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May 27, 2022

Developing a content strategy – first steps

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Having a documented content strategy, along with a content plan to execute it, can significantly improve your digital marketing activities. Creating high-quality and unique content is an efficient way to increase the visibility of your website (we will talk about SEO too) and the popularity of your brand. Start by defining your digital content strategy. Let’s have a look at how to do it.

At NoA Ignite, we believe in strategic planning. No matter what you do, marketing or sales-related, you can get to the expected outcome by following a strategy. It’s the same story with content writing and marketing.

Defining a successful content strategy

Designing a content strategy is not necessarily easy. There are many factors to consider, while listening to the needs of your current and potential clients. In this article, we describe what to think about when working on a content strategy and plan. After reading this post, you will know: 

  • What to consider when defining your content strategy
  • How to use it to enhance the visibility of your website in the search engine
  • What types of content you can use, and for what purposes

Let’s start by answering one of the most important questions – why do you need a content strategy?

Why is content strategy important?

A successful content strategy will attract your target audience at every stage of the funnel and keep them engaged even after a conversion. According to Content Marketing Institute, 62% of B2B compagnies that regard themselves as most successful have a documented content strategy, and 90% of them measure their content performance.  A content strategy is a comprehensive document explaining: 

  • What business or company goals does your content serve
  • Who are you creating content for
  • Where and how to publish your content
  • What type of content to produce
  • And how to manage content production

After defining your content strategy, you can create a content plan to execute it. With your content strategy and plan in place, your editors will know what to communicate and how often. You will be able to distribute and promote your content, while measuring the efficiency of these actions. As a result, you can save a lot of time on your content processes.

Guide for creating your content strategy

There are no unified approaches when it comes to creating content strategy and plans. Usually, the strategy document has a form of a descriptive guide, while the content plan is a matrix, for example in Excel. There are also available templates and ready to use editorial calendars. The main rule to remember is to make your content plan intuitive and transparent. Make it easy to check, update and modify when necessary.   So, your content strategy and plan must be comprehensive, but there are several elements that need analysing and explaining. For instance, defining a content strategy for SEO purposes is extremely important. Let’s have a closer look at some key aspects.

SET YOUR GOAL

Your content plan can have many different goals. It’s important to select them and stick to them. For example, you can create content to:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Bring more traffic to your website
  • Focus on conversions and UX
  • Be more active on social media
  • Stay in contact with your current customers (e.g., through newsletters)

The content you create for each purpose should be a bit different. For instance, to attract more traffic, you might create content that answers frequent requests and is SEO-friendly. If you want to improve the User Experience, you can enhance your microcopy with the help of a UX writer, and create detailed how-to posts or educational materials. The actions your content plan defines depend on your goals.

RESEARCH PERSONAS

You need to know who you are talking to. Your current clients/users will have different content needs than people who have never heard of you. Create buyer personas and decide what kind of content format will appeal to each of them.

Buyer persona

Additionally, it’s vital to divide content by stage based on the sales funnel. The content needs of a person who’s browsing potential solutions will differ from those of someone who’s almost made up their mind. Suppose you’re offering pricing software for online shops. On one hand, someone who’s about to start that kind of business will be keen to read why the pricing strategy is important and how to go about it. On the other hand, an experienced e-commerce manager might want to know why your solution is better than others and what can be done to further improve the pricing strategy of their business.

PERFORM SEO ANALYSIS

Here, it’s all about making your texts SEO-friendly. To achieve that goal, you should keep track of your current organic traffic and perform a keyword analysis. Despite SEO is no longer about keyword stuffing, keywords are still important. Each text you produce should have a unique set of SEO requirements that includes:

  • The use of keywords (focus on those among the TOP10 when it comes to popularity)
  • Metadata (meta title and meta description)
  • Alt attributes (if you plan to add images)
  • Headings (H1-H4)
  • Internal and external linking

All these five elements are of vital importance, as each of them will help you get higher up in the SERP. An SEO analysis should be conducted for every text and post you publish on your website. Of course, you can analyse the entire website this way. There are other SEO-related elements to bear in mind. Google values high-quality, unique content. This means that, you should primarily write for your customers and users, not Google bots. Only when the text is useful and informative from your readers' perspective (potential customers) will it rank high on Google. For the same reason, you should avoid duplicate content at all costs. Forget about low quality and copy-pasting.

SELECT A CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

CMS is an online platform that enables you to add, manage, update, modify and publish the content that you create. The most popular CMS system is WordPress. Estimations are that over 450 million web pages are supported by this platform2. However, WordPress has its limitations, and this platform is intended mainly for single website owners. What to do if you manage several different communication channels, including social media, mobile apps and email marketing?

In such an advanced setup, consider an enterprise-level CMS system, or Digital Experience Platform (DXP). We have been working with them for many years now! Some of the most comprehensive and flexible systems are Optimizely, Umbraco, Contentful and Sanity. With them, you can do almost anything with your content, no matter how big your company or content team is and how many channels you have.

CHOOSE THE TYPE OF CONTENT

When it comes to content, you are really spoiled for choice! You can create and publish at least five different forms of content. Let’s have a closer look at them:

  • Blog posts and articles: The most popular form of online content, a blog is a tremendous source of keywords and backlinks. You can create posts and share them via other communication channels. You can also write articles for external websites, such as those of your business partners and clients. Blogs and articles are also perfect for educating customers, helping them make informed decisions and building the image of a recognisable, reliable brand. You can use your blog and articles to publish media content such as video and infographics. If you want to read blog posts about marketing, IT and developing an online business, visit our blog.
  • Case studies: Companies use them to highlight their expertise and potential. With case studies, you can show your previous projects and their results. You can share client testimonials and present the technology used. Case studies are great to encourage potential clients to collaborate with your company or agency. Have a look at our Circassia case study on setting up content marketing from scratch.
  • Webinars: If you want to speak to your audience and show them live presentations, webinars are your best bet. They are difficult because they require strong marketing support (to gather at least ten viewers), but once you have achieved that, they can play a significant role in educating the market and closing more deals. Have a look at an example of a webinar:

  • Ebooks: They are useful when you want to publish exhaustive material that's too long for a single article. Ebooks often comprise company and market data, customer surveys and other forms of analysis. You can also use ebooks to show how your work looks and what your clients achieve by collaborating with you. The key to success? Make your ebooks informative and useful from the reader's perspective.
  • Podcasts: If you have a radio voice, you can opt for a podcast. Podcasts are popular primarily because your audience can listen to them while driving or doing other things.

Implement, analyse and adapt

Of course, you can't expect to design a perfect content plan on the first try. It will be trial-and-error for a while, but that's ok. It's all about progress and consistency. Analyse everything you do that is content-related and align your efforts with your findings. Sometimes you will have to let go of ways that are not effective and stick with those that work well. It's part of the process.

Create your content with NoA

At NoA Ignite, we help companies of all sizes grow online through content creation. Our advisors can help you implement an effective content strategy and measure its results. Do you want to know more? Simply drop us a line or schedule a free consultation. We are looking forward to hearing from you!

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Author

Elisabeth Oruba

Elisabeth is a Client Director and Advisor with over 12 years’ experience in digital content services. She supports global organisations in growing their business with strategic content management, content localisation and optimisation.

Contact Elisabeth: elisabeth.oruba@noaignite.com

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