If you are looking to expand your brand’s reach, this might not come as a surprise to you: in today’s digital landscape, compelling content is crucial for businesses aiming to make an impact online. Indeed, a 2023 Content Marketing Institute survey shows that 71% of B2B marketers consider content marketing to have been more important to their organisation in the past year.
But this kind of marketing goes beyond merely creating and publishing any random piece of content and hoping for a miracle. To get ahead in the game, you need a strong content strategy that encompasses a deep understanding of your audience, defining goals, conducting research, and implementing effective distribution plans. This might all sound like a string of buzzwords. But no need to worry, because in this article, we will explore how each of these factors into crafting a winning content strategy for the web that will boost your website traffic, engage your audience, and help you achieve your business goals.
Alas, you might be wondering…
Why do I need a content strategy?
When talking about content, many think of images or videos on a feed. And while visual content should be an important aspect of your content mix, that’s not all there is to it.
In reality, content forms the backbone of any digital marketing effort. It encompasses the textual, visual, and interactive elements that you create and share to communicate with your audience. It comes in various forms, such as articles, blog posts, videos, infographics, podcasts, social media posts, and more. So, content provides information, entertainment, education, or inspiration to your target audience. With an effective content strategy in place, it becomes a vehicle through which you can engage with your customers, build brand awareness, and establish thought leadership in your industry.
At its core, a comprehensive content strategy involves planning, creating, distributing, and managing content to attract and retain your target audience. It’s the roadmap that ensures your content aligns with your business objectives. A successful content strategy not only helps establish your brand’s online presence but also builds credibility and fosters meaningful connections with potential customers.
The 5 steps to craft a winning content strategy for the web
Now that you understand the importance of a content marketing strategy, let’s look at the 5 steps you can take to build a winning content strategy for the web.
1. Know your target audience and competitors
Do you ever wonder why certain types of content appeal to you? It might have been a beautiful image or a compelling article. Regardless, chances are not everyone you’re going to share that piece of content with will find the same value in it. This is because marketing teams conduct extensive research into their audience and you might just fit into one of their target personas.
So, before diving into content creation, it’s crucial to:
- Define your target audience: Clearly define your target audience’s demographics, preferences, pain points, and online behaviour. This information will help you create content that resonates with them.
- Research industry trends: Stay up to date with the latest trends, challenges, and emerging topics in your industry. This research will help you identify relevant and timely content ideas that cater to your audience’s interests.
- Analyse competitor content: Explore the content produced by your competitors. Assess their strengths and weaknesses, the content formats they use, the level of audience engagement they achieve, and the topics they cover. This analysis can provide valuable insights into content gaps you can fill or unique angles you can explore.
- Identify keyword opportunities: Conduct keyword research using tools like Google Keyword Planner or other SEO software. Identify relevant keywords and phrases that have a high search volume and align with your content goals. Incorporate these keywords naturally into your content to improve its visibility in search engines.
Simultaneously, you need to define specific goals that will drive the type of content you’re feeding your target audience. These might be increasing website traffic, generating leads, or enhancing brand awareness, and will allow you to create content that aligns with your objectives.
2. Conduct a content audit
If you are a business owner or marketing professional, chances are that you have already dabbled in publishing content. If this is the case, then it’s crucial that you conduct a content audit. While the word “audit” can strike fear in the bravest of us, here’s a compelling argument: according to a SEMrush survey, respondents saw a 53% rise in engagement rate and a 49% rise in rankings and traffic following a content audit.
A content audit involves systematically reviewing and analysing all the content you currently have on your website, social networks or other digital publishing platforms. Your primary goal is to assess its quality, relevance, and effectiveness.
Here are some steps to conduct a content audit:
- Create an inventory: Compile a comprehensive list of all your content assets, including web pages, blog posts, videos, infographics, whitepapers, and any other formats.
- Assess content performance: Analyse key metrics such as page views, engagement metrics (like time on page, bounce rate, and social shares), and conversion rates to understand which pieces of content are performing well and driving desired outcomes.
- Identify content gaps: Identify topics or areas where your content might be lacking or underperforming. Look for opportunities to fill those gaps with new, valuable content that addresses audience needs and aligns with your business objectives.
- Update and optimise: Based on your assessment, prioritise updating or optimising existing content that has potential but may need improvements to align with current standards or to incorporate new information.
