How an Unbeatable Content Strategy Fuels Your Business
Apr 14, 2022
Originally published in
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Content is the foundation and fuel for growth - educating, and engaging your audience while guiding them along a profitable customer journey.
In fact, 47% of B2B buyers say they typically consume between 3 and 5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales person, and “74% of consumers get frustrated when brands serve them messages that are irrelevant.”
High-quality, well-thought-out content matters more than ever, but it must be designed for the right audience, in the right format, and shared through the right channels– that’s where content strategy comes in.
A solid content strategy outlines how you plan, create, and deliver your content to achieve meaningful business goals.
Whether you're creating your strategy for the very first time or looking for ways to improve your content, follow our Content Strategy Guide to engage audiences, grow web traffic, expand brand awareness, and ultimately, increase revenue.
Marketers frequently think about “content” as long-form written pieces, but that’s just one facet. All aspects of your website and campaign strategy incorporate content – your messaging, calls-to-action, and media choices are all part of your content strategy, in addition to blog posts or thought leadership.
To set the stage, here are a few content types:
On-page copywriting: the message/value you’re conveying across your website or campaigns (examples - product detail pages, landing pages, calls-to-action, email, social, and homepage copy)
Lead generation: written pieces to attract visitors to act, like call you or complete a webform (examples - gated guides, e-books, case studies, white papers, and checklists)
Thought leadership: content to demonstrate your authority within your industry (examples - byline articles, blog posts, executive writing, and press releases)
Media: with short attention spans, visual content is one of the most efficient ways to get your message across in a more compelling way than using words alone (examples: images, videos, podcasts, webinars, infographics, GIFs, and illustrations)
Bonus! User-generated content: incorporate this invaluable “free” content into your strategy. Visitors see customers using and enjoying a product, they will be put at ease, mirror their actions, or more simply, buy your product (examples: reviews, testimonials, social shares, and influencer marketing)
Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads (DemandMetric).
How Content Fuels Your Business
Connecting with customers through well-conceived, purpose-driven content is important to establish a positive association with your brand.
As a marketer, these purposes play a big role in achieving meaningful business outcomes, leading your customers through a successful buying journey.
Purpose 1: Content Demonstrates Value and Increases Awareness
When a person has a need to fulfill, a google search is often the first step. It is best to assume people don’t know you exist, and your content is how they’ll discover your business.
Relevant content is your opportunity for pitching or positioning your products or services in a non-salesy way. It creates interest and desire by answering questions, sharing a fresh perspective, or teaching potential customers how your product or service solves their challenges.
In fact, 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content, (source: DemandMetric).
Educate customers on how to get the most out of your products or services by clearly demonstrating its value. Describe different use cases, show behind-the-scenes examples of success stories, or provide context or clarity into features or benefits that frequently get overlooked.
Speak in your customer’s language by using words, tone, or humor (as appropriate) to become more relatable and show you understand their circumstances.
Do your research, share expertise, and analyze your data to identify popular topics, questions, challenges, and goals to get clearer insight into content topics and formats to include in your strategy.
In the example, Whereoware developed an email campaign for client Cuisinart, sharing popular recipe recommendations and accessories for the popular AirFryer product.
In this way, Cuisinart creates brand engagement, offers delicious ways to use their Cuisinart product, and motivates existing customers to consider additional AirFryer accessories.
Purpose 2: Improves SEO and Introduces Your Brand to New Customers
Quality content is the cornerstone for search engine optimization (SEO) – we cannot stress enough that quality content is King/Queen.
By creating great content, you’ll rank higher in SERPs for target keywords and phrases, widen your audience reach, and increase organic search traffic to your website.
Topic relevancy is key to engage your target audience and drive organic traffic. For example, just writing a blog post on a random topic is simply not good enough.
Ask yourself, am I:
Answering my customers’ questions?
Addressing their pain points?
Engaging their interests?
Offering a fresh perspective?
Sharing new data or insights?
Spend time on keyword research to understand common search intent, phrases, and word choice. It is crucial to learn what your customers are searching for in search engines, so you create keyword optimized, industry-leading content on those topics.
Make sure to balance new content with evergreen content (content that lasts the test of time). It takes time and continuous optimization for Google to index new content and rank it higher in SERPS.
