your content
You just published your blog. Awesome work! Now sit back and watch the visitors and leads start rolling in. As Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast, my friend!”
You can’t expect your content to perform on its own without a little help. You need to get it out there in front of your audience.
Now, where you distribute your content will vary based on your audience, industry and purpose. Social media platforms are all designed for a specific purpose and it’s important you understand how to navigate the social media landscape before you start publishing your content.
Promotion is often the most overlooked part of the content strategy. Promoting your content is an essential opportunity to communicate with your audience. Forgetting this step will lead you and your supervisors to question whether this whole content marketing thing everyone is talking about really works.
Measuring success of your content strategy
In order to make sure you’re creating the right content, you need to be constantly measuring the results. Look at Google Analytics every day. One thing we constantly do at Groove every time we post a blog is create an annotation.
Annotations are little notes and are easy to add right on the graph. They help you identify what may have caused a spike in traffic during a particular time period.
Dive deeper into analytics and take a look at your top landing pages. If you see your content pages ranking at the top, you know you’re on the right path. If they aren’t there, it might be time to hit the keyword research a bit harder.
Remember that content marketing is a process. You can’t expect to see results overnight.
Never underestimate the power of evergreen content and attribution, though. Quality content can last a lifetime online. With the right content strategy in place, you’ll be headed towards attracting the right visitors and turning those visitors into qualified leads in no time.