The Fundamentals of a Strong Digital Content Strategy

  • August 31, 2021
  • Entrepreneurs

    ,

    Marketing

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I think everyone will agree when I say posting content alone isn’t enough to boost sales and make your marketing efforts effective. Pushing content online without a direction, without a digital content strategy, is like cooking food without salt. There is no use!

To yield results from your content, you need a target audience, a long-term goal, and a purpose.

Which begs the question-

How can you make your content impactful to create a web presence?

If you guessed a robust digital content strategy. You’re right.

A digital content strategy is a foundation for your website content, blogs, guest blogs, eBooks, articles, and more.

It might sound like a lot of trouble, but it’s worth it.

As soon as things start working and your content plan starts bringing in more users, you’ll realize numbers don’t lie.

As a content marketer, a content marketing plan is essential to produce results. Plus, you can be sure your competitor already has a strategy, so why should you be left behind?

Now you know why a content marketing strategy is important, let’s dive into what it means and how you can create an impactful one.

What is a Digital Content Strategy?

A content strategy is a comprehensive plan that helps you achieve your business goals using content.

For example, one of your business goals can be to create online awareness – to achieve this goal; you need to create content that highlights a heart-touching issue, address it in a positive way, and generates audience response. Your strategy will focus on positive content and in-depth SEO practices to create online awareness.

This includes:

  • Where you should publish content
  • How often you should publish content
  • The platforms where you should share/promote/distribute it
  • The style/voice to use in your content
  • The audience niche you’re writing for
  • Your content budget cap
  • Your topic areas and target keywords
  • And more

If you produce high-quality content can create a trusting relationship with your brand audience in the long haul.

A good digital content strategy is the first step for “the attract and retain stage” in a buyer’s journey. In addition to attracting new customers, your content strategy also comes in handy for sale enablement and customer satisfaction.

Moreover, with 70% of marketers investing in content marketing – it should definitely one of the important things on your list.

The Fundamentals of a Digital Content Strategy

You know how you follow a map when you go on yearly hikes? Much like that, a content strategy acts as a map. It offers you the direction in which your content efforts should focus to create a maximum effect, so you know how to generate more ROI.

There are three fundamentals for a solid-proof digital marketing strategy. Let’s look at them.

Knowing Your Content Goals

The first thing you need to decide are the goals you want to achieve by implementing a content strategy. The goals will drive your content strategy and outline it from the start. Identifying goals is the first fundamental of a strong strategy.

Your goals can be but are not limited to:

  • Building brand awareness.
  • Creating brand loyalty.
  • Educating your customers.
  • Boosting customer engagement.
  • Recruiting talented employees.

Knowing Your Content Differentiation Factor (CDF)

The Content Differentiation Factor or CDF is the “it” factor of your content. It’s the fundamental of your content plan that differentiates you from your competitors. It helps you stand out from the crowd and gives you a unique identity. It answers these queries:

  • Why are you different from your competitors?
  • How can you help your audience differently?
  • How is your help better than any other brand?

Once you have your unique attribute, you can start finding relevant topics to create digital content.

Knowing Your Topic Area(s)

The essence of content marketing is to offer your audience the answers they’re looking for. You need to create value for your content, and to do that, your content should solve your user’s problems. The content you create includes:

  • Articles and blogs
  • eBooks
  • Informational videos
  • White papers
  • Infographics
  • Images and more.

When you publish trustworthy and authentic content, you build trust with your audience. Now, make sure when you start creating content it:

  • Relate to the products or services you sell.
  • Speaks to your audience.
  • Showcases your industry expertise.

Basically, you should know your topic area, find relevant keywords, and then optimize your content according to it. Down the line, pick up topics related to your expertise. For example, if your expertise is “sports shoes,” then you can create content for topics like:

  • Exercising
  • Sports events
  • Dieting etc.

Here are some tools you can use to find topic areas:

  • BlogAbout
  • BuzzSumo
  • Feedly
  • HubSpot’s Website Grader

The 6 Steps of Creating a Digital Content Strategy

How can you create a robust digital content strategy? Here are six steps to help you piece together a good strategy. Let’s see what you have to do.

Step #1 – Understand the Digital Content Strategy Foundation Blocks

The foundation blocks are the fundamentals I discussed in the last section. They are the key requirements you need to meet to create your content strategy.

