Tips For Creating A Great Content Strategy
Content marketing has become a vital element of running an online business or website in 2021. Creating a great content strategy is key to getting your website noticed. It’s also a worthy and relatively low-cost investment, unlike a lot of other traditional forms of marketing, which can be expensive and often need to be outsourced. Fortunately, if you have the time and energy, you can do a lot of content marketing yourself!
Creating a great content strategy is also important for search engine optimization, or SEO. This is because it will give you more opportunities to rank on relevant search engine results pages and reach the right people as a result. This can then lead to more sales.
In this article, we’re going to outline how you can create a great content strategy to reach your goals. Let’s get started.
Start by conducting a content audit
Before you start to make more content, you need to take stock of what you have on your site already. This means conducting a content audit in order to determine what works and what doesn’t.
During your content audit, catalog and analyze all of the content you have on your website, and look at how it has been performing. Content audits can help you get a better idea of which content types your audience are most interested in, which audience members are looking at what, and more.
Here are some actions you need to take when conducting a content audit:
- Set your goals. Are you trying to increase your traffic? Make more sales? Increase newsletter subscriptions? You should always keep this aim in mind.
- Categorize your content. Make a list of all the content on your site, and outline what format it has, who wrote it, what it covered, and any other relevant information you’ll find helpful.
- Analyze your content piece by piece with your goals in mind and record your data. Which authors produce the best content? Which have the best rankings on the SERPs? Compile this information into a spreadsheet you can keep referring to.
Once you have this information, you can take steps to improve your underperforming content, and also keep the results in mind when creating anything new. You might choose to focus on certain types of content, promote it in a different way, or commission more content from certain authors, for instance.
Conduct content audits on a regular basis — quarterly or bi-annually. This can ensure that you’re on track with the goals that you originally set.
Choose a handful of content types you’ll focus on
Next, you need to choose what types of content you want to focus on. It’s impossible to do everything — it’s better to have a few pieces of great content rather than a lot of mediocre pieces. So, focus on creating content in just a handful of formats, like video content or blog posts.
Let’s break down some of the most popular types of content with examples for inspiration.
Ultimate guides outline everything a reader needs to know about a subject. As the name implies, these guides need to be the best of the best — they should be very thorough and teach something to both beginners and experts alike, answering their questions throughout.
When deciding whether ultimate guides should be incorporated into your content strategy, start by thinking about what topics you’re an expert in — those you know inside and out. What do people come to you for over any other business? If you can come up with several different topics like this, ultimate guides could be an excellent element of your content strategy.
Adwords Nerds, an online marketing agency specializing in real estate, has a great ultimate guide to PPC for real estate investors. The guide covers what PPC is, why real estate investors need it, and why it’s better than other forms of advertising in certain situations. The beauty of this article is that both beginners and experts alike can learn something from it, making it a great piece of content!
This ultimate guide has made a great addition to Adwords Nerds’ content strategy. Because they target real estate investors specifically, it’s important that they create content that addresses them, too. And, since they serve a relative niche audience, ultimate guides are very beneficial to their company — they can help Adword Nerds become one of the authorities in their field
For your own website, think about what subjects you know inside and out. Create ultimate guides on these topics — when you do this, you can show that you’re an industry expert, helping you draw more people to your website!
Timely blog posts
Timely blog posts cover newsworthy events that affect your business and customers. Think about topics like how new policies are affecting your field or how the coronavirus pandemic has changed how you do business. People who are interested in products or services like yours might be researching how current events are having an impact. So, stay up to date with the latest news and trends as they relate to your niche, and publish timely blog posts about them to draw in more traffic.
My Canada Payday, a financial services institution in Canada, has a great timely article about the pandemic’s impact on housing. The article covers how, during the pandemic, the Canadian housing market has faced high demand, low supply, and low overall spending. It further discusses what the market might look like in the near future, noting to the reader that now might not be the best time to buy a property. Not only is this article timely because of the pandemic angle, but it’s very helpful for readers who are interested in timely financial information. This is helpful to My Canada Payday — people who read this content will grow to trust them as a source of timely and expert content, making them more likely to come back to the website to use their services.
