Recent changes to Google algorithms mean itâ€™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 Googleâ€™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 youâ€™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, itâ€™s important to understand fully just what content is. Content can be written, visual, or auditory â€“ it includes everything from blog posts and essays to social media posts, infographics and viral video. A content strategy will help you ensure youâ€™re producing high-quality content thatâ€™s engaging, informative and â€˜relevantâ€™ 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 youâ€™d like your content strategy to achieve and write it down. Itâ€™s a good idea to set several small milestones rather than one big goal â€“ it may become an albatross around your neck.
Once youâ€™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 youâ€™re not using tools like Google Analytics, now is the time to do so) to help you continue to develop your content strategy. Theyâ€™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 thatâ€™s doing the business and eliminate content that isnâ€™t.
If you donâ€™t know, ask
Customers value the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas, so donâ€™t be afraid to ask your customers/readers what content theyâ€™d like to see you produce; after all, no one knows what they want better than they do. Itâ€™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, itâ€™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. Â Your timeline can then be modified regularly to account for any changes in the market, or specific successes/failures youâ€™ve experienced.
Note that it can take time for a good content strategy to take hold â€“ if it looks like things are taking too long, donâ€™t panic. Slow and steady wins the race.