content marketing

Effective 8-Step Content Strategy for 2019 with a Template

Your market and all your competitors are rapidly evolving and so should your content strategy. Whether you have a proven content strategy or are just starting out, it doesn’t hurt to revisit your content strategy plan to make sure it is innovative, up-to-date and effective. Planning your website is important.

Therefore, this piece aims to teach you how to create a content strategy fit for 2019.

Let’s start by laying out the steps;

  • Choose the content topic
  • Find a keyword
  • Select a content format and structure
  • Publish something interesting
  • Optimise your content for SEO
  • Promote your content
  • Track and measure performance
  • Scale your content marketing

Step 1: Choose a Content Topic

Your first task is to pick a topic but not just any topic. You should choose a topic that your target customer is interested in. so, how do you select the right topic?

Here are several ideas;

Competitor blogs. The first place to look for topic ideas is in a popular blog in your industry. Specifically, look for posts that tend to get many comments and shares in social networking platforms. Additionally, if your competitors have podcast channels, look through their episode list on iTunes. This will give you a good basis for selecting killer topics that are proven hits.

Online communities. Online communities are a valuable resource for finding burning questions from your customers. Good examples of such communities are Reddit and Quora. What makes them a valuable resource? You see, most people ask questions on Reddit because they cannot find satisfactory answers on Google. This means that there is a huge opportunity for you to answer these questions with your content. This technique is highly effective and if you want to scale it, you can check out Answer the Public. This is a free tool where you will find all popular questions that people have regarding a particular topic.

Bonus tip: check out conference agendas and topics in your industry. If people can travel and pay to listen to these topics, you know that they are on high demand.

The idea is to make sure that you publish your best content that is valuable to the customer and also works for you. But how do you know what works for you?

The first and obvious way is to use Google Analytics. After logging in, go to “behaviour’ then “Site Content” then “Landing Pages”. This will show you which among your site pages brings in the most traffic.

After narrowing down to the specific popular pages, proceed to identify what these pages have in common in terms of;

  • Topic
  • Format
  • Writing style
  • Author

The culmination is for you to outline your next piece of content based on what you discover though your research.

Step 2: Find a Keyword

You now have a topic that will interest your customers. Now, it is time to find a keyword that people use to find that topic.

Here are easy ways to find your ideal keyword/s

Google and YouTube Suggest

Although this is an old school keyword research strategy, it still works great. All you have to do is type your topic into Google Search. Google will automatically suggest related terms – jot them down.

The same tactic also works on YouTube, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and if you run an ecommerce website, Amazon.

Google Image Tags

This tip works great especially when finding long tail keywords. All you need to do is to search for your keyword in Google images. The search results will have tags at the top of the search results page. These tags are terms that people use when searching for information on your topic. Add these tags to the end of the keyword you typed in the Google search and you have tenable list of long tail keywords to shape your content.

Step 3: Pick a Content Format and Structure

There are many different ways you can decide to package your content. Here are some of the popular options.

  • Blog post
  • Podcast
  • YouTube Video
  • Native video (for LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter)
  • Infographic
  • Lead Magnet
  • Ebook
  • Interactive content

The aim is to go with a format that works best for you and your audience. If you are a great writer, write a blog post. If you are a brilliant designer, come up with a piece of visual content.

Alternatively, you can cover the same topic using different formats say; a blog post, podcast and a YouTube Video. Give that you have an interesting topic, all these formats can do really well.

All in all, there is no template for the perfect format for a given topic. Therefore, choose the format that you excel in and Crush it.

Step 4: Publish Something Amazing

According to a study released by WordPress, more than 2.49 million blogs are published every day. What this means is that I is harder than ever for your content to stand out. And that’s not all, it gets worse. Even though the supply of content is rising, its demand is stagnant. As a matter of fact, WordPress reports that for the first time in 12 years, page views are down.

What does this mean for your content? For your content marketing to succeed in 2019, your content needs to be brilliant.

Here are a few tips on how to achieve that brilliance.

Awesome Design

There is no way around great design. If you want people to read and share your content, it needs to look great. Use high resolution screenshots, great visuals and custom-designed guides in your content.

Easily Actionable Tips and Techniques

This is very important to all readers. Regardless of your industry, people need information they can put to use right away. Sadly most content available on the internet beats around the bush without really tackling the backbone of the content. The idea is to ensure that your content answers the question HOW. This will make it easier for the people engaging with your content to pick up on great ideas and execute them immediately.

Real Life Examples

Regardless of the content format you adopt, you cannot overlook the importance of examples. People love examples. Everyone enjoys a sense of relief when you come across a real life example after a long theoretical passage or body of information. Research also shows that examples make learning easier. Examples are a better and more effective way of teaching rather than just saying “do this”.

Written By an Expert

If you need an article on how to choose window furnishings, don’t hire a freelance writer. Hire an interior designer.

The idea is that you should only publish content from people that have actually done the things they are talking about. These pieces of content tend to perform better all round. As a matter of fact, the best performing blogs are written from personal experiences. Case in point Nerd Fitness. On top of personal experiences, you can complement the content with expert insight to tie all ideas together.

Content UX

“UX” is commonly associated with software. However, content too has a user experience.

A good example is that of a blog post where the text is all squished together. This makes it really hard to read – that’s bad content UX.

On the other hand, a blog post with good font size, spacing and heading is easier to read and remember. That’s good content UX. Content UX also applies to other content formats. For example, clear audio in a podcast is good UX. In summary, the aim is to make it easier for people to consume your content. This will make it perform much better.

