Creating and optimising a digital content strategy isn’t just for new brands.
Established companies, bloggers, and agencies should also evaluate the effectiveness of their content marketing.
Remember that adaptability is paramount to sustainable marketing success.
It’s more than just keeping up with the latest trends and “hacks."
If you want to stay on top of your content marketing game, you need to examine your results and let the numbers show you the way forward.
We have a lot to cover, so let’s dive right in.
What is a digital content strategy?
It includes plans on how to create and distribute digital content, such as articles, videos, and infographics, while aligning them with business goals like raising brand awareness and generating sales.
Data from the CoSchedule’s State of Marketing Strategy Report showed that having a documented content strategy will make you 414% more likely to succeed.
7 easy steps to create a digital content strategy
Now that you have a better understanding of what a content marketing strategy is, let’s build one.
Here are seven steps that will help you engineer the perfect digital content strategy for your business.
Step 1. Set your business goals
You need to define the business goals that you want to accomplish with content marketing.
Do this in three stages:
- Set your long-term goals
- Identify your short-term goals
- Determine your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish in 6-12 months?”
Do you want to build a healthy, active following on social media? Perhaps you’d like to improve sales. Or raise brand awareness.
Those are your long-term goals.
Short-term goals, on the other hand, are the stepping stones that will take you to your long-term goals.
Let’s say your long-term goal is to 3x your organic traffic in six months.
In this case, your short-term goals can be to ensure every single article is optimised for keywords with low difficulty but with reasonable monthly search volumes. Or that you won’t publish a single post without putting your SEO strategy in mind.
Your SEO strategy may include the following:
- Create a list of low-hanging, relevant keywords
- Build content topic clusters around those keywords
- Publish SEO-friendly blog posts using topic clusters
- Generate backlinks to your website
Another component you need in place is your KPIs or Key Performance Indicators.
These are metrics for tracking progress and measuring results. More importantly, they will tell you if your strategies are working or if you need to try something else.
In connection to the example above, here are some KPIs that can help you gauge SEO performance:
- Keyword rankings. Your search engine rankings for your target keywords
- Organic traffic. The traffic are you generating from search engines
- Inbound links. The number of websites that link to your site or specific metrics that these links possess
Remember, the example goals and KPIs above are applicable if your long-term plan is to get recurring search engine traffic.
The KPIs you need to track will depend greatly on the goals you determined. These will also decide the platforms you’ll use for performance monitoring and analytics. (More on this later.)
Step 2. Conduct audience research
Knowing your target audience allows you to fine-tune pretty much every aspect of your digital content strategy.
How your audience acts ultimately tells whether your content marketing strategy succeeded or not. After all, they are the ones who will visit your website, consume your content, and pay you money.
As such, your content should be tailored to their needs and preferences. You need to consider the language they use, their pain points, the platforms they use for content consumption, etc.
A direct approach to conducting audience research is to run surveys and interviews to obtain first-party data.
Run surveys using free platforms like Google Forms. It features pre-made templates you can use to gather feedback from your target audiences.
Another method to understand your audience is through content tracking. This involves tracking data to identify your audience’s content preferences and how they use your website.
Google Analytics is, by far, the best free platform marketing teams can use to track the performance of existing content.
It can track metrics tied to digital marketing goals, like average monthly traffic, bounce rate, and session duration. You can also go deeper and inspect the performance of an individual blog post.
Google Analytics gives you a bird’s-eye view of the user journey on your website. Using the “Behavior Flow” report, you can check your audience’s starting pages along with further interactions—including pages where they usually leave.
Just remember that, in the upcoming Google Analytics 4, the Behavior Flow report will be replaced by “Exploration” templates you can use to track your users’ journey.
Step 3. Build audience personas
An audience persona is a fictional, detailed profile that reflects the characteristics of your ideal consumer. It includes details like their age, interests, education level, job title, and goals.
Personas help you produce content that speaks to your target audience in a more personal and compelling way.
They help you understand the language they use, the topics that matter to them, and the main considerations in their decision-making process.
HubSpot’s Make My Persona tool is perfect for creating a visual buyer persona.
Step 4. Do keyword research
Conduct keyword research, so your content development and marketing strategies are founded on hard cold data.
Keyword research helps you generate content ideas, calibrate your SEO strategy, and optimise different elements of your content.
An effective digital content strategy banks on a list of lucrative, well-targeted keywords. This includes keywords that your target personas use to find relevant content based on where they are in the sales funnel.
There’s no shortage of keyword research tools out there that can help you build your target keyword list.
Keyword Magic Tool by Semrush, for instance, is a good choice when it comes to digging up potential target keywords for content marketing.
All you have to do is enter any relevant keyword and hit ‘Search.’
Keyword Magic Tool will then expand your keyword into hundreds of long-tail target keywords.
The results include crucial keyword metrics, like search volume and keyword difficulty. These allow you to use data to pick the right targets for your digital strategy.
