Now more than ever, the success of your business depends on your ability to reach potential customers through digital platforms. The Coronavirus pandemic showed the world that traditional, face-to-face marketing is not always possible. Meanwhile, creating an effective web presence for your business practically allows you to generate new business around the clock.
But, in a world where all businesses understand the importance of being found online, how do you transcend the noise? Building a well-researched content strategy for the web is your ticket to a sustainable competitive advantage in your market.
What Is Content Strategy?
Content strategy is the planning and management of all media assets, both traditional and digital, that your company owns. Content strategy is essentially the roadmap that your content marketing campaigns follow to drive results. A sound content strategy is the difference between a marketing department that is treated as a cost center vs. a profit center.
Is a Digital Content Marketing Strategy the Same?
A digital content strategy is part of your content strategy that plans and manages your digital media assets. Content planning in digital marketing has become markedly different from traditional content planning and strategy. Many times, traditional and digital content strategies are trusted to separate sub-units of a marketing department because of the required skill sets.
Some of the main marketing activities of a digital-first content strategy include:
- Web Design and User Experience (UX) Design
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Pay-per-Click (PPC)
- Social Media Marketing (SMM)
- Video Marketing
Why Is a Content Strategy Important?
Content marketing without a content strategy would look like a young child’s soccer game. The game has clearly defined rules and strategies for success, but the players are mostly unaware of them and exert themselves all the same. Your content strategy converts your marketing exertion (employee time, marketing budget, supporting software and marketing tools) into revenue from customer conversions.
Digital Transformation for Marketing
After serving East Texas customers for nearly 40 years, it was easy to identify which businesses were early adopters, majority, or laggards when it comes to building an online content strategy. Some businesses were active participants in trade shows and placing bids on public jobs but didn’t even have a website. Today, having a website and profiles set up on common social media platforms is expected for nearly all brands.
For help with the digital transformation of your marketing, speak with MARION about how our digital marketing agency can help!
Digital Content Types
Digital content isn’t strictly limited to the pages on your website. While many forms of online media are hosted on your site, others can be found across the web on third-party platforms. Some of the more common types of digital marketing content are listed below.
- Web pages
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Case studies
- Ebooks and whitepapers
- Display ads
How to Create a Digital Content Strategy
Learning how to make a content strategy for your digital assets can be easy when you follow the right framework. In the sections below, we cover how you can build a digital content guide in five broad steps.
- Establish Goals
- Audit Existing Content
- Conduct Content Strategy Research
- Create Digital Content
- Publish and Promote
1. Establish Your Goals
Your marketing goals and objectives will frame your entire approach to building a content strategy. The following examples will illustrate very different business needs that will help create an appropriate digital marketing content plan.
A B2C company that sells packaged food products to grocery retailers may be interested in developing a robust online presence, but it doesn’t need to generate sales with its internet content. They know they can stick to top-of-funnel educational content to build awareness with their target audience and demonstrate expertise to their potential distributors.
A B2B company that sells high-ticket industrial equipment can generate some sales through its existing network, but they count on their digital content to generate most of its leads. When digital marketing for manufacturers needs to generate business leads, a more inclusive digital content strategy is required. Top-of-funnel, middle-of-funnel, and bottom-of-funnel digital content must be included in a content strategy map that can meet customers at the awareness, consideration, and decision-making stages of their buying process.
When lead generation is the main concern of your digital content strategy, SEO will be a recurring theme that needs to be covered in your planning process. MARION can help deliver effective content marketing services and SEO services to breathe life into your strategy.
Another key part of your goal setting involves who you want to reach with your digital media. Creating buyer personas is a great way to paint a picture of your ideal customer so that you can shape your content to appeal to that persona. We cover the creation of buyer personas in our guide about marketing strategies to improve sales.
2. Audit Your Existing Content
After you’ve established your digital marketing goals, visit your existing base of digital media to see what can be used or reused to meet those goals.
For companies that have been entrenched in a purely traditional marketing approach, you may be able to transpose sell sheets into middle-of-funnel or bottom-of-funnel content assets.
For companies that have been engaging in business blogging without any underlying strategy, you may have plenty of insightful blog articles on your website that just need edited and updated to suit your goals.
Whatever your situation, take inventory of your existing media and, at a minimum, label which stage of the customer journey (awareness, consideration, decision) it pertains to the most. You can also document whether it has a relevant call to action. For instance, if you turn a sell sheet into a web page about your products, you need to have clickable phone numbers or an online form embedded on your page.
3. Do Content Strategy Research
If you’re developing a content strategy that aims to generate customer conversions, your content strategy plan will involve a lot of SEO considerations. One of the best approaches for turning your website and digital marketing properties into an SEO powerhouse is to build the largest, most authoritative base of relevant content in your market.
The best tool to do this with is SEMrush. This video by the SEMrush team walks you through a method for identifying and building a digital-first content strategy that can help you outperform your competitors.
4. Create Your Digital Content
You can create your digital marketing content plan now that you know what topics you need to cover and which technical items you need to include in your digital content.
For blog posts and web pages, use the keyword research that you gathered using SEMrush to create a framework for your page or article. This framework should identify which subtopics you need to include (based on your research of top-performing competitors) and which keywords need to be used within the article.
For video content, feel free to use the same topic and keyword research while creating your script. If you’re using YouTube to host your video online, but sure to optimize the tagging section with relevant keywords and include your closed captioning. By seamlessly integrating relevant keywords from the start of your video creation process, you’re setting your production up for success. However, creating a quality video with real insights is a dimension that you’ll have to cover on your own.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Creating digital content that is technically optimized is a qualifying dimension in today’s competitive environment. For your content strategy research to pay off, the insights in your digital content need to be high-quality, and your writing or speaking needs to be engaging and professional.
5. Publish and Promote
Your digital content marketing strategy means nothing if it’s not being found by your target audience. Where are you planning to distribute your new digital content assets?
If you’ve properly optimized your content for search engines, your plan may not be distribution-heavy. Ideally, your new content will rank for relevant keywords and attract your target audience on its own. However, there are ways to supplement that traffic and improve your odds of being found.
For example, your social media posts don’t have to be stand-alone pieces of content. You can create a social media content calendar that systematically shares links to your new website content. You can send regular email updates to your list of subscribers that include references to your videos. You can run paid search ads to your newly minted case studies or whitepapers. You can learn how to advertise on social media so that your new digital content reaches a wider audience than you ever thought possible.
Keep in mind that your digital marketing content plan should include suggested distribution channels even before your content is created. By combining these forethoughts with your customer persona information, you can craft content that truly speaks to your potential customers.
MARION Can Help You Create a Winning Digital Content Strategy
When you’re in need of Houston or Austin web design, content marketing, SEO, social media marketing, or even just general marketing strategy, MARION can help. We have in-house experts that know how to drive results for both B2C and B2B clients in Texas.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and discover how we can turn your current marketing assets into a revenue-generating machine!