10 Steps To Building A Successful Content Marketing Strategy [+Examples]

Without a strategy, success or failure is just a matter of luck

16 October 2022

7 minutes

Anam Jalil

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When you begin content marketing, a thousand questions may be popping into your head.

Where do I begin? Will my content marketing efforts be fruitful? Do I first do keyword research or is it more important to build a buyer persona? Who is my target market?

Semrush identifies that 79% of companies are using content marketing to generate quality leads.

Therefore, content marketing isn't just about the content creation process - it's a full-fledged path that begins from identifying your content goals and target audience to creating your whole customer journey and continuing to set key performance indicators.

Also Read: Top 10 Email Marketing Podcasts and What is Common in Them

Let's explore a few reasons why content marketing matters for contemporary businesses.

Why is content marketing important?

HubSpot describes content marketing as "mission-critical" because developing high-quality content serves several purposes:

Content marketing success depends on whether you can influence your audience members' decisions and change their preferences while also building a strong brand presence. While there are other ways to influence your audience, an effective content marketing strategy is one of the most profitable.

Content marketing doesn't only include blog content, but also contains video content, podcasts, interactive demos, social media marketing, email marketing, and other forms of online marketing including user-generated content.

Many of these sub-categories come under digital marketing as a whole but as all of them include content creation, they are also a realm of content marketing.

So what are the steps to building successful content marketing strategies?

First, you need to set marketing objectives.

1. Define content goals

You can never go anywhere in life without establishing what you want to achieve.

Sometimes you should go with the flow, but we don't suggest doing that with your content marketing strategy. You need to clearly define your goals and identify customers' pain points.

Forbes mentions that your goals can be any of the following

Increase traffic

  • Improve lead generation

  • Build yourself as an industry expert

  • Increase SERP rankings in search engines

  • Increase brand awareness.

As mentioned earlier, you need to clearly define what you are trying to do so you can measure your content success accordingly.

Defining your goals is like building your content marketing mission statement and this is a great starting point for your content strategy.

2. Define your target audience

Imagine a teenager speaking to a board of directors of elite 80-year-old men who have memorized the Oxford dictionary by heart in slang. There is likely to be a big gap in communication and little to no comprehension - and that would obviously hinder the achievement of goals.

Therefore, it is important to establish your target audience and identify their characteristics. You can create buyer personas that include gender, age, geographical location, education, speaking style, preferences, lifestyle, interests, etc. for a better understanding of what your audience is like.

You can also create an empathy map with the help of your UX team. An empathy map is a visualization of a customer segment. The empathy map has four parts: says, does, thinks, and feels.

In these four parts, you can list your customer's characteristics and better define what valuable content you can provide to this type of customer.

3. Audit your competitors

How can you beat the competition if you haven't even checked them out yet?

In order to create relevant content, it is important to properly audit your competitors and review what they are writing about. Look at their brand voice, content type, search terms, etc.

Research shows that paying attention to search intent is also an integral part of gaining more leads. You need to know what the audience is looking for in a blog post, podcast, or video, so you can create content that fulfills that need for information.

4. Perform a complete content audit of previous content

If you have been creating content before, then you need to analyze your existing content and define gaps.

What did you do well? What did you not do well? What needs to be improved? Can you repurpose certain blog posts or do some blog posts need updating? Are there certain content areas you have not touched that require an in depth analysis? What topics related to your industry can you write about?

Go over all of your content gaps, list improvements, write down updates, and identify content strengths and weaknesses to see how your existing content aligns with your content marketing goals.

5. Build topic clusters and find keywords

It is a good idea to define the topics that you would like to write about and write them down.

For example, a healthcare organization can write about recent medical breakthroughs, natural healthcare advice, and medical miracles. Once they decide these topic clusters, they can then break them down and develop them into specific topics or titles every month.

To find relevant topics to write on, you can use Google Trends to find trending topics. Find topics that may be of interest to your readers and add them to your content marketing plan.

Define whether you want to create a video on the topic, a podcast, or article - go through the various content types appropriate for your audience. You can also define whether it'll be an in-depth guide or you want to do list posts, eBooks, case studies, or other various types of content to disperse free knowledge to your followers.

Although videos also have an SEO impact and all of your content pieces need to be optimized, an article specifically needs keywords. Use Google AdWords to find keywords for your content marketing campaigns.

You might want to target long-tail keywords or those with medium to low competition in order to be able to compete with others trying to rank for the same search terms.

6. Create a content calendar

Now that you know your content goals, and have defined topics and keywords, it is time to move on to the next step of building a successful content marketing strategy which is creating a calendar.

Schedule your content so that you know when it is to be produced, edited, finalized, published, and then data collected and measured.

It is a good idea to use an Excel spreadsheet or other templates as a content calendar so that everything remains organized. You can also use the calendar to assign topics or tasks to your content marketing team and mark the status of tasks.

7. Write content

Whether you are opting for video marketing or writing a blog post, you can now bring your marketing efforts to fruition by putting everything you did above in your content strategy in action, and creating high-quality content. Basically, start writing.

Make sure you provide valuable information rather than just generic advice and your readers gain from your effort. Ensure your content is tailored to the right audience and you feel confident about the claims you are making.

After you create the content, review, edit, and polish it to ensure that it is perfect.

8. Promote your content

To implement a successful content strategy, you need to ensure that your content is seen, read, and clicked on. Therefore, you need to promote your content.

You can do this by sharing it on social media, asking other content marketers to share it on their platforms (influencer marketing), boosting it in ads, or using email marketing to disperse your content in a monthly/weekly newsletter.

Remember to warm up your email domain before you do so to ensure your emails do not land in SPAM - Pribox can help there.

You can also answer questions via your content on social media or on forums such as Quora or Reddit. The importance of content promotion in your content marketing strategy cannot be stressed enough because if no one sees your great content, your content is not going to make a difference.

9. Measure your performance

You need to know where your traffic is coming from: social media platforms, forums, direct organic traffic, referrals, etc. There are various ways to measure the performance of your content marketing strategy.

Some of the important metrics to consider for tracking can be click-through rate, traffic, time spent on the content piece, engagement, conversion rate, etc. Your metrics need to be determined according to your content goals.

Measure your performance but do remember that it sometimes takes a while before the content begins to perform optimally and there are several aspects involved - it isn't only the content's quality.

If after a few weeks you are not noticing a difference in your performance or you are not achieving your goals, it is time to move on to the next step.

10. Tweak your content marketing strategy

After you analyze your results, tweak your strategy to include new topics, leverage your social media presence, discover new channels to promote your content, and find new search intent. Explore similar brands, focus on a niche, or change your goals to include social shares and expanding links rather than to enhance brand awareness and image.

Once you find the right topics and are able to attract the right visitors and subscribers, you can focus on generating new ideas w to improve the strategy overall.

Hopefully, following these steps will increase your website visitors and help you create compelling content to generate high-quality leads!