Some tips to boost your content marketing strategy

some tips to boost your content marketing strategy

Even though content marketing continues to grow in popularity, creating blog posts and posting on social media doesn’t have the impact you need. 

To succeed with content, you need a practical and holistic strategy. In short, it will allow you to attract and interact with a defined audience and generate beneficial actions for your client.

If you follow this guide in-depth, you can map out the main steps needed to develop a robust content marketing strategy for your business. 

What is a content marketing strategy? 

A strategy is a plan to get you where you want to go. So what is a content marketing strategy? Let’s define it to distinguish it from other similar industry terms:

  • Content Marketing Strategy: This high-level strategy involves implementing and distributing your brand’s content marketing materials.
  • Content Plan: You may have heard of this plan as a “content calendar.” A content plan helps you organize the implementation of your marketing in the short and medium term.
some tips to boost your content marketing strategy

Why you need a content marketing strategy

We found that 40% of businesses still need a documented strategy. But why is it essential to have one and write it?

It helps you move from chaotic content creation to an organized system with specific goals, success metrics, and processes for continuous improvement. 

Of the 1,500 marketers we interviewed in our State of Content Marketing report, which said their content marketing strategy was exceptionally effective in 2021, 78% had their plan documented. 

The 5 Elements of a Powerful Content Marketing Strategy

An effective content marketing strategy must have these five core elements: audience profiles, brand positioning, owned media value proposition, and an action plan. Let’s review why these elements are essential and how to implement them.

1. Audience profiles 

You can only tell your brand story if you know who you should say it to. Therefore, your first step will be identifying your target audience to get your content. Here are multiple ways to achieve it:

  • Interview your current clients.
  • Research industry trends.
  • Identify who you are not trying to address.
  • Keep a close eye on what your competitors are doing.

Once your audience is in mind, you can use our free profiling tool to put it on paper.

You want to be able to clearly and succinctly communicate who your audience is to all stakeholders and anyone involved in your brand messaging.

Start by reviewing these sample audience profiles for inspiration.

Position your brand and story

A defined brand and product positioning will help you provide a consistent experience for your audience and create the right image across all content marketing channels.

These questions will help you generate ideas for your market positioning:

  • Who are my potential and existing customers, and what are their goals?
  • Who are my main competitors, and how do they bring their brands to market?
  • What is my unique value proposition?
  • What problems does my product help solve?
  • What makes it a better choice than my competitors?

Use this information to draw the main pillars of your brand story.

Your brand story is the company’s history, mission, purpose, and values. It can help you choose the right direction in your content marketing strategy by identifying the right messages and themes to convey to your content.

Focus on the following elements:

  • The hero of your story (your client) and their goals and challenges.
  • The personality of your brand.
  • Your brand purpose and critical values.
  • How your product and content can help reinforce all of the above and empower your hero.

Use this free brand storytelling template to complete this step and document your efforts. This step can be especially beneficial for small businesses and startups that can make their identities and particularities known.

Mission statement and value proposition of own content marketing media

To define your brand as a credible content source, define your media value proposition. It will help you find your differential point in your content strategy and compete more effectively. To do this, answer the following questions:

  • What unique value do you provide to your audience with your content?
  • How do you stand out from other content creators?
  • Why should readers choose to follow your content channels?

Another essential element to include in your strategy is your content marketing mission. It would help if you summarized why you are creating content and provided information about who will benefit from it.

Make sure your content marketing mission statement includes the following elements: 

  • The audience you are creating content for.
  • Their goals and how your content will help achieve them.

For example, “our content helps digital marketing managers find multimedia information about SEO and content marketing, so they can help their businesses grow through organic channels.”

Case studies and content marketing objectives 

Providing value to your audience is integral to a successful content strategy. But in addition to adding new readers and followers, content marketing must make your business grow.

Identify the objectives that your company must achieve and find out how content marketing will bring those objectives closer to your company. How many resources do you need for your content strategy, and what results do you hope to achieve?

Documenting a case study will help you better understand the benefits, costs, and risks of implementing a content marketing strategy in your company and convince those who must make decisions about its value for the company.

5. an Action plan

Lastly, list your top content marketing campaigns and projects for the entire year and add them to your content plan. Think about how you will achieve the content marketing goals that you have previously defined for your business.

Thanks to this, you can think about each step of the strategy. Be sure to include the following information:

  • Content formats you want to focus on.
  • Content themes and high-level campaigns.
  • Channels for the distribution and promotion of content.

To decide your ideal formats and channels, you will need to analyze your content’s historical performance and study your audience, as we will see later.

We have listed the main elements to include in your content strategy. Now, let’s create practical content step by step.

