Content marketing is no joke.
When you win with content (especially through building a strong digital content strategy, which we’ll explore soon), you win in big ways.
So, how do you make sure your chances of winning with content marketing are always higher?
With a digital content strategy.
Without one, you’re far more likely to lose.
- Businesses that blog over 11x per month get 4x as many leads and 3x the traffic of companies that blog 0-5x per month. (HubSpot)
- Businesses with well-defined content marketing processes (read: strategies in place!) get 2x the website conversion rates of other businesses. (Aberdeen Group/Kapost)
- More people than ever are blocking ads on their desktops AND mobile devices (236 million desktops and 380 million mobile devices, via PageFair.) Ads are no longer a surefire way to get through to your target audience.
Content marketing has the power to cut through the noise and reach your audience, but only if it’s built to win.
Think of your digital content strategy as the foundation for your content marketing. Without it, your content will not be able to stand on its own and earn back ROI. The strategy is what you build your content house upon.
As you can see, the strategy must include at least 6 checkpoints to be strong enough to hold your content marketing efforts. I’m outlining all of them right here, right now, to give you a blueprint to follow.
6 Checkpoints for Building a Strong Digital Content Strategy
These are the main areas you need to learn, study, and implement to get your digital content strategy ready to support your content marketing.
1. Ready to Dive into Digital Content Strategy? Get Set on Fundamentals
First up: What do you know about digital content strategy – for real?
Do you understand why having one is necessary, and do you know how a strategy fits into your content marketing? If not, you need to learn the fundamentals of a content strategy.
Before you do anything, you have to understand why content strategy matters and what implementing one entails.
Digital content strategy drives content marketing. Without the strategy, you will have no guide and no answers to the following key questions:
- What sets your brand apart from the pack?
- What content angle can you use to stand out?
- What’s your key topic area of expertise?
- What does content success look like to you?
- What are your goals for your content?
Defining your Content Differentiation Factor (CDF), your topic area, and your goals are vital to the rest of your digital content strategy – in fact, they will inform every other piece. Get these fundamentals in place, first, then move on to the next checkpoint.
I teach everything you need to get set on digital content strategy fundamentals in my Content Strategy & Marketing Course. It’s all covered in Module 1, from setting goals to defining your topic area and CDF.
2. Bridge the Audience & Sales Gap
Who will you be targeting with your content? Who needs the information you’ll be offering? Who could potentially become a customer?
The next checkpoint answers all of these questions. After getting the digital content strategy fundamentals down, it’s time to bridge the audience and sales gap.
First, know and understand your audience.
This means doing the research to find out all you can about them. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to create content that directly speaks to them. You’ll whip up buyer personas that are accurate and will help all levels of your content creation.
Developing personas as part of a digital content strategy is crucial for content marketing success. According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2019 B2B report, 72% of the top-performing B2Bs use them.
Even further, you can use your audience knowledge/personas to help you pinpoint your ideal buyer’s awareness level in the marketing lifecycle.
The marketing lifecycle is a flowchart I developed that shows you how modern customers interact with your brand. From general awareness to intent and interest, to decision and finally loyalty, each stage is a touchpoint with the customer you can use to make sure you’re marketing to their needs.
When you know your audience well and can connect their state of buyer awareness to the marketing lifecycle, you’ll close the audience and sales gap. You’ll create content that not only fulfills their needs, but also helps them move closer to a sale.
It sounds like a lot of information to learn and implement, but don’t worry. I teach you how to bridge the audience and sales gap in Module 2 of The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. This is a KEY piece of any digital content strategy. Every single step is covered: researching your audience, creating personas, mapping personas to the marketing lifecycle, and even creating a brand style guideline.
Once the foundation of your digital content strategy is laid, you can move on to the next integral piece: SEO, or search engine optimization.
This checkpoint is about identifying high-ROI keywords to use in your content. It’s about knowing which tools to use to help you get there, as well as knowing which ranking factors you should worry about.
The keywords your ideal buyer is typing into Google right now are the ones you want to be targeting. On top of that, your keywords should also relate to your products/services as well as your industry expertise.
Smart, targeted SEO is one way to bring in more organic traffic and leads to your content and website. You don’t want to skip laying out your keyword plan for your digital content strategy because the right keywords in your content create roads to your brand for your ideal audience.
I go over every step to profitable SEO for your brand/clients in The Content Strategy & Marketing Course (check out the curriculum to see what I mean). It all goes down in Module 3.
4. Build Online Authority
Next up: How will you build your authority online with content marketing? What steps should you take to eke out your territory on the web and grow your brand (or your client’s brand)?
It’s all about where you publish content and the types of content you will invest in creating. These are factors you will establish in your digital content strategy.
Building your online authority is like building a house – your “content house” (which we mentioned earlier.)
This should be your own domain. It’s where the majority of your content will live, and all outside roads will point here, too (think guest blogs, social media posts, podcasts, and other opportunities to expand your reach).
According to HubSpot benchmark numbers, businesses who committed to blogging 16+ times per week on their own domain got 4.5x more leads than businesses blogging less often.
You don’t want potential leads going to some other website after they read your amazing content. You want to capture them on your own turf, where you’ll have a better chance of converting them. That’s why building authority on your website is super important – and that’s why it’s part and parcel of a digital content strategy.
Every aspect of building online authority is part of what you’ll learn in The Content Strategy & Marketing Course, Module 4.
5. Create Content That Works
Finally, the checkpoint you’ve been waiting for:
How do you create content that builds your brand? Short answer: You have to know what amazing, ROI-worthy content looks like.
Every other step in your digital content strategy will lead you to this point and help you figure it out.
According to a 2016 Demand Gen Report, 47% of buyers looked at 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with sales. Another 73% looked at a case study while researching. The quality, type, and informational value of your content will directly impact whether your audience converts. That’s why content creation is so important.
A few musts that every single marketer should know about creating content:
- It MUST be written for your ideal audience/buyer.
- It MUST be written around targeted keywords.
- It MUST cover a topic that fits what your audience wants to read AND your expertise.
- It should be linked to a stage of buyer awareness!
And those points are just for starters.
I have been creating content with success for over 7 years. I teach you all my tips and tricks in Module 5 of The Content Strategy & Marketing Course (read the curriculum and see for yourself):
6. Budget, Promote, & Maintain
The final checkpoint of any digital content strategy: setting up how you will maintain your content marketing going forward.
That means budgeting your resources, promoting your content, and tracking/measuring your results and ROI.
This part of a digital content strategy answers these questions and more:
- How much do you need to invest in content to see results?
- Which social media platforms would be the best fit for your brand and promoting your content?
- What promotion techniques will you commit to (email, social media, Facebook ads, etc.)?
- What tools will you use to track your content marketing progress?
You can’t skip this last checkpoint on the road to building a digital content strategy if you expect your content marketing to stay alive for more than a few months. And, if you want to be a content marketing leader, it’s vital.
That Aberdeen Group/Kapost study we already mentioned found that leaders are 58% more likely to track their content performance than followers.
This crucial piece of a content strategy is taught in The Content Strategy & Marketing Course curriculum, in the final lesson, Module 6.
You Know What a Digital Content Strategy Needs to Work – What Now?
Are you ready to dig in, get your hands dirty, and learn EVERYTHING you need to know to build a digital content strategy from point zero??
I’ll teach you Every. Single. Piece. of this framework in The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. You’ll learn how to customize it for your brand/clients and make it work for YOUR audience.
Best of all, you can learn how to create an entire digital content strategy in 45 days or less. This is what will take your content marketing to the next level.
Are you ready to learn? Enroll today and get started on your journey to higher content marketing ROI.