Evergreen content, updated and optimized over time, drives consistent organic traffic long-term – unlike paid ad campaigns - where traffic ceases the moment your budget runs out or you stop spending money on it.
Purpose 3: Builds Credibility and Demonstrates Expertise
Demonstrate your industry expertise by creating thought leadership - 70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles rather than an advert, according to Demandmetric.
Thought leadership– shared on your website, in third-party publications, or at events – embodies your unique perspective, demonstrates expertise, and garners trust. Your personality and storytelling skills can shine, making your content more compelling and memorable.
Creating trust will favorably widen the gap between you and the competition.
Answer customer questions and share use cases or success stories to gain pioneer status through speaking events, guest podcasts, industry bylines, press interviews, and blog articles related to your market.
Humanizing your brand also creates trust.Participate in your industry and share behind-the-scenes looks at your company and team, and then incorporate photos, quotes, or descriptions in your campaigns.Some examples include:
Participate in philanthropic activities that nurture a company culture of compassion
Speak or exhibit at a conference
Put a face to your brand by adding a Team page to your website
Take a stand (with caution) on a social or environmental issue (more and more buyers are belief-driven)
Steer clear of robot-like communication, and remember people like to do business with people.
Purpose 4: Content Increases Conversions and Topline Revenue
Even if customers are aware of who you are and what you offer, they may still have a few objections. Content can be the final push to help people decide to become customers.
Case studies, customer reviews, award logos, or security seals are all ways to boost credibility and put a customer at ease to convert.
Also, don’t overlook optimizing content on product detail pages to boost conversions. Think of your product detail pages like an interview. The customer is the hiring manager and each product they research is a candidate. How are you ensuring your product pages seal the deal? Are they providing the right information, impression, options, and experience?
Sky rocket conversions by optimizing product and service pages with unique product names and descriptions, quality and mobile-optimized product images, customer reviews, and related product recommendations. Improve your customer shopping experience with our 5 product detail must-haves.
Ensure all sale-related information is clear, like pricing, shipping expectations, and return policies. These clarifications go a long way to reduce customer friction and decrease cart abandonment.
How to Build a Content Strategy in 6 Steps
Now that we’ve recognized the power of content, follow our 6 steps in applying a content strategy to your business.
Content Strategy Step 1: Identify Goals
First, outline your businesses core values and goals. Common goals might look like: improving brand awareness, growing leads, increasing revenue, or driving organic traffic. Your overall content strategy is intended to move these objectives forward, so setting clear goals at the onset is imperative.
To establish clear goals, document:
The challenge is:
Our solution is:
We’ll achieve this by:
We’ll know we’re successful when: (use data and set measurable KPIs!)
Remember without real actionable goals, you have no strategy! You’ll routinely return to these goals to determine if you’re strategy is successfully moving the needle.
Step 2: Audit and Assess
In this phase of your strategy roadmap, focus on diagnosing your current situation. Do lots of research!
Review website activity, using tools like Google Analytics to understand popular pages or themes, audience demographics (to inform personas), average time one site, and bounce rates. Use a tool like Mouseflow, that records session activity and can show you where on a page someone clicked, scrolled, or abandoned, tracking their flow through your website.
Look for trends, pain points, and opportunities for content optimization or personalization.
Also, review your thought leadership content (volume, topics, performance success), its’ distribution channels and frequency, and determine what is working and what isn’t. Ask yourself, what is good about the content, how could it be improved ,and what is missing?
Be bold in this evaluation! For example, perhaps an article you wrote and invested a lot of time in is now underperforming. Consider how you’ve optimized the piece, it’s intended audience, and how you marketed it – is it underperforming because its not targeting the right people; it’s not shared on the right channels; not optimized for organic reach; or is it simply not of interest?
It hurts to scrap a piece you spent time finetuning, but it is better to have fewer content pieces that are higher quality and better suited for your audience, than a large volume of content that no one is reading.
At the end of this exercise, you should have a list of content to keep, optimize, and let go.
Don’t forget to evaluate the competitive landscape. Monitor your competitor’s content and copywriting, and their channel strategy to figure out how you can produce better content or get it in front of a wider audience.
