Discover the 7 steps to create great content for your website and attract a lot of qualified traffic!
Over the years, we’ve seen varying degrees of success from our clients when it comes to content creation. A lot of them do it well, and we just go in and make a few small improvements to keep things flowing smoothly.
However, sometimes we spy on a new customer and find that they don’t have a clear content strategy. This is a common gap for many companies—even successful ones. That’s because many marketing directors are not focused on this activity; they are juggling multiple roles, changing course due to changing leadership goals, and working without specialized staff such as designers and copywriters. And let’s be honest: content creation isn’t easy.
The fact that content creation is difficult makes it even more critical that you create a digital content strategy for your blog and/or website. So today we’re going to ask seven questions around crafting a content strategy, and provide some realistic solutions. Because once you have answers to these questions, you’ll be well on your way to success.
1 – What are your goals?
Before you start writing your goals, your first task should be to create a mission statement. Sure, you probably have an overarching mission for your organization, but do you have one specifically for content?
If you don’t have one, don’t worry — many companies don’t. But the good news is that it’s easy to get one. You simply need to define your target audience, the type of content you will use to reach them, and the problems your content is solving for that audience.
Once you have that, you can move on to creating that list of goals. Some of them will be obvious: you want to drive revenue and sales, increase traffic to your website and/or blog, but there are others to consider as well. Do you want to be an influencer in your industry? Do you want to be more engaging on your social media channels? Taking time up front to clarify exactly what you are hoping to accomplish will pay dividends down the road.
2 – What are your KPIs for your content?
While taking the time to reach achievable goals serves as an ideal starting point, determining key performance indicators (KPIs) ensures you have clear, measurable signals to determine success along the way, from revenue to sales, and from SEO to traffic.
Any good KPI will have a number attached to it, and it can include (but not be limited to) the following:
Qualified sales leads
Shares, Mentions or Comments (Depending on the platform)
Again, your KPIs will be specific to your organization and the goals you’ve created. And don’t be afraid to be specific. Remember, these are designed to quantify success — or failure. These failures will happen, and it’s important to have them so you can re-evaluate your goals and KPIs when needed.
3 – Have you clearly defined your audience?
Who, exactly, are you writing to? If you don’t know your audience, a successful website content strategy will fail.
The first step in defining your audience — which includes email subscribers, website visitors, blog readers, and social media followers — is through gathering demographic information. Knowing the gender, education level, age and more about your audience, you can cater your content to them. Google Analytics, and the analytics tools offered by most social media platforms, can give you valuable insights into how well your content is delivering in conversions.
Know another great way to find out what your audience wants? Ask them. Getting customer feedback is a simple but effective way to know whether or not your content is striking a chord.
There’s one more crucial step to defining your audience: creating buyer personas. This will ensure that you are writing to your specific audiences (yes, you probably have more than one) effectively. Even better, it ensures that all of your content creators are on the same page, which is especially important if you’re using contractors and freelancers to create content.
4 – Is your existing content working?
Now that you’re armed with all that data, you’re probably eager to start writing new content. However, before you start, it’s important to look at the content you already have.
One of the steps we always take with clients early in the process is an audit of existing content. Now that you have goals, KPIs, and a defined audience, it’s entirely possible that you have content that is working really well for you. That means you can double down on that content — and, just as importantly, remove content that isn’t idle and identify any other content gaps.
5 – What types of content do you need to create?
Remember the buyer personalities you created? Now is a good time to consult them. The preferences of these personas will definitely help you determine what types of content to create. It’s also important to have content written for specific stages of the buyer’s journey.
Content types can include:
One powerful tool we use here is SEMRush, which lets you search by topic or website to determine the popularity of your shareable content. In addition to providing content insights, it can provide competitor analytics, influencer data, keyword alerts, and social engagement insights.
6 – Do you have an organized content plan?
This is a question that has countless answers, so let’s list all the things you should be doing:
Someone has to write content, someone has to approve it, someone has to publish it, and someone has to monitor it. Make sure everyone knows their role.
Identify key tools and resources:
This can range from purchasing video equipment to finding experienced freelance writers and videographers.
Create a content workflow:
Everyone knows your role and you’ve got talent stuck. Now you need a workflow to make sure everything comes together perfectly. While workflows vary by content type and business, it’s important to have a content production process in place — and stick to it.
Develop a content calendar:
Whether you prefer a good Excel spreadsheet, Trusted Google Drive, or modern tools like Trello, having a content calendar ensures you stay on track, especially with time-sensitive topics.
Once you have a solid game plan, you are finally at a point where you can start creating content.
7 – How are you measuring success?
Once you’ve created, distributed, and marketed your content, it’s time to return to your KPIs to monitor progress. From Google Analytics to SEMRush to your social sharing measurement tool of choice, making an honest assessment of progress is the only way to measure success, identify failures, and correct your strategy accordingly. Fixing can include adding new marketing channels, varying the type of content you’re creating, and leveraging new features.
The great thing about developing a content strategy is that once you go through the process once, it gets a lot easier going forward. In fact, many marketing directors just adjust their content strategy from year to year until their business and/or strategies require an overhaul. And even when a review is needed, it’s not that daunting since you’re familiar with the process.
Whenever we talk about content, we can never stress enough the importance of solving your customers’ problems. So as long as you remain committed to that idea within your content, you are destined for success. Ultimately, if you’ve been diligent in creating a website content plan, we’re willing to bet that you’ll achieve most (if not all!) of your content goals goals.