What would happen if you just start driving without knowing where to go and which route to choose? Most likely, you will never reach your destination because you don’t know what that is in the first place. Even if you do manage to reach your destination, you would have spent a lot of extra time, money, and fuel that otherwise could have been saved with proper planning.
This is exactly what happens when you do not have a content strategy but start publishing content randomly without a plan. According to a study by MarketingProfs, 63 percent of businesses do not have a documented content strategy. Make sure you are not one of them.
If you do not know where to start, this is the perfect post for you. Here are 5 simple questions that will help you craft a highly effective content strategy.
1. Who is your target audience?
This is often the most important part of any content strategy. Who is your target audience? Who are your users? Who are you going to write for?
Create audience personas to define your readers and learn more about them. If you already have a decent amount of website traffic, you can learn more about your audience and its behaviour by checking the ‘Audience’ report in Google Analytics.
You can also use free tools to learn more about your potential target audience. These tools include:
2. Who are you competing against?
Find your direct and indirect competitors, understand them and their businesses, and analyse their websites. Identify what they are doing right and learn from what they are doing wrong. If they have any following or credibility in your niche, they must be doing something right.
Zoom in on their strategy, identify patterns, shortlist their most popular content pieces, and try to understand the reason behind everything. You will have to be better than your competitors at serving the target audience if you want to succeed online. Use tools like SpyFu and SEMRush to learn more about your competitors and analyse their websites.
3. What do you offer that your competitors don’t?
This is often the most important part of any content strategy as it helps define what you are going to do next. Once you have identified your competitors and learned about their strengths and weaknesses, you must identify your own. In a space that is already crowded with well-established websites that have been serving your potential target audience for, probably, years now, what can you do to disrupt it?
Use the weaknesses of your competitors to come up with ideas of your own. The focus should be on identifying ideas that you can use to serve your audience with better content, delivery, and user experience that your competitors couldn’t.
4. What type of content are you going to publish?
This includes deciding between blog posts, content on social channels, email marketing content exclusively for your email subscribers, infographics, video content, podcasts, etc. You can always choose a mix of these different types of content as per your needs; this is what most content marketers like to do. They leverage multiple channels simultaneously.
At this stage, you also need to consider what type of blog posts are you going to publish — since the blog will likely occupy the biggest space in your content strategy.
Decide between short-form and long-form content.
Google and other search engines prefer long-form content. So, if organic traffic is your primary focus, you should consider creating 2,000+ word content.
5. How often will you publish content?
The length and type of your content — along with the resources you have — will also dictate how often you can publish new content.
You can publish multiple blog posts every week if you focus on relatively shorter blog posts. However, if you want to publish 2,000+ word content, it will be difficult for you to publish 3-4 posts every week. You also need to consider the time required to promote each piece of content.
Start with a cadence that makes the most sense for you. Monitor results and tweak your strategy accordingly to find a balanced frequency that produces the best results for you.
A good, effective content strategy can be the difference between success and failure. Take your time with it, answer the above-mentioned questions, and craft a solid, well-rounded content strategy for your business that will help you succeed online.