Digital

20 Step guide to creating an effective digital content strategy

Content is one of the strongest ways to build alignment with your brand’s target audiences.

What’s even more important is your organisation’s ability to attract attention online as more and more consumers embrace the age of digitalisation.

Ensuring your business has an effective digital content strategy can build brand loyalty and increase sales.

This article will cover the in-depth process behind building an online content management strategy so your organisation can create one that will empower your business and its customers.

What Is a Digital Content Strategy?

To first understand a digital content strategy, we’ll break down the content strategy.

A content management strategy is the process of planning and managing all media assets, traditional and digital, that your organisation owns.

 

Image Souce Pixabay

 

The strategy ensures that all content is useful and usable and is a strategic marketing approach focused on distributing valuable and engaging content to customers through predetermined channels.

A digital content strategy is all of the above except the focus is on digital channels including social media, websites, email campaigns, mobile, and more.

Why Do You Need a Digital Content Strategy?

While traditional forms of advertising are still important, digitalisation is quickly accelerating the landscape. People are more inclined to visit your social media and website versus spotting your billboard, poster, or TV ad.

It’s critical to consider how your company will attract and appeal to consumers online because you can reach far more consumers this way than solely focusing on people within your city or state.

Why Do Marketers Need to Create a Content Marketing Strategy?

Ultimately, a content management strategy puts all of your assets into play with a specific purpose in order to increase revenue and customer retention.

When you layout which channels your content is going to appear and push marketing initiatives based on data acquisition, the chances of your brand’s success skyrocket.

 

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Image Source Unsplash

What Do I Put in My Content Strategy?

To answer what needs to go into your digital content strategy, you first need to answer a series of questions to get a better understanding of the message you’re trying to convey.

    1 – Who is your target audience?

Knowing who is reading your content is essential to putting together assets that will align with them.

     2 – What is the problem you’re solving for this audience?

Once you know who you’re selling to, then you can create messaging that will address and solve their problems. For instance, if you’re targeting solopreneurs, you can address how your software can help their business run efficiently without needing to hire a handful of staff.

     3 – Why are you creating this campaign or materials?

What are the objectives you are hoping to achieve? Knowing the “why” behind your content strategy ensures you and your staff fully understand how to proceed.

     4 – Where are you planning to send your content?

Narrow down the channels you’re wanting to use. If a majority of your target audience is business professionals, you might lean more towards LinkedIn promotions and email campaigns.

     5 – How do you plan to present the content to your target audience?

Are you going to use a friendly or professional tone? Craft your material around what you feel best aligns with the personalities of your target audience and build your message to grab their attention.

     6 – When are you planning to launch your digital content strategy?

Create a timeline and strategic plan to ensure all campaigns are in order to launch at a time that best captures their attention.

How to Create a Digital Content Marketing Strategy

Now that you have a better understanding of how digital and content management strategies work, it’s time to start creating! We’re going to break down the steps to content planning so you can be equipped with the best content strategy.

 

Image Source Pexels

 

Step 1: Set Your Mission and Goals

Every effective content management strategy plan has a defined mission and goals. If you know what you’re working towards, your overall purpose so to speak, you are more inclined to develop strategies to accomplish those goals.

A significant mission will address a few things to be complete. It should address your target audience, the product/service you’ll provide, and the benefits they’ll receive from using your offering. 

Here’s an example of LinkedIn’s mission statement:

To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.

In an instant, we already understand who LinkedIn’s target audience is (professionals around the world), their product/service (connecting them), and the benefit (more productivity and success).

Your mission needs to be clear to your target audience so they can be more loyal to your brand. Integrating your messaging within your content planning and materials will increase the likelihood of consumers trusting in your brand.

Now your goals should be more focused on what you want the content marketing strategy to achieve for your business.

A list of common goals for organisations includes the following:

Step 2: Establish Your KPIs

The next best criteria to consider for your content marketing strategy is your key performance indicators (KPIs).

You will measure your KPIs to determine if your content marketing strategy is successful or needs to be finetuned.

Here’s an example of a list of KPIs you can measure and test to keep track of your content strategy’s success.

  • Set a revenue target and aim to hit it
  • Aim to get more email or blog signups/subscribers
  • Increase site traffic by a specific percentage
  • Improve your website’s position in search ranking
  • Try to increase the number of followers or likes you receive on each post
  • Make connections to get invited to key industry events

Once you establish the KPIs you want to achieve from your content marketing strategy, you will be able to be more successful with defined goals.

Step 3: Research Your Target Audience

There’s nothing worse than a brand not knowing who its target audience is. When you do not have a defined audience, your messaging is stretched too thin in an effort to appeal to everyone which backfires.

Most people want to read content that they can identify with and align with. When content is generalized, it can come off as boring and fail to create the necessary connections with the people who will support your brand.

