In 1996 Bill Gates penned an essay claiming “content is king” and ever since, the power and influence of content seemed set only to rise. Content marketing – when done well – helps brands and businesses to raise their profiles and build brand trust across multiple platforms.
The trouble is, not everyone does it well and with over two million blogs and 500 million tweets posted every day – it’s easy to get lost in the noise. Perhaps you’ve been guilty of churning out content for “content’s sake”? If you want to understand more about how to make sure your content delivers measurable results, read on to find out how to build an effective online content strategy.
Why do you need an online content strategy?
An online content strategy will help you to identify and set the goals that matter to your organisation. It will enable you to create effective content that’s engaging, meaningful and well-structured. It will also help you to produce content that reaches your target audience at every stage of your customer journey, and increase your visibility in search engine results.
How do you develop an online content strategy?
Your strategy should consider content that is going to enhance the user experience, engage users with slick design and through compelling copywriting, and make sure your brand is highly visible to your target audience on the online channels they use most.
Get a tighter grip and take control of your content by following our top tips and considerations for building an online content strategy that will maximise your website’s performance.
Define your goals
Whether it’s to drive more traffic to your website, generate more sales, or to increase your brand profile on social media, the best online content strategy is one that has clear goals and establishes measureable key performance indicators (KPIs) upfront. Knowing what you want your content to achieve – rather than being grateful for whatever traffic or engagement you happen to attract – will ensure you create strategic content that serves a purpose, and is going to meet your business objectives.
Understand your audience
Next, make sure you understand who you are creating content for. Always have your audience persona front of mind as this will help you to create content that’s going to benefit your audience, and meet their needs. It will also be useful when it comes to considering which channels you should be engaging with. For example, it’s not worth creating a video for Facebook if your audience isn’t present or active on there. Content and channel planning go hand-in-hand, so don’t dive straight into your first draft without knowing in advance who you want to reach, and where it’s meant to go.
Review your content
Next, perform a content audit. Look at how your current content is performing across all online channels – this will help you to identify which pages need reviewing and what types of content you can create to help increase their performance. It’s also worth looking at the types of content your competitors are producing as it might spark ideas on how you can create something better.
Once you have your goals and customers in mind, it’s time to start brainstorming ideas. Think of ways you can engage with your audience through your website, and on other channels, by considering ideas for both onsite and offsite content. Onsite content is content that’s on your website, for example, the homepage, landing page or blog section of a website. Offsite content is content that’s going to have a direct impact on your website. This includes content like emails, featured articles, online media coverage, featured articles on other sites and any social media activity.
Manage your content
Now that you’re armed with ideas, you’re ready to start putting them into action. The best way to make sure you’re being strategic with your content, and that you’re publishing it at the right time, is to create a content calendar. This will help you to manage your content output and plan any additional resources you might need. Consult with your search engine optimisation (SEO) expert to see when searches peak for specific keywords and plan and produce your content accordingly. It’s also worth putting in any calendar events that your audience is interested in, so you can piggy-back on them and create content to join the conversation online.
As you start to create your online content, remember to check its performance against the goals set in your content strategy. This will help you to understand what content works on your website and review any pieces that are underperforming. It will also help you to learn what online content your audience finds most engaging and know what to include in your next content marketing plan.
Freshwater has a team of content experts who can help you develop a plan and whip your content into shape. Visit our content marketing service page to learn more about how we can help you.