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How to Build a Content Strategy from A to Z

Every goal needs a strategy to get there, and the same goes for your marketing goals. Your content strategy needs to check a ton of boxes if you even want to reach your target audience, let alone outrank your competitors and drive sales. But knowing how to build a content strategy isn’t exactly second nature for most businesses. 

That’s why we’ve put together this guide, chock-full of everything you need to build and maintain a digital content strategy that’ll continue to be a game changer for your business.

The basics of content strategy for websites

Content creation is a lot like football: Both involve an entire team dedicated to setting up the perfect play in the hopes that it lands. In this case, your content strategy is your master playbook.

The content strategy outlines all of your content needs: objectives (i.e., generating leads, driving conversions, etc.), audience profiles, market research, processes, guidelines, and more. A good content strategy is a roadmap through how content is made, what’s included in that content, why that content exists, and how it’s deployed. 

Why should you have a digital content strategy?

Planning, writing, publishing, and managing your brand’s content is a massive undertaking. Jumping in without a plan will cost you content quality, lead generation, user experience, and conversion rate, just to name a few. A content strategy is essential for businesses to develop and maintain an effective online presence. 

A content strategy helps businesses create content that is consistent, relevant, and engaging to their target audiences. It develops a long-term plan for content from planning to completion and beyond. Additionally, a content strategy ensures that all content produced is aligned with the overall brand message and objectives.

With a long-term digital content strategy in hand, you’ll get a bird’s-eye view of how to keep your content audience-driven, high-quality, search engine friendly, and effective. 

What are the key elements of content strategy?

If you thought this would be an easy three-step process, you’ve got another thing coming. A content strategy must incorporate several different components to be worthwhile. The main three elements are brand identity, audience profile, and content distribution/governance. 

However, there are a handful of general considerations you’ll need to make, such as:

  • Defining your content and business goals.
  • Knowing your audience inside and out. 
  • Determining the topics and issues you want to write about.
  • Conducting ongoing keyword research.
  • Determining standards for different content mediums.
  • Developing a content calendar and distribution schedule.
  • Nailing down a voice for your content.

How to balance SEO and content strategy

Your content and SEO strategies are inherently tied together, so they’re going to need to be compatible for the long haul. Think about this—solid, relatable website content alone won’t rank high on SERPs, meaning it won’t have a chance to meet your goals. That’s where your SEO strategy can be used to uplift your content. 

Optimizing every piece of content from head to toe—or title to CTA—will help you rank higher and enjoy the visibility you’re after. Your content strategy further fuels that by supporting metrics like the number of website visitors you have, time spent with content, conversion rate, etc. 

As you can see, this content and SEO balancing game is purely for your benefit, so it’s best to figure out a good comfort zone for business. If you discover that your blog isn’t getting the visits or read-throughs you were hoping for, you can always return to it and optimize it for organic search.

5 questions to inform your content strategy framework

Now that we’ve covered what to include in your content strategy and why, let’s dive deeper into five questions to consider that will give your content strategy the depth and nuance it needs.

What are you creating content about and why?

In digital marketing, the last thing you want to do is create content willy-nilly. Brainstorm about what you want to write about, how you can discuss it in a unique way, and why you want to write about a specific topic in the first place. The numbers will thank you later. 

To hit the bullseye with content, we recommend the following: 

  • Deriving your topics around thorough market and keyword research
  • Finding the intersection between the needs of your brand and your audience.
  • Offering in-depth, nuanced information that benefits the reader.
  • Incorporating both primary and secondary keywords in headings.
  • Ensuring your copy has strategically placed calls-to-action (CTAs)

Who are you creating content for?

Ultimately, content marketing isn’t about what you want to write about: it’s about who you’re writing for and why they’d want to read it. Not everyone will want to spend time on your content, so you’ll need to prioritize a specific audience and let their needs take the driver’s seat. 

Start by creating a clear picture of your target audience profile: their age, location, industry, income range, interests, and more. For instance, if your target audience has an age range of 18-34, your profile should mention that 70 percent of Gen Z and 78 percent of Millennials prefer visual content when making purchasing decisions. You’ve got to show your work!

While you’re at it, create profiles for adjacent audiences to tailor specific content to them.

What kinds of content are you creating?

Gone are the days of publishing text-only content. Jazzing up posts with images, GIFs, infographics, videos, and more will make it more relatable, appealing, and memorable for your target audience. Plus, search engines rank diverse content higher, so it benefits you, too.

If you don’t have the time or manpower to take this on, partnering with a digital marketing agency like Ranq can help. Our digital content specialists will bring in featured images, audio, infographics, podcasts, and AI-assisted video snippets to give your audience the user experience they want. 

What goals are you trying to achieve?

Set clear business goals when you build your content strategy. They’ll serve as your strategy’s North Star and allow you to keep your eye on the prize no matter how much trial and error you’ll face on your content-creation journey.

To help you establish goals for your content strategy, we recommend the following:

  • Setting reasonable, specific objectives (e.g., increasing website traffic by 10% over the next 6 months).
  • Creating a content calendar that defines your content’s topics, angle, deadlines, etc.
  • Establishing milestones to measure your content’s performance after a set time. 

How will you optimize content over time?

You want to give your content a fighting chance to rank as high as possible, for as long as possible, and get the exposure it deserves. Content optimization is the vehicle that’ll help you get there.

Over time, you’ll want to monitor how your content performs closely. If your content isn’t getting the traffic you expected, you may need to optimize it in one or more of the following ways:  

  • Ensure your keywords reflect user search intent.
  • Update your content by incorporating relevant links or sections.
  • Include visuals and other rich-media content to improve engagement.

This is why Ranq commits to content optimization weeks once a month. We take a look at your existing content and offer suggestions to boost SEO, which in turn will aid your other metrics.

Have an entire blog content strategy built for you with Ranq!

Creating a content strategy is a long-term commitment. But once you nail down your goals and spell out the nuts and bolts of what you want to publish, you’ll have a game plan in hand. 

At Ranq, building a content strategy is a team effort. Our world-class SEO content experts will develop a content strategy from planning to completion, leaving no keyword unturned. We’ll even give your existing content an audit and commit to improving performance every month.

Contact Ranq to discover how we can give your blog the refab it needs to see results.

Author avatar
Ben Stopka
Ben Stopka is a Chicago-based writer/editor and Head of Content Strategy at Ranq. He also has a background in education and youth social work. He is a proud Cancer Sun and Moon, and he spends his free time thinking of monsters for his Dungeons and Dragons game.

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