If you want to connect with your audience, increase brand awareness, and ultimately get more sales, you need to have an effective digital content strategy.
The thing is, “digital content strategy” is a really concise term that encompasses a lot. Essentially, digital content strategies refer to the ways you:
Content formats are varied, ranging from the humble blog post to the modern social media ad, so creating (and sticking to) an effective digital marketing strategy specifically for content can be an involved, but absolutely essential, initiative.
Ultimately, an effective digital content strategy will contribute to greater business growth and higher profits. But there are additional benefits to establishing a successful digital content strategy, as well, making this initiative even more attractive and essential.
An effective digital content strategy promotes focus and alignment, orienting your team around shared goals and priorities not only for digital content initiatives but for business strategies in general.
Your digital content strategy keeps your team aligned and reinvigorates the focus on the content (as well as the purpose behind said content) you create. By developing an effective content strategy, your team will be able to:
With a solid digital content strategy in place, you and your team will be able to not only collaborate and execute effective digital marketing practices but also observe, measure, and analyze the growth and progress your efforts make.
In other words, creating a sound content strategy gives you KPIs to measure, which helps you stay on track, make changes as necessary, and evaluate your success as you go.
Being able to document and track the progress and impact of your content marketing strategy can motivate you and your team and give you direction moving forward.
Of course, content also guides potential buyers along the customer journey, resulting in sales and business growth.
Here’s how you can make your digital content strategy a successful one.
A key prerequisite for any successful digital marketing strategy is to know who your target audiences are. Connecting with your audience is also critical, both as a goal of content marketing and as a means of directing your strategies.
Before you can start to produce content, you need to create (or update) your customer avatars and understand the wants and needs of your target audience.
Before you can create any sort of content strategy, you need to figure out who you should be targeting. In other words, who are you creating content for? Creating comprehensive buyer personas, or audience avatars, will give you direction for your content by helping you segment your ideal customers. This process relies on sufficient audience research.
You also need to ensure you are frequently updating these personas, as the creation and maintenance of buyer personas should be an ongoing process; broadly, you need to revisit your buyer personas at least once a year, but it is more productive to revise these profiles whenever you or your market experience disruption.
This crucial step in developing your content marketing strategy is not the place for guesswork. To create and maintain accurate, effective buyer personas, you will need to do a substantial amount of research.
You can collect relevant customer data by connecting directly with existing customers, especially those who meet the criteria of your ideal buyer, but you can also conduct research through practices such as:
When collecting customer data, you will need to obtain and organize specific data to help guide your content strategy, such as the following personal information.
Customer background and demographic information will help you better segment your audience and begin to understand what your customers broadly care about.
You should collect customer information such as:
Once you understand who your customers are, you should dig into what they are interested in. Interests may include anything from hobbies and reading material they enjoy to social causes they support.
Find overlap between what you offer and what your customers are interested in to create a unique niche that only you and your brand can fill through content marketing!
Additionally, you need to consider your customers’ communication preferences to inform your content strategy. Identify how your audience seeks information and where they go to find it, and determine if your current methods of communication and content marketing, such as emails or social media posts, are effective and appealing so you can tailor your efforts moving forward.
This step will help you determine what forms of content you should create (such as a blog post or video) and where you should prioritize placing it.
Understanding what your customers want from you and what you are selling is critical to effective content marketing.
To create effective content, you need to know what your audience wants and needs. From a marketing strategy standpoint, this often involves identifying pain points, challenges, and desires.
When you discover what your target audience struggles with or wants, you can more easily and effectively use a content marketing strategy that directly addresses their needs, provides solutions to their problems, and cultivates opportunities for your audience to satisfy their desires.
But you shouldn’t just be satisfied by knowing what your customers want. Dig a little deeper to find what is preventing them from achieving their goals.
Customers may be dissatisfied with the price or quality of competitor products, for example, and feel discouraged by their limited options. By identifying the challenges your customers face, you will grant yourself the opportunity to provide useful, valuable content to your target audience.
The most effective content strategy aims to solve customer problems and soothe customer pain points. If you want to achieve this, you need to first understand what those problems and pain points are.
In addition to discovering what your customer base desires and favors, you need to identify why they might object to making a purchase from you. While this may not be the most attractive process, learning what kinds of questions, reservations, and outright objections potential customers might have can give you direction in your content and overall marketing strategy.
If you know why customers are hesitant to make a purchase, you can actively work to alleviate their fears, provide genuine reassurance (supported by compelling evidence), and make them a convincing offer.
Know Your Brand’s Strengths
A successful digital content strategy relies on what you and your brand can offer new, potential, and returning customers. If you want your content marketing to increase awareness and generate leads, you need to know your brand’s unique strengths.
