Nearly every brand creates content, but the most impactful content forms part of a cohesive strategy. In the past few years, brands have increased their digital presence dramatically, and as a result, our channels and feeds have become flooded with content. In fact, in 2021, 82% of marketers reported that they actively used content marketing, up 70% from the year before. Unfortunately, most brands neglect to develop a cohesive content strategy, and it often shows. When a brand’s content is inconsistent, unclear, or irrelevant, it’s usually a sign they’re not doing their homework and preparing strategically.
Every brand’s content strategy will be slightly different, and should be tailored to the brand’s target audience. Whether you create blog posts, YouTube videos, social media content, or something else entirely, your content strategy should be thoughtful and deliberate. If you’re new to creating a content strategy, or are looking to brush up on your skills, check out our top tips from industry leaders who have consistently created excellent content.
“Before you even begin designing a content strategy, you’ll need to outline your goals. What you hope to achieve will guide your strategy, so determine your goals and KPIs from the outset. Whether it’s driving clicks to your website, ranking higher in search, or increasing conversions, your strategy will take different paths depending on what you want it to achieve. Different types of content will help drive different results, so don’t just start creating content without a clear trajectory in mind.” – Dylan Trussell, Co-Founder of Culprit Underwear
“Remember that your content is often the only chance you’ll get to make an impression on your audience, so make it count. It should tell a story about your brand, and clearly showcase the value that you bring. Make sure that your messaging is clear and consistent, and that it is tailored to your unique audience. Use data-driven methods to help you determine the best messaging for your customers, and develop overarching themes for your content strategy. What key themes best describe your brand, and how can your message be conveyed in a meaningful way? Make sure the message is consistent across all channels and that you have a strong brand identity.” – Jaymee Messler, CEO of The Gaming Society
“Keyword research will help you determine which keywords are most relevant to your target audience, and it can help shape your content and drive traffic to your site. There are a lot of helpful tools you can use to perform basic keyword research, like Ahrefs, which should give you a solid foundation to build your content around. By taking the time to do your research, you’ll ensure that more people actually find your content and you don’t just wind up lost in the crowd.” – Ricky Nariani, President and Co-Founder of WANTD
“Often brands will try to do too much too soon, and the result is a diluted and ineffective content strategy. Choose the channels that are most relevant to your audience, and maximize your efforts in those areas. Not every channel will be right for you and your brand, and it doesn’t make sense to waste time and effort creating content that won’t reach your target audience. Just because there are a lot of distribution channels, it doesn’t mean you have to be on all of them right away. Be strategic and thoughtful, and consider which channels will have the biggest impact.” – Jason Wong, CEO of Doe Lashes
“There are a lot of helpful tools out there that can guide your content strategy, and you should take full advantage of them. Analytics from Google can give you a better idea of who is interacting with your current content, and can help you identify any gaps. Perform a content audit to see what may have worked well for you in the past, and if there are any social media posts or blog posts that gained a substantial amount of traction. Once you have a firm grasp on the data, you can design a content strategy that will align your content with your marketing goals.” – Brandon Lurie, Marketing Director of Y Meadows
“You’ll want to have a good idea of your target audience before you start creating content for them. Luckily there is a lot of data out there that can tell you more about prospective audiences – what sites they’re on, their demographics, interests, etc. Google Analytics and social media are especially helpful tools, and can give you a lot of valuable information. Your target audience will also depend on your overall goals – are you hoping to expand your reach with new audiences, or re-engage your current audience? Your goals should guide your strategy and your prospect research.” – Fred Gerantabee, Chief Experience Officer at Readers.com
“Think about the entire customer journey when you develop your content strategy, and make sure you create content that will speak to each level of the journey. You need content that will bring customers to your brand in the first place, but you’ll also need content that will keep existing customers engaged with your brand. It’s not enough to just bring in new customers, you have to also consider customer retention when developing your content strategy.” – Jared Hines, Head of Operations at Acre Gold
“Developing a content calendar is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your content stays on track. You should have some solid core pieces of content prepared, but also be flexible enough to incorporate new content as needed to respond to customer interest and engagement. You want your content to be part of an ongoing dialogue between you and your customers, so don’t make your content calendar too rigid. It’s also a good idea to determine in advance how often you’ll be posting content, and what channels provide the best fit.” – Chris Vaughn, CEO of Emjay
“One of the great benefits of putting out content now is that there is a lot of data you can use to track performance. Make sure that your content is achieving your goals by consistently monitoring the performance of your social media posts or your blog posts. If the strategy you’ve developed isn’t gaining a lot of traction, take a look at the data and see if there are minor tweaks you can make before scrapping it entirely. Sometimes it’s as simple as adding different key words or choosing a different channel for your content.” – Chris Gadek, Head of Growth at AdQuick
“Before you roll out a new content strategy, make sure you identify key roles and responsibilities for each task. Great strategy can be ruined during implementation if you’re not clear on who will be carrying out each component. Keep in mind that different content strategies will call for different specialists – if you’re planning to do a lot of video or infographics, you’ll need to find people who have experience executing high-quality content in these areas. The good news is that you don’t have to have a big budget for creating great content if you’re just starting out, there are a lot of inexpensive tools out there, like Canva and Adobe Creative Suite, that can help your team design excellent content.” – Sumeer Kaur, CEO of Lashkaraa
“A sound content strategy and targeted content creation make up only the first part of the equation. The final part is amplification of the content. To amplify your content, determine the places your audience are frequenting online, and then publish on those channels to reach them. Ultimately, you’ll need to think strategically in order to identify all the resources available to you and truly harness the power of employees, customers, and influencers that can help you amplify your content.” – Neil Patel, Co-Founder of NP Digital
“Early on, most brands start with blog posts. If you want to venture out into different formats, you can run a content audit to assess your top-performing and lowest-performing content. Then, use that information to inform which direction you take next. If you’ve been in business for a while, you should review your content marketing efforts and the results from it in the last year. Figure out what you can do differently in the upcoming year and set new goals. Now is a great time to align your team’s goals with the rest of your organization’s goals. Whatever stage you’re in, a content audit will help you determine what resonates best with your audience, identify gaps in your topic clusters, and brainstorm fresh content ideas.” – Caroline Forsey, Manager of HubSpot Marketing Blog.
Are you ready to develop a killer content strategy? Expect some trial and error in the beginning, but if you keep working to better understand your audience and provide them with meaningful content, you’ll find a strategy that works for you. Remember that in the marketing world, one size does not fit all, and you’ll need to tailor your strategy to your specific industry and audience.