In an endless sea of information, standing out might seem impossible. But an effective content strategy can help you rise above the noise and reach the right people. Whether your business is just starting out or you want to revamp your existing content marketing efforts, you can find ways to make your strategy more efficient. In this article, we’ll define content strategy, then go over the basics of developing one.
What is a content strategy?
Content marketing is the practice of distributing valuable information to your target market. To optimize its performance, you need a content strategy. A content strategy is your plan for creating, monitoring and managing content. It should determine your goals, target market and priority formats, plus how your content will support your brand. A content strategy should also include promotional plans and set metrics to determine your content’s success.
How to create a content strategy
Follow these steps to create an effective content strategy:
01. Determine your target audience
To tailor your content strategy plan, you need to first determine who you want your content to reach. For example, how old are they? What is important to them? What problems do they face in their day-to-day lives? Once you have a sense of their demographics and psychographics (which refers to more internal attributes such as interests and lifestyles), you can start figuring out what content they'll find valuable and interesting.
02. Define your goals
An effective content marketing strategy will include both actionable long-term and short-term goals that can translate into clear tasks with measurable outcomes.
Brand awareness, for example, is a great goal for new businesses. Before you begin making sales, your customers need to find out about you. Business often achieve brand awareness on social platforms, so part of your marketing strategy could include creating a detailed social media calendar and creating content that will spark interest, foster engagement and improve your brand’s visibility.
Once your content strategy plan has driven traffic to your website and social channels, you’ll next want to convert your leads into customers. You may want to include calls-to-action in your content or send out a newsletter to keep your leads engaged with your business.
Consider these other content strategy goals as well:
Elevate your brand
Increase your revenue
Retain your customers
Improve customer service
Rebrand your company
Ensure that each piece of content you release has a distinct purpose in your content strategy to move you closer to your goal. To do this, define SMART goals (goals that are “specific,” “measurable,” “attainable,” “relevant,” and “time-bound.”)
03. Perform market research
You should also research what your competition does with their content. If your competition performs well on search engines, use tools like SimilarWeb, Ahrefs or Semrush to find out which keywords they rank for and get a sense of their strategy.
In addition to finding out what your competition gets right with their content strategy, look for gaps in their content that you can fill. If they have a weaker social media presence compared to their organic search strategy, you might consider developing your strategy around social media.
04. Choose your distribution channels
Develop one or two promising—and ideally complementary—channels. For example, a blog can work well with a Facebook or Instagram page, since you can build an audience and share your content on these platforms.
According to Hubspot, 10% of marketers believe that a blog content strategy has the biggest return on investment of all marketing strategies. However, Wix’s Head of Blogs Growth Judit Ruiz Ricart warns blogs can take years of investment before seeing returns. She suggests focusing on your website’s SEO and acquisition, then using social media to build brand awareness and a newsletter to keep interested parties in your network.
Tip: If you’ve picked Google as your main distribution channel, check out the Wix SEO Learning Hub and Wix’s SEO tools. We also love this guide to topic clusters, which is the cornerstone of many content marketing strategies.
05. Set your KPIs
Once you set your goals, set key performance indicators (KPIs) that determine if your content and distribution methods work. How will you measure your content marketing efforts’ return on investment? If, for example, you want to increase brand awareness, you wouldn’t make your KPI conversions. Instead, you would monitor website traffic or social media engagement.
KPIs set expectations and ensure that you efficiently work toward your goals and they can help inform things like which writers to work with or how to utilize AI content generators and AI writing tools to your advantage. You could use these KPIs to measure your content marketing performance:
Number of ranking keywords
Organic visibility percentage
06. Decide what type of content to create
Content marketing includes more than blog posts, landing pages, guides and webinars. You could also try memes, surveys, data visualizations, company news and contests. Let’s talk about nine useful types of content marketing and why you should include them in your content strategy plan:
Ebooks: Like blogs, e-books provide helpful tips or relevant insights from your business. In addition to the value they offer existing customers, ebooks can attract leads. By “gating” an ebook, you can incentivize your target market to share their contact information or subscribe to your newsletter in exchange for your content.
Infographics: You can repurpose your data-heavy, long-form content into infographics. Provide the key takeaways in a concise visual representation to create eye-catching and shareable content.
Case studies: When you tell potential customers about the positive experiences your existing customers had working with your business, you offer them a reason to trust you. You can produce case studies in various formats such as blog posts or videos.
Free tools: Ross Simmonds, founder of Foundation Marketing, explained in an email to Wix’s content team that free tools are some of his favorite content marketing assets and that many marketers overlook them. Unlike a blog that requires consistent investment, tools like checklists, templates, calculators and generators (like Wix's business name generator, for example) are effective for years, often without much upkeep.
Videos: According to Hubspot, marketers see videos as the most popular form of content marketing as they’re highly engaging and shareable. Marketers believe that short-form videos—such as TikToks and Instagram Reels—and live streaming have the highest ROI. Use the Wix video maker to simplify the production process.
Wix predicts short form video content will continue to trend in 2023
Market reports: Show off your industry knowledge with market reports to generate leads.
