How to Build a Strong Digital Content Strategy in 8 Steps
Regardless of the goal you are trying to achieve with your digital content strategy, by now you are probably keen on the benefits that it can bring to your business. Having a well-planned out strategy will allow you to be more effective in achieving and tracking your goals.
This doesn’t mean, however, that it will be super easy to implement. You may come up against some challenges along the way and need a little bit of help and advice. In this article I’ll walk you through some of the key parts that go into any digital content strategy.
What is a Content Strategy?
Your content strategy is what you’ll use to plan and create content that will drive your marketing efforts. In other words, it’s the “how” of your content marketing.
One way to think about your content strategy is as a cycle of four steps:
Why do you need a Content Strategy?
Having a solid content strategy isn’t just a luxury, it’s an absolute necessity. Without a plan, you might as well be throwing your content at the wall to see what sticks. When you have an idea of who your target audience is and what they want to see, you can tailor the content towards them on purpose instead of guessing and hoping for the best.
Remember that when we talk about “content” in the context of digital marketing, we’re not just thinking about text—it could also include video and audio files like podcasts or webinars, or even visual images like photos and graphics.
Obviously these different types of content are going to be more useful for some businesses than others, but it’s important to note that “content” encompasses more than just articles.
A strong digital content strategy ensures that every piece of content you release is planned with a specific purpose in mind: whether it’s engaging your current customers or attracting new ones.
8 Steps to Create the Perfect Content Strategy
A content strategy is the plan of action for all the content you create. This includes content marketing, email, and social media.
It should outline:
- What you want to achieve
- Why you’re creating it in the first place
- Who your audience is and what they need from your brand
- How you’ll measure success
If that sounds like a lot, don’t worry—you can break it down into eight steps. Here’s how to build a strong digital content strategy in eight steps:
Step 1 – Figure out your goals
If you don’t have a specific goal in mind for building your content strategy, you’re already on shaky ground. What do you ultimately want to achieve through this? A solid understanding of what the customer wants and needs should be the basis of all your marketing.
And content marketing is no different. This is where you listen to your customers and find out what they need, then use that information to build a stronger relationship with them.
If you can’t articulate what you’re trying to accomplish with your digital content strategy, it’s very likely that it won’t be successful. Start by setting some concrete goals:
- Business Goals
- Increase lead generation
- Increase site traffic
- Increase sales (online or offline)
- Marketing Goals
- Build brand awareness or improve brand perception/reputation
- Build engagement (comments, likes, shares)
Step 2 – Understand your audience
You have to understand your audience before you can create the best content for them. This is a crucial step, because it will dictate how you structure your content strategy later on. So first, spend time learning about what kind of content your target audience likes most. Then figure out where and how they like to consume it.
Do they prefer videos? Blog posts? Infographics? Short-form or long-form content? What’s their ideal frequency for consuming new content? You should want to get deep into the minds of your audience members by asking yourself questions like these.
The key here is to learn as much as possible about how your audience prefers to consume digital content so you know where and how to reach them with yours in the future.
Step 3 – Find keywords and topics for your content
Now that you have a list of topics and keywords, it’s time to compare them to what already exists on your site. You’ll use tools like Google Search Console, SEMrush, BuzzSumo and Ahrefs to help you hone in on what content is performing well (whether based on search volume or social reach)
and find any content gaps.
If you have existing content that covers a keyword but isn’t ranking well, you can use the tools above to figure out why that may be the case.
It might need editing or more links pointing to it — or it may just need some promotion via social media.
If there’s a keyword for which your website has no relevant landing page, then it’s time for you to create one! Make sure it is completely optimized for the topic before publishing so it stands as good a chance as possible of earning high authority from Google early on.
4. Decide how often you’re going to publish new content.
If you are going to produce content on a daily basis, you need a plan that covers what topics will be posted and at what time. This will not only help your readers know when they can expect new content but also keep you accountable for delivering it.
If you decide to post less frequently, say every two weeks or monthly, then having all of your planned topics set for that period is crucial as well.
Once you’ve decided how often you’re going to publish new content, it’s time to set your schedule. Determine how many days will be dedicated to different types of content and then assign specific topics for each day. If you plan on publishing daily, keep your weekdays and weekends free for
If you plan on posting weekly, then you’ll need to consider which days work best for your schedule. If it’s easier for you to post on Tuesday and Thursday, that is what you should do.
Step 5 – Create a schedule for content creation, publishing, and promotion
Create a schedule of when you will work on content, when you will publish it, and when you will promote it.
Manage your time well by using a calendar to keep yourself accountable and finishing tasks on time. You might also consider using a task management tool to help manage your workload and stay focused.
Understand that tracking multiple deadlines can be difficult, so don’t forget to ask for help from other departments if needed.
Once you have a plan for content creation, publishing, and promotion, set your goals and stick to them! As with any new project or goal, it’s important to create a social media calendar (see below) that will help make sure everything runs smoothly.
