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On Facebook alone, there are more than 300 million photos uploaded each day, and every minute there are 510,000 comments posted and 293,000 statuses updated. When you think about Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and Twitter those numbers just keep growing. There are also countless paid blogs, influencer posts, and advertisements to consider. The digital world quickly becomes overwhelming for marketers, and it’s harder and harder to get your audience’s attention with the amount of content acting as competition.

In a digital world where people are posting constantly, businesses have to be strategic about their posts and publications. Creating a content strategy can help you to reach new customers, build your brand, and drive conversions. In this article, we'll explore the steps you need to take to create a content strategy that works for your business.

Define Your Audience

The first step in creating a content strategy is to define your audience. This should include demographics, such as age, gender, and average income. You’ll likely also want to specify a geographical region to target. Lastly, you’ll want to consider their behavioral traits and motivations for buying your product. Behavioral traits may include details like their occupation or hobbies. Motivations may include a problem or need they have.

If you’re selling farm supplies in a rural town full of family farms, a likely target audience would be middle-aged family men who live in the area, farm for a living, and need convenient access to equipment and feed. Identifying this target audience would allow you to buy extra inventory cyclically to keep up with demand. Even more so, it would allow you to place ads on appropriate platforms. 

For onsite content, perhaps the farm supply business would post tips and tricks for planting to ensure the best harvest. Once you understand your target audience, you can create content that speaks to their needs and addresses their concerns.

Set Your Goals

Once you understand your audience, you need to set your goals. These should be specific, measurable, and aligned with your overall business objectives. For example, if your goal is to increase conversions, you might create a content strategy that focuses on lead generation. If your goal is to build your brand, you might create a content strategy that focuses on creating engaging, shareable content. The more shares your content receives, the more awareness you’ll garner for your business. 

According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, businesses that set specific goals for their content marketing efforts are more likely to see positive results. When asking marketers which goals they achieved using content marketing, 88% claimed an increase in brand awareness. A majority were also able to build credibility, educate audiences, and generate leads. Setting goals is the first step to achieving them.

Perform Keyword Research

Keyword research plays an important role when it comes to content strategy. Keywords are the words and phrases that people are typing into search engines. And this research is so important because it allows you to work backward while creating content. If you know what people are searching for, you’ll know what information is useful to them. And if you know how many people are searching for a particular term, you’ll know how popular that topic is.

Once you know what keywords are relevant to your organization, you can strategically target specific phrases and more effectively use your time and resources. Depending on your strategy, you may target long-tail or short-tail keywords, but it’s most likely that you’ll cover a variety of both (and some that fall in between). You want to make sure you’re in the game with your competition when it comes to short-tail keywords. However, you also want to increase your chances of standing out by covering some long-tail phrases.

Keyword research can inform what kind of content you should create to rank in search results, so it’s a crucial step when creating a content strategy. Each piece of material you produce should highlight a specific keyword. This ensures that your organization covers relevant topics, but it also can help boost your SEO efforts.

Conduct a Content Audit

Once you have defined your audience and set your goals, including the keywords you want to target, it's time to conduct a content audit. This involves reviewing all of the existing content on your website and identifying what is working and what isn't. The purpose of the audit is to understand what type of content resonates with your audience and what type of content needs to be improved. It’s also a way to identify gaps that your content may need to fill.

If you take time to compare your content to that of your competitors, you find ways to outperform them. For example, maybe your competition has a video that’s popular on their site while you only have blogs and infographics. This observation could tell you that your audience enjoys visual media, and you should be prioritizing video. Adding that medium to your repertoire can gain back your audience’s attention and boost your traffic.

It’s important to note, you can’t spend all your time scouring the competition’s content. It’s most important to create your own innovative and authoritative content. Just give other content a skim every now and then to stay in the know.

Develop a Content Calendar

Once you have completed your content audit, it's time to develop a content calendar. A content calendar is a plan for creating, publishing, and promoting content over a specific period of time. It helps ensure that you are consistently producing valuable content that aligns with your audience and goals. It’s also a great way to keep everyone on your team on the same page.

There are plenty of template and software options available to streamline this process. You’ll want to make sure you give time throughout the calendar for each department or member of your team. Give writers the amount of time they need to research and be creative. Schedule time for editors to accuracy check. If you have a design team, you’ll want to factor in time for them to see the content too.

A content calendar needs to include more than just when you want a piece to publish. It should consider all the steps throughout the process and how much time each person will need. You might even consider having different calendars for print, online, and social media content. Calendars really vary based on organizational needs and goals, so remember it might take some trial and error. 

Promote Your Content

Once you have created your content, you’ll need to promote it and get it in front of the right people. There are many ways you can promote your content. Social media, email marketing, and paid advertising are just a few examples. The key is to find the promotion channels that work best for your business and audience. 

If you’re targeting content to young men, Reddit, YouTube, or Tiktok, might be your best bet. However, if you’re trying to reach middle-aged women, Pinterest, Facebook, or blogs would be more likely to get their attention. Each platform has a variety of users, but each demographic has preferences and habits that have been analyzed. It’s important to do your research and strategically decide where you’ll promote your content.

Measure and Analyze Results

The last step in creating a content strategy is to measure and analyze your results. This involves tracking metrics such as website traffic, conversions, and engagement to understand what content is working and what needs optimized. The purpose of this step is to understand what type of content resonates with your audience, which promotion channels are most effective, and how your content is impacting your bottom line.

Keeping track of your data allows you to notice important trends, and you’re able to learn from your actions to better your overall content strategy. If you find long-form articles with plenty of infographics outperform first-person videos, you’ll know which type of content you should be prioritizing. If social media posts published on Facebook get more likes and shares then those on Instagram, that’s another window into audience preferences. Tracking the performance of your marketing efforts allows you to improve your content and the strategy behind creating and promoting it. 

Creating a content strategy is an essential step for any business that wants to succeed in today's digital landscape. By following the above steps, you can create a content strategy that works for your business. Keep in mind that earning your audience’s attention takes a lot of work on the back end. However, the effort you put into planning and executing your strategy will pay off in the long run.

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