Podcasts: Ruiz Ricart recommends working podcasts into your content strategy plan because you can start them easily and they organically attract listeners. This is also a great way to lead with user first content ideas.
White papers: White papers are extensive reports that share research and data.
Testimonials: User-generated content is invaluable—especially when working on a budget. Share quotes from reviews, social media comments and heartfelt emails from overjoyed customers on your website or social media channels.
Whatever type of content you create, make sure you aim for quality first. If you're creating content for search, be sure to keep up to date with all the content lessons from Google's updates.
07. Create a content calendar
When it comes to actually creating and distributing content, many people will enthusiastically publish content they consider good quality without considering whether it stays true to their strategy. A content calendar can solve this issue.
Creating an editorial calendar will help you plan out your content for important events like product launches and holiday content marketing. It also helps you stay consistent with your publishing and distribution cadence. Eventually, you’ll develop a rhythm that your audience will notice and they’ll begin to expect content from your business on regular intervals.
Developing an editorial calendar in advance can also help you plan your resources and set tasks for your team. Creating content and posting on multiple channels every day can overwhelm a small team. With a content calendar, you can manage expectations and also anticipate any additional resources or marketing tools your team might need.
08. Analyze the data
Data analysis helps you determine how well your content performs, identify strategic areas to improve and monitor your target audience. Platforms such as Google, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram have integrated analytics systems. Additionally, Wix Analytics can tell you where your website traffic comes from as well as how people move through your site.
Aside from determining success via content analytics and metrics, you should also speak and listen to your customers. Pay attention to how they interact with your content on social media and listen to the feedback they communicate in reviews, comments or questions on your blog posts. Often, your customers will tell you exactly what they like and don’t like.
09. Reassess your strategy
While your content strategy’s end goal remains the same, the implementation is a cyclic process. Ruiz Ricart says that you have to restart or build upon your methods every six months: You set a small goal, choose the metrics that’ll measure your performance and create content you think will help you achieve those goals. Then, you analyze the data and set new goals for how you can improve or expand your content. You measure the performance on the new content and keep building upon your goals and your strategy until you can comprehensively cover your entire customer journey.
4 best practices for creating meaningful content
As you move through the content marketing strategy process, keep these important things in mind:
Don’t build upon your strategy until you have a steady foundation. Start with very small, clear goals and set the metrics to measure them. Then, use that data to improve and test something new.
You should define your strategy by the time, money and resources you can invest. You won’t achieve anything if you spread yourself too thin. Tailor your approach to have a substantial impact. “Know what your resources are, know what you want to achieve in the short-term, then see what’s the best platform to allow you to do that,” said Ruiz Ricart.
Prioritize quality over quantity
According to a survey of marketers, 83% believe it’s more effective to create fewer pieces of higher-quality content than lower-quality content more often.
A good content strategy plan is adaptable. If you focus on Instagram and find out the platform prioritizes Reels, you need to focus on Reels. If you notice that your Stories perform well, you pivot your strategy to invest more in Stories.
You might even find that your goals change. For example, most new businesses want to generate brand awareness. After the business achieves the necessary level of market penetration, it can adapt its content strategy to get more leads, encourage more purchases or increase brand loyalty.
3 content strategy examples
Looking for some inspiration? Learn from these content marketing examples:
Over the years, Wix has developed a content strategy that spans the entire customer journey, with teams focused on creating the content customers need to progress through the marketing funnel. “Every single stage needs a very specific strategy,” explained Ruiz Ricart.
With traffic as the primary KPI, the Wix Blog uses SEO to increase domain strength and brand awareness. Wix’s social media accounts are dedicated to brand elevation, with engagement as its KPIs. Landing pages are the primary conversion content, so the KPI is the conversion rate. Wix Learn (a learning platform that features webinars, tutorials and courses) is dedicated to nurturing and retaining customers. Finally, our newsletters focus on getting users to invest more in the products.
Ahref’s provides informative blog posts as part of their content strategy. The content team markets an SEO tool, and they effectively rank on many relevant search engine results pages. But their articles focus on educating readers about their product, indicating a KPI in conversion or customer retention. Additionally, the Ahrefs marketing team spreads out their investment across a series of webinars, a strong YouTube channel, an engaging newsletter and a landing page for a beginner’s guide to SEO.
Animalz, a content strategy agency with a fantastic blog, relies exclusively on direct traffic—a rarity in content marketing. They aim to sell through their thought leadership, and exemplify what can happen when you allow your content strategy to evolve as it grows. “I’m sure they didn’t start like that,” said Ruiz Ricart. “There’s no way the Animalz owner woke up one day and said, ‘I’m gonna write this amazing piece, people are gonna love it and they’re gonna come to us directly.’”
They merely did what they knew how to do: Create content. The lesson here is to rely on your skills. If you’re a real estate agent who knows how to read the market, write an accessible newsletter for the average person who doesn’t want to buy unless the price is right. If you’re witty, try meme marketing. If you’re a wedding photographer, make dreamy slideshows to share on social media.