This is not just an assumption, it is an evidence-based tip: a recent study done by Hubspot across 1,000 marketers decision makers in UK proved that 79% of them believe content marketing is effective, but only 6% know how to implement it.
It is safe to assume the situation is probably quite similar in the US context as well. In fact, capturing a brand’s story requires both a strategic approach and a set of sharp and state-of-the-art specific skills in design, copywriting, photography – all of which a digital creative agency can easily cover.
Why Is A Content Creation Strategy Important?
Content creation is instrumental in both building user engagement and educating consumers; and in reinforcing trust, leading to consumer acquisitions that drive results for businesses. In fact, carefully built, planned and shared content fosters engagement that in turn over time drives conversions, as it helps determining a business’ leadership through knowledge sharing done at the very beginning of the sales funnel: this is the first opportunity a marketer has to build trust into prospects searching for clues/solutions to their problems and/or fulfillment of a particular desire.
Set Yourself Up For Success
Having the right building blocks will carry your content further. Our content strategy steps can help to elevate your web copywriting.
1. Audit Existing Content
Review the performance metrics and data from your existing content and other relevant channels, such as social media and business profiles that are connected to your brand. Determine which channels receive the highest engagement and which content has the highest conversion rates. It is also helpful to review which topics have gained the most traction with your customers/followers and if it fits your brand identity moving forward. From here you can begin to identify areas that are performing well, and those that need improvement.
2. Conduct a Gap Analysis to Define Your Areas of Improvement
This is one of the most important of the content strategy steps. Based on your content audit, conduct a gap analysis to determine which areas of your content need improvement. Do you need to refresh landing pages to improve conversions? Or do you need to create fresh content in the form of blogs to improve your rankings and engagement? Knowing where the content gaps are can help you determine whether you need to look at new content, existing content, or both. By defining the areas of improvement in your content creation strategy you can begin addressing your content piece by piece, instead of becoming overwhelmed with a complete content overhaul.
3. Set Achievable Goals
Immense growth often doesn’t happen overnight, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself, or on your team to suddenly go viral overnight. Instead, based on your gap analysis, set achievable and measurable goals for yourself. Create milestones for each stage of your strategy. Milestones can be as simple as a certain percentage increase in conversions, or a certain number of new email subscribers Building a content strategy around your goals will yield much greater results.
4. Know your Audience
No matter what industry you are in, knowing your audience is crucial to your content creation strategy. You can start by monitoring comments and engagement on your blog, reviews (if relevant), and social media. Using Google or Facebook Analytics can also help you better understand your customer demographics and the content they are engaging with. Understanding your target audience can help you better craft the style and tone of your content. For example, a younger audience interacting with a beauty brand will likely be more engaged with content that has a lighter more playful tone. As opposed to an older audience engaging with real estate based content, who is more likely to engage with content that has a serious, informative tone.
5. Competitor Research
Look at Competitors from Google Search results to see what their overall strategy is. Here are a few helpful questions to ask when doing competitor research:
- What are they writing about?
- What keywords are they are ranking for?
- Generally, what are their word counts for pieces similar to yours?
Answering these questions can help you further define, or differentiate, your content creation strategy. Seeing where your competitors are successful can help you identify areas of opportunity. You can also conduct a gap analysis on your competitors to determine where there are additional opportunities for your brand.
6. Create a Content Calendar
Consistency is key when creating content, as Google rewards fresh content when it comes to climbing SERPs. Creating a content calendar can help you stay on track with your content strategy. There are many different tools that can be used to create your content calendar. A few examples are:
- Google Calendar
- Google Sheets
Sticking to your content schedule is important but allow for some flexibility in your content calendar. Knowing your audience and practicing social listening can allow for the creation of timely, relevant pieces that can help boost your rankings.
Effective Web Copywriting
Whether it’s optimizing old content or creating new content, organic search results bring consumers that are actually interested in your content.
7. Create Keyword Rich Content
Choosing meaningful keywords with achievable volume can greatly impact your content visibility. Use the right tools based on your goals to determine which keywords are achievable. Tools such as Moz, SEMRush, and Google Keyword Planner can show you current volumes and PPC value. Once your keyword research is complete you can choose the right focus and ancillary keywords that fit your content, without being too forced. Choose a focus keyword that can be used in your H1 and meta, and ancillary keywords that can also be used in your H2s for the largest impact. Be mindful of your keyword usage and don’t overstuff your content as that can negatively impact your rankings.
It’s also important to remember that your keyword choices can also impact other channels outside of your site. Keywords can be carried to your Google My Business Profiles, YouTube video descriptions, and social media captions.
8. Optimize Your Content Structure
Create content that will keep readers engaged. Pay attention to your word counts and avoid long or bulky copy where possible. You can break up your copy using images, bullet points, or numbered lists. Creating visual elements on your page can also help to keep users engaged with your content. One of neta’s content strategy tips is to break out statistics into eye-catching stat boxes that are easy for readers to digest.
