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6 Steps to a Content Strategy Framework That Leads to Mighty Content Marketing

My exponential business growth in the last two years at Express Writers was no accident.

It wasn’t magic, voodoo, or happenstance.

And it certainly wasn’t luck.

Rather, our success jumped ahead because of the content marketing strategy I put in place in 2016.

This is our #1 way of marketing and drawing in leads.

99% of our clients come to us through the content we put out.

The strategy behind that content didn’t come easy. Each and every piece of the puzzle needed to be put in place before we could truly start making content work for us.

content strategy puzzle

Once the content strategy was solidified, once the ball was rolling, we were, too.

And we haven’t stopped, since.

Here’s what that looks like:

  • Growing our annual income to six-figures inside two years
  • Ranking for thousands of hot, highly-profitable keywords on Google
  • Snagging thousands of site visitors per day

How the heck did this happen?

How did I get clear on content strategy, and what would it take for your business or clients to achieve similar results?

I’m going to share the framework that can get you there.

But first, let’s go back in time to 2015.

(Let’s call the picture I’m about the paint “Before Content Strategy: A Cautionary Tale.”)

6 step content strategy framework

Before a Strong Content Strategy Framework and After: From Lackluster to Lucrative

Before Content Strategy

2 years into content marketing, my business was seeing some growth, but most of the time I felt like I was spinning my wheels.

Here’s why:

  • I had published 215 blogs, but only had 141 keywords ranking
  • Most months we were making only $29K in gross income
  • Site traffic was sluggish and peaked at 500 visitors/day

What was I doing wrong? For starters:

  • The content I published wasn’t consistently high-quality (and sometimes I hit “publish” just to get content out every day)
  • My cold outreach for leads turned up next-to-zilch
  • My email list was on life support
  • I was doing too much of everything

I was hustling, but putting my energy in the wrong places. I was all over the place with no focus…

Overworked.

Stressed out.

After Content Strategy

After lots of setbacks (like finding out my two managers were embezzling from the company in May of 2016), I had to regroup, rethink, and rebuild.

I fired those managers and put better team members in place. Express Writers started recovering. Then, in September 2016, I executed my content strategy.

EW began gaining ground, and we haven’t stopped, since.

Just a few months after implementing our content strategy, we hit our first $71K month. We nearly doubled the number of keywords ranking in Google from the previous year (3,900 to 6,000).

Here’s a look at the snowball effect our strategy created up to today:

And we’re still going.

The strategy is the lynchpin in this whole operation. No strategy = no dice.

It is, without a doubt, what saved my content marketing and made it a force to be reckoned with.

You Get It – Strategy Is Essential to Content Marketing – Now What?

You’ve heard how my strategy worked for me – now I’m going to share the framework so you can make a content strategy work for your business, your situation, or your clients.

It takes 6 steps.

6 Steps to a Content Strategy Framework That Stands Tall and Strong

1. Understand the Basics of Content Strategy

Before you do anything else, you must understand why your content marketing is nothing without a strategy.

Once you know this without a doubt, you will have an easier time prioritizing your strategy, which lessens your chances of failure.

2. Define Your Audience and How to Turn Them into Customers

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Know thy audience.”

Take it a step further.

You also need to understand how your audience can turn into customers, and what that takes from your content.

3. Make SEO an Integral Part of the Whole

SEO-optimizing your content is the quickest way to drive more traffic to your site. If you’re not using SEO, you’re missing out on a fundamental part of content marketing strategy.

4. Focus on Your Own Turf and Build Authority There

“If you build it, they will come.”

It was true in Field of Dreams, and it’s true online.

When you really want to build your authority online, and I mean hunker down and build authority…

You need to do it on your own domain. Think of it like building a house, where you control all the elements.

your content house

Don’t confuse “your own domain” with proprietary platforms like Facebook or Twitter – you need your own content house. Think of the other avenues as roads to that content house.

your content house and roads

For example, when HuffingtonPost discontinued their outside guest blogging platform, I was one of the contributors that completely lost access (even to my own posts). You don’t own that outside column, so you can’t control what happens to it.

Build on your own core house, first and foremost.

Pictures above courtesy of the CoSchedule team. See a replay of the CoSchedule webinar I guest presented in.

5. Create Strategically, Too

Good news…

Having a content strategy positions you perfectly when it’s time to actually create content.

It guides you and gives you the knowledge on how to truly make those pieces ROI-rich.

Creating content strategically means following the blueprint from the previous steps in the framework, setting up a workflow for creation and publication that works, and prioritizing quality over quantity.

Once you have a system, everything gets easier.

6. Keep Your Content Boat Afloat and Moving Forward

You have to maintain your content marketing strategy to keep the entire thing floating on the high seas of content and moving in the right direction.

This takes three things: budgeting, updating, and promoting.

  1. Set a budget for content creation so you can always produce the highest quality
  2. Check old posts for outdated information, poor writing, or thin value. Update them.
  3. Promote your content so it keeps getting aired out and continually finds a fresh audience

A healthy content strategy is always adjusting to trends, SEO best-practices, your ever-changing audience, and your growing business.

Want More Depth on the 6-Step Profitable Content Strategy Framework?

You just got a sneak peek at my framework for a profitable content strategy.

This is your ticket to super-powered, successful content marketing.

Following a tried, tested strategy could change everything.

It certainly did for me…

But that only happened once I was 100% clear on the inner-workings of the strategy and why each piece was absolutely necessary for the whole thing to stand on two legs.

You’ve come this far, you see the potential of the framework, so dig in deeper and learn it backward and forward – then apply it to your own content marketing.

First, grab a copy of my book on Amazon, which has a chapter on each of these frameworks: Practical Content Strategy & Marketing.

Then, sign up for my FREE masterclass, where I’m covering every single step of the framework for a meaty 60-minute learning session (tip: bring a notebook and pen!). Plus, if you’re not clear on a point or have questions, you can ask them LIVE during each on-demand session. Choose the time that works best for you, and take the first step toward building your own profitable, doable content strategy. I look forward to seeing you there! ?

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  1. Post comment

    Blah! ? For some reason I didn’t realize that “Join the Discussion” means comments, as in, comment on this blog post. Sorry y’all; I thought it was a sign up for newsletter. Moving too fast.

    Anyhoo, I will say this, these are good points that are encouraging but could be misunderstood and/or lost on those of us that might not have the pre-requisites for strategic thinking, content creation, SEO/SEM, etc.

    I assume the “Want More Depth on…” section, which leads to the Master class (which I am registered for, later this PM), addresses some of this, but again without the foundational skills I mention above, peeps will struggle to really internalize this and, most important, struggle to execute on these 6 point and lessons from the master class.

    Thoughts?

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    1. Post comment

      Hey Monico, Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog post! Yes, I totally agree with you, and the framework to successful content strategy cannot be summed up in one blog… which is why I launched the Content Strategy & Marketing Course, and wrote a 400+ page book, Practical Content Strategy & Marketing. 😉 The Masterclass gives you an introduction to my six-week training program.

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