What goes in a content strategy? The 4 essential elements
If you’re working on a marketing plan, then you need to know what goes in a content strategy. A content strategy might seem overwhelming at first. You have content: website content, blog posts, social platforms in use, perhaps you also have videos, infographics, podcasts, tools, apps or other forms of content to manage as well.
I have been working as a content strategist for nearly a decade now, and I am now able to give you the simple hacks you need to planning your content strategy for the year, and beyond.
What is a content strategy?
Your content strategy should be a document or planning sheet that you revisit often, and review constantly. Strategic content is something that can make all the difference to a business. I go into this in much more detail here in How to Create a Content Strategy and Content Marketing Tips.
I also really like this definition from the Content Marketing Institute: At its core, your content marketing strategy is your “why.” Why you are creating content, who you are helping, and how you will help them in a way no one else can. Organisations typically use content marketing to build an audience and to achieve at least one of these profitable results: increased revenue, lower costs, or better customers.
Why do I need a content strategy?
Trust: Content helps to strengthen your brand and trust metrics. It helps you connect with your audience and set your brand or business up as an expert in the field.
Customers: Content helps you find and talk to new customers. Without content, you are limited in the way you can talk to your customers. Read What is Domain Authority (DA) & How To Raise Your Website’s Authority & Google Rank.
Engagement: Content helps you nurture existing leads. Content can help you reengage with customers and bring them back to your product, to become a new or returning customer.
Management: You already have content – therefore it needs to be managed. Websites, platforms and blogs can get out of hand quite quickly without a content management system and review in place.
Results: A content strategy is your way of measuring the results of the time you spend on a project, and the cost of a project, to see what worked and what did not.
What goes in a content strategy?
Now that we understand why a content strategy is essential, it’s important to focus on what goes into your content strategy. There are many tools and resources you can find online, and yet I really believe that it’s essential to keep things as simple as possible to begin with.
The first stage in setting your content strategy is to set your marketing goals, in line with the broader marketing plan, or team. What are some of the metrics that content can achieve?
- Raise the main site’s DA
- More traffic to your website
- Ranking for more keywords in organic search
- Gaining natural links and content sharing opportunities
- Achieving a sales lead target (no. of leads)
- Converting leads to customers
- Raising brand trust
- Answering customers’ questions about your product/service
- Personalising a brand
- Allowing your business to respond to key market events
The next essential part of what goes in a content strategy is all about planning. This is where you set down the metrics of your brand, the platforms you use, your calendar, budget and needs. Consider the following.
- What are your main platforms (social, blog, video channel, EDMs, main website)
- How does your calendar run (by quarters, by month, by week etc.)
- What is your budget, and how is this allocated (weekly, monthly, by quarter)
- Who do you report to, how frequently and what data will you show them?
- Where does your plan live (e.g. Google Doc, shared PDF), and who needs to see it?
Now that you have built out your content calendar for the year, and shared it with the relevant stakeholders, it’s time to execute your plan.
Executing your plan is (of course) the most challenging part of a content strategy. This involves:
- Publishing content as per your calendar
- Pushing content live to social platforms
- Gathering the assets you need for your content, working in with videographers, graphic designers, writers, bloggers, influencers, digital stakeholders etc.
- Creating, uploading, proofing, editing and optimising your content for SEO
- Archiving, managing, reviewing and improving older content, in line with your new content strategy goals
- Working on continuous improvements of content processes, and gathering content
- Touching base with your customers and clients at set points, to review how current content is going, and identifying content gaps.
One of the most overlooked aspects of a digital content strategy or a content marketing plan is how to prove that it works. You need to be able to track and measure data, in line with your goal metrics. Some of the tools you might use are below.
Tools you can use to measure success
- Google Analytics – read this how to guide
- Ahrefs – read this Ahrefs summary from SEO Book
- The Moz bar – read this Moz bar overview and setup guide
- Hootsuite social metrics – here’s an overview
- Jetpack is great if you use WordPress – here’s more info on Jetpack
- Social tools (Facebook Manager, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.) have their own reporting tools
I still have questions about my content strategy
If you still have questions about what goes in a content strategy, and whether yours needs work, or will be effective, I am here to help. Get in touch by sending me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch via my contact form.
“What I love about content is it has the power to change people’s lives for a second or for a day or forever. Great content creates space for people to pause and reflect, and that space is where transformation happens.” Jolie Miller