9. Content Creation Needs Good Visual Hooks
Image selection can play a huge role in your content creation strategy. Not only can inline images break up long stretches of copy, but it can add to the overall tone of your content. Whatever images you decide on, be sure that they fit your overall brand messaging.
10. Don’t Ignore Your Meta
Meta titles and descriptions not only entice people to click on your page, but they also play a part in your organic rankings. Use them to your advantage by placing focus and ancillary keywords in your meta. It is important to track your character limits for both your meta title and meta description for each post. Exceeding the character limit can adversely affect readability in SERPs and will appear in crawl error reports.
Another of neta’s content strategy tips is to create a Meta Workbook, in the form of an Excel spreadsheet or Google sheet. Here you can not only create a character limit counter, but you can also ensure that your meta structure stays consistent. This sheet can also act as a reference for future content optimizations.
11. Adding Forms to Drive Conversions
From short newsletter sign ups, to longer requests for information, forms are actionable elements to help convert your visitors into customers. Email capture forms are a great way to encourage your customers to stay in the loop with new offerings, discounts, or general business updates. While often found in the footer of a website, they can also be deployed as pop-ups upon visiting a page, increasing the chance they will be engaged with.
If your business requires more information to convert a lead into a customer, then longer forms can help to capture this information quickly and easily. Instead of asking a customer to simply email you, a customized form can help you gather the information you need to process a request, without putting the pressure on the customer to essentially guess what information they should be providing. This in turn allows you to process the information more easily on your end to qualify your potential leads.
12. Create Actionable CTAs
Engaging and actionable CTAs (call-to-action) allow potential customer to easily see what the next step is. If a visitor finds themselves on a blog page, they may leave if there is no further action clearly shown on the page. However, creating actionable CTAs such as “Buy Now”, “Sign Up For Our Newsletter”, or “Get Started” encourages potential customers to follow through to the next step in the conversion funnel. CTAs depend on your goals which we outlined in #3 of our content creation steps. For example, if your goal is to promote a product and optimize conversions, then you would want your CTA to link to a product page.
Build data-driven personalized omnichannel experiences: nurture your end-users with quality and meaningful interactions.
13. Encourage Social Sharing
Your content distribution does not have to end on your page. There are several ways to encourage social sharing. If on WordPress there are several plugins available, such as Simple Share, which easily allows visitors to share content from your site. Other platforms, such as Shopify, have built in social share links which can be added to your site. By encouraging sharing you can increase your reach.
14. Use the Right Channels
Promote your content on the right channels. Based on your audience review that we outlined in #4 of our content strategy steps, promote content on the channels that you see your audience engaging with the most. Create landing pages that are specific to the distribution channels that you are targeting, such as email or PPC focused landing pages that are built to convert. As a digital creative agency, we focus on building these types of channel specific landing pages. Our expertise also expands into landing pages specific to YouTube and Facebooks Ads. Using the right distribution channels and expanding into new channels will help to increase your audience and chances at converting.
Track Your Performance
Your content creation strategy is not complete once your content is posted. Performance tracking and analytics are key to ensuring that your strategy is successful.
15. Use the Right Tools
Know the right tools to use to track your performance. At neta, here are some of the tools we use and how they help:
- Google Analytics – Track website traffic and activity
- UTMs – Track the performance of campaigns and content and traffic sources
These tools can provide the data you need to analyze your new content strategy’s performance and also compare it to previous performance.
16. Knowing What to Look for
Get the most out of your analytics data by knowing which performance metrics to pay attention to. Here are some consumption metrics to look out for that we here at neta find great value in:
- Bounce rate
- Exit rate
- Average session duration
- Pages per session
These are not the only performance metrics to track. Tracking keyword rankings and featured snippets can also give you major insights into your content creation strategy performance.
17. Tracking Quality Leads and Conversions
How does your business define a quality lead or conversion? Does that mean a completed sale or form submission? Do you only consider a qualified lead a conversion? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you better track the performance of your content creation strategy. For example, you may receive 100 form submissions, however, only 40 are qualified leads, while the rest are unqualified or spam. This means 40% of your conversion were quality conversions. Tracking the source of your quality conversions can influence your strategy to pursue those quality sources, as opposed to those that are attracting spam or junk leads.
18. Don’t Be Afraid of Change
If you notice a page is not performing as well as you expected based on your new content strategy, don’t be afraid to rethink things. Simple changes such as changing your posting schedule or shifting to a different focus keyword can help improve engagement. You can also look at your page structure, utilizing heat maps to determine if a form or CTA should be moved to a place with more engagement. If you are new to building a content strategy you may not get it right the first time. Or you can reach out to a digital creative agency to help you create effective content strategy steps.
How A Digital Creative Agency Can Help You Achieve Results
What does your content structure look like? At neta, we partner with our clients to build solid content strategy steps that lead to measurable growth. From the initial content audit to keyword research, meta, and performance analytics – we partner closely with clients’ internal teams to develop their content strategies and keep them up to date on the latest trends. Building a content strategy on your own can seem daunting, but working with a digital creative agency can streamline your process and help your brand reach its fullest potential.