If you’re trying to get page #1 or even #1 on Google, here’s a secret to boosting your position: have a great content strategy.
Your content strategy should focus on producing quality content, connecting with your audience, and measuring your successes and failures. Don’t just produce content for content’s sake.
Let’s see what makes a good content strategy and how to create it.
Step #1: Define Goals for Your Content Strategy
Good content is created for a purpose, and that purpose should be clearly defined. Ask yourself if you are creating content to increase brand awareness, generate leads, convert users, attract past customers, improve search results or something else.
Once you’ve clearly defined your goals, you can determine if a content strategy is really the best way to achieve them.
Don’t assume that content is the best option in all situations.
For example, content may be of little use in converting users at the bottom of the sales funnel. However, it could be invaluable in driving users to your website in the first place by increasing brand awareness and organic lead generation.
Different segments of the sales funnel warrant different types of content. So you have to decide what content is best for a person at a given time. So you have the right conversation with the right person at the right time.
HubSpot provides helpful information on the types of content needed in different parts of the sales funnel. The company breaks down the sales funnel into three key areas, then lists the corresponding content asset types for each in the chart below:
Step #2: Research Audience for Your Content Strategy
Your content strategy will only be effective if you know who your target audience is.
Valuable insights can be gathered by checking the types of websites your prospects are already visiting, the content they interact with, and the social media platforms they share content on.
This can be accomplished by enabling Google Demographics and Interests for the types of websites potential customers interact with and Google Analytics for the content they interact with, as well as calculating which social media platforms your users will be based on. demographic data.
Understanding what content works best and where can also be useful in the long run. Facebook is making it increasingly difficult for small business owners to increase their reach without paid advertising. However, video content appears to be thriving on the platform, with video content “getting 1200% more shares than text and image-based content combined.”
By understanding your audience and their behavior, you can refine your content strategy without feeling like you have eggs in hundreds of baskets. Social media content creation works well for B2C companies, but not so much for B2B companies.
Step #3: Focus on Niche for Your Content Strategy
Sadly, the internet is full of content that shouldn’t even exist. Many contents are either plagiarized, or simply reposted, or without real added value. Most people don’t see 99% of this useless content because it doesn’t appear anywhere near the top of the SERPs.
To avoid losing your content in this package, create content that: stands out, is unique, has a distinct voice, and most importantly, delivers real value to readers.
The more specific and focused you are on your niche, the more likely you are to establish yourself as an authority in your field, whether your readers are looking for information or entertainment.
Step #4: Measure Results for Your Content Strategy
Measuring the results of your content marketing efforts is one of the most important aspects of developing an effective content strategy. Posting content without analyzing your users’ comments is like having a phone conversation on silent. You need to know what your audience liked and disliked and why.
Here are some of the key metrics to understand:
1. Consumption Metrics
This is the first level of information you can collect when people view your content. As mentioned earlier, and as shown in the screenshot below, you can get this data from Google Analytics by clicking Behavior > Site Content > Content Crawl. You can sort by various factors such as:
- average time on page
- bounce rate
With this data, you can find answers to questions like these:
Have you written a blog post that resulted in a huge boost in traffic? Did your users spend more time on specific content or genre? Did any content get a lot of comments or shares on social media?
2. Social Sharing Metrics
Sharing on platforms such as social media can be a great metric to gauge your audience’s engagement. Ask yourself what types of content are being shared, who is sharing, what platforms are being used, and most importantly, what content is converting. Here are the steps to know what content is being converted:
- Log into Google Analytics.
- Click on Acquisition>Social>Overview.
Then you will have a report similar to the one below (assuming you have goals set up):
Here, you have three important metrics:
Conversions: This shows you the total number and amount of conversions. They come from any traffic source, not just social media.
Contributed Social Conversions: For a contributed social conversion to be recorded, a visitor must have visited the social media site once, although they may have used a different traffic source prior to the latter part of the conversion.
Last Interaction Social Conversions: Visitors are assigned to this group if they came from social media and completed the assigned goal in the same session.
