Content Strategy: what it is and why it is important.

Good content strategy drives growth by aligning content with business objectives.

Even a simple strategy can spark long-term revenue and sales growth.

Your strategy will explain how you’ll use content to solve your prospect’s problems and meet business goals.

Let’s start laying the groundwork for content that delights audiences and accelerates conversions and growth.

What is Content Strategy?

A content strategy is a plan for creating, measuring, and maintaining content that serves a target audience’s needs and achieves business goals.

The scope of a content strategy includes:

  • Who will plan, create, review, and maintain the content?
  • A playbook that spells out content types, channels, formats, and styles to be used.
  • How will success be measured? Who will set targets for goals?

Writing produces clarity: Your content strategy should be documented. Research shows that organizations with documented content strategies perform better than those without.

Why Create a Content Strategy?

A content strategy is a road map with a destination. Want to arrive at your planned destination? Don’t forget the road map!

The alternative to a content strategy is an ad hoc approach, which defies measurement and fails to achieve objectives.

How to Get Started

The best content strategies display clear alignment between business goals, the tactics for achieving them, KPIs, and targets.

So, the foundational requirement for any successful content strategy is clear business objectives.

  1. Pick Your Business Objectives:  Start by choosing your most important business objectives.

    Here are some sample objectives.

    Increase brand awareness
    Generate leads
    Grow sales
    Increase customer retention
    Increase customer satisfaction

  2. Clarify Your Audience

    Next, chart out your target audience. This is going to help you create relevant content that appeals to them.

    First, you’ll identify your LAQA or Largest Addressable Qualified Audience. This is the segment at the top of your sales funnel.

    And we’ll use a variation on the sales funnel concept. Instead of the old Awareness, Consideration, and Action stages, we’ll use See, Think, Do.

    The difference is subtle: it shifts the focus to what you want the customer experience to be like, as they: See your brand for the first time, Think about your products or services, and Do (transact with you).

  3. Sketch the Big Picture

    The next step is to work through these 3 questions as they apply to your website.

    How are we going to acquire traffic?
    What do we want visitors to do once they arrive?
    What business outcomes will #1 and #2 achieve?
    These questions are derived from Avinash Kaushik’s Acquisition, Behavior, and Outcomes model.

    Remember, you have to do something to get traffic. You can go for free traffic (from SEO and social media), paid traffic (from advertising), or a combination.

    Keep your sketch simple. Here’s a sample result from this type of brainstorming, for a business with 3 topline objectives:  Increase brand awareness, Generate leads, and Grow sales.

Planning Content Creation

In this section, we’ll match content types to marketing channels.

Channel means a type of marketing. For example, SEO, email, social media, and advertising are all “channels.”

We need to answer the question, “What kind of content is effective for reaching prospects in the See stage? Or the Think or Do stages?”

And which marketing types (channels) are most effective for those stages?

Content Types

Let’s start with our playbook: the content types we use to achieve consistent growth.

General Background and Content Snacks
Effective channels: SEO, Facebook Ads, YouTube

Increasing brand awareness: This content is a good fit for prospects in the See stage. They find us because they’re searching for answers to those questions, not because they know our brand. When they arrive on our site, they become aware of our brand for the first time.

Newsfeed-based Social Media: For those who want to rest the full potential of social media, we recommend creating a Facebook Page and then using Facebook Ads to attract your audience. Publish compelling content snacks: appealing photos, short anecdotes, or fun videos.

Remember: Most people on Facebook are there to socialize. They respond well to business content that’s brief, refreshing, and inviting.

Product Comparisons and How-Tos

Effective channels: SEO, email marketing, YouTube

Next, create “how-to” content on popular SEO topics to attract our Think prospects. These “how-tos” are step-by-step tutorials that include relevant mentions of our product.

This way, our audience learns how our product helps solve their problems.

To develop “how-to” content ideas, jot down problems related to your niche that your target audience is trying to solve.

Next, realize that some in your audience may already have buying intent. They’re at the stage of comparing products. So, help them do that. Create content that shows how your brand compares with competing solutions.

The trick to writing articles that rank is to be honest and objective. Show you have hands-on experience with the competitors’ products, and create a truly helpful comparison.

Being objective includes saying positive things about the competition’s praiseworthy features.

Matching Content Types to Channels

Not every marketing channel works well to reach prospects in all these stages. This is a key insight for a See–Think–Do-framework.

For instance, while Facebook is great for increasing brand awareness, people who are busy socializing can be turned off by “Buy now!” messages.

If you want to maximize results and return-on-investment (ROI), match your content types to channels suitable for reaching the given audience stage.

Funnel StageAwareness (See)Consideration (Think)Decision (Do)
Effective content types– Content snacks (for social media)

– “What is” (definitions)

– Introductory content

– General how-tos
– Product comparisons

– Product reviews

– Comparison tables

– How-tos

– Testimonials
– Product comparisons

– Product reviews

– How-tos

– Purchasing details

– Sales/discount info
Effective channels
to use
– SEO

– Newsfeed-based social media

– Facebook Ads

– Display Ads
– SEO

– YouTube

– Email

– Display Ads

– Retargeting Ads

– PPC Ads
– SEO

– Email Display

– Ads Retargeting

– Ads PPC

– Ads Local

– Services Ads

Keyword Secrets

Next, we need to talk about keywords. Each piece of content you create should be based on a single topic or keyword.

Here’s the thing: some keywords are impossible to rank for. Others are easy.

Pick easy keywords: The secret that all marketers know is you can pick keywords that are easy to rank for.