Step 5: Optimise Your Content for SEO.

The next step is to optimise your content around a select keyword.

Here are few basic tips to help you crush on-page SEO.

  • Include your keyword in your title tag
  • Optimise your title tag for CTR
  • Make use of short URLs
  • Include internal links to other pages on your website
  • Use external links
  • Format your content to improve readability

Step 6: Promote Your Content

When you publish content, you do so in the hope that it will bring back value. What’s more, if you are serious about milking every last drop of value from your content, you have no option but to actively promote it. Promoting in this case does not mean sharing your content on social media platforms such as twitter and Facebook. It does help but there is more to it than social media platforms.

The objective is to strategically share your content in a way that maximizes traffic, social shares and backlinks.

Let us look at several ways you can achieve this;

Email Newsletters

As far as content promotion goes, this is pure gold. An email list is the number 1 content promotion tool in the world – no debate. But why? The premise is that your email subscribers are people who love what you do. This means that they are more likely to spread the word about your offerings and content.

Something to remember. When you promote your content through email newsletters, make sure they do not look like a stuffy corporate newsletter. Make it look as though it is from a friend or close associate.

Content Roundups

What are content roundups? These are posts that curate or roundup standout content from the week. These roundups are available in almost every niche. So what makes content roundup an effective means of content promotion? Well, your pitch actually makes their life better. You see, the curators of these roundups struggle to find fresh quality content to make their roundup. By suggesting your new post, you deliver awesome content on a silver platter.

Paid Content Promotion

Facebook boosted posts are the way to go. After repeated experiences using Facebook ads, you learn the value of retargeting. By boosting a facebook post and targeting people that recently visited your site, you pay a fairly cheap rate while achieving much needed traffic.

Step 7: Track and Measure Performance

You have done all you can to achieve the most value from your content. It’s now time to evaluate how your content strategy is working.

So, how do you know if your content has worked? Here are some few key metrics to help you.

Traffic

The primary objective of content creation is definitely to gain more traffic. Therefore, if your content is only bringing in a handful of visitors, it is time to make adjustments. However, it is important to note that SEO and content marketing in general takes time to have full effect. The key is to keep on delivering quality content persistently with a long-term view. Traffic will grow gradually at but in due time it will spike and push you forward.

Backlinks

At times, you can publish content with the sole aim of getting backlinks. This is known as linkbait. Even though the post might not bring in much traffic, your aim is to attract backlinks. So, why is this important? And how does it help you?

By getting more backlinks including from some heavy hitters such as Forbes, it boosts your rankings for all other pages on your site.

Google Rankings

Now that we are talking about rankings, let’s see how they work.

By creating content designed to rank for a particular keyword, the goal is that it will indeed rank for that keyword. Pretty straightforward. If the content does not rank for that keyword, then something is definitely off. Here are two common reasons why content might not rank on a keyword.

  • The keyword is too competitive
  • You do not have enough links in the content

Therefore, it is important to check your rankings once a week.

Social shares

For some niches, particularly those that are in B2C, the success of content is indicated by the number of people that share it on social media.

Conversions

The ultimate goal of any marketing effort, content included, is to help the business increase in sales. Tie it with ROI, business goals, KPIs or whichever indexes you use, but the main aim is to achieve more sales.

So how do you measure conversions? Well, Google Analytics can help you to directly measure your conversions. If your conversions are on an upward trend, it is probably a sign that your content marketing strategy is working.

However, sometimes it is hard to track the indirect sales impact of your content on a platform such as YouTube. As such, you would mistakenly say that YouTube is a waste of time and money if you only looked at Google Analytics. If you dig deeper, you might realise that YouTube is a huge contributor to your sales and subscribers. A quick look at YouTube Studio, you can see the number of people that your videos reach monthly. These views do have an effect on your bottom line. More importantly, a sizeable number of customers cite the YouTube channel as the main reason they decided to make a purchase. YouTube is not a waste of money and time after all.

Step 8: Scale Your Content Marketing

After all the above steps, your content is now bringing in more traffic, leads and sales. But that is not the end. The next challenge is to scale.

While the obvious thinking would be to pump out a million blog posts, this is not recommended. Even though the goal of scaling is to publish more content, you should never lose sight of quality. The aim is to consistently offer value as you scale up.

Therefore, here are some few ways to scale up your content marketing efforts without sacrificing quality.

Introduce New Content Formats

Content repurposing into different formats is the easiest and most effective way to scale up. The premise is that you do not need to start from scratch when you need to publish a new podcast episode, blog post or YouTube video. If it worked for one content format, it will probably work in another format.

Organizing the Content Process

If you have found successful way to create content that works for you, it only follows that you make use of it more often. In other words, create a process that you can apply when you need to publish content. You can use the example provided in the post as it is or tweak it to fit your needs.

All in all, the more organised you are, the more control you have over the quality of your work and to consistently create awesome content. This is why having a repeatable, step-by-step process is important. Additionally, you need to have an editorial calendar so you can plan out future content.

Scaling Content

As agreed, scaling does not necessarily mean creating more content. You can also scale the quality of your content. As you grow in traffic and experience, so should the quality of your content.

This may require you to even assemble a team. The team may include; a project manager, developer, data scientist, graphic designer, software developer, writers and more. This way, every little bit of your content is executed to absolute perfection.

Which part of the blog post had the biggest impact on you? Which tip are you most excited to try. Drop a quick comment and don’t forget to come back for more insightful pieces.

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