By conducting a thorough content audit, you gain a comprehensive understanding of your existing content landscape, uncover opportunities for improvement, and gather valuable insights about your target market. This knowledge serves as a foundation for developing a robust and effective content strategy that meets the needs of your audience and sets you apart from the competition.
3. Create valuable and engaging content
Content creation lies at the heart of a successful content strategy. It involves crafting content that resonates with your target audience, addresses their needs and interests, and captures their attention. So, now that you have conducted the relevant research into your market and competitors, and you have looked at opportunities in your existing content, it’s time to create!
Here are some key considerations to make content that adds value and engages your audience:
- Diversify your content formats and types: Your content formats should cater to different preferences and consumption habits. You need to experiment with blog posts, video content, infographics, podcasts, webinars, case studies, and interactive content. Each format has its strengths and appeals to different audience segments. For example, with video content on the rise, a HubSpot report reveals that 73% of consumers prefer to watch short-form videos to learn about a service or product. So, you should consider the type of information you want to convey and select the format that best suits the message and engages your target audience effectively.
- Deploy storytelling techniques: Many marketers nowadays have identified the importance of storytelling in their content marketing efforts. Indeed, humans are wired to connect with stories. So, you can use storytelling techniques to convey your brand’s values, showcase customer success stories, or present information in a captivating and relatable way. Engaging stories evoke emotions, create memorable experiences, and can foster stronger connections with your audience.
- Maintain consistency: A strong content strategy relies on maintaining a consistent brand voice, style, and tone across all your content pieces. This consistency will help establish your brand’s identity and create a cohesive and recognisable experience for your audience. By developing brand guidelines that outline your content style, language, and visual elements, you can ensure consistency across a wide range of content.
- Focus on quality and relevance: A few years ago, social media experts were vouching for quantity over quality. Nowadays, as social media platforms and the Internet at large has become oversaturated with content, and people’s attention spans are ever-diminishing, the key is to focus instead on high-quality content that provides value to your audience. Research thoroughly, fact-check your information, and ensure accuracy in your content. Additionally, prioritise relevance by staying up to date with industry trends and current events. You need to create content that addresses the latest challenges, offers practical solutions, and provides actionable insights.
Experiment with different content types, such as blog posts, videos, infographics, and podcasts, to cater to varied preferences. Additionally, you need to develop a content calendar to ensure consistency and plan for timely and relevant content topics.
4. Research appropriate distribution channels
Creating valuable content is just the first step. To maximise its reach and impact, you need to develop an effective content distribution plan. This plan outlines the channels, tactics, and strategies you’ll employ to ensure your content reaches and engages your target audience.
Here are some key considerations for implementing an effective content distribution plan:
- Know your audience and channels: Now that you understand who your target audience is, you should know where they spend their time online and which channels they prefer. This could include social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, or industry-specific forums and communities. By identifying the channels your audience frequents, you can focus your efforts on reaching them where they are most likely to engage with your content.
- Social media promotion: Did you know that 65% of social media marketers use Instagram for their content marketing? This is because you can leverage the power of social media to promote and distribute your content. You need to share it across relevant social media platforms, tailor your messaging to fit each platform’s unique characteristics and engage with your audience by responding to comments and fostering discussions.
- Email marketing: Build an email list of subscribers who have expressed interest in your content or products. Send regular newsletters or email updates to your subscribers, featuring your latest content. Email marketing allows you to maintain direct communication with your audience and nurture relationships over time.
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): Seeing that 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine, you simply cannot ignore SEO in 2023. By optimising your content for search engines, you will increase its visibility and organic reach. To do so, you need to conduct keyword research to identify relevant keywords and incorporate them naturally into your content. Don’t forget to optimise meta tags, headlines, and URLs, and ensure your website has a search engine-friendly structure. Quality content coupled with effective SEO practices improves your chances of ranking higher in search engine results and attracting organic traffic.
- Guest blogging: Guest blogging allows you to tap into the existing audience of other websites and establish yourself as an authority in your industry. Seek opportunities to contribute guest posts, collaborate on co-created content, or participate in interviews or podcasts.
5. Measure and optimise content performance
Measuring and optimising the performance of your content is essential for a successful content strategy. By analysing data and insights, you can understand how your content is resonating with your audience, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to optimise your strategy.
Here are some key considerations:
- Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Define your content KPIs based on the goals established in Step 1. These could include metrics such as website traffic, page views, engagement rates, conversion rates, social media reach, or email open rates. Establishing clear KPIs allows you to track the success of your content efforts and measure progress over time. This way, you can identify top-performing pieces of content, those that are underperforming, and patterns or trends in user behaviour.
