A solid content marketing strategy is a key cog for every business today, since selling, in general, has become content driven, whether in the tech, hospitality, or even entertainment business. Content is the ultimate weapon of choice for every marketer. The catch is that people nowadays are well aware of and discouraged by the “sales” language, so that’s no longer an option for businesses.
That’s why more and more brands are using content to familiarize their target audience with their products, build long-term relationships, and attract them to the brand instead of chasing them like in the old days. However, with all the brands creating content simultaneously, the only way to make yours stand out is through a solid content marketing strategy.
Today, we’ll share how to create a content strategy, what makes a winning content strategy, and how you can create one for your brand.
How to Create a Content Strategy for SEO | Step-by-Step Guide
The right content strategy for SEO will help you woo the search engines, which will rank you higher in the search engine result pages (SERP). But how do you create a winning content strategy for SEO? Here’s a quick template you can follow:
1. Identity Your Target Audience
Before you start working on your content ideas, it’s important to understand who your target audience is and what they’re looking for.
For example, if you’re approaching freelancers with an easy-to-use invoicing tool, you must create content that caters to their pain points, such as a lack of human resources to handle accounts, time management problems, etc.
After all, the solutions a freelancer would look for online are starkly different from that of small businesses, which, in turn, differs from an enterprise’s needs. Knowing their inner pain points is the best way to create content that hits the right target group.
Now, the best way to identify your target audience is to use the Semrush Market Audience Report, which will help you zero in on your audience’s demographics, like age, gender, interests, and more.
2. Define Your Niche Well
You need to define your niche before you start looking for topics for your content.
Referring to the last example, stick to the domain if you’re trying to create a website for freelancers that aims to help them with resources to get started in the industry. The more content you create on a single niche, the greater your authority will be.
If you’re unsure what topics to start with, we recommend using tools like Semrush to quickly research your competitors and see what kind of content they’re creating. Your ultimate aim is to provide your audience with everything your competitors provide, plus more.
3. Make a List of Crucial Keywords
It’s a no-brainer that your content planning must involve listing all the keywords you plan to target. If you genuinely want to reach a good audience, your content needs to be created on keywords that netizens are already interested in.
Remember to include long-tail keywords to increase your chances of reaching the right audience. For example, a simple keyword such as “small business” is too broad.
On the other hand, “free small business accounting solutions” is much more specific, ensuring this blog will certainly reach people who are exclusively looking for a similar solution.
As far as finding the most important keywords is concerned, there are fewer tools better than Semrush, as it’ll give you 10 free searches per day, plus the ability to segregate the results based on topical groups and subgroups. Need we say more?
We do. There’s also an Organic Research Tool to look at the keywords your competitors are using.
4. Optimize Your Content
Once you have all the keywords and content ideas, it’s time to optimize your content. The real question is, how? Optimizing your content isn’t just about adding the right keywords. You also need to divide your content into separate paragraphs to improve readability.
The better your content’s readability, the more likely your users will stay. To make your content more interesting, add plenty of images and infographics to further add to the readability by breaking up the paragraphs.
Since processing images is far easier than reading, your users will find your content more helpful. Once again, our top recommendation for content optimization is Semrush.
You’ll find its SEO Content Template and SEO Writing Assistant extremely helpful in driving up your content’s quality to see the best results.
5. Choose Your Distribution Platform Wisely
Simply creating quality content isn’t enough. A huge part of content planning is deciding how to distribute it. For example, content today is made in various forms — both textual and visual.
So if you want to target the GenZ and Millennials, you might want to post your content on social media. On the other hand, if you’re targeting people who are more active on Google, you’ll need to create a blog.
In both cases, the kind of content you create and the planning behind it are different. That’s why your preferred mode of content distribution is an important content planning factor.
6. Make Them Stay On Your Site
One of the most important functions of content planning is to make the users stay for as long as possible. No, it’s not about popularizing one page but building a name for your website. That’s why we recommend that both new and old websites add plenty of internal links.
When you add internal links to related topics on a blog, you’ll be able to engage the user in a loop of web pages, making them dive deeper into your site. This will improve the total time they spend on your website and grow their familiarity with your content.
If they like your style and service, they’ll most likely return to your site the next time they need help with something similar.
7. Maintain a Content Calendar
One of the fundamental pillars of good content planning is maintaining a consistent schedule. How can you expect your user to remember you if you’re inconsistent with posting?
Even Google search prefers only those publishers who regularly contribute to the platform. It makes you come across as a reliable source of information. So make sure to post at least 2 to 4 times a week.
Say you’ve opened a new site. In that case, have at least 5 to 10 blogs ready to go live before you launch your site — you don’t want to market your site only for the users to visit an empty website.
