How do you create a content strategy? That’s a good question.
On the web, everyone and your mom is talking about the importance of content marketing. It’s hailed as the key for organic traffic, growing your audience and increasing revenue and profits. More than a few even go so far as to proclaim content as royalty.
While that’s all true, it’s not as simple as merely creating content and hoping for the best. No, if you want to use content marketing to grow your business, you need a structured approach and a plan.
For that reason, in this article, we will show you how to create a content strategy for your WordPress site. Below, you will find a six-step plan to creating content that your audience will love and that will help you grow your traffic and make your site more successful.
How to Create a Content Strategy Step by Step
Use the steps below as a blueprint to come up with a tailor-made content strategy for your own website.
1. Define Your Goal
Of course, before going into creating content, you need to know why you are doing it in the first place. Is it just because everyone else does it? Because that’s not a very good reason.
So, what’s the overall goal of your website or business? And how does content fit into that?
What are you trying to achieve? Increase site traffic? Get people to jump on your email list? Move the existing audience toward becoming paying customers?
Questions like this will guide the medium you will use, the kind of content you will create and the calls to action in your content. In short, your goal massively shapes your content strategy. For that reason, it’s good to find answers to the questions above and keep them in the back of your mind throughout the process.
2. Research Your Audience
Of course, in order to create the right content, you need to know who you are creating it for. Only if you know what kind of people you are trying to attract can you think about the optimal content to achieve this.
So, who do you want reading your content? Who would want to read or buy what you have to offer? What is relevant to them? What gets them excited?
Finding answers to these questions is the task of market research, which comes in many forms:
- Creating marketing personas — This means developing a fictional profile of the people you want to reach. Think through their job, demographics, goals, challenges, values, and fears. Doing so allows you to better understand your audience on an individual level.
- Keyword research — People share their deepest needs and desires with search engines. Therefore, if you know what they type into Google, you know what they are thinking. For that reason, keyword research is a powerful tool for understanding your target audience.
- Web analytics — Google Analytics and similar tools also provide detailed insights into your audience, what brings them to your site and what makes them tick. Learn what analytics can tell you about your site in this article.
- Competitive analysis — Finally, looking at what is working for others in your niche is also an effective indicator for what people want and need from a site like yours. Therefore, it’s important to look past your own site to understand your readers.
We have a detailed article about market research for websites and blogs right here on this site. I highly recommend you check it out to get into the minds of the people frequenting your site. Doing so will also give you concrete content ideas, which you can use in the next step.
3. Figure Out What Content to Focus On
After you have gained a better understanding of the people you are planning to create content for, it’s time to look at what kind of content they even want. After all, there are many different types. However, your strategy will usually mainly consist of these standard types:
- Written content — When talking about content, most people think of blogging. Blog posts are a staple of the content marketing world and perform very well for many companies. However, there are other types of written content such as ebooks, white papers, guides, and more. Experiment with content length to find your audience’s sweet spot.
- Visual content — Visuals also work very well, especially infographics, just ask Kissmetrics. Another example is our Torque toons, which is our own take on visual content. Don’t forget image-based social networks like Instagram and Pinterest in your content strategy!
- Video — If done right, video can be a killer draw. In fact, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and can bring in serious traffic. However, you don’t have to go all out on video but can also use this content type to supplement your written content.
- Audio — These days, it seems like every blogger also has a podcast. It’s a popular type of content that had a second wind not too long ago and can do wonders. Find out how to start your own podcast with WordPress in this guide.
- Email — Email is a very established form of communication that continues to be effective. Plus, you know how they say: the money is in the list. Therefore, in most cases, email should be part of your content mix, especially in terms of onboarding users (check out our guides on MailChimp and how to integrate it with WordPress for more info).
- Social media — If done right, social media can be a huge part of your content strategy. For example, the social scheduling tool Buffer is very engaged on social networks. They even have regular group chats with their users. Besides their excellent blog.
From your research, you should already have an inkling about which kind(s) of content work best for your audience and site goals. Especially looking at the intent behind keywords will tell you much about the mediums your users prefer. The rest is up to experimentation.