- Utilise analytics tools: Leverage analytics tools such as Google Analytics, social media analytics, or email marketing platforms to gather data about your content’s performance. Use these insights to understand what content is resonating, where your audience is coming from, and how they interact with your content.
- Content A/B testing: Experiment with A/B testing to compare the performance of different variations of your content. You can test different headlines, visuals, calls-to-action, or content formats to identify which elements resonate better with your audience. Some popular A/B testing tools include Google Optimize, Optimizely, VWO, Crazy Egg, and ClickTale. They offer a variety of features and benefits, so it is important to choose one that meets your needs and budget.
- User feedback and surveys: Collect feedback directly from your audience through surveys, comments, or feedback forms. This qualitative data can provide valuable insights into how your content is perceived, what resonates with your audience, and areas for improvement. Pay attention to both positive feedback and constructive criticism to refine your content strategy.
- Continuous learning and adaptation: The digital landscape and audience preferences are constantly evolving. Stay updated with industry trends, emerging content formats, and new platforms. Embrace a culture of continuous learning, experimentation, and adaptation. By staying agile and responsive, you can refine your content strategy and stay ahead of the curve.
Now that we’ve come to an end, you might be wondering where you can learn more about content strategy for the web. The good news is that several authoritative publishers in this field share high-quality advice and in-depth guidance. A few notable examples include:
- Content Marketing Institute (CMI): They offer a wealth of resources, including articles, guides, research reports, and industry events, covering various aspects of content marketing.
- HubSpot: This is a well-known inbound marketing and sales platform and their blog covers a wide range of topics related to content strategy, creation, distribution, and measurement.
- Moz: A prominent name in the field of search engine optimisation (SEO), they also provide valuable content marketing resources.
- Neil Patel: He is a renowned digital marketer and entrepreneur who shares his expertise in content marketing through his blog, videos, and various online resources.
- Social Media Examiner: Their articles and resources cover social media strategies, content creation, distribution, and measurement.
- Copyblogger: They offer practical advice, tips, and courses on content creation, writing compelling copy, and building successful content strategies.
- MarketingProfs: They offer articles, research, webinars, and online courses to help marketers enhance their content marketing skills.
Successful content strategies
Coming back from the realm of theories and hypotheticals, let’s now look at some examples of businesses that have been ahead of the game by implementing successful content strategy for the web.
First, we have Adobe, which has developed a strong content strategy that revolves around education and thought leadership. They provide valuable resources, such as blog articles, whitepapers, webinars, and tutorials, to empower their audience with knowledge and skills related to creativity, design, and marketing. Adobe’s content strategy positions them as a trusted authority in their industry, helping them build strong relationships with their target audience.
In the B2B space, there are also numerous cases of successful content strategies, such as Deloitte, a professional services company specialising in consulting, tech, auditing, and more. By leveraging its breadth of insights, Deloitte positions itself as a thought leader through long-format articles.
Although similar in format, CB Insights takes a different approach to its written content. Their newsletter content, while sharing some of the most thorough insights on technology, venture capital (VC), and emerging businesses, doesn’t take itself too seriously. With subject lines like “so sad: tough to have a VC dad,” and rife with gifs and memes, they have managed to carve out a space of their own with humorous yet relevant content.
Crafting a winning content strategy for the web requires a thoughtful and strategic approach. By understanding your target audience, setting clear goals, conducting research, creating valuable content, implementing effective distribution plans, and measuring performance, you can develop a strong content strategy that drives success. Remember, it’s not just about producing content but creating a content experience that resonates with your audience, establishes your brand, and drives your business forward.
By following these simple steps and leveraging the power of a distinct voice, you can develop a successful strategy that brings your brand to life, captivates your audience, and achieves your business objectives.
Remember, a well-planned content strategy is an ongoing process.
How we can help
While the Internet is full of comprehensive content strategy tips, sometimes it can take entire an entire team to effectively put a plan into action.
This is where we come in.
Dusted is a specialist strategic branding, activation and digital agency. We work with some of the most ambitious, innovative and game-changing businesses in the world, blending strategy, creativity and technology to solve their branding and multi-channel activation challenges.
If you need help positioning your digital brand in a niche market, understanding audience behaviour and developing your content plan to meet your marketing goals, don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your content needs!