Author: Maddy Osman
This post was last updated on April 28, 2023.
Content marketing is powerful. Over the years, it has become an increasingly effective way to drive traffic to your website and add prospects to your sales funnel. But, it’s not enough to randomly write blog articles without a strategy. Approaching content marketing without a plan will ultimately lead to wasted time.
The good news? With just a little planning and some resources, you can create blogs that help your brand reach its intended audience.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through each of the steps necessary for success, including:
01. Set content marketing goals
You don’t want to start running without a destination in mind. That's why it’s a good idea to kick off your content marketing strategy by taking the time to set goals.
Specifically, this involves answering questions like, “What do we want users to do after reading our content?” Most business owners want conversions or sales as a direct result of their marketing and SEO efforts. But content marketing should address users at every stage of the buyer’s journey:
Ideally, you should have content aimed at each stage. But, you can also look at these stages to figure out where you can add content to best serve your website.
Content marketing can also address needs beyond the traditional sales funnel, such as:
Telling your brand story
Increasing your online presence
Figure out how you want your content to help your business and create a plan around that purpose. Plus, you can supplement that goal with calls to action that influence users to:
Book a sales call/meeting
Get in touch through a contact form
Sign up for an email newsletter
Make a purchase
02. Create a system to measure goals
Once you’ve defined the most important goals for your content marketing strategy, it’s time to determine how to measure your progress. Start by first determining the specific key performance indicators (KPIs) that show progress towards your SEO goals.
These may include search engine performance metrics such as :
The best way to measure these goals is to install Google Analytics and/or GA4. Google Analytics is an entirely free analytics tool that you can add to your Wix website. It will help you measure each of these content marketing KPIs and so much more. If you want to get the most out of it, check out the free certification program at Google Analytics Academy.
03. Define your target audience
If you’re an established brand, you should already have some target audience information in your brand documentation. If not, it’s something you’ll need to figure out to define your content strategy.
Without goals and a clear audience, you’re wasting your time on content marketing because your efforts are not exact enough to make a difference. Before moving forward with specific topics, you need to be able to answer the questions, “What do we want to happen after visitors interact with our content?” and, on a related note, “Who is our ideal visitor?”
If you have Google Analytics or GA4 up and running, the dashboard is a great place to start your target audience research. Wix users can also use Wix Analytics reports for details about the users currently accessing your website.
04. Create a content calendar
A content calendar is a great way to set expectations, develop a workflow, and track progress towards content goals. Plus, it helps you plan holiday and evergreen content, so you’re not scrambling at the last minute.
Try to focus on what’s realistic in terms of producing content versus your absolute ideal situation.
What can you and your team handle in a given month?
When are drafts due?
When will you publish content?
Be honest with yourself as you answer these questions so you can develop a regular schedule. Consistency is one of the most critical elements of a content strategy.
Your content calendar will look different depending on your goals and how your team works best. You can create a content calendar with a system you’re already using for project and task management. But, don’t go out of your way to use a new tool if you can avoid it, especially if you’re just getting started.
If you don’t have a system you can adapt to creating a content calendar, here are some simple but effective suggestions:
Create a Google Sheet coding different types of content with different colored backgrounds, using tabs organized by month. HubSpot has an example content calendar you can use for free.
Use Google Calendar to set due dates and reminders for planned content.
Choose a third-party tool to plan content marketing efforts if you’re looking for a more robust solution.
Whatever tool you pick, make sure to set specific due dates for each step of the process, and hold yourself and your team members accountable.
Remember: Content isn’t necessarily just blogs—think about complementary social media posts, emails, and additional content assets that may suit your goals and audience, this can include white papers, e-books, podcasts, and webinars.
05. Create detailed briefs for each topic
To coordinate each post and set yourself up for success, you should create a blog template with key areas to define:
Keywords to target
Resources to reference
Stage of the buyer’s journey
These sections create parameters for you (or your content writer) to follow and help keep the content organized.
