The Ultimate Content Strategy Checklist: Infographic Guide
Content marketing strategy is roadmap for your business objectives. If you want to create a solid plan, there are six basic questions you need to answer:
- Where are we now?
- Where do we want to go?
- How are we going to get there?
- What tools and tactics are we going to use on the journey?
- How are we going to measure success and optimise?
The questions are simple, but answering them is tough. That’s why ye’ve put together an easy-to-follow guide and infographic to help you to strategise and get the most out of your content marketing campaigns.
Psst! Want to know how to manage content during the Covid-19 pandemic? Then check out our guide to creating content in a crisis.
Why have a content strategy?
The ultimate purpose of content strategy is to align company objectives with brand communications and customer needs. By creating valuable content that solves your target customers’ challenges, you aim to generate qualified leads and bring them closer to conversion.
Without a clear strategy, your content goals will be unclear, you’ll struggle to measure how successful your campaigns are, and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to deliver value or generate leads on a consistent basis-
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”– Sun Tzu, The Art of War.
Listen to General Tzu if you’ve been aimlessly messing around with content with no real results.
How do you create a content strategy?
1. Establish SMART Objectives
SMART objectives allow you to create meaningful content campaigns that align with your company mission, unify your team and take the short, medium and long terms into account. They will also help you maintain audience focus and stay true to your brand values.
These are the questions you’ll need to answer in order to create a SMART objective for your content marketing strategy.
- Specific: What exactly do you want to achieve?
- Measurable: How will you know you are on track?
- Attainable: Can you achieve the results you want with your current team and resources?
- Relevant: Does your objective align with your overarching business aims/vision?
- Time-bound: When do you need to complete it by in order to be successful?
Here’s a marketing related SMART goal for this guide:
By the end of the month, we will create a marketing strategy that drives more traffic to our website and generates 20% more leads.
2. Research your audience
Once you know what your business needs to achieve, it’s time to focus on your customers. Think about the following questions:
- Who are our target audiences? Create buyer personas that describe your key customer segments. You can read more about buyer persons in our article: How to build better buyer personas
- What problems do our clients need to solve? (And where do we come in?) You’ll need to do a deep dive on your customers and find out why they are hiring you. How can your content help your prospects achieve their goals or move them further along the buyer’s journey?
- Where is our target audience located (physically or online)? Think about where your audience hangs out online: this will help you prioritise your digital marketing and promotion. Hint: Use Google Analytics to see where your traffic is coming from.
- What typical questions do our clients ask our sales or service teams? Mine your team for knowledge – this is a great basis for client-orientated content. Guides, product explainers and infographics can also double up as useful tools for your sales team, too!
3. Keyword optimisation
You can use tools like Keyword Planner, SEMRush, Ahrefs and Ubersuggest to find keywords to optimise your content. You can also look at Answer the Public to find ideas and questions people ask to give your content a further SEO boost.
When you’re researching keywords, bear in mind that Google has determined that people are looking for information that fits neatly into 4 categories:
- Users want to learn something. For example: “How do you become a Shaolin monk?”
- Users want to find a website. For example: “Barcelona startup news website”
- Users want to do something. For example: “English course Barcelona”
- Users want to find a place. “For example: “Onecowork cathedral”
Think about where your content fits in these buckets. Then use the search yourself and see what Google thinks is valuable. The search engine results pages (SERPs) show what content Google thinks best delivers on user intent. It therefore pays to create similar types of content for your target keywords.
If Google is surfacing guides, write a guide, If Google is surfacing listicles, write a list, if Google is showing videos…you get the idea. Just make sure your content is more in depth, better and more valuable than what’s there already. Or you’re fighting a losing battle.
Google is delivering “no-click” content via snippets – that’s information which is accessible there in the search results – and the user doesn’t need to click on it (but they receive about 8% of the clicks anyway).
Currently only about 12% of searches turn up featured snippets, according to Ahrefs – so see if your search term does. If it does – you’re good to start optimising!
Your snippet could take the form of a definition, a short video clip, numbered or bulleted lists, a table, or a paragraph.
You’ll need to have an optimised heading and use snippet bait – most snippets are between 40-60 characters long
In summary: Make sure that you are optimising for the type of content that Google thinks best serves the users for any given search term. And make it awesome.
4. Create a content calendar
Now you’ve got a good idea why you’re creating content, what the content should contain, and the keywords you’re optimising it for, it’s time to put an action plan together.
Content marketing calendars help you:
- Prioritise content
- Set deadlines
- Create links between articles
- Evenly target your content to relevant audiences
- Communicate goals and briefs to your team
- Highlight calls to action
- Diversify your content
- Keep a record of work
If you don’t know how to make one, you’re in luck. Download our free content marketing calendar here.
5. Develop valuable content
Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. However, when it does have a number of measurable components.
Message: This not only has to help or entertain your audience, but it has to align with your business goals.
Audience: As we’ve mentioned, know who you are targeting is extremely important. But you also need to think about why they are looking for your help and why they are “hiring” your service. What is their job to be done?
Check out this fab explanation by the late, great Clay Christensen:
Audience context: This is as much where your audience is in the buyer’s journey, as it is the time of day and which device they use to access your content.
Consider why your audience needs your content and how would most like to consume it. Maybe an ebook is ideal, or perhaps they would be better served with an infographic or video.
If you’d like to learn how to write a viral blog post, check out our helpful guide.
Content strategy doesn’t end with production, so Check out our infographic for further steps!