In the dynamic digital marketing landscape, where every click, scroll, and share matters, the cornerstone of success lies in a well-crafted content strategy. Imagine this as a roadmap that guides your brand’s narrative and resonates deeply with your audience, driving engagement, conversion, and lasting loyalty.
From defining your brand’s unique voice and identity to unraveling the mysteries of audience segmentation, building a content strategy requires navigating the intricacies of content creation, distribution, and measurement. Transform your brand’s vision into a cohesive, compelling narrative that engages and converts.
Whether you’re a seasoned marketer looking to refine your approach or a newcomer eager to harness the potential of strategic content, let this blog be your gateway to mastering the art of building a comprehensive content strategy that captures attention and leaves a lasting impact.
Step 1: Know Your Target Personas
In a recent blog, we harped on why we think personas are still relevant to building a successful content marketing plan; you just need to know how to craft ones that don’t suck. Step one should involve an in-depth analysis of your current personas OR the process of identifying and building the personas you wish to target.
We recommend you take the following steps to build your personas (or evaluate your current ones):
- Start with a list of your current customers. This can be taken from your CRM.
- Identify key persona groups within this list. You might find that you have multiple customers or clients who are VP of Sales or Start-Up Founders.
- Pinpoint each personas’ challenges, pain points, and goals. Think of areas you may want to address in your content or how your solution or product serves this particular persona.
- Research, research, research. Complete thorough research that helps you further understand your personas’ challenges, needs, and goals. We recommend researching beyond the scope of your product or solution in these areas.
- Ditch the “Technician Terry” titles. Your personas should not involve giving them each a specific name, title, salary, gender, etc. These don’t matter and don’t help you understand the characteristics of real customers and clients.
- Update, update, update. Personas should never be one and done. Humans are dynamic, and the needs within a market change. Review and update your personas on the regular to account for market evolution.
Step 2: Complete a Content Audit
It’s time to take the crucial next step: conducting a comprehensive content audit.
This phase serves as a crucial compass, guiding you through navigating the intricate terrains of your audience’s preferences and your brand’s content landscape. A content audit lets you learn what resonates with each persona and what falls short.
This evaluation process unveils the content needs and gaps specific to each persona, providing valuable insights into their preferences, challenges, and aspirations. Armed with this newfound clarity, you’ll be well-equipped to tailor your content strategy, ensuring that each piece of content is a precision-crafted arrow aimed directly at the heart of your audience’s interests.
Here are some basic tips for performing a content audit:
- Create an Inventory: Compile a comprehensive list of all your existing content, including blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, and more.
- Categorize Content: Group your content into categories or topics and then identify which personas it targets and which stage of the buyer’s journey it serves.
- Evaluate Existing Content: Check current content’s performance metrics, relevance, and accuracy to identify pieces that may need updating or eliminating.
- Address Content Gaps: Identify topics or areas not adequately covered in your existing content, especially those missing for key personas and buyer’s journey stages. These gaps present opportunities for creating new, valuable content.
- Repurpose and Refresh: Identify existing evergreen content that can be repurposed into different formats or updated with new information. This helps extend the lifespan of valuable content.
Once you’ve evaluated existing content and identified the areas you’re lacking, you can start thinking about what content you need (and want) to create.
Step 3: Craft a Content Wishlist
After your content audit, you should craft a list of dream content your team needs to create to address your content gaps and any content that must be updated. This should be any content that addresses information gaps for your personas and any fun ideas you come up with while reviewing your content. Remember, fun or out-of-the-box content can serve a purpose just as much as content targeted to a specific persona or buyer’s stage.
From that wishlist, think about any derivative content you want to create from each piece and how you plan to distribute the original piece of content. For example, if you need to create an ebook for your VP of Sales persona that is at the bottom of the funnel, ask yourself these questions:
- How will you distribute the ebook?
- What other content can you write from the ebook (like blogs) to promote it?
- Are you running a social media campaign for the ebook? If so, how many graphics or ads do you want to create?
These questions will help you see outside the vacuum of creating the piece of content and then not knowing what to do with it later.
Tip: We also recommend prioritizing your content at this stage to help you plan later.
Step 4: Select Key Content Themes
Aside from gaps in your current content, you should also address underlying themes relevant across your industry throughout the year. By identifying and incorporating these recurring themes into your plan, you establish your brand as a reliable source of timely and valuable information.
This approach enhances your credibility and ensures that your content remains evergreen and resonates with your target audience, irrespective of seasonal fluctuations. Moreover, staying attuned to industry-wide topics allows you to participate in meaningful conversations, connect with your audience’s evolving interests, and maintain a strong online presence.
We recommend identifying any “must-address” themes across your industry, such as cybersecurity month or times of year that correlate with key industry reports. From there, group your current content gaps into themes, and apply those themes to any remaining months in the calendar year. You’ll use these themes to help you plan out when you’ll tackle your content wishlist throughout the year.
This is also the stage where you’ll want to refresh or complete SEO keyword research to correlate with new targets based on your content gaps, pivots in your branding, or key terms your personas are searching for.
Step 5: Build a Content Calendar
To effectively manage your content strategy and ensure a consistent online presence, building a well-structured content calendar is crucial. By meticulously mapping out your content release schedule based on your selected themes and content needs, along with the estimated time required for content creation, you establish a roadmap that keeps your efforts on track and aligned with your overarching goals.
This strategic approach prevents last-minute rushes and allows you to allocate resources efficiently, ensuring that each piece of content receives the attention it deserves. With a clear timeline, you can balance the frequency of your releases, maintain a steady flow of engaging content, and proactively seize opportunities to address industry trends and events.
Ultimately, a thoughtfully crafted content calendar is the cornerstone of your content strategy, fostering organization, consistency, and a cohesive narrative that captivates your audience.
Ready to put steps 1 through 5 into action? Check out our content strategy and calendar template. >>
Step 6: Divide and Conquer to Execute your Content Strategy
In the grand symphony of content strategy, the final crescendo lies in the execution phase—where meticulous planning meets dynamic action. Dividing and conquering becomes the modus operandi as you bring your strategy to life.
Discerning the necessary resources and mindfully allocating them lays the foundation for a seamless and impactful implementation. You’ll want to start by auditing your internal resources so that you can harness the talents you already have within your organization and optimize their expertise to amplify your content’s reach.
You might also find that your existing team doesn’t have the bandwidth to bring your content to life. Don’t hesitate to tap into the vast knowledge offered by content marketing agencies. Their insights and proficiency can infuse your strategy with a new dimension of creativity and effectiveness.
As you unite these elements and build your content strategy, you set the stage for a content strategy that transforms into a captivating brand story that resonates with your audience and drives remarkable success.
You don’t have to do this on your own. Learn how we can elevate your brand’s story, engage your target personas, and drive lasting impact. Contact us today using the chatbot in the bottom right-hand corner of this page to learn more about how we can help you achieve your content goals.