Once you have this data, you can get insight into the style of content that needs to be created to drive conversions. Also, you can see which social media platforms perform best. (Note that some niches encourage more sharing than others, so benchmark your performance against competitors with a similar user base.)
3. Lead Metrics
If your content is part of a sales funnel, ask yourself what part of the sales funnel you are creating the content for. Content should be tailored to the specific audience in each segment of a sales funnel.
Your content can attract or ward off leads, so monitor its performance and identify areas that could be improved to keep users from falling out of the sales funnel and areas that could generate new leads. The fastest and easiest way to track leads is to use goals in Google Analytics.
The easiest destination type to set up is a URL destination destination. Here are the steps:
- Log into Google Analytics.
- Click on Conversions>Goals>Goal URLs.
Click the “Set up goals” button.
4. Click the “+NEW GOAL” button.
5. Select “Template” (shown in step 7 below).
6. Type in a description of your goal (shown in step 7 below).
7. Select “Destination”, and click the “Continue” button.
8. In the goal details, you need to add the URL of the goal you want to track. The whole URL is not needed, just the final path. For example, to track www.example.com/thankyou.html, just type /thankyou.html. Here you have two optional details:
Value: A value can be assigned to the target. For example, if you sell a product at a specific price, you can add it here.
Funnel: It is also possible to track a specific part of the sales funnel by adding it to the goal.
Click save and that’s it: you’ve set up a goal.
10. To view goals once they are set up click Conversions>Goals>Goal URLs
You should see something like this:
4. Sales Metrics
For most businesses, content generation should ultimately drive sales. Therefore, if your content strategy is revenue-based, you need to find ways to measure how much revenue your content marketing generates.
Here are the steps to determine how much revenue your content generates:
- Log into Google Analytics.
- Click on Behavior>Site Content>All Pages.
You should have something similar to this:
This allows you to assign value to content. If content isn’t working the way you want, read this article to learn how to use content to increase engagement.
In summary, here is an image that visually represents the four content marketing strategy metrics outlined above:
Step #5: Listen Customers to Improve Your Content Strategy
Although data analysis can be an extremely useful tool, it only gives you black and white numbers on a spectrum that encompasses many subtleties. Access the rest of this spectrum by really listening to your customers. Your customers need to know they are heard on social media. So ask them for feedback and suggestions, and keep in touch with them regularly.
Also talk to other employees to better understand the needs of your customers. Sales teams and employees who speak to their customers regularly are better able to gain deep insight into how customers view your business. Then, by reaching out to your customers and acting on their feedback, you can collect valuable data while showing them that their opinions matter.
Virgin provided an excellent case study showing how they are using Big Data. They considered search terms used across the web, people followed on social media platforms, and opinions and interests expressed online.
Using the following data, they dug deep and incorporated it into their communications to successfully deliver the right message to audiences at the appropriate points in the customer journey. Learn more here.
Here is a flowchart of the results:
Step #6: Amplify Your Content Strategy
A solid content strategy and targeted content creation is only the first part of the equation. The last part develops the content.
To amplify your content, identify the places your audience frequents online, then post to those channels to reach them.
Ultimately, you need to think strategically to identify all the resources at your disposal and truly harness the power of employees, customers, and influencers who can help you grow your content.
Conclusion: Creating a Better Content Strategy
As you can see, creating a great content strategy isn’t rocket science, but it can be quite difficult to execute.
Expect to encounter obstacles and go through a lot of trial and error. However, once you have the recipe for success, all you have to do is rinse and repeat to see the kind of audience growth you’ve always dreamed of.
Using our step-by-step guide will steer you in the right direction for creating a great content strategy while making sure you pay attention to key metrics that can make the difference in your content success. Remember, starting your content strategy on the wrong foot is a guaranteed waste of time, and putting your content on the wrong platforms for your audience means you won’t generate the leads you want.
There’s a lot of planning behind content strategies, which means you can’t just write great content and call it a day.