Think about what kinds of timely articles you can write that will show your readers that you’re always staying on top of the latest industry news and trends. This will show that you have your finger on the pulse, meaning that your readers are more likely to come back to your website to learn more or make a purchase.
How-to guides outline a process for a reader, often step by step. On your website, think about what processes people tend to need to have outlined before they can get started in your industry or get to the next level.
CoreCommerce has a lot of great content on their blog — one example, in particular, is their how-to guide to developing marketing skills. The article covers what some of the most important skills to learn are, including writing and keeping up with industry trends, as well as how to improve said skills. It’s a very helpful how-to guide that works twofold: it tells the reader what skills they need, and outlines how to gain them. People who read this piece of content from CoreCommerce will be able to take the next step in their industry after reading this article. This will help them trust the business more, making it more likely that they will work with CoreCommerce in the future.
Some fields have a lot of processes that can be complex to non-experts. If your field has complexities like this that need to be outlined, think about creating different how-to guides that address them. Doing this will help build trust with your readers and show you know what you’re talking about, making it more likely that they’ll spend money with you down the road.
Buying guides help a reader come closer to making a purchasing decision. These guides outline everything a consumer would want to know in order to make an educated decision about a product or service. If you have a wide variety of similar products or services, buying guides can be very beneficial — they will help your readers come closer to making a decision and trust you more. This will make it more likely that they’ll purchase from you.
REI, an outdoor clothing and sporting goods retailer, has a great buying guide for binoculars. The article covers how important it is that you choose the right pair for your needs, outlines different binocular specs you’ll come across, and more. The article is very thorough and will help the reader to determine which binoculars are going to be right for them. REI sells binoculars, making this a great and useful piece of content for their audience. People who need help finding the right pair for them can read this guide and see that REI is a knowledgeable expert, making them more likely to make a purchase.
For your own website, try creating buying guides for products or services you sell. Include things like product specifications, comparisons of similar products, and customer reviews to help the reader make an informed decision. This will build trust with readers, making it more likely that they’ll spend their money with you.
Identify your target keywords for each piece
A target keyword is a word or phrase that you know your potential customers are plugging into search engines, hoping to find a website like yours. You’ll need to incorporate the right keywords into your website content to give yourself the best chance of ranking highly on the SERPs and attracting high-quality traffic. To find the target keywords you should be focusing on for each piece, you need to conduct a bit of keyword research.
Head to a tool like Google Keyword Planner with a list of words and phrases related to your business. Plug these words into the tool, and Google will provide you with a list of keywords that people are searching for based on their competitiveness, or how hard they are to rank for, and their average monthly search volumes. Among these, you should be able to find some great content topics.
Of course, when doing keyword research, you can be presented with thousands of relevant terms, any of which would make a good piece of content marketing. To narrow it down from there, you need to choose keywords for your content that will draw in a lot of website visitors.
To start, it’s worth determining which search terms have the highest search volumes. But, with that being said, if these keywords are ultra-competitive, you risk not ranking for them at all. So, look to find a balance between competitiveness and average monthly search volumes — this will help you draw in the most high-quality traffic possible. Low-volume keywords can still bring you a lot of traffic over time, as well. Even if they don’t generate a lot of monthly searches, if you rank highly for these keywords, you can find the right people and grab their attention.
Once you’ve identified the informational keywords that are going to make most sense for your business, use them to come up with content ideas and inform the way you write. Placing at least your primary keywords for each piece in the first 100-150 words, as well as the headers, title, and throughout the body copy will give you the best chance of ranking for them. This will help give Google more context as to what your article is about and help the search engine to rank your website accordingly!
Need more help creating great content? It may be worth enlisting the help of a company that offers blog writing services. Whether you just don’t have the time to put in the necessary research, or you’re not confident you’ll do the best job, hiring an agency to help you can be game changing.