Target buyers: The other secret is that you can pick keywords that signal buying intent.

Keyword research tools label all keywords with one of four intents: Informational, Navigational, Commercial, or Transactional.

As you probably guessed, Commercial and Transactional keywords signal buying intent.

And, yes, you can pick “buying intent” keywords that are also easy to rank for.

Let’s add a new row to our table for keyword intent. And we’ll add one for “marketer slang,” in case you come across those terms.

Funnel stageAwareness
(See)
CONSIDERATION (THINK)DECISION (DO)
Marketer slangTOFU
“Top-of-the-funnel”
MOFU
“Middle-of-the-funnel”
BOFU
“Bottom-of-the-funnel”
Keyword intentInformationalCommercialTransactional
Content types– Content snacks (for social media)
– “What is” (definitions)
– Introductory content
– General how-tos
– Product comparisons
– Product reviews
– Comparison tables
– How-tos
– Testimonials
– Product comparisons
– Product reviews
– How-tos
– Purchasing details
– Sales/discount info
Effective channels to use– SEO
– Newsfeed-based social media
– Facebook Ads
– Display Ads
– SEO
– YouTube
– Email
– Display Ads
– Retargeting Ads
– PPC Ads
– SEO
– Email
– Display Ads
– Retargeting Ads
– PPC Ads
– Local Services Ads

A good strategy is to create “MOFU” and “BOFU” content because it attracts prospects with buying intent. This allows you to earn revenue as we create content.

Create some informational content, but MOFU and BOFU content delivers better ROI.

And before publishing, optimize each piece of content. This takes around 10-15 minutes.

Optimization for Search Engines

On-page SEO is a vital pre-publication step for your content. This type of optimization helps Google understand your content better so it can be ranked for relevant keywords.

The result is that your target audience can easily find your business, your products, and your content.

Maintenance

After content’s been created, optimized, and launched, there’s a maintenance aspect too.

Reasons for maintenance include:

  • Content decay: It’s natural for content to decay (lose ranking) over time. Improving content slipping in rankings can be done on a set schedule.
  • Content updates: Changes to your products or policies may necessitate updating existing content. Additionally, headlines that mention a year (like 10 Google Ranking Factors to Act On in 2024) will begin declining in ranking as soon as New Year’s Day arrives. Plan to update those mentions every January.
  • Underperforming content: Content that never ranks can be reviewed for action. Combining several related underperformers into 1 new article can improve ranking. Content that becomes obsolete may need to be deleted. Consider the role of redirects when deleting pages.

Measurement

There are 3 steps we recommend to measure the success of your content efforts.

First, remember the 3-5 business objectives you chose. You’ll need to track and measure those outcomes.

Business Objectives

Create a table listing each business objective, the digital strategies you’ll use to achieve it, your KPIs, and targets. 

Focusing on what matters most each week keeps goals in focus and fosters accountability.

Website Results

Review your online stats that are supplied through Langer Enterprises LLC and sign up for a free Google Analytics account. You can use it to track conversion rates and discover which web pages, ad campaigns, or social media pages are driving results.

When you know what’s working, you can do more of it. And you can pull resources from underperforming activities.

Keyword Rankings

Search Statistics will also tell you if your pages are slipping in rankings. That way, you can add some improvements to the article.

In addition, you can use this feature to detect the impact of Google algorithm updates on your results.

Content Strategy vs. Content Marketing Strategy

Often, content strategy and content marketing strategy are used interchangeably. Traditionally, content strategy has dealt with determining staff roles, governance, liability issues, and processes, among other things.

For small businesses with few employees, detailed discussions of roles and governance may seem like overkill.

Here are some areas all businesses can benefit from covering.

  • Liability: Using a single image you don’t have a required license for can lead to copyright fines as great as $150k per instance. Create written guidance for staff on image use.
  • Access control: Most website platforms like WordPress offer user roles with varying levels of administrative access. Avoid liability issues and errors by only providing staff with the necessary access level.
  • Review and approval: Create an efficient approval workflow so content is reviewed and signed off on before publishing, ensuring consistent quality and messaging.

Businesses may also want to:

  • Audit existing content: This is a process of reviewing your current content and how it’s organized, to identify areas for improvement.
  • Develop an editorial calendar: Plotting a schedule for when different content assets will be produced and published can keep the team aligned and on track.

AI-Generated Content

You’ve probably heard a lot about AI-generated content. There’s been such fevered coverage of this trend, that it can be hard to sort out solid use cases from over-optimistic claims.  Be careful!

Here are 2 good uses of AI-generated content.

  • Localized video: Thanks to the advent of voice cloning (provided by 11Labs), tools like Rask.ai enable you to translate your video content into foreign languages, while the speaker’s tone of voice is maintained. Lip syncing is not at the level where this technology can currently replace, say, film dubbing, but it’s surprisingly effective.
  • Programmatic SEO (pSEO): This tactic enables you to create hundreds or thousands of web pages using templates, variables, and AI-generated content. We think it’s best to restrict this tactic to repetitive forms of content and to edit the content.

Content Strategy Bonus Tips

  • Lead magnets: Every business needs to generate leads, and your website is a perfect place to do this. 
  • Calls-to-Action (CTAs): For any CTAs on a web page, make sure they’re placed near the top. Many users don’t bother scrolling down pages.
  • Content gap analysis: Learn how to do a content gap analysis (also called a keyword gap analysis) to discover which keywords your competitors are ranking for but you aren’t.
  • Topic clusters: Learn how to create topic clusters to establish authority and accelerate rankings.