April 8, 2020
The 13 Step Plan For Creating A Content Strategy
Having a well-oiled machine that consistently brings traffic to your website is the dream. And not just any traffic - free traffic. Producing content that regularly attracts and engages potential clients is what we call inbound marketing. They are coming to you, rather than you finding them. Answering peoples' questions, solving their problems, and being there for them at the right time are all important parts of creating a successful content strategy.
In this post, I'm going to walk you through the steps it takes to design a content strategy process that works for you.
3 Sections of a Content Strategy
A content strategy has three overarching sections: the framework, the strategy, and the calendar. Each section is broken down into achievable tasks and can be done to fit around your schedule.
- The content framework plan will help you to build the procedure, processes, and roles that it takes to get content created and published on time.
- The content strategy enables you to focus on core content topics that are important for your business. You will be able to prioritize the most valuable topics that work for you.
- The content calendar is a detailed overview of when everything is planned for, and when everything needs to be completed.
By completing and implementing these three sections you will have a solid base to kick off your content strategy from, and be able to stay on track with timelines.
For this example, I broke each section down into one-month subtasks. Depending on your workload and bandwidth, you may take a longer or shorter amount of time.
The Content Framework
For the first month, I worked on implementing a framework that would be the backbone of the whole strategy. Process, responsibilities, and tracking were all taken care of as I identified the most important parts.
I broke down this section into manageable weekly tasks that, altogether, created a machine that would go on to produce and publish consistent content.
The below tasks can be completed in any order; these are how I went about them.
1. Assign Roles and Responsibilities
Roles and responsibilities are important to define as part of your content strategy. Each moving part requires someone to action it, so everybody should know what they are responsible for.
Some questions to consider are:
- Who will decide on content topics?
- Who will write the content?
- Who will edit?
- Who handles uploading and storing content?
2. Describe The Types Of Content
Provide in-depth description of what each type of content will be made up of. When an author gets assigned a piece of content, they will know exactly what needs to go into it.
Some examples of content types are:
- LinkedIn Articles
For content type, think about outlining the layout, word count, assets required etc.
3. Create A Content Workflow
Establishing an effective workflow is key to an efficient and well-oiled content strategy. This is where you put your defined roles, responsibilities, and types of content into practice.
A simple workflow may look something like this:
The content brief should contain clear and detailed guidelines that the writer can follow. Content type, content length, due date, and content title are just some of the things to be included in the brief.
4. Draft A Review and Editing Process
Now it's time to determine the steps that you and your team will take when you get to the review and revision portion of your workflow.
A separate editor to the writer is required to provide fresh eyes of the content, and suggest ways to optimize and edit.
Ask yourself some questions; How many revisions will there be? What will be the timeframe between the first draft and publication?
5. Decide Where to Organize and Store Content
Consistent organization of your content will be vital as it changes hands between writers, editors, and managers. It will also be important further down the line when you look to update and edit your content piece.
7. Align Your Company's Goals
Standard naming conventions that are easy to understand and search for in your storage system will make your life a lot easier in the long run.
Try something like:
The Content Strategy
9. Create Content Offers & Design Pages
Aligning you content goals with your company goals will provide you with direction for your content. Depending on what your company goals are, your content will change.
If your company goals are to increase marketing leads, your content will be focused on lower funnel, high-converting content. If your company wants brand awareness, you will focus on broad reach, upper funnel content.
8. Identify Your Reader Personas
Reader personas are specific representations of your ideal content reader. For content strategies, these don't necessarily need to be the same as your company's buyer personas.
You can easily create your own personas using Hubspot's Persona Creator.
Reader personas should be crafted with the problem that you are solving in mind. Who has this problem? Where will they look for the answers? What type of content best portrays the solution?
6. Decide On A Standardized Naming Convention
Content offers are the hook of your content strategy. They're the valuable assets that your readers use to glean further information, and are will to exchange an email address for.
These email addresses will be useful for you to send them further, relevant content to solve their problems.
Landing pages, pop-ups (non-intrusive), and ebooks are just some of the content offers that readers find useful and supplementary to your content.
Create a high-converting landing page for each piece of supplementary content that you plan to offer your readers.
The Content Calendar
11. Identify and Create Your Topic Clusters
Pre-populating your content calendar with special dates and posts throughout the year will give you a certain structure.
For example, your company's birthday, Christmas, and even employee birthdays can be used as potential content. Once these are aligned, you simply need to fill out the rest of the dates with relevant, informative, and helpful content.
12. Decide On Your Content Subtopics
Topic clusters are a series of topics that are all related to each other.
At the centre of each cluster, you will have a pillar page which goes in-depth into each topic that will link out to your subtopic page, and be linked to by your subtopic page.
Your subtopics then surround your pillar page to create the cluster of similar topics, creating a network of useful information that your users can use to get from one blog to another.
13. Finalize All Creation and Due Dates
Your content subtopics are niche topics that relate to your pillar page. Together they create your topic clusters.
These subtopics often focus on long-tail, niche keywords which stick to the overall theme of the topic cluster.
10. Align Important Events and Dates
Once all of your important dates, topic clusters, and subtopics are decided on, you can now plan the date when each will be published.
This will give you and your team structure to stick to, and you will know exactly what needs to be done, and when.