Expertise, authority, and authenticity are essential components of an effective content strategy. When you create digital content to attract and entice customers, you should draw on your expertise – provided it is relevant to your industry, brand, and audience.
You need to be selective with your content marketing topics, but drawing on your personal and professional experience will allow you to create valuable, relevant content that sets you apart.
Chances are, competitors in your industry will have similar experience and expertise, so relying solely on what you know won’t get you very far. You need to hone in on what makes your brand better than your competitors. To determine what differentiates you, you might consider things like:
Anything you can identify that is unique and valuable to your customers will serve you well as you create your digital content strategy.
Setting measurable goals for your documented content strategy will keep you focused on appropriate metrics and content execution.
Before you start making new content marketing materials, you should have specific goals in mind; failing to do so can result in muddled efforts that are ultimately ineffective in having any measurable impact.
You need to select key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will track based on your goals. By choosing and measuring KPIs, you will give yourself direction and a clear idea of how effective your strategy is over time.
When you set goals and choose KPIs, be sure to assign a specific numerical value – like a 15% increase over a period of three months – to ensure objective measurement.
Some common content goals include the following.
If you want to increase brand awareness, you will need to track KPIs such as:
The content marketing efforts you create for brand awareness initiatives often includes paid social media ads, which must be especially concise, visually appealing, and enticing.
To improve your rankings, you will need to focus on content marketing practices that utilize search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. Optimizing the pages of your website, as well as any new content like blog posts created for your brand, is a time-consuming but worthwhile process. You will need to prioritize improving elements such as:
You can measure success in this initiative by tracking where your site and its pages rank over time, as well as site traffic and the number of keywords you rank for.
Generating leads or subscribers with your content requires high-quality, valuable content that you are willing to exchange for customer information. Tracking the success of this goal usually entails documenting the number of new subscribers attributed to a specific piece of content.
If you don’t already have a blog for your business, now is the time to start one. The benefits to having a company blog are numerous, as we’ve previously explored. Consistently updating with relevant, useful blog posts can help you:
With a blog, you can more effectively convince potential customers of your authority and value, which naturally contributes to lead generation initiatives. Be sure to come up with compelling content ideas and utilize an up-t0-date content calendar when adding content to your blog.
Businesses with an existing blog (or any existing content, honestly) will benefit from performing a content audit. While creating new content may be your initial focus, assessing the content you already have is a critical part of developing an effective content strategy.
When you audit existing content, you will be able to identify what has worked in the past to inform your strategy moving forward. Any ineffective or outdated content may warrant revision or elimination depending on the content and your available resources.
There are a few steps to take when auditing your content, such as:
Your content marketing audit goals may revolve around objectives such as reorganization, search engine optimization, brand voice consistency, or general content updates. Once you have in mind the specific goals and criteria of your content audit, you can get started.
What constitutes “good” content may be somewhat subjective, but the quality of your content absolutely matters. Good content creation typically prioritizes the following attributes.
High quality writing remains an important aspect of good content; ensuring that the content you produce is well-written, grammatically correct, and accessible needs to be a top priority for your content strategy.
The development of AI writing tools has brought into question the necessity of well-written content, as it has become easier than ever to churn out piece after piece of content, but the ultimate truth is this: quality reigns supreme over quantity.
If you want your digital content strategy to be successful, producing high-quality content is essential. You can use AI tools as needed, but it is essential to audit and edit your content to ensure it is consistent and accessible.
While the quality of your content is ultimately more important, you need to create titles that attract and entice readers, as well. Content marketing titles should be honest, compelling, and enticing. With your title, you should make a promise to your readers that you fulfill within the content itself.
At all stages of developing and implementing your digital content strategy, be sure to consider your audience. When it comes to creating content, you need to be selective in the way you convey information depending on your audience and content goals.
Ensure your content is easy to understand and avoid using unnecessary jargon unless it is necessary and appropriate for the piece. Clarity is key.
You don’t want to confuse potential customers; you want to inform, excite, and inspire them. With the right tone and language, you can build relationships and personal connections through content alone.
When possible and appropriate, evoking emotions with your content can be an effective practice, as emotions are often more effective than pure reason and logic. However, you need to avoid being overly manipulative and forceful in this pursuit; the modern consumer tends to be wary of emotional baiting, and trying too hard to evoke an emotional response can easily backfire.
As content marketers know, one of the most important criteria of good, effective content is how useful and valuable it is to consumers. The content you produce should provide some sort of relevant value to your customers by:
Demonstrating your expertise through content and offering something valuable that is relevant to your brand, your offerings, and your customers is a critical part of strong, effective content marketing practices.
Plagiarism and duplicate content will inevitably harm your digital content strategy. While often unintentional, unoriginal content (whether duplicated from your own site or taken from another) can negatively impact your Google rankings and limit the value of your content.