8. Keep Updating Your Old Content
Content planning doesn’t just encompass churning out new content — you must worry a lot about the old posts. Google prefers websites that continuously add to their posts. Even a small update tells Google that your site is active, the content is the latest, and hence worth ranking.
If you want to keep drawing traffic and revenue from your old posts, staying up-to-date is the only way to stay on top of the ranks.
See what the new blogs on the same topic contain, check if you’re missing anything, and if there’s any latest development in the subject, be sure to add it as soon as possible.
Best Content Strategy Tools Reviewed
Content strategy is best done with the help of a tool that has experts behind it that’ll automate the process, simplify research and planning and also save you time. Here are the 3 best content strategy tools trusted by leading brands around the world:
1. Semrush — The Best Content Marketing Strategy Tool
Semrush is an all-in-one SEO tool that can be used to create content, optimize it for the web, and even research your competitors. No other website management tool offers these many features.
Along with content management, you can also use it for market research, social media management, and advertising. With that said, one of our favorite Semrush features is the on-page SEO optimizer.
This tool will give you ideas on improving your site performance, making your content SEO-friendly, and reaching a wider audience. For instance, if you’ve just started building links, Semrush will help you see which authority sites have linked back to your competitor’s site.
This will suggest that they’re interested in similar types of content and might be willing to provide a link back to your blogs. Speaking of content management, Semrush has a stellar keyword research tool.
On each keyword result page, you’ll see the total volume of keyword searches, CPC, and trends. It’ll also show you how many pages have already been created on the same topic so that you can gauge the market’s competitiveness.
Beyond this, Semrush’s biggest USP is its SEO writing assistant. If there are any issues in your content, it’ll point them out automatically and guide you on fixing them. It’ll also give you a readability score and tips for improving user retention.
In short, Semrush is the ultimate content creation tool you’ll need. From content creation to marketing and result analysis, it’ll help you at every step. Read our in-depth Semrush review here.
|Starting Price||$99.95/month (annual plan)|
|Customer Support||Help center and online form|
- A quick “authority score” to check content quality
- One of the most used content management tools
- Offers multi-domain support
- Enables integration with web analytics tools
- Some add-on features can be expensive
The best thing about Semrush is that it gives you 10 free daily searches, which is great for newbies testing the waters. The real deal starts with Semrush’s Pro plan — you get the best bang for your buck with the annual plan.
The Pro plan is tailor-made for small teams. It’ll give you 500 keywords to track and 10,000 results per report, plus other functionalities like competitor analysis, keyword research, and whatnot, so pretty much everything you’ll need to chalk out a superb content strategy.
When your needs expand, you can upgrade your Semrush plan to either the Guru or Business plan, which offers a lot more bandwidth in terms of the number of projects and other metrics.
Unsure? Try Semrush risk-free now, thanks to the 7-day free trial on its Pro and Guru plans. If you like what you see, subscribe.
2. HubSpot — The Best Tool for Comprehensive Website & Content Management
HubSpot is a popular multi-dimensional business tool with services extending to marketing, sales, CRM, and content management. While Semrush focuses more on content creation and optimization, HubSpot primarily focuses on performance tracking and analytics.
It’ll provide a custom dashboard highlighting your content’s organic search performance. Information on all important metrics, such as total clicks, click-through rate, and average position, will all be displayed here and updated in real-time.
If you want more details on individual page performance, you can select the topic, and HubSpot will show you what queries they are ranking on. Another benefit of using HubSpot is its automatically generated site maps.
A good sitemap will help the search engine understand the structure of your site better and crawl each page efficiently. The more detailed your sitemap is, the faster your pages will be indexed.
Since HubSpot offers multiple website management services together, you get access to an integrated platform that caters to each step of content management, just like Semrush.
For example, once the content is created, you can boost its reach through ads and marketing campaigns directly from the HubSpot platform. From the same place, you can also track the performance of your campaign and see how far you are from your monthly traffic target.
On top of that, if you’re looking to back up all your posts in one folder, you’ll certainly appreciate HubSpot’s blog expert feature. With this, you can export all your blogs into a. CSV file in one click.
|Customer Support||Call, fax, and support form|
- Excellent e-mail and social media marketing tools
- Allows multiple integrations with other tools
- A quick and responsive customer support
- Lead management is easy with personalized email sequences
- Occasional onboarding difficulties with new clients
HubSpot is free to get started with. At $0, you’ll enjoy tons of free tools, including multi-language content creation, basic SEO recommendations and optimizations, and email reply tracking.
However, we recommend the very affordable HubSpot Starter CMS Suite that removes HubSpot branding and tags along with other powerful functionalities like email and in-app chat support and URL mappings.
If you’re a large enterprise with comprehensive needs and don’t want to leave any stone unturned in perfecting your content efforts, go with the Professional package. Is HubSpot for you? Take a trial with its free plan and find out for yourself.