Image Source Pexels

 

First, collect as much demographical data as you can. You can find this data by using Google Analytics or Google Demographics and Interests to discover the social media networks they use as well as what kind of content they engage with. Knowing what your audience engages with will help you create the best content strategy to increase engagement and site traffic.

Another method to better understanding your target audience is to collect customer feedback. Knowing firsthand what your customer thinks about your brand can help you implement changes that better align with their interests.

Lastly, buyer personas are a popular and effective method for today’s brands to understand their target audience on a deeper level.

Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer and describe who they are, demographic information, motivations, behaviour patterns, and goals.

Having buyer personas in your sales toolkit helps you craft messaging that is specifically built to resonate with your audience.

Step 4: Assess Your Current SEO Position

Before you launch your digital content strategy, assess your website’s current SEO position so you can test and measure performance over time. You can use a URL crawler called Screaming Frog to analyze your website’s pages, titles, descriptions, and more to see how they’re currently performing.

The software is able to discover broken links, evaluate page titles and metadata, generate XML sitemaps, uncover duplicate content, and so much more. With the software, you will receive a complete analysis of your content including, content titles and descriptions, content length, backlinks, and social shares.

An SEO audit as powerful as this is a crucial step to uncovering what can be slowing down your site or affecting its position in search rankings. Implementing the necessary changes to fix these issues can improve your SEO and increase site traffic.

Step 5: Evaluate How Your Content Is Performing

Once you launch your content strategy, it’s time to test and measure! Take a look at the set KPIs and goals you’ve set and analyze if the strategy is performing well or if it isn’t. If you’re not seeing the results you were hoping for, then make changes to your strategy and keep an eye on performance.

 

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Image Source Unsplash

 

Step 6: Identify Content Gaps

Another important step to take when evaluating the success of your content management strategy is to see if there are any content gaps.

For instance, are you using all the keywords that pertain to your business and target audience? Are you answering all the questions that your customers may have towards your company?

Ahrefs is a powerful SEO tool that allows you to study what exactly your customers are searching for through their keyword explorer tool. You can also learn from your industry’s top-performing content with their content explorer tool.

As a business, you want to be as helpful and beneficial to your target audience as can be. The more value and answers you can provide, the more they will start to trust your brand and view it as a market leader.

Step 7: Run A Content Audit

A content audit can provide an inside look into the effectiveness of your content strategy. This includes blog performance and content marketing strategy.

When conducting an audit, you will uncover what’s working and what isn’t, so you can create more top-performing content that will align with your target audience.

 

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Image Source Pixabay

 

You will have to analyze all of the digital content you’ve created and evaluate its KPIs, strengths, weaknesses, and analytics in order to move forward with the best content strategy. The content audit will help you better understand which content your target audience prefers, which is performing the best, and what isn’t working.

There is software such as Clickflow which is used to conduct successful content audits. Clickflow reveals “content decay,” which is older content that becomes less successful over time and helps you refresh it so it retains good SEO and performance.

It helps you discover the keywords your content needs to be using in order to rank higher in search engines and even helps you write better, attention-grabbing title tags and meta descriptions for better results.

Step 8: Figure Out the Best Content Channels

Before you launch your content management strategy, it’s time to determine which channels will be the most beneficial to your business. This all depends on who your target audience is.

For example, a brand trying to target younger generations may be more focused on social media outreach and video marketing, while a law firm may be more focused on email campaigns and Facebook paid ads.

Ultimately, this depends on your business, but the list of content channels your brand can post on include:

Step 9: Decide on What Type of Content You Want to Publish

When content planning, you’ll need to determine what kind of content you want to publish. This can depend on what you feel will best attract your target audience and appeal to their interests.

Many companies rely on creating blog posts and repurposing the content to push to their social platforms and email campaigns, which is an effective, time-saving content strategy.

An example of this is how Gary Vee repurposes his content to be effective with time management. He uses a reverse pyramid model to redistribute his content throughout his channels.

By starting with pillar content (daily vlog, keynote, Q+A show, videos), his team is able to slice up portions of the video and turn them into smaller bite-sized content. With one video, he can generate dozens of content to repurpose on his social media channels and elsewhere. 

If you’re unsure as to what kind of content your business can publish, consider the following list to help with your decision-making process.

  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • Videos / Vlogs
  • Long-form Articles
  • Images
  • White Papers/Lead Magnets
  • Ebooks
  • Webinars
  • Podcasts
  • Quizzes/Pools
  • Email Newsletters
  • Keynote Talks

Step 10: Focus on Your Niche

Craft your content to specifically target your niche. The more specific your content is, the more value it provides to your target audience. When content is generalised and not focused on specific subjects, readers can lose interest because it doesn’t provide any real value.

To avoid the pitfalls of boring content, pack your content with a distinct voice, intriguing content, and that stands out. The success rate increases when you focus on your niche, and your customers will appreciate it too!

