Whether you run an eCommerce website or a brick-and-mortar business that relies on digital marketing to draw traffic to your website and, ultimately, drive sales, you may be looking at digital content creation.
Content creation, a key component of content marketing, can be used to boost your search engine rankings, increase your website traffic, improve brand recognition and drive sales. But if you fail to approach content creation with a strong digital content strategy, you risk wasting time and money without seeing the results you want.
What Is a Digital Content Strategy?
A digital content strategy is a roadmap of how your marketing department or outsourced marketing team will use content to achieve your company’s key sales and marketing objectives. Content creation often focuses on acquisition of leads for the top of the marketing funnel. That’s because it’s easy to find and attract leads using tactics such as the following:
- Social media marketing
- Search engine results pages
Each of these tactics requires content to capture attention and engage audiences. Your digital content strategy — including who, what and where your content should reach — ties the tactics together.
However, don’t end your strategy with top of the funnel leads. Content creation can be used to attract prospects — and close sales — at any stage of the buyers’ journey. Your digital content strategy can help you identify the types of content and topics to cover to appeal to your audience at each stage of the marketing funnel.
Why You Need a Strategy Before Diving into Digital Content Creation
Many business leaders have shared thoughts emphasizing the importance of a business roadmap. As the writer Steve Maraboli is commonly credited with saying, “If you don’t know exactly where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?”
Your content strategy is your roadmap to your objectives on the road to success, whether that is more website traffic, a bigger email list, increased sales — or all three and more! It should address not just the types of content, but the timelines, how it will be produced, who will produce it, and the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you’ll use to measure the success of each campaign.
Last year, 84% of companies said they had a digital content strategy, compared to 77% in 2019. Not coincidentally, 70% of marketers believe their content marketing efforts have grown more successful in the past year, according to an SEMRush survey.
Increasingly, businesses are recognizing the benefits of a digital content strategy to help their content work more efficiently and improve their return on investment (ROI) of each campaign.
Questions to Ask When You’re Creating Your Digital Content Strategy
Your digital content strategy should begin with a series of questions that can help you identify your target market, their pain points, where you can find them online, and the types of content that will resonate with them.
Some of the questions you might ask as you formulate your strategy include the following:
- Who is our target audience?
- Where do they usually hang out online: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Insta, Pinterest?
- What phrases are they using to search for us?
- Do they use voice search frequently?
- What problems do we need to solve for them?
- What types of content resonate with them (i.e., video, infographics, blog posts, long-form written content, podcasts)?
The answers may differ for leads at each stage of your marketing funnel, so you’ll want to keep that in mind as you explore your possibilities for content.
Key Components of Your Digital Content Strategy
As you create digital content for prospective buyers at each stage of your sales or marketing funnel, you’ll want to follow these steps.
1. Set Your Goals for Your Digital Content Strategy
Your business may be looking to enhance your content creation to boost your brand recognition and increase website traffic. Ultimately, you want to drive sales, but you understand that takes time, whether you’re relying on organic growth or using paid search or paid social tactics.
Set realistic goals based on where your company is right now in terms of search engine rankings and visibility, as well as on your budget (in both time and money) for inbound marketing. Make these goals clear and measurable within a specific time frame. Only then will you be able to create a strategy focused on these goals and determine if your strategy has been successful after three months, six months, a year, or more.
2. Conduct a Content Audit
Once you’ve set your goals for your content marketing campaigns, you’ll want to conduct a content audit to determine how well your existing content is achieving those goals. Evaluate your content across platforms to discover what’s working best. Use on-site analytics from your website and social media platforms to measure engagement, click-through-rates and conversions to sales.
Pinpoint the types of content that get the most engagement, the most effective platforms, and the topics that resonate with your audience. Your audit should include the following:
- Social media content
- Email content
- On-site content like blogs and landing pages
- Lead generation content like white papers
3. Pinpoint Your Audience with Buyer Personas
Keeping the various stages of the buyer’s journey in mind, identify the buyer personas most likely to be interested in your product. Buyer personas should be based on compilations of real people, and should address some or all of the following characteristics of the web user:
- Places they visit online
- Pain points
If you don’t have a clear idea of who these personas are, it may be useful to back up a few steps and re-evaluate your brand strategy and positioning. Learn more about how to do so here.
4. Choose the Best Types of Content to Reach Your Audience
Once you’ve created a persona, combine this knowledge with the information you gleaned from your content audit to identify the types of content most likely to reach your audience. It may help to think of content in terms of “clusters,” or a primary content asset with multiple, shorter or smaller assets generated around that single article, white paper, video or infographic.
For instance, a 2,000-word article detailing the hottest trends in home decor today could be broken into shorter articles describing each trend, Pinterest boards showcasing the style, a shorter listicle to publish on Facebook, social media posts for each of the shorter articles and even a video or webinar.
The content you create should be based on the results of your content audit and what performed well in the past. The specifics will be part of your digital content creation tactics. But your strategy should outline, in broad strokes, the customer pain points you want to address, the pillar content for each topic, and an outline of how you can re-slant that content.
5. Select the Right Tools to Help You
Content is king, but the right technology keeps the kingdom from crumbling. Choose your content management system and any other tools, such as your email service provider and social media management software.
You’ll always want to look at the human capital that will drive your campaign. Will you outsource your content creation? Will you outsource your campaigns to an outsourced content marketing agency that can help you execute your strategy and vision? Or do you have in-house personnel who will guide the project?
With a clear roadmap including the who, where and what of your content strategy, you should be ready to roll.
An Outsourced CMO Can Steer Your Digital Content Strategy
With so many moving parts involved, it may seem overwhelming to create a digital content strategy to drive your digital content creation efforts. Certainly, inbound marketing requires specialized expertise and experience, along with the knowledge of a variety of technology platforms to successfully execute the strategy.
From helping your organization define its goals, completing a content audit, mapping out content, and even providing high-quality writers to generate content that fits your brand’s voice, Hawke Media can do it all. Learn more with a free consultation today.
Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who frequently covers marketing, e-commerce, finance, real estate, and technology. She is also the owner and founder of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel and lifestyle website.
SEMRush.com – Content Marketing Statistics You Need to Know for 2021
QuoteFancy.com – Steve Maraboli Quotes
DigitalMarketing.org – What Is a Sales Funnel?