You may have heard the old adage: write for humans, not spiders. But, an even better and more accurate approach would be: write for both humans and spiders. Just like humans, search engine algorithms have a minimum level of set expectations: attributes that they look for that help them judge – programmatically – which content is the best in their search engine. This is why it’s important to create a comprehensive SEO content strategy from the start.
When working on a larger brand and site, just pounding out content is not going to work. It may work for a time, but you will eventually hit a wall in terms of how much you will get from your blog. This is the phase where it pays to shake things up a little bit.
If your strategy has gone stale, it’s time to adapt and refine. If you’re not getting the traction you hoped for, perhaps you need to shake things up in terms of content quality and quantity. Either way, you’re going to need to make changes.
The key is knowing when to make changes and when to keep going with what you are doing. It’s also important to keep up the publishing momentum once you get there.
What, Exactly, Is a Content Strategy?
Your content strategy is your roadmap to success. It is a compendium that has detailed instructions on what you need to accomplish in order to continue with and keep up your momentum.
Your content strategy should take into consideration who’s reading your content, your overall goals, target keywords, and more.
It should also be consistent with what you’re trying to achieve: are you building or expanding content? Are you creating new pages or updating existing ones? Do you want to increase traffic or conversions?
If you don’t have a clear idea of what you want to do, then it will be difficult for you to create the right content.
Is a Content Strategy Something You Really Need?
Your content strategy is not something you can just throw together at the last minute. It takes time and effort to develop one.
You’ll need to think about how you plan to use your content, where you want to publish it, and what kind of content you want to produce.
This will help you determine which type of content you should focus on first.
For example, if you’re planning on writing blog posts, you may want to start by focusing on those.
If you’re hoping to build links, you might want to start by looking at guest posting opportunities.
If you are planning on creating a video content strategy, you might consider a different approach from blogging, and this also takes some time and planning.
What Should You Have In Your Content Strategy?
Despite what some believe, your content strategy should have some elements that boost the authority of your blog. Including things like: who is going to consume your content, what problems do you want to solve for your audience, and more.
These aspects are important because they give your readers a reason to trust you.
They also make them feel like they know you better, which makes them more likely to share your content.
When thinking about who’s going to read your content, consider these questions:
- Who is your ideal reader?
- What are their needs?
- How can you best serve them?
- Where would they go to find out more information?
- What other types of content would they prefer?
- What does your brand stand for?
- What are your values?
- Why should people care about your company?
- What are the most pressing issues facing your industry?
- What are some ways you could help them?
- What are some ways you can help others?
- What are you passionate about?
- What are a few things you love doing?
- What are three things you hate doing?
- What do you enjoy talking about?
- What do your friends and family say about you?
- What do customers say about you?
Once you’ve got all of this down, you can begin to figure out what kind of content you’d like to write.
1. Who Will be Reading Your Content?
Your audience is one of the most important aspects to creating a successful content strategy.
Who is your ideal reader? This person is someone who has similar interests as yours, but maybe isn’t quite as familiar with your business.
Think about what they might be interested in learning about, and what problems they might be having.
Knowing this will help you decide what kinds of topics you should cover.
2. What Problem Will You be Solving for Your Audience(s)?
Consider the following questions when deciding what kind of content you should be producing:
- Is there a problem I’m solving for my audience?
- Am I helping someone else?
- Does my content provide value to my audience?
- Can I answer a question?
- Do I have anything interesting to say?
- What are the benefits of consuming my content?
- What are the benefits for me as a consumer?
- What are the benefits to my business?
- What are the benefits from a marketing perspective?
- What are the benefits in terms of branding?
- What are the benefits as a writer?
- What are the benefits on a personal level?
- What is the purpose of my content?
- What is the purpose for my audience?
- What is the purpose from a business standpoint?
- What is the purpose as a marketer?
- What is the purpose in terms of building relationships with consumers?
- What is the purpose on a personal level?
A good SEO content strategy helps you create content that not only gets noticed but also ranks well.
It also helps you get found online so that you can attract new visitors to your site.
By answering these questions, you’ll know how to help your audience better. It can also help you to include keywords that are relevant to your niche, thus increasing your chances to be found on search engines.
3. What Makes You Unique?
As a brand, what makes you unique?
What sets you apart from your competitors?
Think about how you can use those qualities to differentiate yourself from your competition.
You can then use those ideas to come up with topics that you’ll cover.
For example, if you’re a fashion blogger, you might talk about trends or style tips.
If you’re a real estate agent, you might discuss how to sell homes quickly.
If you’re a restaurant owner, you might focus on menu items.
Or maybe you want to share recipes.
Whatever you choose, you want to make sure that it aligns with your brand. This is all part of the things that must be included in your content strategy.
4. What Content Formats Will You Focus On?
Just as important as the above includes asking yourself about the content formats you are going to utilize. If your audience is not used to reading eBooks, then you may not want to create eBooks.
Instead, you could write blog posts and publish them on Medium or other platforms.
The same goes for videos.
Videos are great because they allow you to show off your personality and expertise.
However, if your audience doesn’t like watching videos, then you may want to stick to text. It all depends on the type of content that your audience consumes on a regular basis, and whether you are hitting their pain points with that.
5. What Channels Will You Publish On?
In addition to format, you want to consider the types of channels you are going to publish on, because each of these attracts different audiences.
For example, Instagram is a platform that tends to attract younger audiences.
So, when creating your content strategy, think about which channels you should focus on and where your audience is most likely to hang out.
Maybe they hang out on TikTok more so than other types of channels. If so, then you want to make sure that you consider this in your content strategy.
6. How Are You Going to Rank for Your Keywords With This Content?
You need to think about how you’re going to rank for those keywords.