When auditing and producing content, verify that everything you create is unique. From the start, it is important to brainstorm fresh content ideas and build on them rather than simply rehashing old content or paraphrasing someone else’s work (though it is beneficial to update outdated content and draw on the insight of others — there is a fine line to be drawn here!).
When you create and publish content that is unique, you demonstrate your specific expertise and provide genuine insight that cannot be found elsewhere. Unique content gives you an edge by positioning you and your brand as a go-to resource for potential customers!
Across all content channels and branded platforms, consistency is crucial. You need to ensure your content is complementary, not contradictory. Inconsistent content marketing can result in loss of trust and a damaged brand reputation. Some steps you can take to ensure consistency in your content include:
Optimizing the content you create with keyword research and SEO best practices will improve the visibility and ranking potential of your content, as well as the potential for organic web traffic. Create topic clusters when you brainstorm content ideas to ensure your content is keyword-rich (and covers your bases when it comes to reaching your audience). Relevant keywords will help ensure your content has higher ranking potential to help you meet your business objectives.
Make sure you prioritize on-page and technical SEO for your content strategy; failing to prioritize content SEO will only result in missed opportunities for customer engagement, organic traffic, lead generation, and conversion.
It isn’t enough to write content for Google’s algorithms. While SEO should be a top priority, the truth is that creating your content with your user in mind often translates into writing for SEO. Of course, you need to consider both UX and technical SEO when you create content, but providing a good user experience will generally be a productive practice.
Google uses its algorithms to present users what it considers to be the most valuable and relevant content. How do you meet those criteria? By ensuring you optimize your content for SEO and by providing the best user experience. It’s a system that you can easily tap into, as UX and SEO often overlap.
Here are some elements and characteristics you should prioritize when creating your content for optimal user experience and SEO.
How you design and lay out your content usually has little impact on your search results, but these choices can greatly influence how consumers perceive your content and your brand. Poor design can result in lower readership, less engagement, and diminished returns.
While you don’t need to spend as much time focusing on the design of your content as you would, say, your homepage or ad creatives, ensuring that your content is laid out in a way that is consistent, aesthetically appealing, and engaging can go a long way in providing a satisfying user experience.
For modern consumers, content must be scannable. No matter how much good information, unique insights, and valuable ideas you share, if your content cannot be easily scanned and processed, chances are, few people will actually read it.
Make sure you prioritize scannability when producing content. Keep paragraphs concise, and use the following formatting elements to keep your content neat and tidy.
If ever you are listing information, bulleted lists will be your friend. Make it easy for readers to process information by separating individual items with bullets; these lists also add some negative space to the page, which can be especially beneficial if you’ve got a dense piece of content.
Organizing your content with headings (specifically regarding H1s, H2s, H3s, and so on) helps break up longer pieces of content (like this one) into smaller, easier to digest sections. Headings also signal to readers what each section is about, giving them a preview of what to expect so they can skim if they want to.
From an SEO standpoint, nested headings are also helpful for showing Google that your content is properly organized with relevant topics (especially if you do your research and include keywords in your H1s and H2s).
Adding emphasis to relevant keywords, phrases, and other information is a good way to tell Google what your content is all about. While emphasizing information is certainly not the be-all, end-all of SEO and UX, you’ll make your content easier to read and more attractive to crawling bots by selectively emphasizing hyper-relevant words and phrases.
Some of the most common ways to emphasize information within your content include:
Using hyperlinks is doubly useful for user experience and SEO; emphasize relevant text in one piece of content by linking to another piece you’ve published to highlight the consistency and relevance of your expertise.
Creating great content that appeals to search engines and their crawlers and users alike is important, but if you want your content to work in your favor, you need to build authority and improve visibility by spreading your published content around.
Simply posting new, optimized content on your website may eventually get you some views and leads, but a more effective use of your content (and time) entails promotion. Using a variety of digital channels will help you increase visibility, and getting more eyes on your content contributes to a higher chance of lead generation and conversion. Making an effort to share and promote your content, then, is a worthwhile initiative.
You might promote your content by:
Get more eyes on your content and improve the authority of your site by cultivating high-quality backlinks. The practice of link building is a cornerstone of effective SEO, and it can also increase the visibility and range of your content. As with most SEO practices, link building takes time, but if you create effective, relevant, and well-composed content, link building initiatives will be worthwhile for your content strategy as well as your overall digital marketing efforts.
Planning, executing, and maintaining effective digital content strategies is a great way to increase brand awareness and cultivate leads. However, creating, auditing, and promoting content can be a time-consumer effort, especially if you don’t have a dedicated content team.
If you want to start a new digital content strategy or revamp your existing one but don’t have the time or resources to commit, the team at Conklin Media is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.
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