How to create a complete content strategy in 7 steps 

Planning for the long term allows you to anticipate challenges and reorganize your resources. These seven steps will help you develop and implement a content strategy aligned with your marketing and business goals.

As we have mentioned before, you must document your plan. You can do this in a Google doc, spreadsheet, or another format that works well for your business model and that you can easily share with those involved in the project. 

Step 1: Determine who your audience is and the story you want to tell with your content 

Your target audience is the best starting point for your content strategy or any other marketing strategy.

While your ideal customer profiles will form the foundation of your content strategy, your audience isn’t just made up of buyers. Audiences include people who have interacted with your brand long before considering a purchase.

Delivering content that engages your prospects before they enter the buyer’s journey is critical.

  1. First, draw them into the universe of the brand that you have created.
  2. Then follow them up with content that illuminates how you can cheer them on when they’re ready to act. 

Additionally, becoming a valuable source of information can help you build a community of brand advocates who will spread the word and reinforce your leadership.

Sometimes we call these people “readers,” emphasizing that it is about offering value to your audience in the face of promoting your products or services.

Red Bull is a prime example of a brand creating content for audiences, not just shoppers. Red Bull’s media are not focused on their products; they cover topics the audience is interested in, such as extreme sports or once-in-a-lifetime experiences. You can quickly identify the target audience as young and adventurous, passionate about sports and active life.

This content offers to help them identify with the brand and fosters loyalty beyond the purchase of the drinks.

Red Bull is a media company that happens to sell energy drinks.

empathy map

An empathy map is a collaboration tool that allows you to understand your target audience better. Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur describe this method in their book “Business Model Generation.”

Empathy Mapping is based on a holistic approach: by taking the perspective or point of view of your customers, you can take a step back and improve their experience based on what they think, feel, see or hear.

This framework can help you better understand your customers’ pain points and buying behavior. 

Once you understand your prospect’s current problem, the solution they need, and the outcome they envision, you can create compelling content that transforms them from newcomers to advocates for your brand.

Step 2: Analyze historical content performance and set your content marketing goals

Follow this path to define your content marketing goals:

  1. Step back and think about your company’s high-level marketing and business goals. For example, you can become a number solution to improve time management and have a specific marketing revenue goal for this year. 
  2. Consider how the content can contribute to these broader goals, which are often specific to your business. 
  3. Identify the content marketing metrics that matter to you: What will success look like in numbers? Remember to define a particular success metric for each content you plan to create.

These metrics can be primary: revenue generated from content marketing or organic traffic and the number of leads. Others may be secondary: for example, organic traffic, positioning, and actions.

To set a benchmark, look at your analytics dashboards (for example, in Google Analytics) and examine how your content performs against those goals.

Remember that we all live in a world of limited resources. Your objectives and plans are closely linked to your team’s available budget and capacity. So make sure you take that into account when setting your goals. 

According to our research, brand awareness, driving traffic, and generating leads remain the key content marketing objectives in 2022.

We encourage you to always look at the big picture and view content marketing as integral to your overall marketing strategy. An example of a global goal could be: “By 2022, we want to achieve a 20% increase in revenue created by organic content and generate 15,000 MQL with a budget of $30,000.”

Pro tip: Keep the buyer’s journey in mind when defining the goals of your content strategy. For example, B2 B’s sales cycle is usually much longer than in B2C. Therefore, multi-touch attribution would be optimal when analyzing the performance of your content and defining your KPIs (key performance indicators).

some tips to boost your content marketing strategy

Step 3: Audit your existing content

In short, a content audit organizes, analyzes, and improves your existing content. It can help you get more from your current pages while potentially saving resources.

Understanding what content works with your audience, from themes to formats, is also essential.

According to our research, 65% of the most successful companies, thanks to content marketing in 2021, carry out audits at least a couple of times a year. They generate more organic traffic, rank higher, and improve engagement, among other benefits.

Use the audit to answer the following questions:

  • What content topics and keywords work best?
  • What formats generate more interaction and conversions?
  • Which channels generate more traffic?

Step 4: Develop a high-level editorial plan and content calendar

Planning your content allows you to leverage your resources properly, see which workflows are taking longer than expected, and adjust your expectations accordingly.

Prioritize your actions

One of the essential elements of efficient planning is prioritization. If you plan your actions, you can identify the most critical tasks or things you can quickly test.

This way, you protect your strategy from big mistakes and find opportunities to run experiments that can improve your results.

You can choose to prioritize in many ways, including:

  • Potential earnings.
  • The campaign flow you’re creating.
  • What resources you will need to make your campaigns.
  • Products or services launched. 

