How to create a successful content marketing strategy?

Did you start developing more and more content for your brand, but do not see any results?

Content itself is not enough, you need a content strategy plan.

In this article, you will find some tips from our Content Marketing experts at LeadStream, to adopt the best content marketing strategy and succeed in 2021.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a marketing approach that is focused on creating relevant, valuable, and consistent content, in order to attract and retain your audience.

Instead of spending time pitching services or products, you are giving users useful and relevant content that helps them solve issues.

Content marketing is a long-term strategy that is part of your overall digital marketing plan. It can help you build solid relationships with your target audience by giving them relevant, quality content regularly.

Why Is Content Marketing Important in 2021?

Content marketing is still important in 2021 to every business for the simple reason that it is what people want.

One thing we can’t deny is that humans are more connected now than ever. They are constantly looking for new content, whether it is for entertainment or informational purposes.

They want engaging, relevant, high quality, and useful information about things that are important to them.

That is why we do not recommend focusing only on ads. Why? First, many people are now using ad blockers, so your ads can’t be seen. Second, ads do not create a bond with your audience.

If you want to create long-term relationships and retain your customers, you need the right content marketing strategy.

Even though it is evolving, content is still king. It can cost less than other outbound tactics and still generate many more leads in the long run.

The most popular forms of content in 2021 are going to be voice search and video.

How to Create a Successful Content Marketing Strategy?

A successful content marketing strategy can be broken down into seven steps.

1. Set Your Goals and KPIs

A starting point is to have a content marketing mission statement. This step makes it easier to focus on what is important when creating your content.

The mission statement includes your target audience, content you are using to reach them, and the benefit they will get from your efforts. This will allow you to set the right goals.

The best way to set your goals is to have them be more than measurable and specific. They should be SMART. 

You may be familiar with the concept of SMART goals, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

For example, you may want to target a specific number of email subscribers as a goal, hit a certain revenue target for the quarter, or improve your search ranking of a few positions after an X amount of time for some keywords in order to boost traffic.

2. Know Your Audience

In order to get to know your audience, there are three things you need to do.

The first is to collect demographics on your social media followers, email subscribers, and website visitors. You should accumulate data on income, education, gender, and age.

Also, try to get insight on their interests using Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics and Facebook Page Insights.

The second step is to get customer feedback. This gives you insight into how they feel about how you are currently doing, what their needs are, and how you are able to address their problems.

The third step is creating buyer personas. These describe your ideal customers so you are able to target content better. The best personas have information on your customer’s challenges, behavioral motivators, and sources of information.

3. Run a Full Content and Internal Resources Audit

You likely already have content out there. This includes what’s on social media, content on your blog, and any current videos and podcasts.

To do an audit, log all the pieces of content, look at the success of the content, and identify the gaps.

You might also want to pay attention to how your content compares to your competitors and learn how new content fits the market.

Once you have logged all of your content, look at how useful each piece of content is. You want to pay attention to key metrics such as the presence of links, the keywords associated with that content, and if it is shared. You can then figure out where the gaps are.

You may find there are gaps with keywords you aren’t targeting, questions you aren’t answering, or content that is beginning to rank well but can also be improved.

You also need to know about your resources to deliver your content marketing strategy.

To optimize your content creation and maintenance, you should research and find the best resources and tools, which could be both digital and human.

Once you know who and what will be in charge of creating content, you can work out a content workflow for the production process.

4. Choose Your Content Marketing System

When you are going through your content marketing strategy, you will start to see where your audience is and where you already have a presence.

It’s best to start working where your audience already is instead of trying to do everything at once.

You can use Google Analytics to see which main social networks your audience is using to add to your social media strategy.

Not only do you need to decide on the best content channels, but also the content types.

Most businesses with successful content strategies are going to have a central place on their website where content is published and later shared on other sites and to be repurposed.

That is why blog posts are such an essential part of your strategy and deliver great results.

Blog posts should be valuable, shareable, actionable, and have different article types.

Other content you could consider using includes videos and infographics.

Videos and graphics can help visitors stay on your site longer and engage with your site, which helps reduce abandonment and improve your lead generation.

5. Brainstorm Content Ideas

When brainstorming content ideas, you need to find topics that attract the interest of your audience as they go through the customer journey.

Using a topic research tool, you can get ideas for subjects to cover, as well as possible headers, subtopics, and related questions.

Use Google Trends and Keyword Research Tools. Take a look at what your competitors are covering.

This is also where your buyer personas come in handy. Because you have previously asked your audience about their main interest points, you know more about what they need as they move through the funnel.

But what’s the point of creating amazing content if no one sees it, right?

That’s why your content should also be SEO-friendly. Finding topics can be easy, especially if you’re a creative person.

However, finding the right keywords that have nice search volume and low keyword difficulty is not – as you don’t want to choose too competitive keywords -, even more so if your website has a low domain authority.

Tools like Keyword Magic Tool by SEMrush can help you find the best keywords for your next content. KWFinder by Mangools is another one that also gives a SERP overview. You can then check the websites that rank for each keyword and have an idea of what people are looking for.

Answer The Public is a great tool to check all related questions to a defined keyword.

The ultimate goal of your content is to provide value and relevance. Mix with a well-thought-out SEO strategy, your website will naturally gain visibility and traffic over time.

6. Create a Content Calendar

Part of your content strategy needs to be knowing exactly when you will publish content and what platforms you want to use.

Lack of planning is a big mistake so it’s necessary to use a content calendar in order to get your content scheduled.

There are different ways to do this.

One of the easiest ways, if you aren’t publishing a lot of content, is by using a Google calendar or any automation tools like Hubspot or Later.

If you are managing a lot of content or a lot of team members, then you can use other task management tools like Asana, Jira, or Zoho.

7. Publish and Manage Your Content

Once you have created the content, the next part of your strategy is to publish, distribute, and manage it.

You won’t get the results you want unless this is handled correctly.

For example, you will need to set a schedule for sharing content on social media immediately, as well as through a drip campaign.

You can send email marketing, using Mailchimp for example, to get your content out to subscribers. Be sure to notify influencers you have mentioned in your content to help spread the word even more.

Once content is published the work doesn’t end and you need to manage it and measure your results.

In order to measure your content marketing strategy, you need to return back to the KPIs you set at the start of the strategy and see if you have hit your targets.

Do this by checking in Google Analytics and Search Console to see how your content is performing or other social analytics tools.

You can also use Google Alerts and Mentions to see if your content is being shared and mentioned, especially if sharing and engagement numbers are part of your KPIs.

If you correctly monitor your progress then you are able to change up your strategy at regular intervals and stay up to date to have sustained success.

You can also repurpose your content to appeal to different readers who may like a different format. Ways to repurpose content include turning an article into a video or segmenting a long video into smaller pieces and publishing it as a series.

Even though methods to deliver content always seem to be changing, the core principals are the same.

Developing a content marketing strategy is going to help your company succeed since content continues to be an important part of any SEO strategy.

You don’t have to develop a content strategy all on your own. Instead, work with a content marketing agency, such as LeadStream, to help you create a winning strategy.

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