Step 3: Evaluate Audience Gaps and Opportunities
One way to optimize content is to better target it to the right group of people, based on commonalities or pain points.
Finetune your audience by creating or optimizing Actionable Marketing Personas – the types of buyers to target and their buying process.
By creating personas, you better understand your audience and can tailor your content strategy to their needs. Avoid generic or broad assumptions, the goal is to create specific profiles anticipating audience segments’ specific needs, values, and behavior to create tailored persuasive marketing.
Next, you’ll build a customer journey map for each persona. This helps you find themes to build into your content strategy for different stages of a buying journey.
Customer Journey Maps - Look for gaps in the journey (awareness, consideration, decision, post-purchase) – how can your content answer customers’ questions, put them at ease, and motivate action at each of these stages?
Step 4: The Fun Part – Creating and Sharing Content
With your goals defined, content volume/types established, and audience personas/journeys detailed, let's fill in the gaps with a creation roadmap:
Content Creation: Write new content or copy, and optimize and repurpose existing content
Roles and responsibilities: assign team members and tasks
Messaging and tone: follow brand standards across imagery and messaging for a consistent tone and style
Campaign plans: use shared calendars and workspaces to keep team members aligned
Channel guidelines: determine which platforms to use to reach each user persona and what type of content to use
Internal workflow guide: a process for tracking large projects and preventing hiccups > > 1) Quality assurance: QA content ensuring its error free and optimized for all intended channels and screen sizes. 2) Create a content brief: Submit internally for a formal and/or legal review. 3) Publish approved content
Step 5: Channel Distribution
By now you have a plan, digital assets, and you’re ready to distribute your content. Popular distribution channels include:
Your business website and blog
Posting to social media (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn)
Collaborating with other brands and influencers
Distributing to a third-party publication
Running paid google or social media ads
Launching email nurture campaigns
Sharing on free platforms like Reddit, Pinterest, or Tumblr
Each channel and platform will have its own guidelines and best practices. Over time, you’ll learn which platforms give you the best response, how often to publish content, and how to achieve the content goals you created from the start.
Step 6: Relay on Your Data and Optimize
Trends in the marketing industry change rapidly. To truly succeed you’ll need to continuously test, experiment, and refine your strategy to ensure you are creating the ideal customer experience.
Regularly run reports, noticing increases or decreases over time. Metrics make up the formula of your program and demonstrate the value of your content.
Monitor useful ROI metrics like:
Time on website
Number & quality of leads
Subscriber list growth
Social media engagement
Return to the analysis in step two to decide what’s working and identify best optimization practices:
Google Analytics to identify top-performing pages and where visitors are falling off
Keyword analysis tools show helpful metrics (top-ranking pages and keywords) for any website
Heat & scroll maps show where visitors are spending more time, clicking, and scrolling to
Advanced content performance and recommendation analytic tools (like Welcome) which provide insights to improve content performance (think AI)
Identify what’s working and what isn’t and tailor your optimization or distribution strategy ongoing. The best part of digital content, you can always modify it to incrementally improve results!
The next marketing campaign will benefit from this behavioral insight to improve relevance, engagement, and results.
Harnessing the power of AI makes optimization easier and unlocks potential in your strategy. AI-driven content recommendations use user-activity data and trends to best match content to the right individual, while AI experimentation can supercharge your testing abilities to test messaging, images, formats, and audiences and gain immediate data to improve performance.
When to update your Content Strategy?
Analyzing results and measuring content is the single most important step that influences what gets changed. Working on a 90-day schedule provides ample time to collect results, allowing flexibility to respond to changing influences and adjust accordingly.
_ _ _
Building a content strategy might sound like a lot of work, but the benefits highly outweigh creating content aimlessly - that takes up time and achieves little to nothing towards your business goals.
Your content strategy is something you refine over time and is a long-term investment. Publishing greater volumes of content, and running experiments results in a large abundance of data you’ll have to work with, and the better you’ll understand your audience.
Are you ready to level up your digital strategy but aren’t sure where to start? This is where we come into play. Get in touch and see how we can help you achieve a winning Content Strategy.
Let's Talk About How to Elevate Your Content Strategy
Let's Talk About How to Elevate Your Content Strategy