Of course, the type of content you will create also depends on your capabilities. Not everyone can shoot high-quality videos. That’s fine. Focus on what you can do for now and branch out later.
4. Develop a Brand Voice and Personality
One of the most important parts of developing a brand for your website is creating a voice for it. It makes your brand more recognizable and memorable. For example, the fast-food chain Wendy’s was much celebrated for their sassy Twitter conversations.
— Wendy's (@Wendys) January 3, 2017
Why is it important to develop a personality?
Well, first of all, doing so makes sure you are not bland and boring. Without a spark in your content, it will become forgettable, which is a death sentence in the echo chamber of noise that is the Internet.
Secondly, personality is what draws people in.
Think about real life. Who would you rather talk to at a party: a person with nothing to say and the personality of cardboard or someone who offers engaging conversation, is witty and funny? It works the same way online, only that the party is slightly bigger.
So, it’s important that you learn how to communicate like a human being. Optimally, this will be easy because you already have a charming personality (you know you do) and are excited about the content you create. In that case, it will shine through your work pretty much automatically.
5. Come Up With a Schedule
By now, you should know more about who your audience is, what they want and how to speak to them. As the next step, it’s time to figure out how often you will talk to them through your different channels.
After all, not all content is created equal. For example, social media updates come out more often than blog posts and ebooks are published less frequently than tutorials.
Why? Because one takes more energy, time and effort to create than the other. For that reason, they will have a different posting schedule.
However, your posting frequency and schedule are also dependent on your audience and their habits. How often do they expect updates? What’s the best timing for time-sensitive content like webinars? How often do you need to communicate in any form (social, email, blogging) in order to keep your audience engaged?
6. Develop a Content Promotion Strategy
Content strategy is not just content creation and publishing but also content promotion. In fact, some people say that content promotion is the more important part. After all, the best content is worth nothing, if nobody knows it exists. So, make promotion part of your content strategy.
Here’s the choice of promotion channels you have:
- SEO — Organic traffic is, of course, the most desired way to get your content into the hands of others. It works by itself and is free. However, search engine success doesn’t happen by itself. Luckily WordPress is great for SEO and we have awesome SEO plugins like Yoast SEO and All-in-one SEO Pack to take it even further.
- Social media — Social platforms are designed for sharing. If you build a following, you can share new content immediately with an existing audience. That’s an awesome tactic to get people on your site and spread your content farther. Who knows, it might even go viral.
- Email subscribers — We already mentioned the importance of building a subscriber list. Email subscribers are usually a loyal bunch who not only read your content but, if they like you (and why wouldn’t they?), share it with others.
- Influencer outreach — If you can get important people in your niche to share and link to your content, that’s a golden ticket to massive traffic. Look at this guide for outreach ideas. You can also achieve this through guest blogging on influencer sites.
- Paid traffic — Of course, there is also always the option to pay for traffic. You can do so via ads in search engines and on social networks. However, you need the budget for it, so that’s usually not an option if you are just starting out.
Which channels work best for you is a matter of experimentation. For that reason, it’s important to test (for example, through A/B testing) and track. That way, you can refine your promotion strategy over time.
Creating a Content Strategy in a Nutshell
Learning how to create a content strategy is an important task for anyone trying to be successful online. These days, content is a cornerstone for organic traffic and revenue. However, because it’s so important, it needs to be planned strategically.
Above, we have given you a simple six-step process to do so. Let’s summarize it one more time:
- Define your goal
- Research your audience thoroughly
- Figure out your content focus
- Develop a brand voice and personality
- Create an effective publishing schedule
- Lay out your promotion strategy
Of course, you don’t only do this process once and you’re done. Over time, your focus or audience might shift, new developments will happen and some things might work better than others. Therefore, you will likely repeat the process and update your content strategy from time to time. However, it’s worth it and will pay dividends over time.
Do you have additional tips on how to create a content strategy? Any thoughts on the above? Let us know in the comments section below!