When you define the stage of the buyer’s journey, you create a purpose for your content. You’ll write a post intended to increase awareness about a product or service differently than content aimed at the decision to buy. These templates also make it easy to outsource content creation to your team members or freelancers, if you don’t have time to do it yourself.
06. Research keywords
Keyword research is one of the best ways to make sure your content has the opportunity to rank and be visible in search results. You can write the best blog post on a particular subject, but if it doesn’t target that topic effectively, then your audience may never see it.
Your content will benefit from the time you take to do keyword research and identify the words and phrases your audience is using.
Many tools can help you find vital keyword and SEO metrics. Some of the most relevant include:
Monthly search volume
Cost per click
Familiarize yourself with these concepts, and make sure you use them to your advantage. If something has a high search volume, it might seem like the right choice. But, it also means you’ll be competing with several other publications to rank for the same keyword.
Consider user search intent and the stage of the buyer’s journey when choosing keywords. Search intent can include:
You want your content to coincide with what the user needs. If they want to learn more about the product you’re selling, then rank for informational keywords instead of transactional.
You can also use Google to find related and relevant keywords. Type your keyword into the search bar and look at the People Also Ask and Related Searches sections. Also, go over the Google autocomplete suggestions to get insight into what people are searching for.
All of this can help you narrow down the focus of your content. Instead of a general topic, you can zero in on the issues your audience searches for and wants to know more about, and that will help drive traffic to your website.
07. Create content
Creating content for the web doesn’t have to be intimidating—it’s an achievable skill and, what’s more, it’s likely to come in handy in other areas of your business.
Try breaking down content creation into four steps.
Do your research
Start by gathering the resources and information you need to write your content. Do research on both the topic you’re writing about and your target audience. Save links to everything you want to include so you can reference them later when you’re writing your outline and draft.
Create an outline
An outline plots out the overall structure of the piece. Work off of your brief and use your main topic points as scaffolding to start crafting your post.
Make sure that your outline lays out the article in a way that will make sense to the reader. Create headings that include your keywords wherever possible, and underneath, add bullet points of information you’ll put in the draft.
Write a draft
Use the content from your outline and flesh out the piece until it’s mostly finished. Since this isn’t the final stage of the process, there’s no need to focus on perfection. You can tweak and improve in the next step.
Edit your content
Once you finish your draft, it should go through multiple edits for content, grammar, and flow. It’s beneficial to have content reviewed by someone besides the writer. Hiring an editor or using a grammar-loving employee at your company can help catch any clunky writing or errors that might make your business look unprofessional.
08. Publish and promote content
Once you’ve polished your content, the next step is to upload it to your content management system (CMS). Depending on what’s more manageable, you can work in a separate document for writing or write and edit your content directly within the CMS.
Check your content calendar for social media posts to correspond with each blog and start promoting your content. Create a promotion checklist so that you don’t forget any crucial avenues that are relevant for your business, like:
Share in your email newsletter
Tweet at or mention brands and sources used in your content
09. Create a process for updating content
Just like any other part of your business, you need to keep content fresh. Make a plan to periodically review your content and strategy, perhaps monthly or quarterly. You can use a tool such as Google Calendar to set reminders.
Also, plan to track your keywords. There are some great tracking tools that let you see keyword rankings in real-time. If your rankings decrease, this is an indication that you should update your content.
Content and SEO are processes—make each step count
Content is a beneficial way to market your company, provide value to your customers and build your brand. To be successful with your content strategy, start with your goals and how you’ll measure them. Define your target audience, find the right keywords, and create a brief for each post.
Build a content calendar to manage when you post and how you’ll promote content. Aim for consistency and make a plan for how you’ll update your content. Then sit back and reap the rewards of a thorough content strategy.
Maddy Osman - Founder, the blogsmith Maddy Osman is the bestselling author of Writing for Humans and Robots: The New Rules of Content Style, and one of Semrush and BuzzSumo's Top 100 Content Marketers. She's also a digital native with a decade-long devotion to creating engaging content and the founder of The Blogsmith content agency. Twitter | Linkedin