By Randi Mohr, Whereoware VP of Client Success & Marketing
Compelling content powers commerce, cements brand awareness, and fuels customer acquisition opportunities.
In fact, 82% of marketers report actively using content marketing in 2021, up 70% from last year. It’s not just for B2C – 47% of buyers viewing three to five pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.
It’s true what they say, content is king (or queen), so why is such a crucial aspect of marketing strategy approached ad-hoc? Placing a solid strategy behind compelling copywriting and content creation can accelerate growth across both B2B and B2C commerce companies. A defined content strategy ensures content creation is customer-focused, goal-driven, and measurable for ongoing performance improvement.
Follow our six steps to build and optimize a content strategy to achieve meaningful growth across organic and paid channels.
Step 1: Audit and Assess
First, review and audit your existing content approach and marketing touchpoints. A successful audit is the equivalent of a lightbulb flipping on, removing the rose-colored glasses.
Perform a full audit of your website, content, sales funnel, and SEO to measure what’s working and identify opportunities to improve engagement or conversions. Note the volume and types of content, target audiences, ranking keywords, and channel engagement.
Review business goals and KPIs to ensure your strategy and plans are tying back to meaningful growth.
Step 2: Formulate A Plan
Now that you’ve revealed the “best-of” your content strategy and identified areas for improvement, it’s time to put a plan in place.
Map out your personas and the buyer journey to better understand who your audience is and what they’re looking for. Look for gaps in the journey (awareness, consideration, decision, post-purchase) – how can your content answer customers’ questions, put them at ease, and motivate action at each of these stages?
Step 3: The Fun Part – Create Content
During your audit and planning stages, you’ve identified what works and where you have gaps. Maximize the “working” content, while creating or optimizing content to fill gaps.
Content strategy comes in all formats:
- on-page – product detail pages, landing pages, and website copy
- lead gen – gated guides, e-books, white papers, or checklists
- thought leadership – byline articles, blog posts, or executive writing
- media – images, video, infographics, GIFs, and illustrations
These formats work together at different stages of the buying journey to create a more thoughtful and immersive experience.
It’s critical to optimize each piece to target keywords and search intent. Search engine optimization must be at the center of a successful content strategy. Throughout content creation, use the keywords and phrases identified during your audit throughout the title, URL, headers, and body copy in a natural (not robotic or keyword-stuffed) way.
Once you’ve optimized website and marketing content for both human readers and search engines, you’re ready to share it with your audience.
Step 4: Channel Distribution
By now you have a goal-oriented plan, newly created or optimized assets, and you’re ready to distribute your hard work across marketing channels.
Create an editorial calendar 60 – 90 days out, highlighting the distribution channels used for important content pieces. Include a combination of owned and paid channels, like your website, email, social, pay-per-click, and sales reps to widen your audience reach.
Your distribution plan should be a combination of reliable wins – sharing your best content on the channels your target audience engages with most regularly – and “tests”, perhaps trying a new format on social, incorporating more video or mixed media, or targeting a new audience in paid initiatives.
The goal is to incrementally improve content engagement and strategic distribution, while gaining insights to improve your strategy ongoing.
Step 5: Relay on Your Data
Which brings us to – reporting! Analyze your reporting metrics to ensure your efforts are moving the needle. The metrics to focus on will depend on your business and the goals.
For example, if you’re goal is new customer acquisition, monitor metrics like:
- organic search views
- unique website visitor growth
- social media impressions and engagement
- increased conversions or email list growth
- content attribution
If your goal is retention, monitor metrics like:
- increased page views
- time spent on site
- social media and video engagement
- increased returning visitors
Report on these metrics regularly, noticing increases or decreases overtime. Then, pivot your strategy where needed, always tying the next move to your business goals.
Step 6: Optimize Always
Continuously optimize your content strategy based on evolving audience preferences, channel performance, and business objectives.
If marketing performance is underwhelming, try sharing content on different channels, reworking your design, or tailoring the messaging to target different audiences. If lead generation goals are missed, try optimizing the landing page to reduce friction and give a better UX, improving SEO, or ensuring copy is clearly stating the action users should take.
Harnessing the power of AI makes optimization easier and unlocks potential in your strategy. AI-driven content recommendations use user activity data and trends to best match content to the right individual, while AI experimentation can supercharge your testing abilities to test messaging, images, formats, and audiences and gain immediate data to improve performance.
Content Strategy is a Guidebook
With a solid content strategy in place, and ongoing optimization, you’ll be able to iterate strategic initiatives throughout the rest of your marketing touchpoints.
About the Author
Vice President of Customer Success and Marketing for digital agency Whereoware, Randi Mohr ensures clients’ digital services achieve intended business objectives. Mohr also oversees Whereoware’s brand messaging and marketing efforts to accelerate sales growth.