This includes writing articles, creating videos, or even using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
If you don’t have any ideas for what to write about, then you might want to start by looking at what your competitors are publishing. While you don’t want to copy what your competitors are doing word-for-word, you can use their content as an indicator for what works well and what doesn’t.
It’s quite simple. Content needs solid on-page optimization and links to rank. How do you get links naturally? By writing great content that resonates with your audience and promoting it.
But, the devil is in the details, as they say. And these details are all those little bits and pieces within your niche. As an expert on the topic, you know about these details that will help you become better than your competitors.
And implementing these niche-specific details in your own content strategy is how you’re going to win the game.
How Often Do You Need to Update Your Content Strategy?
Deciding how often you have to update your content strategy is important.
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of running a business and forget about planning ahead.
But, if you aren’t updating your content strategy regularly, then you won’t be able to keep up with changing trends and new opportunities.
And, if you aren’t keeping up with trends and new opportunities, then you risk losing customers to your competitors who are better prepared to take advantage of them.
What is the Difference Between a Content Strategy and a Content Marketing Strategy?
Creating both a content strategy and content marketing strategy can be a challenge, but they don’t have to be. The best way to think about the differences between the two are these:
Content Strategy: Your content strategy can be thought of as the strategy that dictates the type of content you’re posting, what you are going to be writing about, and how things fit into the context of your website architecture.
Content Marketing Strategy: Your content marketing strategy, however, is the method of how you are going to promote your content online via external websites. This does not have much to do with the actual content creation part of your strategy.
Although the two are different, you have to know about both, especially when you’re communicating your ideas to company stakeholders.
It’s not a good look if you are interchanging these terms when you are discussing your content strategy.
What Things Should You Focus on for Your SEO Content Strategy?
There are certain things that you also have to focus on, when it comes to your SEO content strategy.
Map Your Content to Your Customer’s Search Journey
Your content needs to map to the customer journey.
Think about their goals and what they are trying to accomplish.
Then, create content around those goals.
For example, if someone wants to buy a product, then you would want to provide information about the product and its features.
If someone wants to learn more about a topic, then you’d want to provide educational content.
You need to make sure that all of your content maps to the customer journey.
Create content that will help people find you.
Align Your Content With Search Intent
You also have to align your content with your user’s search intent.
This means that you should always be thinking about what questions people are asking Google or other search engines.
When you are creating content, you should be thinking about what people are searching for and how you can answer those questions.
Make sure that your content answers the questions that people are asking.
Don’t Forget to Use Keywords
Keywords are one of the most important parts of your SEO content strategy.
They are used by search engines to better understand your content. So, use them wisely.
Use them in titles, headlines, descriptions, and body copy.
Don’t overuse them, though. Keep them natural and relevant. Be consistent. Consistency is key. People (and search engines) like consistency. It makes it easier for them to navigate through your site.
Use SEO Topic Clusters Extensively
Topic clusters are another thing that you should consider when developing your SEO content strategy. They allow you to group related topics together.
These groups of related topics can be broken down even further. For example, you could break up a cluster into sub-clusters.
Each sub-cluster might contain several topics.
So, instead of just having one big cluster, you could have four smaller ones.
That way, you can keep track of each one separately.
Be Sure to Atomize Your Content
Another thing that you should think about when creating your SEO content strategy is atomizing your content.
Atomization allows you to break up your content into small chunks so that it is easy for readers to digest.
When you use this method, you can find other queries that could be beneficial to rank for as well. Not everything has to be a magnum opus (though
sometimes, that strategy has its benefits as well).
Conduct a Content Audit and Gap Analysis
Once you’ve created your content strategy, you’ll need to conduct a content audit. This is where you analyze the current state of your website.
It’s time to see what kind of content you already have. What does it say about your brand?
Is there any duplicate content? Is there anything missing?
Do you have enough content? If not, what else can you add?
Do you have too much content? Can you remove some of it?
Answering these questions will help you identify gaps in your content strategy.
A good place to start is with your blog posts. You can use tools such as BuzzSumo to get ideas on what types of articles you should write.
Gap analysis is also useful for identifying which pages on your site aren’t getting traffic. But, just because they may not be getting traffic right
now does not mean that they aren’t important.
They could be serving other uses besides driving traffic, such as helping you build that all-important authority and expertise, because of how in-
depth your content is.
Conduct Keyword and Topic Research
After conducting a content audit, you’ll want to conduct keyword research.
This is where you look at the terms that people are using to search for information online.
You can use tools like Google Trends or SEMrush to gather this data.
If you’re looking for more specific data, you can use tools like Ahrefs or Moz to dig deeper.
Creating this keyword and topic research helps you determine exactly what’s valuable right now: what is getting the most searches? And what’s not?
Building these higher volume search terms into your strategy is always a good idea.
And finding these requires extensive keyword research to find those diamonds in the rough that you can then use to build out a more successful content strategy.
Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Content Strategy
After you get up and running with your content strategy, you must measure its effectiveness over time.
There are many ways to go about doing this.
For example, you can use analytics software to monitor the performance of your content.
Or, you can manually check backlinks and page views over time.
The key here is to make sure that you’re measuring the success of your efforts.
Monitor the Results
The last step is to monitor the results.
This means checking backlinks, page views, and even conversions.
These metrics give you insight into whether or not your content strategy is working.
As long as you’re monitoring them regularly, you’ll know if your efforts are paying off.
Your Content Strategy Can Make Or Break Your Success
That’s why your content strategy is so important: because this can make or break your success.
Now that you understand the basics of creating a content strategy, you can begin implementing it.
But before you do, take a moment to think about why you’re writing content in the first place.
Because this is where you can set your blog apart from the competition: by having that winning content strategy in place when other competitors don’t.
What do you plan to do to create your content strategy?