Based on that, you can choose which campaigns, themes, and formats to choose. 

Find relevant topics

Start by looking at the general photo. What big topics do you want to deal with this year? You can cut it short with more extensive, more integrated campaigns. 

For example, a company that offers a time management app should focus on high-level topics like productivity or work-life balance. This information should come from your audience research data and competitive research.

It generates a list of topics likely to be practical and relevant in the long term. When deciding if a case is worthwhile, try to evaluate it from two points of view:

  1. If it is helpful for your target audience.
  2. Its ability to impact results.

There are some tools you can use to automate and improve this process. The Topic Research tool gives you topic ideas, related questions, possible subtopics, and headlines.

Whether you want to focus on evergreen content, create topic clusters, or leverage newsjacking, the tool suggests ideas for these strategies.

Once you’ve created a topic listing, perform full-scale keyword research using the Keyword Magic Tool. Each topic should have related keywords, which can help design your topic clusters.

some tips to boost your content marketing strategy

Create topic clusters

Creating topic clusters is one of the most effective ways to organize your content.

Topic clusters are collections of interrelated content, with a central topic covered by a pillar page and multiple related subtopics.

This organized approach is beneficial if you have many content users need to navigate through and you want to be an authoritative source on a specific topic.

For example, suppose you are a company that offers SEO services. In that case, you can dedicate yourself to pilling pages to SEO and create multiple clusters related to topics like “local SEO,” “technical SEO,” “backlinks,” etc.

competitive research

You also have to find out what your competitors are doing. Find the topics, keywords, and content formats that work best for them.

Use this free competitor content analysis template to complete all the necessary steps and discover the following:

  • The positioning of your competitors.
  • Your tone of voice and target audience.
  • The main content formats they are using (e.g., blogs, podcasts, videos).
  • The main categories of content they cover.
  • The primary keywords they are targeting (using the Keyword Gap tool).
  • Your top-performing content (using the Organic Research tool).

Design your content funnel

Before beginning the content creation process, identify the purpose of each piece. Ensure your content covers every element of the customer journey, as their needs vary from stage to stage.

Start by creating your content marketing funnel. Consider making content for each stage:

  • Knowledge: Build the pieces around users’ questions at the top of the funnel; content can also tell your brand story, educate, inform or entertain your audience. For example, thought leadership content works very well at this stage. 
  • Consideration: As you progress through the consideration stage, potential customers will want to know more about how to fix their problems. Help them understand why they need your help, how others have solved similar issues in the past, and what steps may be required in the future.
  • Decision: These pieces are designed to help potential leads determine why you are the best fit. Case studies, customer reviews, and other content showcasing your work can help at this stage, as users will be directly comparing you to other vendors. 
  • Retention: Showcase your products and services differently, fix common issues, and introduce new features. Anticipating user questions will prevent their frustration.
  • Loyalty: these pieces will transform your customers into evangelists, highlighting, for example, your corporate values ​​or the exceptional members of your team.

some tips to boost your content marketing strategy

Use an editorial calendar to organize your work.

Creating a content calendar is the most efficient way to organize all the information you have collected in the previous steps. Use it to plan your campaigns, design topic clusters, and run content production. 

Some elements that you can include in your calendar are topics, keywords, delivery dates, headlines, categories or clusters, content formats, target audiences, and metrics, among others.

Download this content calendar template kit to complete the step.

You can also use the Semrush Marketing Calendar tool as a collaborative editorial calendar. It allows you to monitor progress in real-time and connects with Google Analytics.

Be sure to share your content calendar with the entire company. You should include other teams to improve and complete the schedule. For example, encouraging the customer service department to participate can give you a customer-centric approach.

content production plan

Look for new ways to create more compelling content. You will get better content if there is no chaos around you. In the planning stage, identify solutions that can improve your content production cycles and save yourself resources. Start by:

  1. Evaluate your available resources (for example, budgets, team members, etc.).
  2. Plan a rough schedule (for example, how many pieces of content you create monthly).
  3. Find your pain points and opportunities for optimization (for example, how does working with an internal topic help the research phase?).
  4. Analyze the budget and content needed to achieve your goals.
  5. Decide if you are going to outsource content production or keep it in-house.
  6. Determine if you need a design, development, or another team.

As far as your schedule is concerned, it should depend on your specific KPIs and goals. For example, estimate the keywords you will need for your blog this year to achieve your organic traffic goals.

If you blog infrequently, it’s okay; random blogging here and there is the worst. The biggest mistake is committing to a specific frequency and not following through on your promise to your audience.

—Cindy Crestodina, Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder of Orbit Media Inc.

