Over 70% of marketers rate SEO game plan as more effective than PPC and other traditional methods.
This figure is high, but there is room for improvement.
SEO has the potential to boost sales, enhance online presence and get brands noticed, but it’s not a miracle cure.
To capitalize on the incredible benefits of optimized content and the reach of search engines, it’s critical to have a sound strategy in place.
Developing a content strategy is essential to achieve goals and take full advantage of the possibilities afforded to businesses and brands by search engine optimization and content marketing.
In this informative guide, we’ll share some top tips to help you develop a content strategy that delivers results…
Steps to Developing A Content Strategy
Statistics show that content marketing is an increasingly dominant force.
There has been a 22% increase in the number of searches directly linked to what content marketing is and how it works.
Over 95% of businesses surveyed as part of the State of Content Marketing 2022 Global Report stated that they used content marketing as part of their marketing strategy.
Despite the popularity of content marketing, only 57% of respondents had a ‘documented strategy’ and only 19% had an ‘advanced strategy.’
If you’re new to this world, or you’re looking to enhance results and performance, here are some steps to develop a targeted content strategy to help you achieve your marketing goals.
Step 1: Define the purpose of your content
It may seem a little odd to start by thinking about the end result but it’s wise to think about what you want to achieve when developing your content strategy.
The content you create and share should always serve a purpose.
Before you start putting articles, features, posts or guides together, or considering how to use keywords or which keywords or links to use, define the purpose of your content.
- What is the end goal?
- What are the objectives of your campaign?
- How are you going to use content to improve outcomes and hit targets?
- Are you looking to increase subscriber numbers, or is your main goal to create more leads?
- Do you want to supercharge sales, or is the primary target to get people to contact or visit your business?
At this stage, it’s crucial to throw away any concepts or ideas from the cookie-cutter mold or one-size-fits-all school of thought.
Outline the key objectives for your brand and focus on creating and developing content that has a clear purpose.
Once you know what you are hoping to achieve, it’s much easier to choose content types, establish useful metrics and implement effective calls to action.
Step 2: Identify your audience
To put a content strategy that resonates with the audience in place, you need to identify your audience and think about who you want to reach.
Your ideal customer and target demographic should influence every element of your strategy.
This will help to ensure that your content is relevant, engaging and effective when it comes to creating and converting leads. Here are some important questions to ask when zoning in on your target customers:
- Who is buying from your business now?
- What kinds of customers do your main competitors have?
- What are you offering to your customers and how do your products and services benefit buyers or clients?
- How do your customers view and rate your brand?
- What are your customers’ pain points?
Once you have the answers to these questions and you have information about your target market, delve deeper.
Get to know customers and prospects, conduct market research, use data and feedback and create more detailed customer personas.
This will help you to develop tailored, personalized content that will resonate with your ideal buyer.
Getting to know your target customer on a deeper level can help you to craft content that actively solves problems and sets your business apart.
Talk to customers and prospective clients and buyers, find out more about them and use research to identify ways to use content to address pain points, add value and make your content more impactful.
Use social media and online forums to gather information and get an insight into what makes people tick and what they struggle with.
You can utilize this information to create useful, customized content that will enhance engagement and build confidence in your brand.
Step 3: Research Keywords
On the surface, it may seem relatively easy to create content for SEO purposes.
To the untrained eye, SEO may look as simple as writing a blog stuffed with keywords and popular search terms. In reality, content writing for SEO is much more complex.
To improve your search ranking, build trust and boost conversion rates, you need to be able to use keywords effectively. The key lies in carrying out keyword research.
Once you have a topic area and a target audience, use keyword research tools to identify and uncover keywords that are relevant to the topic and the buyer.
Start with broad categories and then zero in on more granular searches.
Research common questions people ask about the product or service and popular features or descriptive words users look for.
Here are some interesting stats to bear in mind when researching and selecting keywords:
- Long-tail keywords have a 3%-5% higher CTR (click-through rate) than regular keywords (source)
- Around 50% of Google searches now have a local focus (source)
- 29% of high-volume keywords contain 3 or more words (source)
- 8% of searches contain a question (source)
Step 4: Optimize new and existing content
Optimizing content is the best way to get your content noticed. If you have a strategy in place, ensure that it covers new and existing content. Chances to optimize don’t end when you publish or share an article. There are boundless opportunities to revamp and refresh content while simultaneously working on new content.
Revisit and update old content
It’s understandable to assume that old content serves a purpose for a limited period.
In some cases, this may be true, but there are often opportunities to revisit and update existing articles, even those from months or years ago.
Refreshing content is beneficial for several reasons.
Firstly, it’s important to address issues, such as broken links and outdated or inaccurate information.
Secondly, there are advantages of bringing readers or customers back to popular articles that are still relevant.
Thirdly, you can enhance and update content to show your audience that you are a trustworthy source they can rely on for up-to-date, reliable information.
Revisiting content is also critical because keyword rankings change and consumer trends and habits evolve.