6. Use social media to find influencers in your niche, and read their top articles.
Follow influencers in your niche on social media and read their top articles. Pay attention to how often they share other people’s content, and take note of what type of content is typically shared.
Share their content when appropriate and comment where appropriate. This can help build your
brand as an industry expert.
Establish your own brand by writing guest posts for influencers’ blogs, like I did. Not only will you get exposure from being published on popular blogs, but you can also use your post as an opportunity to link back to your own content. Guest posting and social media is a fantastic way of starting conversations with influencers.
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7. Track the results of your content marketing efforts.
By collecting and analyzing data, you’ll learn what works—and doesn’t work—in your content marketing strategy. This will help you tweak future
campaigns and make them more effective. Some good tools to use include Google Analytics (for website tracking), Facebook Insights (for social media), and Twitter Analytics (for social media).
Analytics allow you to track results over time. For example, if your Facebook page sees a steady increase in page likes over three months, you know that your content is reaching and resonating with new audiences. Measure regularly by month, not just day-to-day or week-to-week.
This will help you see how people respond to specific types of content and where your audience is coming from.
Analytics also help you see how specific content performs. If your Facebook page posts receive more likes than comments, you know that people find them more entertaining and share-worthy than informative.
Understanding these audience preferences will help you tailor future posts accordingly and produce better content that your audience enjoys—and shares.
Step 8: Monitor and optimize content performance
Now that you’ve implemented your digital content strategy, it’s time to monitor how well it’s working.
The key metrics you want to analyze are reached (how your brand is seen by its target audience), engagement (how much your audience interacts with and shares your branded content), and conversion (how many people buy after learning about a product/service through your branded material).
While the specific numbers for each of these categories will be different depending on your business, the thing to watch out for is consistency.
If one of these elements starts falling off, it can be a sign that something needs to change in your approach. For example, if you’re selling a new smartwatch but not getting many conversions from those who see or interact with posts related to the watch, this could mean that the price point is too high or the messaging isn’t resonating with buyers.
You may have to regroup and figure out what adjustments need to be made before trying
The best way to measure success? Engagement rates—which refers how many people actually engage with the piece of content (by sharing it on social media, liking it on Facebook when they see it in their newsfeeds) vs. how many people view or click on it.
Good engagement rates means that viewers find value in what you’re putting out there and are willing share/like it—a very good sign as far as metrics go!
Just like every other step along the way of building a digital marketing strategy, don’t get discouraged if you don’t start seeing results right away:
Rome wasn’t built in a day! A good rule of thumb is to wait at least six months before making any major changes–you want enough time for customers’ behaviors towards your brand to change organically based on what they see online.
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Frequently asked questions.
1. What are some of the main challenges of digital content strategy, and how can they be overcome?
One of the main challenges of digital content strategy is that it can be challenging to keep up with the ever-changing trends in marketing. Additionally, you need to create engaging and interesting content that will appeal to your target audience. This means being on trend but also staying true to your brand’s values and mission.
Another challenge is relating complex technical subjects in a clear and user-friendly manner. You need to find a way to make information accessible without dumbing it down or sacrificing accuracy. And lastly, ensuring that all your content is optimized for search engines can be time consuming and nervewracking, but it is definitely worth undertaking if you want your website or blog to rank well in Google searches.
By using effective SEO techniques, integrating social media into your online presence, and continually updatingyour site with fresh material, you should be able not only to achieve better search engine rankings but also build an engaged fanbase who will appreciate the qualitycontentthatyou produce!
2. What is the difference between digital content strategy and content marketing?
While they share some commonalities, there is a big difference between digital content strategy and content marketing. Digital content strategy focuses on the planning and execution of high-quality, longform digital media that meets the needs of your target audience. This may include creating articles, creating videos or podcasts, or designing infographics.
Content marketing, in contrast, is an approach to selling and promoting products or services by Creating valuable user experiences that encourage people to act on what they learn. It includes everything from writing engaging blog posts to executing social media campaigns that generate leads and drive traffic back to your website.
Both strategies are essential for success in today’s online world where consumers are increasingly bombarded with competing information sources.
3. Is it important to keep track of all your competitors’ websites in order to stay ahead of them in the market?
No, it is not necessary to keep track of all your competitors’ websites in order to stay ahead of them in the market. However, it can be helpful to do some keyword research and analyze which keywords are being used on their sites and what strategies they might be using to attract traffic.
This information can then be incorporated into your own site’s content strategy or marketing plans.
Always make sure that you are using effective SEO tactics so that your website ranks higher for the relevant keywords. Additionally, staying up-to-date on industry trends will help you to create engaging and interesting content that consumers will want to read time and time again.
If you want your content strategy to be successful, then, by all means, start with a good foundation. You’ll avoid wasting time and effort on tactics that won’t have an impact. You’ll be better able to predict which digital content marketing strategies will work best for your business. And, you’ll know exactly how to create good content for your ideal customers and improve existing offerings quickly.
Now, go build your digital content strategy! And let us know how it goes. We’d love to hear from you.