How to Create a Winning Content Marketing Strategy in 5 Simple Steps
Regardless of your industry, if you want more traffic to your site, a well-executed content plan is the answer. With the right plan in place, each blog post will create a steady stream of traffic. These visitors can then be turned into leads and revenue.
But it’s one thing to develop a content plan. It’s another to create great content.
In this article, we’ll look at how to combine the two to develop a winning content marketing strategy. With this method, it’s easily possible to get your monthly traffic into the tens of thousands. Even better, once it’s up and running, it requires only minimal input.
1. Define Your Content Marketing Goals
Before you can create a content plan, you need to define your goals. Sure, your goal is to get more traffic, but it’s not just any traffic. Instead, you need visitors that are interested in the products or services you offer.
In short, you need to figure out who your target audience is.
To answer this, you can do specific exercises such as interviews with your ideal customers, as well as profiling visitors using tools like Google Analytics. You need a few critical pieces of information about your ideal customer. These include:
Problems they face
This will enable you to create a customer persona. Make sure you build out your customer persona. It will be crucial to your content marketing strategy. Below is an example customer persona from the website Alexa:
You can see how information like goals, motivation, frustration, and bio have been broken out. This provides contextual information about your customers that can be useful as you come up with your content ideas.
2: Choose the Right Keywords
So now that you have your customer persona ready, you need to come up with your keywords. When coming up with your keywords, you need to consider the customer journey.
The customer journey is the stages that a person goes through from showing interest in a topic, to becoming a customer, to potentially turning into a repeat customer. The customer journey is usually broken down into five stages.
You need to create content for each stage of that journey.
Now it’s time to come up with those keywords. For this you need a dose of common sense and Google Keyword Planner. But before we discuss each of those, why is it essential for businesses to choose the right keywords in the first place?
Frankly, without the right keywords, you won’t get traffic to your website. No traffic, no sales.
Choosing keywords begins with common sense. That is, you should start by coming up with a list of relevant words and phrases that relate to your niche. You can do this on your own, but some outside help is great too.
Once you have this, Keyword Planner is used to test if these topics will be of interest to anyone by displaying the monthly search volume. It also suggests other keywords related to your original search.
While a tool like Google Keyword Planner is good, I’d recommend using a professional SEO tool. There are plenty of tools on the market. My favorite is Longtail Pro, which is beginner friendly and affordable.
You want to come up with a healthy mix of terms for your blog. Once you have a healthy list of topics to work on, note them down in a spreadsheet with the following details:
Keyword search volume
We’ll return to this later.
3: Set Up a System
Now you have a long list of articles. You’ll need a reliable project management system in place to manage content production and publication.
There are plenty of great project management systems around. I like to use Trello, but tools like Monday and similar are just as good.
I’ll generally create a couple of columns for the content I’m producing. I use the following:
General: Contains information like style guides, HTML tips, and other info a writer would find useful
To Do: A list of articles targeting various keywords that need to be written
Doing: The article that is being worked on
Done: A list of the completed articles that are pending publication
As you’ll notice, it’s a pretty simple system.
Alongside the columns for managing everything, you need to create cards for each article. My content cards always contain the following information:
Resources (example articles to emulate)
How does all this work in practice?
It’s quite simple really. As each article progresses to the next stage, it is moved along to the appropriate column. The good thing about this method is that it scales. This system works just as well for a solopreneur as it does for a team of 5-10 writers.
Which leads us naturally to the question of hiring a freelance writer as part of your content marketing strategy.
4: Find a Great Writer
You might be a great writer and want to do everything in-house. If that’s the case, congratulations. Not everyone is a natural writer. Equally, many founders don’t have the time to churn out content for their blog.
If you’re planning to outsource your content creation, you need to find a great writer. Some small businesses prefer to use a content farm for their content to be written. Basically, these businesses give a brief, and any writer who has signed up to the agency can claim that brief and write it.
Avoid like the plague.
You’re much better off building a relationship with a real professional writer. If you have a good working relationship, you can be assured of quality content every time.
Let’s say you have issues with some of the written articles. You can always reach out directly to the writer and inform them so they can make the necessary adjustments. Then they’ll have a better idea of your needs the next time around.
Frankly though, hiring a freelancer directly means you’re less likely to encounter issues in the first place. And then there’s the fact that you will have a consistent voice across your marketing content. If you have a different content farm writer work on each article, there’s no chance of this. After all, everyone has a different writing style, much less ability.
So, where do you find this writer? The obvious routes are word-of-mouth and posting in classifieds. You can also look for copywriters on LinkedIn or Facebook groups for common digital nomad locations, like Bali and Thailand.
You’ll probably want to use a combination of these approaches. Your job ads include a job brief and a sample writing test. The test is useful for assessing writing skills, of course. Additionally, you can also evaluate a writer’s professionalism with the test.
Once you have those postings, the only thing left to do is to wait.
You can expect as many as 20 or 30 applications for each ad. Sift through these and hire the right writer. Don’t worry about the money because you actually don’t need to break the bank.
There are plenty of competent and professional copywriters out there at a range of price points. Still, a good one can end up being more cost-effective, since you’re avoiding the hassle of rewrites. Don’t hesitate to go to the top end of your budget.
5: Publish Your Content
Publishing an article on your own site is easy. All you need to do is set up an account on your CMS for your freelancer. If you’re worried about security, don’t be. It’s you, after all, who decides how many site permissions your writer needs.
Let’s say your content has been uploaded. Don’t just be content with that piece of article occupying space in the blogosphere. You need to promote it and ensure it remains relevant constantly.
You should also revisit old content and update it.
In this age of social media, content promotion is also not difficult. Use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Pinterest to distribute content.
Follow up on people who read your content, too. To do this, set up push notifications on your website and your visitors will see a small opt-in box on their browsers. This is a handy way to grow your subscriber list easily without having to ask users for their personal information like their email. You can always ask for their email later on if you want to engage in email marketing as well.
Of course, you shouldn’t just publish content on your site. You should also guest post on third party sites. Guest posting is pretty simple. You need to find the contact details of sites operating in your niche. You can use an email verification tool to get the contact details if needs be.
Once you’ve verified the email addresses, you can begin pitching your guest post ideas on sites. As you get quality backlinks to your content, you’ll find that the rankings for that content increase over time.
So that’s the promotion. Let’s discuss the ways to ensure your content remains relevant. If your content becomes irrelevant, even if you have a high ranking on Google, people will stop reading it.
Then your traffic will steadily start to drop off.
To ensure the relevance of your content, revisit it at least every six months, and update it with new trends in your niche.
You can ask your writer to do this. You can even head over to Google Search Engine Console to identify longtail keywords that could be ranking and make a few strategic tweaks.
Revisiting your articles once in a while can also help you rethink your content strategy.
How to Create a Winning Content Marketing Strategy
In this article, we’ve looked at five easy steps towards creating a winning content strategy. These are defining your content marketing goals, choosing the right keywords, setting up a system, finding a writer, and publishing content.
Publishing content also means you have to distribute it and ensure that it remains relevant. Revisiting your articles once in a while can also help you rethink your content strategy so that it continually improves.
Although this is a useful blueprint, it doesn’t mean that you have to follow it to the letter. You can make small tweaks here and there until you find that one strategy that suits you.
If this is done right, there’s no reason your business won’t see massive growth in traffic.
Owen Baker is a content marketer for Voila Norbert, an online email verification tool. He has spent most of the last decade working online for a range of marketing companies. When he’s not busy writing, you can find him in the kitchen mastering new dishes.