Create a content database
A content database is essentially an inventory of content pieces, which organizes content and creates a simple, accessible system for marketers, business owners and writers. You can create a separate database for each type of content, for example, landing pages, social media posts and blogs, or use a single database to cover all content varieties.
Content databases are beneficial because they make it easier to organize content, update old or inaccurate content and monitor progress, impact and results. The main benefits include:
- Saving time
- Enhancing scalability
- Facilitating ongoing analysis and evaluation
Existing content and new opportunities
As well as updating and improving existing content, new content provides opportunities for optimization. Optimize content wherever possible and take advantage of every chance to make your content perform better. Simple steps can make a big difference. Best practice guidelines include:
- Include targeted keywords in titles, H1 and H2 tags and meta descriptions
- Use keywords that are relevant to the target audience
- Identify common pain points and answer questions via market research and customer or reader feedback
- Share content frequently and position yourself as an expert in the field
- Add different content types, including visual media
- Create interesting, punchy titles
- Focus on quality over quantity
- Include relevant, effective calls to action
- Enhance content with facts and figures
- Be original: always ensure that your content is unique and engaging
- Add backlinks and inbound links
- Include a local search focus
Step 5: Set up a calendar
Sharing and publishing content regularly helps to build trust and keep customers engaged and interested. Setting up a content calendar is an excellent way to manage scheduling and make it easier to stick to routines and identify the most effective tactics in terms of when to post and how often to publish content.
When creating a calendar, aim to utilize your schedule to ensure consistency.
If your audience is used to reading a new blog post every week or seeing social media posts daily, avoid waiting 3 weeks to add a new article to your website or a few days to update your social feeds.
Stick to a regular time frame unless you receive negative feedback or data analysis highlights problems, which indicate that changing your schedule would be beneficial.
If you post too frequently, your content message may get lost or diluted, or users may feel like they are being bombarded.
Your content calendar should reflect your objectives.
For example, if you have a blog on your site, you may want to use articles to generate more organic traffic or introduce people to your brand.
If you’re trying to create more leads and drive traffic to your website, it’s best to post frequently and concentrate on optimized blog posts.
If your primary aim is to build brand awareness, diversify content types and post 1-3 times per week, rather than daily or every other day.
Step 6: Define results / Track success
The final step is split into two key parts: defining results and tracking success.
The first element involves outlining how you plan to measure success.
What kinds of metrics are you going to use to evaluate outcomes, and how are you going to determine and decipher results?
The second element involves tracking and monitoring progress.
How do you plan to collect data, and how can you use tracking to improve results?
Defining results is essential for establishing how well a strategy or campaign performs and how close the relationship is between objectives and outcomes.
A strategy is only successful if you hit your targets.
If there are positive indicators, but you miss the mark on key objectives, this doesn’t make your strategy successful.
Every aspect of the strategy should align to optimize the chances of achieving your goals.
Go back to the beginning and analyze your objectives to help you establish suitable indicators and metrics.
If you want to increase lead creation or conversion by a specific percentage, you can use data to see whether you’ve hit that milestone.
If your main aim was to boost sales, look at your sales data and see whether your strategy delivers.
Examples of metrics you may wish to use include:
- Indexed pages
- Lead conversion rate
- Organic traffic
- Search ranking
- Search volume
- Page views
Tracking progress is vital for an impactful SEO strategy.
Monitoring results and collecting and analyzing data not only shows you how successful your strategy is but it also highlights potential weaknesses or shortfalls. This is incredibly valuable as it enables you to modify the strategy to address issues and improve performance.
What Makes A Great Content Strategy For SEO? Key Takeaways
Developing an effective, impactful content strategy can help your business to improve brand awareness, generate and convert more leads, increase sales and revenues and enhance your brand reputation. If previous strategies have failed to deliver, or you are new to the world of content marketing for SEO, here are some key takeaways to help you hit your goals:
- Outline your main objectives first: what is the purpose of your content and what are you hoping to achieve?
- Tailor your strategy to your target audience: identify your target audience, build ideal customer personas and get to know your target client or buyer.
- Optimize at every possible opportunity: optimize content wherever possible. This includes brand new content, as well as existing articles or posts you can update, revisit or refresh.
- Research keywords meticulously: adding keywords to articles and posts liberally doesn’t guarantee results. To hit targets, you have to use the right keywords in the right context as part of accurate, high-quality, informative, useful content. Use keyword research tools and analyze search queries and related content to identify suitable keywords for your content.
- Track success: Ensure you have reporting set up to track your content success.
Content marketing is a highly effective marketing technique but it’s not a miracle cure or a silver bullet for ailing sales or pages or articles that fail to make an impact.
To achieve results, it’s essential to have a carefully constructed, customized content strategy in place. This article contains top tips, best practice guidelines and a step-by-step guide to creating a content strategy for SEO that delivers results.
Now that you have a content marketing strategy in place it’s time to start outsourcing your content.
Outsourcing the legwork of content creation allows you time to focus on the ideation and implementation of your wider marketing campaigns. If you pair your marketing strategy with a scalable content brief you can scale your results without increasing your effort!
Head of Content
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