3. Google Analytics — The Best Free Content Marketing Strategy Platform
Google Analytics is the perfect free tool to monitor your site’s performance. It’s easy to use, costs nothing, and can integrate with your website and any other content management platform.
One of our favorite things about Google Analytics is how detailed the dashboard is. On the main page, you’ll get a quick glimpse of all the major performance parameters of your site, such as total sessions for the day, total users, total pages seen per session, and more.
If you need more details about these parameters, you can visit their individual sections. For example, if you want to see how a user interacts with your content, you can use the Behavior Monitoring tool provided by Google Analytics.
This will show you the flow of navigation, which page is visited first, and for how long to find out exactly what your target user likes. At the same time, you can also dig up information about traffic sources and locations.
See where most of your users come from and invest more in those sources. Identifying the location of your users is also crucial in content planning. For example, the type of content and approach that’ll work for US users isn’t the same for Japanese users.
People of different backgrounds have different needs and expectations, and Google Analytics will help you tailor your content accordingly.
|Customer Support||Live chat and email|
- Track Financial metrics like revenue & transactions
- Allows creating multiple custom reports
- Integrates easily with the entire Google ecosystem
- Easy to set up custom event tracking
- Limited third-party app integrations
Google Analytics does have a paid version on offer, but it makes little sense to go for it since it’s pricey, plus you’ll get everything you want in the free version itself.
It’ll give you real-time data, advanced segmentation, data tracking and exporting, video performance management, and many more such features at no cost.
Using All Three Tools Together
If you’re unsure which of the above tools you should choose to take your website’s content game to the next level, choose all three. That’s right — you can work with all three simultaneously for the best results.
- Use Semrush to research keywords, look up your competitors, and create content.
- Use HubSpot to market your content.
- Finally, use Google Analytics to check how your page is performing.
Since both HubSpot and Google Analytics can be integrated with Semrush, you can access all three platforms from the same dashboard. HubSpot and Google Analytics are completely free to use, and Semrush, too, offers a generous free plan.
Meaning? Meaning using all three tools together at once will not hamper your budget in the slightest.
What is Content Strategy?
Content strategy is a dynamic process where you create and tailor branded content to help you accomplish your ultimate business goals. In today’s digital times, content isn’t just blogs. It includes your brand’s social media posts, tweets, and Instagram stories.
Unlike other forms of marketing, a good content strategy isn’t an active target for your users. Instead, you focus on creating quality content surrounding your niche that your target audience might be helpful.
The aim is to build a positive brand image that automatically attracts leads.
Why Do I Need a Digital Content Strategy?
Building a content strategy might seem like a lot of work, especially when you’re just starting. So if you start getting second thoughts about building a digital content strategy, we have three solid reasons to change your mind.
1. Best Way to Track Progress
Posting content without tracking your progress is like pouring all your resources down the drain. Sure, you’re putting something out there for your users, but do they like it? Can you do better? Are they slowly losing interest in your content?
The only way to answer all these questions is through content strategy. To make real progress, you’ll need a solid strategy to plan, create, publish, and track your content.
2. Helps You Cut Costs
Surprising, right? How can something that requires considerable time and resources help you cut costs? For starters, it helps you identify the best distribution platforms for your target audience so you don’t waste your money on channels that don’t reap much revenue.
Similarly, a good content strategy will tell you exactly what your target audience wants. This way, all your content will be a clear hit and bring in profits from the get-go.
3. More Leads Who Trust You
When you constantly churn out expertly written content on a topic, regular users start to recognize your brand as a subject matter expert. They rely on your advice more than anybody else’s.
That’s when it’s easier for you to approach them with your paid services. Sooner or later, they’ll require your services. You just have to do the groundwork that prevents them from considering other options.
Tips to Create a Successful SEO Content Strategy
Here are a few tips that’ll help you create the perfect SEO content strategy for your business:
1. Write for the Users
The fundamental rule of creating a winning SEO content strategy is writing for the audience. You must strike the perfect balance between what you want to tell the world and what the world wants to read.
So, look up your audience’s most common pain points and create content surrounding it. For example, if your niche is automated customer support software, don’t discuss the technology behind it or the history of automation — even if you’re passionate about these subjects.
Instead, tell your audience why they need it, how it can make their life easy, and what benefits it brings. That’s the kind of information your target audience seeks from the outset.
2. Use Multiple Content Formats
Each audience member might have different content preferences, even in the same target group. If you can’t cater to them separately, you’ll eventually lose them. That’s why it’s important to create content in multiple formats.
The most common content format for websites is blogs. But have you ever considered that not everyone has the time to go through an entire 1,000-word blog? That’s why you need infographics.
By summarizing the entire concept in an engaging visual, you help your readers save time and ensure they keep coming back to you. Similarly, people often find it difficult to follow textual instructions.
