How to Build a Content Strategy that Drives Business Results

May 03, 2024   /   by  Roger West

In the bustling world of digital marketing, content is not just king; it's the entire kingdom. Yet, even with this realm at their fingertips, many marketers find themselves crafting content without conquering their business objectives. The culprit? A missing link between content creation and achieving measurable business results. This is where a robust content strategy steps in, bridging the gap and guiding content to fulfill its true potential.

Content strategy is the master plan for using content to achieve specific business goals. It's not merely about producing and sharing content but ensuring that every piece of content—be it a blog post, video, or tweet—is crafted with intent and direction. In today's digital marketing environment, where every brand is vying for attention, a well-defined content strategy is not just important; it's imperative.

Many organizations churn out content daily without a clear strategy, leading to wasted resources and missed opportunities. This disconnect between content creation and business impact highlights the need for a strategic approach to content. Hence, this guide promises to provide you with a clear, actionable framework to build a content marketing strategy that not only resonates with your audience but drives significant business results.

Setting the Foundation – Define Your Business Goals

Before diving into content calendars or brainstorming session themes, it's crucial to anchor your content strategy to your broader business objectives. Content for the sake of content can lead to a directionless marketing effort. Instead, start with the end in mind. What are you aiming to achieve with your content?

Common Business Goals Content Strategy Supports

  • Brand Awareness: Making your brand more recognizable and top-of-mind for consumers. Content that educates your audience about your brand and values can play a key role here.
  • Lead Generation: Using content to attract potential customers and collect information to convert them into leads. This often involves detailed, engaging content like whitepapers or webinars.
  • Customer Acquisition: Converting leads into paying customers. This could involve case studies, testimonials, and detailed product information.
  • Thought Leadership: Establishing your brand as a leading authority in your industry. This is often achieved through insightful blog posts, research reports, and speaking engagements.
  • Increased Website Traffic: Driving more visitors to your site to increase brand exposure and lead generation opportunities. SEO-optimized content plays a vital role here.

It's tempting to want to achieve all these goals simultaneously, but spreading your efforts too thin can dilute the impact of your content strategy. Instead, guide your team to choose 1-2 primary goals to focus your content strategy on. This focus ensures that every piece of content produced is aligned with your desired outcomes, making it easier to measure success and adjust strategies as needed.

Know Your Audience Inside and Out

Understanding your audience is akin to mastering the art of conversation. It's about listening, adapting your message, and ensuring relevance at every turn. To do this effectively, marketers turn to the creation of buyer personas or ideal customer profiles. These are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on real data and educated speculation about demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.

Crafting a buyer persona requires a blend of detective work and empathy. Here are questions designed to unveil the essence of your target audience:

  • Demographics: Who are they? Consider age, location, job title, and the industry they're in. These factors can influence how and why they interact with your content.
  • Pain Points: What problems are they trying to solve? Understanding their challenges allows you to tailor content that offers solutions.
  • Challenges They Face: What obstacles stand in their way? This helps you create content that empathizes and provides clear paths to overcoming these hurdles.
  • What Information Do They Seek Online?: Knowing this enables you to be their beacon of knowledge, drawing them in with the exact answers they're looking for.
  • Where Do They Consume Content?: Are they scrolling through LinkedIn, diving deep into blog posts, or watching YouTube tutorials? The platforms your audience frequents dictate where you should publish and promote your content.

This deep dive into your audience’s world equips you with the knowledge to create content that resonates, engages, and ultimately converts.

It's an Audit! Evaluate Your Existing Content

Imagine setting sail without checking the integrity of your vessel. That’s akin to creating new content without evaluating what you already have. This is where a content audit becomes crucial. It's the process of systematically reviewing all content you've produced to assess its strengths, weaknesses, and alignment with your current goals.

A thorough content audit not only saves resources but also uncovers hidden gems and opportunities within your existing content portfolio. Here’s what you should analyze during an audit:

  • Past Performance: How well has each piece of content performed in terms of traffic, engagement, and conversions? This data reveals what resonates with your audience and what doesn’t.
  • Alignment with Target Audience: Does your content speak to the buyer personas you’ve defined? Content that misaligns with your audience’s interests and needs is a missed opportunity.
  • Content Gaps: Are there topics or questions relevant to your audience that you haven’t covered? Identifying these gaps allows you to plan new content that fills these voids, ensuring you become a comprehensive resource for your audience.

Performing a content audit might seem daunting, but the insights gained are invaluable. It ensures every piece of content you create or revise is a strategic asset, perfectly poised to contribute to your business goals. With your audience clearly defined and a keen understanding of your current content landscape, you’re now set to craft a content strategy that not only captivates but converts.

Choosing the Right Types of Content

Navigating the content landscape is akin to choosing the right tools for a job. Not every tool is suited for every task, and similarly, not all content types will fulfill your strategic objectives in the same way. The choice of content formats should be a deliberate decision, aligning with both your goals and the preferences of your audience.

Let's explore the arsenal of content types at your disposal:

  • Blog Posts: The backbone of many content strategies, ideal for SEO and providing in-depth information on topics relevant to your audience.
  • Videos (Short-Form and Long-Form): Versatile and engaging, videos can be used to explain complex topics, showcase products, or tell your brand's story. They're great for keeping visitors on your site longer and can be adapted for different platforms.
  • Infographics: Perfect for summarizing information or data in a visually appealing way. They're shareable and great for driving traffic and backlinks.
  • Case Studies: Excellent for demonstrating the real-world value of your products or services. They help build trust by showcasing successful customer stories.
  • eBooks/Whitepapers: In-depth content that is ideal for lead generation. They offer detailed insights or solutions and are often exchanged for contact information.
  • Webinars: Interactive and informative, webinars are powerful for lead generation and establishing thought leadership.
  • Social Media Posts: Great for engaging directly with your audience, increasing brand awareness, and driving traffic to other content.
  • Email Newsletters: Personal and direct, newsletters can nurture leads, keep your audience engaged, and drive traffic to your content.