You need to get them right before you move forward. Here’s a recap of the fundamentals:

  • Knowing Your Content Goals
  • Identifying Your Content Differentiation Factor (CDF)
  • Finding Your Topic Areas

Like we talked about them before, getting all these foundations accurate will assist you in creating a digital content strategy.

Step #2 – Know Your Audience

The next step is considering who your content is targeted at – the audience. Who are you creating the content for? Who’s going to read it?

If you’re unaware of your audience, here’s what you can do about that:

> Thorough Audience Research

Before you create a content strategy, it’s important to do thorough audience research to understand who will be viewing your content. The audience research will help you identify:

  • The content tone you should use.
  • Types of content pieces to create.
  • Content your audience wants to see.

How can you carry out proper audience research? The best advice is to talk to them. Pick people from your audience and ask them what they would like to see. There are quite a few ways to do this:

  • Invite them over to a seminar or webinar.
  • Carry out an online survey.
  • Create polls on social media and ask your audience.

> Create Audience Personas

An audience or buyer persona is like a guide you can read before every content piece is created. The sheet has all the in-depth facts about your audience. The tool helps you know your audience personally and keeps you focused when you create content. This is what the buyer or audience persona may look like:

The Fundamentals of a Strong Digital Content Strategy

To create the persona, you need to ask a lot of questions from your audience that should revolve around the headings in a persona. The easy trick is to write down your questions then ask to create a proper persona.

Step #3 – Learn to Use SEO

If you didn’t already know this, SEO is the seasoning you need for your content. Your content material should be SEO optimized to make a difference online; hence, knowing and implementing SEO is very crucial.

When buyers go online, they search for specific keywords; for example, “buy cheap shoes online” – your job is to make sure your website link appears on the first page.

You guessed it; your SEO content is responsible for making your website reflect on the first page.

SEO starts with simple keyword research. Keywords are short phrases or terms, and here’s how you should choose them:

  • The keywords should be more than three words (long-tail keywords)
  • Choose keywords with low competition or low difficulty.
  • Make sure the keywords are brand-relevant.
  • The keywords should be the ones your buyers are searching for.

Basically, find your sweet spot between relevant keywords and the competition – something you can still rank with.

The Fundamentals of a Strong Digital Content Strategy

Now, let’s discuss the process of finding keywords for your digital content strategy:

  • Start by defining your industry. For example, “buy shoes online.”
  • Now add more terms to the keyword. For example, “buy shoes online from sales.”
  • Use a tool to see the keyword variations you can use.
  • Check keyword difficulty and density – avoid any difficult, competitive ones.

Step #4 – Curate Online Authority for Your Website

If you can build online authority for your website, you are a quarter of the way there!

Your online authority has a ripple effect:

  • Shows your industry-specific expertise.
  • Build trust with online users.
  • Transforms website visitors into leads and then into long-term customers.
  • Creates the website’s DA (Domain Authority).
  • Generates high-quality backlinks.
  • Helps your content rank and reach more people.

All these effects reflect in content marketing, and that’s why it’s necessary to build your online authority during strategy development.

You can start building your authority from the web pages and content pieces you want. Focus all your efforts there and start building. Make sure to keep maintaining your website content.

Tips for building authority:

  • Keep your website fresh with new content like blogs.
  • Make your website design user-friendly, smooth, and as flawless as possible.
  • Publish the best SEO content pieces.
  • Work qualitatively, not quantitatively.

Step #5 – Creating Content

Here’s the easy part of your content development strategy; the content creation bit!

You have your buyer persona, your keywords, the topic areas you should cover, and your content goals. Let’s look at how to create content.

> Create SEO Content

Time to put your keywords into the content.

  • Create content based on your keywords.
  • Find topics based on the keywords.
  • Add them into your metadata, page URL, headings, first and last paragraphs, and in overall content.
  • Add them as naturally as possible, and you can even add internal links to them.

Make SEO-rich content to rank higher on search engines!

> Work With a Workflow

You need to make content creation systematic so that you always have something to publish on the website.

A proper workflow will act as a stem to your content strategy. The key is to lay out the steps for your team to create content – the process will make the overall execution easier. Start with these steps:

  • Ideation – Find content ideas and topics to match your content goals regularly.
  • Creation – Research, draft, create, edit your content, add images and videos.
  • Preparation – Schedule content on a weekly basis and publish it accordingly.