In that case, you can create a video, upload it on YouTube, and embed the link in your blog. This way, you can reach out to a new audience on YouTube and connect better with your blog readers.
3. Add Keywords
Putting keywords in the main body of your blog isn’t enough. If you want to surpass all competition and get search engines to notice your website, you must distribute the keywords as smartly as possible.
For example, add the main keyword in your SEO title. This will tell the user and search engine that your content is relevant to the search query. The same goes for the meta description and the blog title.
It’s also recommended that you add ALT texts to your images, along with the keyword. Without that, it’ll be impossible for the search engine to recognize the purpose of your images.
Alt texts also encourage search engines to index your blog’s images on Google Images. This is a terrific way to target an additional barrack of users that search through Google Images.
4. Post Consistently
The only way to guarantee your content strategy’s success is consistency. That’s why we recommend all websites have a content calendar ready with a lineup of at least a week’s worth of posts in advance.
After all, nothing goes stale faster than information. Search engines like Google and Bing constantly seek someone to feed fresh and relevant content into their system. If you can offer consistent content, you’ll be rewarded with a better ranking.
5. Build Your Authority
While consistently posting quality content is a great way to build authority before your leads, it’s not enough to impress search engines. As a new website, if you want to come across as a reliable information source, you need backlinks from reputed sites.
When authority sites link back to your content, it tells the search engine that your blogs are worthy of being ranked higher. The more backlinks you have, the higher your site will rank.
Also, backlinks help you build your overall domain authority score, which in turn helps your blogs get ranked higher organically.
A Winning Content Strategy Example
It’s about time we show you what a winning content strategy looks like. Here’s a quick example you can follow:
The first step in creating a content strategy is to check what your competitors are up to because their work is your minimum benchmark. Everything you do has to be at least 1% better than what they’re already doing if you wish to make your mark in the industry.
You can start by using the competitor’s research tool on Semrush. Enter your competitor’s domain, and Semrush will give you a complete overview of their total backlinks, organic traffic, paid traffic, and more.
You’ll also get a list of their top keywords, the ones they’re ranking on, keyword intent, and a breakdown of countries the majority of the traffic is from. In short, Semrush will tell you everything currently happening in the market.
Once you have a fair idea of the market and recent trends, use Semrush’s Keyword Overview tool for a detailed report on the keyword you plan to rank on.
For example, we’ve taken the keyword “leaf blower.” The report shows us its total search volume (globally and country-wise), related keywords, keyword variations, and questions.
The questions can be added in the “frequently asked” whereas the related keywords can be embedded throughout the blog. Using Semrush will help you see if the keyword you’ve chosen has any potential and if it does, how much.
After selecting the keywords, it’s time to create the perfect content. Semrush’s SEO writing assistant will be your friend if you’re writing a blog.
Once you enter all the keywords you’re hoping to rank for, it’ll run a quick analysis of your post and point out all the areas where it could use improvement.
It’ll also give you a suggested list of keywords that you can add to increase your SEO score. On top of that, it’ll help you check your content for plagiarism and share tips on improving readability.
So basically, the Semrush SEO Writing tool will fine-tune your content so that what goes online is next to perfect. Even if a mistake escapes your radar, the writing assistant will notice it and help you fix it.
Now that your content is ready to go live, it’s time to distribute the blog to interested leads. Even content distribution and marketing can be easily managed through Semrush.
It’ll help you with online advertising. You can research the best keywords for your campaign and manage the PPC ads from Semrush.
Similarly, if you decide to promote your blog on social media, Semrush will help you manage your posting schedule, get analytics on each post, and track its progress. Semrush is also planning to introduce a social media ad management feature currently in beta.
The final step to creating a stellar content strategy is to find ways to track your progress. This feedback will help you improve your content and cater to your customers’ needs.
Tracking will also help you identify your best traffic sources and the overall interest of your readers in your content. For this, you can use Semrush’s post-tracking feature.
Here, you’ll get a detailed report of the total estimated reach of your posts, total referral traffic, ranking keywords, total shares, and more. These parameters alone tell you if a certain blog was a success.
What is the core of content strategy?
What is included in a content strategy?
What is a content strategy example?
What tools do content strategists use?
Hopefully, our guide has given you everything you need to know about mastering and creating a content strategy.
Amongst all the subtlety, the core remains the most crucial: writing for an audience you’ve carefully zeroed in on after thorough research and using topics and keywords you’ve found out via competitor and market analysis.
With that said, the best way to go about content strategy creation and implementation is to use a tried-and-tested, expert-recommended tool, and none is better than Semrush.
It has tools for every need of yours, whether it be keyword research, content optimization, market audience analysis, or even organizing your content calendar. Unsure? Try the 7-day free trial of its plans now and see if it suits your needs. No risk of losing any money. No hassle.