Step 11: Select a Content Management System

A content management system (CMS) is used by organizations to create, manage, and track their content for content planning.

It’s a useful tool that helps keep all of your content in one place versus trying to manage several applications and tools.

The more you can make the content management process easy, the easier your job will be when it comes to testing and measuring performance.

 

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Image Source Unsplash

 

There is a variety of powerful CMS software that your business can use to its advantage. The HubSpot CMS Hub is a popular option amongst today’s brands as well as WordPress and so many more options!

It’s best to choose the CMS software that has the best features and benefits so your organisation is equipped with all the tools to succeed.

Step 12: Brainstorm Content Ideas

Now that you’ve done a lot of planning and organization, it’s time to start brainstorming ideas!

What type of content are you wanting to publish that your target audience will want to read?

If you aren’t sure, check out this list of popular content idea generator tools to help plan your content management strategy:

  • HubSpot’s Website Grader
  • BlogAbout
  • HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator
  • Feedly
  • BuzzSumo
  • Blog Post Headline Analyzer

Step 13: Identify and Allocate Resources

Before you begin launching content, it’s critical to assign roles to your content management team so all ends are covered. Content management is a laborious task because you have to keep track of a multitude of channels to determine success.

It’s important to determine who is in charge of content production.

Do you have a team or an individual dedicated to creating content for multiple channels? If so, do they have a content calendar they’re following to ensure they always have content to post on every channel?

Then determine what tools and resources you need. Which software and planning tools are a must-have to ensure you can maintain output and consistency on all channels?

Also, what does your publishing workflow look like? How often is content being published on each social channel? Establishing a pattern for your channels will ensure you’re always one step ahead in content management and not falling behind the competition.

An example of a successful workflow should look something like the steps below:

  1.     Create an outline and have it approved
  2.     Write the post
  3.     Create accompanying images
  4.     Send the post to the editor
  5.     Make any changes
  6.     Upload
  7.     Publish

Step 14: Create A Content Calendar

As mentioned in the previous step, creating a content calendar is how your team is always ahead of schedule when publishing content.

Always be a few days to weeks ahead in publishing content because you never know when business might be too busy and content slows down.

 

Image Source Pexels

 

But since your content is already planned out in the future, your team won’t have to worry about having to quickly churn out content, which reduces stress levels and results in happier work culture.

Step 15: Create Content

Time to research your content! Plan out your content with your team and discuss what issues and pain points you’re trying to hit with your content. What messaging are you going to use to encourage engagement and purchases?

Hone in on the messages and start writing out your content. Make sure to have it approved by copywriters or management before scheduling.

The last thing you want to do is schedule content that isn’t ready and has grammatical or other issues. Maintaining a strong brand perception is critical to customer retention.

Step 16: Publish and Manage Your Content

Publish your approved content and schedule posts in your CMS. Manage your content by responding to customers. Those who respond to your posts or emails, and evaluate how your posts are doing once they reach consumers.

Step 17: Distribute and Market

Make sure to distribute your content to the correct channels whether that’s through an email or social campaign. Market your content by promoting your new blog posts on social channels or having an influencer share your content.

Marketing your content is the number one way to get noticed and have consumers find you. Don’t forget to take advantage of this extremely useful way to increase traffic and quality leads.

Step 20: Measure Your Results

As mentioned in Steps 4 and 7, there are a variety of tools that can be used to help you test and measure the results of your content strategy. 

Three important metrics to be on the lookout for when measuring your results include:

Conversions

This shows you the total number and number of conversions. They are from every traffic source, not only social.

Assisted Social Conversions

In order for an assisted social conversion to register, a visitor must have visited the social media site once, though they may have used another traffic source before the last part of the conversion.

Last Interaction Social Conversions

Visitors are attributed to this group if they came from social media and completed the assigned goal in the same session

 

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Image Source Pixabay

 

Always make sure to adjust strategies so that they better perform with customers, especially if they’re providing feedback on what they’re wanting.

We Can Help You Build the Best Content Strategy with Our Innovative Websites 

At Rubber Cheese, we’re a user-focused digital agency that has been building and designing brands since 2003.

We help empower brands with their content strategy by building SEO friendly websites designed to increase traffic.

Want to learn more about our capabilities? Visit our blog today to learn more.

 

Paul Wright.
Author:
Paul Wright Creative Director

Wag is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Rubber Cheese. He has over 18 years of experience working in digital, and he merges his knowledge and hands-on approach to manage projects for global brands such as Pernod Ricard and Chivas Brothers.

He began his career as a brand and web designer, and his passion for all things design still thrives today. He describes himself as a champion of intuitive, user-friendly design, and his keen eye for detail is as strong as ever!

As a business owner and digital expert, he has a unique ability for finding and understanding the challenges that businesses face. He loves nothing more than using his creativity, knowledge and experience to develop BIG solutions.

Read more about me

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