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Step 5: Create your content.

Content quality should be your priority, including above ranking well and producing more. Use the following strategies to create compelling content that resonates with your audience.

some tips to boost your content marketing strategy

Focus on originality

It can be harsh, but it’s worth mentioning: if your content isn’t original, it won’t capture the attention of your target audience. Your best bet is to invest in people and resources to help you research topics, suggest ideas, and turn them into exciting content.

The content professionals who will continue to stand out are the ones who know their audience (niche) best. They are the original thinkers, the creative writers, the experimenters, and the people with the chops to captivate, educate, entertain and inspire their audience.

—enneke Duistermaat, Founder at Enchanting Marketing

Avoid posting content that only focuses on analyzing your pages on other topics. Go one step further and include your unique experiences, data, research, and opinions in every piece of content. It will help you gain credibility and trust with your audience, creating a foundation for your organic growth.

This phenomenon occurs primarily in the YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) niche and sectors such as health, real estate, finance, and law.

Diversify your content

Some types of content work better at specific stages of the funnel; a particular audience prefers others. The ideal solution is to include diverse formats that will appeal to all audience members. The selection will depend on your customer’s preferences and your performance analysis.

This chart breaks down several options that you can include in your content strategy:

Remember that you can use some types of content. Instead, we recommend focusing only on those that fit your audience and your content funnel. According to our survey of more than 1,500 marketers, videos and blog posts were two of the most popular formats of 2021.

some tips to boost your content marketing strategy

Reuse your content

Once the content has been published, reuse it for those readers who prefer a different format. Here are some easy ways:

  • Turn an article into an infographic, presentation, podcast, or video.
  • Segment an extended essay or video into shorter pieces that you can post as a series.
  • Combine quick content to create a longer white paper or essay.
  • Use blog articles to create snippets and images for social media.

Take advantage of user-generated content.

Include user-generated content (UGC) in your narrative to grow your reputation. Reviews, comments, images, and videos add legitimacy to your claims. Also, collecting and sharing this content is easy and saves you a lot of resources. 

For example, one of the top content marketing cases we’ve added to our 2022 list includes a very effective UGC element: Apple’s iPhone campaign encouraged iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Max users to share their photos with the macro option of the device.

Step 6: Plan content distribution

Creating relevant and quality content is essential to succeed in content marketing. However, ensuring you reach the right audience at the right time is just as important. This is where content distribution strategies come into play.

As a starting point, try visualizing the media mix. You can see below how own, earned, and paid media work together:

In other words, content distribution aims to use organic and paid channels to publish and promote your content. When you design your strategy, identify the main channels you will target, analyze their historical performance and assess what you can improve.

Also, exploring new channels is always a good idea. For example, are you making the most of your opportunities from influencer marketing and collaborations?

According to our research, the most popular distribution channels in 2021 included social media (organic and paid), email marketing, and organic search.

Your resources should go to the channels where your audience spends the most time. Your knowledge of your audience and their behavior should determine which channels are included in your mix.

some tips to boost your content marketing strategy

Optimize your content for organic searches

In our recent analysis of 10 specific industries, organic traffic accounted for between 70 and 80% of all websites. Although ranking is more complicated than ever, organic search should still be a crucial part of your content strategy.

To achieve optimal results, you must multiply the quality of your content and its optimization.

Content optimization ensures that your copy has the best chance of achieving its goals, whether ranking on search engines or converting your leads into conversions.

The user experience should be your primary concern in this process. Evaluate the following items:

  • The readability of your text.
  • Its structure.
  • The presence of visual elements.
  • The tone of voice.

some tips to boost your content marketing strategy

Taking care of the technical aspects is also essential: for example, keyword strategy, interleaving, meta tags, etc.

To authorize steps in this process, use Semrush’s SEO Writing Assistant —a tool that helps optimize your content for users and search engines.

It will evaluate your texts based on four criteria: readability, SEO, originality, and tone of voice. Next, you’ll highlight all the snippets that need an upgrade.

Use the SEO Writing Assistant to automate the content optimization process.

Step 7: Constantly analyze the performance of your content

Analyzing the performance of your content is the best way to discover what fits your audience. It also helps you discern if your marketing efforts are paying off. 

According to our research, in 2022, only 66% of marketers audit their content regularly.

This is how you can do it:

  1. Set up your analytics: You can use Google Analytics or the Semrush Position Tracking tool.
  2. Evaluate the goals you have set for your content strategy. For example, you can monitor whether you are reaching your desired income by looking at quarterly performance.
  3. Set specific KPIs for each piece of content and measure them during the audit process.

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some tips to boost your content marketing strategy

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