The steps should help outline a workflow to add content consistently.

> Map the Buyer Persona to the Marketing Strategy

The buyer persona you created before wasn’t just for show – this is where it comes in handy. Match your buyer person with your marketing lifecycle to understand where the buyer is during the purchase journey.

When you understand the buyer’s position, it helps you curate content accordingly, without the fluff. You can address customer concerns at the right time, and they will feel heard. Curate content for each stage of the marketing lifecycle.

> Match the Topics to Your Content Goals

The best way to ensure your content helps you achieve your goal is to make it purposeful.

When your content has a purpose, it instantly connects with your goals and takes your business towards more online success.

You can create mini-goals that help you create better content – of course, not every mini goal needs to be met, but they can be anything like:

  • Boost SEO rankings.
  • Build connections and make sales
  • Create brand awareness

Have a look at the type of content you need for each mini-goal mentioned above:

The Fundamentals of a Strong Digital Content Strategy

The next time you start writing content, make sure it achieves at least one purpose to fuel business growth. If your content idea doesn’t meet any of these goals, ignore it and move to the next.

> Do Guest Blogging

Guest posting and blogging are a way to boost your online authority. When you suggest a guest blog to another website, it leads to more audience to your website.

When you approach third-party websites for guest posts, remember these tips:

  • Only talk to websites related to your niche and industry.
  • Read the third-party website’s guidelines and follow them.
  • Contact authoritative websites to increase your own authority.
  • Make sure the website’s domain authority is higher than 30.

Step #6 – Manage and Maintain Your Content

The Fundamentals of a Strong Digital Content Strategy

The final step of your content strategy should be to manage and maintain every content piece you have created.

Don’t think just because you posted some content online; your job is done – it’s just getting started.

Promoting and managing your great content is an ongoing process to keep the momentum strong in the future.

So, what can you do to manage and maintain the published content?

> Set a Budget to Promote Content

To ensure your digital content strategy works, you will need outside help, like investment and resources. Here are some things you’ll need to set a budget for:

  • Hosting your website.
  • Content creators (writers, editors, proofreaders, etc.)
  • Tools for keyword research, email marketing, topic research, etc.
  • Analytical tools to measure website and content performance.

Budget everything from the beginning for smooth content creation and refrain from saving money on essential tools.

If you decide not to invest because “it’s just content,” you could lose a competitive edge. Make the investment and stay persistent with your content.

> Market Your Content

The only way you can target and attract users is by leveraging SEO. Apart from SEO, think of ways you can promote and market your content. Here are some ways you can try:

  • Internal link your blogs to other blogs on your website.
  • Email your subscribers about new content you publish.
  • Promote your content on social media.
  • Invest in PPC and social media campaigns for the best content pieces.

> Maintain Your Content

When I say maintain your content, I mean constantly monitoring it and making it better. You can’t expect your content to improve SEO rankings or make a difference if it’s outdated.

You need to audit, track, and measure the results of each content piece you publish online. Without this practice, you won’t know what’s working for your brand and how you can generate more ROI.

How can you maintain the quality of your content?

  • Refresh your old content – Many of your blogs are probably outdated but don’t delete them; in fact, update those according to your new digital content strategy. Add new information, make it sound professional, and align it with your brand.
  • Track and measure your content – You need to know how your content is affecting your marketing efforts. Here are some things to track: Organic traffic, visitors, engagement, bounce rates, page views, click patterns, comments, likes, shares, etc.
  • Add visuals – Make your content appealing by adding visuals like videos, images, and infographics. People find the content nice to look at if you add visual aid.
  • Include factual data – When you make a claim, make sure to add the source to it. If your fact-based data has back up, people will find it easy to trust you.
  • Format to perfection – Your content piece needs to be easy to read, for which you need proper formatting. Users could get bored of your content piece if it lacks proper headings or bulleting.

In Conclusion

You can’t expect to excel at content marketing without a proper strategy. Your strategy is a foundation for your efforts, and it guides you towards maximizing ROI.

As quoted in CoSchedule’s State of Marketing Strategy Report, marketers who prioritize a digital strategy have a 313% more chance of achieving success than those without a strategy.

That’s an incredible figure, right? It shows how vital the role of a digital content strategy is when you start content marketing.

Shameen

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I'm an enthusiastic content writer who loves facing challenges and knocking them out of the park.