If you want to create a successful content marketing strategy, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration.
Following a checklist ensures you’ll execute all required content marketing tasks.
We’ve prepared a list to help you with content creation and overall digital marketing strategy.
Know your audience
Doing your research is a vital step you can’t start without. Knowing who is your target audience is key for any marketing strategy.
To create content for the right prospects, the first step is to do your market research and understand your target audience.
Establish your business goals
Before you get into brainstorming and planning your content, you need to establish what you expect to gain from content strategy.
The key part of creating a high-level content marketing strategy is digging into your data. If you don’t do this, you won’t know if your content strategy brings you desirable results. You can do this by going to Google Analytics, for example.
Try setting benchmarks in several areas, so you’ll have an overview of what’s working and what’s not. Types of metrics you can include in your research:
- Website traffic – to see if you successfully attract more website visitors
- Leads – to see if you are converting enough of the traffic you are attracting.
- Revenue and clients – to see if leads are converting to tangible revenue.
- Content marketing metrics – to see what content works and what doesn’t.
When you know your data and metrics, you can set goals in your chosen areas. When creating a content strategy, you can ask yourself the following questions:
- What are your high-level goals?
- What budget do you have and where to allocate it?
- How much of your time do you want to put into content marketing actions?
- How often should you publish new content?
- In what way would you measure the effectiveness of your campaigns?
- What type of content do you want to publish?
- Which tools to use for content promotion?
- How to delegate content creation to other people? (freelance writers, people from your team, etc.)
Having the information and strategy before starting the content planning and creation process will help you with planning and budgeting.
Find content ideas
Some people think that content ideas are what constitutes a content plan. However, it’s just a smaller part of the bigger picture.
Without previously researching your audience and creating high-level goals, you can’t find the right content topics and effective ways to execute them.
Now that you have done the high-level conceptual work, you can start thinking about what kind of content your audience wishes to see.
You should find topics that your audience wants to learn about. However, these should also be areas that can increase your position in search results and drive more conversions.
To find topics that will bring valuable content, you can just Google it. Yes, it’s that simple.
If you type in Google your topic keyword, you’ll immediately see recommendations. These are your potential content topics. You should also go to “People also ask” and “Related search.”
You can also go to Google Trends, where you can search both for topics and specific terms.
Spying on your competitors is another way you can find content topic ideas.
After the topical research, you should have a process to follow to find which content topic ideas and a list of keywords to target with the content you create.
See here How To Write a Value Proposition.
Plan your content
A content plan is the core of content marketing strategy. It’s different from a content marketing strategy which is more general.
A content plan is much more detailed, and it’s an implementation of the marketing strategy.
The information you should include in your content marketing process:
- When each piece of content is published
- What channel would you use for each piece of content
- The title of the piece of content
- How long the content should be
- What kind of article is each piece (pillar page or a supporting article)
- Keyword research
- Delegate tasks of the content creation
- How to promote the content
At this stage, you need to be sure that content doesn’t duplicate.
Jasper with Surfer can help you create content that is SEO optimized faster than ever!
Document the process
A solid content marketing strategy should be thoroughly documented. The repeatable workflow would give you tips on what worked and how to make it even better. You can use tools to keep track of your content marketing efforts, such as:
For visual content:
For notes and lists:
- Google Keep
For project management:
Create the content
At this stage of the content marketing strategy checklist, you should focus on creating content.
Preparing an outline is always helpful to organize your workflow. Even if your topic is very specific and narrow, you should divide it into subheadings.
It is easier for the reader to follow it and find important information. It’s also essential for ranking high in search engines.
Make sure the font isn’t too small, and it’s easy to read. Use bold and bullet lists to highlight essential information.
Don’t hesitate to use pictures and videos on your website and in your articles.
Additional tips on creating content:
- It’s hard to generate good content, but it can bring you millions of visits to your site over a long period of time.
- You don’t need the flashy design to stand out; focus on creating valuable content for people who are interested in your niche.
- Build your authority because it builds trust in potential customers. Your content should be original and educational.
- Create useful content that people actually want to read. If you’re an expert creating for beginners, use simple language and explain each term clearly.
SEO optimize your content
Content marketing and SEO should go hand in hand. Optimizing your content for search engines is the first step of promotion.
You can use tools such as Surfer with guidelines for your content and target keywords.
However, here are some general on-page SEO tips to follow:
- Your post titles should include your target keywords.
- Your post title should be unique and stands out from others on the first page of Google.
- Your URL needs to be short and include your target keyword.
- Your page has only one H1 (first heading) tag and includes the target keyword.
- There should be several H2 and H3 headings that include related keywords.
- Divide the content into short paragraphs (2-3 sentences long)
- The meta description is optimized for site links and featured snippets.
Promote the content
The goal of content marketing campaigns is to promote content. If you don’t properly promote your content, you minimize you won’t get any returns from it.
Here are several ways you can promote content:
- Send out a newsletter to your email subscribers.
- Post regularly on your social media pages and be consistent
- Schedule social media posts and pick the best time to upload
- Encourage user engagement.
- Strategically link to other websites/bloggers mentioned in your content.
- Use paid ads on various social media and Google.
- Add internal links from other posts on your site.
Monitor your campaigns
At the bottom of our ultimate content strategy checklist is monitoring your results.
If you went through the entire checklist, it’s time you checked the results made a few updates.
When it comes to SEO, it can take months for your content to rank on the first page on Google. So, your blog posts have to be updated regularly so they won’t lose their rankings.
Set a reminder in 6 months’ time to go back and check the rankings of each post. Your posts should always be relevant and up-to-date.
Apart from updating your articles, you need to constantly monitor the performance of your campaigns using various metrics.
The most common metrics to monitor are:
- Number of websites and number of page views
- Bounce rate (for website content)
- Number of email signups
- Number of leads/sales
- Number of likes, shares, and comments on social media posts
- Number of visits to your website from social media
- Number of views on videos (for video content)
- SEO rankings (for which exact keywords and at what positions it appears on Google)
- Number of backlinks
Now you should go back to your goals from a high-level content marketing strategy. We recommend creating a spreadsheet to keep track of the metrics versus your goals.
Moreover, this helps you identify the type of content that works the best and adjust your content marketing plan accordingly.
Also, it will be much easier to investigate the content that works. You will be able to remove content that does not perform well and doesn’t bring results.
The content marketing strategy checklist provided in this blog will help you get started on how to create, promote and monitor the content that drives sales. If your content is not ranking well or generating the leads you want, there may be a few tweaks needed. What strategies have worked best for increasing lead generation through content? Share them below in the comments section!