Always aim to address customer pain points and questions
By addressing your customers’ questions and pain points with your website content, you can show that you understand your target audience. This will ensure that you truly help your customers and drive more traffic to your website!
To identify what questions your customers are asking, start by checking in with your customer service team. See if there are any questions they frequently get asked — if people are getting in touch with your business with the same queries over and over again, it may be because they can’t find the answers online. This means that basing your content on these will help draw in traffic and show off your expertise.
Next, conduct some question keyword research. Head to Answer the Public with a list of words and phrases related to your niche — plug them into the tool, and it will provide you with relevant questions people are searching for the answers to. If you’re one of the websites answering them, you can rank higher for these queries on the SERPs.
You also need to identify your customers’ pain points. One way you can do this is through online surveys. Consider sending out an email to your customers or newsletter subscribers with a survey link — SurveyMonkey and Google Forms are just a couple of survey creator platforms you can use. You can ask questions about what struggles they have that are relevant to your business, what their primary concerns are when buying from a company like yours, and more. If you address their pain points in your content, say in a blog post that better outlines a process or a guide that shows how to maintain your products, you can build trust with your customers and generate more sales as a result.
Let’s take a look at a few businesses that publish question and pain point-based content on their websites for inspiration.
Cisco Umbrella, a provider of cloud security software, answers common customer questions on their website. For instance, in their article on DNS security, they outline what DNS-layer security is, why someone might choose to use it, and how it can prevent cyber attacks. It’s a very thorough guide that outlines just how good these programs are at protecting data. This is a great way for Cisco Umbrella to address customer pain points while promoting their own products. This can show off their expertise and build trust with the reader, making it a great piece of content!
When coming up with ideas for your own content, think about what questions people ask before they’re sold on your products or services. Providing the answers to these questions is a great way to address customer pain points and get people to buy from you!
Insurance Navy, a provider of non-standard auto insurance, also addresses customer questions throughout their blog. One particular article titled, “how much does SR22 insurance cost?” does a few things particularly well. It outlines what this type of insurance is, when it’s required, and, as the title suggests, how much it costs. This is a great piece of content that will provide Insurance Navy’s audience with a lot of helpful information.
On your website, consider answering a variety of related questions within a single piece of content as Insurance Navy has. This will help your readers quickly find the answers to other questions they think of as they’re reading about your product or service.
Make sure you also have a content promotion strategy
It’s not enough to just create your content — it also needs to be promoted so that people see it!
Some of the most popular ways that businesses promote their content are through email newsletters and social media.
When choosing which social media platforms to target, keep in mind that different platforms have different audiences. If you’re just looking for a platform with the largest user base, Facebook is the obvious choice. If you have a lot of content that needs visuals, Instagram and Pinterest are good options. If you are marketing to other professionals, use LinkedIn!
Let’s take a look at an example of a company that has promoted its content effectively.
Moz, an expert digital marketing company, promotes content well on their social media channels. As you can see in the image above, they are promoting their beginner’s guide to Google Analytics on Instagram. You might not think of blog posts when planning your social media content but, by creating a simple graphic that goes with the post, Moz has made a lot more people aware of what they have recently published on their website. This image alerts their followers and people following the relevant hashtags that Moz has a guide — this can get them more traffic to their website, making it a great addition to their content promotion strategy!
On your social media profiles, consider promoting new content, as Moz has. Add a unique picture or graphic to go along with it to ensure it stands out on users’ feeds. This will help get people excited about your content, making it more likely that they’ll head to your website and read your posts.
In this article, we outlined how you can create a great content marketing strategy. There’s a lot of different ways you can do this, and we’ve covered addressing customer pain points, content promotion, answering questions, and more.
Need more help running your website? Check out the CoreCommerce blog. They have articles on customer service, SEO, eCommerce, and more.
Adam Steele is the COO at Loganix, an SEO fulfillment partner for agencies and marketers. We build easy-to-use SEO services that help businesses scale. If you liked this article, please check out our SEO guides and templates on the Loganix blog.