7 steps to a powerful content strategy

Feb 22, 2024

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If you’ve been a marketer for 5 minutes, then you may have heard the phrase ‘content is king’. That’s because it is. Look how much energy has been poured into exploring different content formats within the B2B landscape recently. Podcasts, games and quizzes have made an appearance, formats that are traditionally used in B2C. Making sure your content and content strategy reaches royal status has never been so important.

What is a content strategy?

A content strategy is the strategic planning of content that sits above all individual pieces, which ensures the overarching creation of content aligns with the broader business objectives.

Great strategic planning requires data and insights. This blog provides a step-by-step guide to what you should consider when preparing to build your content strategy:

 

1. Business objectives

As highlighted above, your business objectives should sit at the core of your plan. So be sure to know what they are! Ensure each piece of content planned has a role to play in achieving a business objective. For example, if your objective is to increase brand awareness and credibility, this might mean investing in content that showcases your expertise in a subject, or commissioning a research report that includes your network of industry influencers. 

 

2. Audience insights

Now you know the direction of your business, understanding your audience is the most valuable step in preparing to develop your content strategy. After all, it’s who we create content for. 

A persona is a customer profile that encapsulates the key traits and characters of a target audience segment and every piece of content should be created with a persona in mind.

The content should tackle a topic your persona is interested in or answers a question they have. It should be written in a way that the message resonates with your target persona and be produced in a style and format that your persona finds engaging and easy to digest. 

Other activities to help you better understand your audience, include: 

  • Customer and prospect surveys 
  • Speaking to sales 
  • Holding focus groups
  • Using social listening tools

For a more thorough understanding of the role audience insights play within content strategy, take a look at why audience insights should be central to your content strategy.  

 

3. Content audit 

Now you understand your audience, let’s look at what content you have already. 

A content audit is a review and analysis of all your existing content to understand its quality, effectiveness and relevance. Understanding what your content library contains will help you prioritise what’s needed moving forward. You may have good content that can be updated or repurposed to speak to the needs of specific personas or developed into new, digestible formats. 

Depending on how much content you have, an audit can be quite a lengthy process. For your future sanity, we recommend you make the content audit a living document that is updated as and when content is published, updated and archived. 

Within the audit, you should include content titles, formats and URLs as a minimum. For a complete evaluation, you will also need to align each piece of content to a persona, topic and funnel stage, as well as the keywords that it’s currently ranking for. If you’re struggling to match an asset to one of these, perhaps think about the relevancy of the piece to your audience. 

 

4. Content gap analysis 

Now that you have your content audit, you can start identifying where your content gaps lie. You should look for gaps across several areas. For example:

  • Persona – are you under-servicing a persona?
  • Funnel stage – do you have enough content at each stage of your customer journey to ensure they move down the funnel? 
  • Topic – is there a topic that could be explored more?
  • Format – Are you blog or eBook heavy? Why not try repurposing content into videos or infographics to test alternative formats?

Here is an example of content mapped to our client Admincontrol’s persona and funnel stage with red boxes to highlight the gaps clearly. We can see that the CFO requires content at every stage, and Board Member and CEO would benefit from consideration and conversion stage content:

 

5. Content performance 

We all want our content to achieve what it was created for. A great content strategy includes measurable results. This allows you to have a data-driven approach that enables continuous improvement and optimisation.

Content performance metrics to look for include: 

  • Blog views and CTA clicks 
  • Downloads 
  • Video views and percentage watched 
  • Completions (for quizzes and the like)
  • Revenue influenced

As the range of content formats increases, this list will grow. Tailor it based on the content you have and what it’s trying to achieve against the business objective(s). 

If you have previous content performance data, great! If not, be sure to set up adequate tracking on your content sooner rather than later to start getting insights.

 

6. Target keywords

Gone are the days of keyword-stuffing blogs to increase your organic rankings. The way Google ranks web pages has become increasingly sophisticated and as a result so should your strategy. Google’s latest concept is E-E-A-T, which stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness, with the first E being the most recent addition; Experience.

Keywords remain a factor in creating content that ranks. To build a robust content strategy, completing a keyword audit and strategy is recommended as it will be a contributor to your content strategy. 

 

7. Content workshop 

Last but not least, keep it fresh. Don’t underestimate the creativity a workshop can bring to the table. New ideas may give your plans the creativity boost you didn’t know you needed. In a recent client workshop, we discussed the role of comic books in B2B content and as a result have a new format to test with the audience.

Modern at a recent content workshop in Norway letting creativity flow – within a structure of personas and funnel stages, of course. All used sticky notes were responsibly recycled. 

And finally, stay in touch with trends. Video and podcasts were identified by CMOs in a recent roundtable as content to dominate in 2024. Similarly, we’re seeing a rise in ungated content, is that something you should explore?

Now you should have everything you need to create a powerful content strategy. Give it a go!

Unsure of where to start with strategically planning your content?
We can help. Whether it’s audience insights, content audits or tracking, we understand the role that content plays in successful B2B activity. Get in touch and we can help you achieve growth through data driven content.

Further reading

The Modern curve of return: develop your demand strategy

The Digital: keep ahead of the B2B digital marketing trends

The impact of the strategic skills gap in marketing technology