strategy

How to create and develop a content strategy (part one)

Recent changes to Google algorithms mean it’s now more important than ever for business owners to ensure their content cuts the mustard. Whereas in the past, dubious back-linking practices and poor-quality content had little effect on search engine rankings, businesses that continue to work this way will see themselves lose visibility in Google’s search rankings. They may even be de-indexed completely, making it incredibly difficult for any potential customers to find their site.

 

No matter what the nature of your business, ensuring you’re backing that brand with high-quality, knowledgeable content will both improve your search engine ranking and help convert potential customers into sales. This is where the content strategy comes in.

What is a content strategy? Why create one?

Before getting started with a content strategy, it’s important to understand fully just what content is. Content can be written, visual, or auditory – it includes everything from blog posts and essays to social media posts, infographics and viral video. A content strategy will help you ensure you’re producing high-quality content that’s engaging, informative and ‘relevant’ to a search engine.

Creating a content strategy

There are several steps you should take when creating a content strategy.

Have a clear goal (or a few) in mind

Spend time thinking about what you’d like your content strategy to achieve and write it down. It’s a good idea to set several small milestones rather than one big goal – it may become an albatross around your neck.

Once you’ve got your goals clear in your mind, think about how your content may help you get there. Whether your goal is to increase visibility via social media, establish yourself as a knowledge hub for your customers or simply to generate more sales, regularly producing targeted, quality content is a great way to get there. Use these small goals to develop your content strategy accordingly.

Review, review, review

Use analytics data (if you’re not using tools like Google Analytics, now is the time to do so) to help you continue to develop your content strategy. They’re designed to help business and website owners better understand what types of content are doing well, and what their readers most like to see; keeping a close eye on these trends allows you to create more of the content that’s doing the business and eliminate content that isn’t.

If you don’t know, ask

Customers value the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas, so don’t be afraid to ask your customers/readers what content they’d like to see you produce; after all, no one knows what they want better than they do. It’s also a great way to engage directly with readers, building a relationship that may pay dividends in the future.

Create a timeline

Once you have all the information you need and have set your goals, it’s time to decide when those goals will be achieved. Create a timeline, but plan to review it every so often to ensure things are still on track.  Your timeline can then be modified regularly to account for any changes in the market, or specific successes/failures you’ve experienced.

Note that it can take time for a good content strategy to take hold – if it looks like things are taking too long, don’t panic. Slow and steady wins the race.

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Posted in Content marketing, Marketing strategy and tagged , .