When choosing target keywords for your content marketing strategy, remember to use filters to extract content ideas that fit different stages of the sales funnel.
For example, if you want keywords for users in the awareness stage, look for “how to” keyword ideas.
With Semrush, you can filter keyword results based on user intent, be it informational, navigational, transactional, or commercial.
Step 5. Use keywords to brainstorm content ideas
Your audience personas and target keywords are ready. You’ve also set your short-term and long-term business objectives.
It's time for you to brainstorm fresh content ideas.
You need content ideas that are:
- Tailored to your audience persona’s needs and preferences
- Optimised for your target keywords
- Contributes to accomplishing your business goals
Suppose your goal is to generate more leads for your email marketing online course.
First, you need to create content that makes people interested in email marketing.
If your main target keyword is “email marketing,” you need informational, question-based keywords that contain terms like “how,” “why,” and “what.”
Semrush makes it easy to find these keywords using its advanced filter system.
Another tool for brainstorming keyword ideas is AnswerThePublic. Just enter a seed keyword and let the tool do the rest.
Finally, you need to refine your list of keywords into titles or headlines before writing and loading them into your editorial calendar.
If you look around the internet, you’ll find a handful of tips for writing click-worthy content titles.
Here’s a piece of advice: Use the Headline Analyzer from CoSchedule.
Headline Analyzer works by analysing your content title ideas and providing actionable suggestions. It scores headline ideas based on factors like word count, reading grade level, clarity, and skimmability.
Step 6. Create killer content
You now have everything you need to create high-quality content that will help you reach your marketing goals.
Content creation is a critical step in any brand’s content marketing strategy. It’s also the most elaborate—thanks to the number of complexities that go into producing killer content for marketing.
Start by checking out my top 5 tips for creating high-performing content. Once you’re done reading, here are additional you and your content writing team need to keep in mind:
- Speak the language of your target audience persona. Are your target readers old and educated enough for the technical terms you’ll use? What are the main concerns you need to address in your content?
- Add internal links to relevant posts. Injecting internal links to relevant posts will not only encourage readers to see more of your website. It’s also a great way to spread “link equity” over your content library, which will improve your website’s overall rankings.
- Automate the proofreading process. Using an automated writing assistant like Grammarly to streamline proofreading will shave hours off of your writing process. Other than correcting spelling and grammar mistakes, it also helps you tweak your language and word usage to maximise readability.
- Use the right formats. Blog posts, videos, infographics, online courses, eBooks, and white papers—you need to learn how to use different content formats to maximise your strategy. As always, your decision should be based on your marketing goals and your audience personas.
Step 7. Bring it all together
Nice work—you’re nearly done creating a solid content strategy for your brand.
It’s time to bring everything together into an accessible project management system where everyone in your team can be on the same page.
One of the best tools for the job is Teamwork. It is a tool designed to bolster brainstorming and collaboration.
Teamwork lets you communicate with other members, assign tasks, and track progress.
It also comes with a secure, accessible cloud storage drive for sharing files like audience personas and content strategy guidelines.
In addition to managing team tasks, you also need a system for monitoring and managing your content calendar. For that, a free collaborative calendar app like Google Calendar should be more than enough.
3 examples of high-performing digital content strategy
Do you want inspiration for your digital content strategy?
Below are some of the best content marketing campaigns from other brands you can borrow.
Example 1. WPBeginner - Beginner’s Guide for WordPress
WPBeginner created a super-detailed content pillar that addresses its target audience’s concerns and accomplishes its marketing objectives.
The post itself is spiced up with a variety of content types—from videos to screenshots—and contains heaps of internal links to relevant posts.
Example 2. Mixpanel - Engineering Blog and Customer Stories
Mixpanel did two things incredibly well in its digital content strategy.
First, they created a dedicated “Engineering Blog” for developers who make up a considerable portion of their readership.
Second, they created a comprehensive “Developer Docs” library to help their audience with the technical aspects of the platform.
Example 3. Supermetrics
Supermetrics uses a fully-loaded content marketing strategy with formats like templates, webinars, a podcast, and a library of technical documentation. This helps them convert their audience from the awareness stage all the way down to the purchase stage.
FAQs for creating a digital content strategy
Question 1. What is a good content strategy?
A great content strategy factors in your business goals, target audience personas, and target keywords. It outlines how content will be researched, developed, published, and tracked.
Question 2. What are the 3 components of content strategy?
On a fundamental level, a content strategy has three main components: brand goal alignment, content development, and target audience research. Tasks such as keyword research and content distribution fall under content development and audience research.
Question 3. Why content strategy is important?
A content strategy ensures you always produce content that brings you closer to your marketing goals. It ensures readers get the information and experience that leads them deeper into your sales funnel—thus, positively impacting your bottom line.
Need help with your digital content strategy?
A digital content strategy must be personalised to your brand’s unique identity and goals.
That doesn’t mean you can’t get any outside help. Let’s hop on a quick video call and discuss your digital content strategy today.