Aligning content types with business goals is key. For example, webinars and eBooks are excellent for lead generation, offering high value in exchange for contact information. Blog posts, optimized for SEO, can boost your website traffic and improve search engine rankings. Understanding this alignment ensures that every piece of content serves a strategic purpose.

Ideation and a Stellar Content Calendar

With a clear understanding of your audience and the types of content at your disposal, the next step is generating ideas and organizing them into a content calendar. Ideation can be one of the most enjoyable parts of content strategy, sparking creativity and innovation.

Brainstorming Techniques for Content Topics

  • Keyword Research Tools: Uncover what your audience is searching for online to find topics that are both relevant and likely to drive traffic.
  • Audience Surveys: Ask your audience directly what they want to learn about, ensuring your content meets their needs.
  • Industry Trends: Stay current on trends within your industry to create content that positions your brand as a thought leader.

The Importance of a Content Calendar

A content calendar is a cornerstone of effective content marketing, ensuring your strategy is organized, consistent, and collaborative. It's not just about scheduling; it's about strategically planning your content to ensure it delivers maximum impact.

Benefits of a Content Calendar

  • Consistency: Regularly publishing content keeps your audience engaged and helps with SEO.
  • Planning and Organization: A calendar helps you plan content around key dates or launches, ensuring you're always ahead of the game.
  • Collaboration: It serves as a shared resource for your team, facilitating collaboration and ensuring everyone is aligned.

Tips for Structuring a Content Calendar

  • Frequency: Decide how often you’ll publish new content based on your capacity and what your audience expects.
  • Mix of Content Types: Plan for a variety of content types to keep your audience engaged and meet different objectives.
  • Deadlines: Set clear deadlines for each stage of the content creation process to ensure timely publication.

With a well-thought-out calendar, your content strategy becomes a dynamic blueprint that guides your marketing efforts towards achieving your business goals.

It Doesn't End at Creation – Distribution and Promotion

Creating stellar content is only half the battle. The other half? Ensuring it reaches and resonates with your audience. Content doesn’t have mystical legs to walk into your audience's screens; it needs a push. This is where a strategic approach to distribution and promotion becomes pivotal.

Channels to Focus On

  • Social Media (Organic and Paid): Share your content on social platforms where your audience spends their time. Organic reach is great, but don’t shy away from paid promotions to amplify your reach.
  • Email Marketing: A direct line to your audience. Use newsletters and targeted campaigns to share relevant content with those who've already shown interest in your brand.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimize your content for search engines to increase visibility. High-quality, SEO-friendly content can attract organic traffic over time.
  • Content Repurposing: Transform a single piece of content into multiple formats. Turn blog posts into infographics, social media posts, or even video content to maximize reach.
  • Influencer Outreach / Partnerships: Collaborate with influencers or brands that share your target audience. This can introduce your content to a broader, yet targeted, audience base.

Remember, distribution and promotion are not about casting the widest net but casting the right one. Select channels that align with your audience's habits and preferences, ensuring your content is seen, appreciated, and acted upon.

Measuring Success: The Key to Continuous Improvement

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” This adage holds particularly true in content marketing. Defining and monitoring the right key performance indicators (KPIs) is essential to understanding how your content contributes to your business goals and where there’s room for improvement.

Set Content Marketing KPIs

KPIs should directly relate to your business objectives. Whether it’s boosting brand awareness, generating leads, or driving sales, your chosen metrics should offer clear insights into your content's performance.

Examples of Important Metrics

  • Website Traffic: Measures the volume of visitors to your content. High traffic indicates strong interest and effective SEO and promotion strategies.
  • Engagement (Shares, Comments, Likes): Reflects how your audience interacts with your content. High engagement rates often correlate with content relevance and quality.
  • Lead Generation: The number of new leads attributed to content efforts. Indicates how effectively your content moves prospects through the sales funnel.
  • Conversion Rates: The percentage of visitors who take a desired action, such as subscribing or making a purchase. A key metric for evaluating the ROI of content marketing.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost: The cost associated with acquiring a new customer through content marketing. Essential for assessing the financial efficiency of your content strategy.

Implement Analytics Tools

Tools like Google Analytics, social media insights, and marketing automation platforms provide invaluable data for measuring these KPIs. These tools offer a window into your content’s performance, enabling you to make data-driven decisions to refine and enhance your strategy.

Regularly reviewing these metrics allows you to pivot and adapt your strategy, ensuring your content continues to align with your business goals and audience needs. By embracing a cycle of creation, distribution, and measurement, you set the stage for continuous improvement and sustained success in your content marketing efforts.

Build an Impactful Content Strategy with Roger West

An impactful content strategy is not a one-off endeavor but an ongoing commitment to adapting and evolving with your audience and the digital landscape. Start with implementing one strategy, measure its impact over time to learn what works, and then iterate on successful elements.

Now is the time to take action and steer your content towards achieving significant business results. Working with an experience content-focused marketing agency like Roger West can ensure that your next campaign will not only reach its intended audience but also drive meaningful engagement and growth. Let's talk about your goals and chart a course for success together.

Roger West Creative + Code

Roger West Creative & Code is a full-service digital marketing agency that helps companies build brands, generate leads, and keep customers inspired and engaged. The agency provides a dynamic environment for marketing pros to innovate and team up with clients to drive traffic to vibrant places and send messages that pack a punch.