Build a content marketing strategy in 9 steps - get the best ROI for your content

Instead of throwing blogs at the digital wall, get the most from your content writing with some thinking and planning. Here are our tips on how to build a content marketing strategy that delivers ROI.

As a marketer, you will know people don't like being sold to. That's the beauty of content marketing. Produce content people find interesting or valuable and you’re building a connection with your audience and trust in your brand. The sales follow shortly after.

So, it's important to think about who your audience is and what they find helpful, instead of just throwing blogs at the digital wall. Having a bit of a content marketing strategy and plan before you do any writing is a better use of your time and money, which equals better ROI.

Here are a few steps to get you started.

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Phase one: the research

1. Identify your target audience

Your first content marketing step is to refine your target audience into one persona – your favourite customer. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do that. That way, content becomes a conversation with a friend. You’ll better understand what matters to them, how you want to speak to them and what you want to say to get your message across.

2. Get clear on your business objectives

Are you launching new products and services or trying to tap into a new market? Do you want to educate your audience and establish your company as a thought leader in your industry? Perhaps there is more than one goal and objective you would like to achieve. Thinking about what your business wants to achieve, and planning your content to tick those boxes, puts you in the best position to obtain profitable customer action from your content writing.

3. Produce quality content

Gone are the days when you could post regular articles to your website that were repetitive and keyword-heavy to please Google but not offer any value to the reader. Google got wise and knows you were tricking it. Google's algorithms are solely focused on providing the best service for users – humans (and they just got better, read our take on that). So it would be best if you write for humans, not computers. See more on that here and ensure you're offering your readers something valuable.

4. Research your keywords and competitors

While you shouldn’t produce keyword-heavy articles, it does pay to know what your audience is searching for and what keywords your competitors are targeting with their content. It's essential to get a general picture – so you know what's already out there and where you can find your niche and add extra value. Think about 'competitors' in a broad sense – not just companies in your industry, but anything competing for your audience’s attention – think about what news, reference and entertainment sites are doing, too. Take note of what content they're putting out there, what seems to be getting traction and what keywords they’re targeting.

5. Repurpose old content

If you’ve already been putting content out there, you might learn some good stuff by going back through it and analysing the data – what has got the most traction and what's generated clicks, likes and shares. Dig into those topics that got the most traction and use them to refresh old content with more up-to-date information or explore one issue from different angles to write fresh new content focused on what your audience found useful the first time.

6. Be consistent with your content

It’s exciting to think about what content you could be putting out into the world, but you need to be honest – do you have the time and money to do it consistently and regularly? If you’re planning to DIY your content, it's essential to be realistic about how much time and expertise it will take to plan, write and promote it. If you’re thinking of outsourcing your copywriting, good briefs and feedback are all you'll need to support your copywriter. No more hold-ups for pushing it out into the world!

Phase two: planning and promoting your content

7. Think up your topics and platforms

Now comes the planning (finally). You need to figure out what you want to say, in which forums, when and how often.

Write each piece of content with your objectives in mind – if you come up with the idea that you know will get traffic, but doesn't meet your goals, bin it. Remember also to use those keywords you uncovered. 'Content' is broad. Think about how you might use:

  • Blogs (like this one) get the best results if posted regularly and if they provide information and tips that your audience will be eager to read and share. Post your articles to your website, but to make your content go further, you can promote them and push them out to social media or EDMS with a little intro or blurb.
  • Case studies can be the best way to share with your audience the value of your offering. There's nothing like a customer singing your praises for you.
  • Videos and podcasts take more investment to produce but have a high engagement and share rate. To make your life easier you can get help from copywriters when it comes to scriptwriting, too.
  • Downloadable Guides and e-books provide lead generation as you give the reader something in return for their contact details so you can share more content with them.

8. Create a content calendar

A good approach is to build a schedule. A content calendar will ensure you're making the most of any interesting upcoming events and sending out content regularly. Add reminders to check in with the content and update and refresh where necessary.  

9. Measure and analyse your efforts

A great content marketing strategy requires constant tweaking and refreshing – you won't know precisely how much unless you analyse the effects of your initial effort. Review the platforms you’re using – some will work better than others. Documented metrics can tell you where to make adjustments. For example, don’t put all your time and effort into Facebook posts if you’re having more success with Linkedin. You’ll develop an efficient, ongoing campaign with the agility to include new information and to reformat successful content for other platforms – but only if you don’t take your eye off the ball.

Want help with your content marketing strategy or content writing? Get in touch with us at Words for Breakfast.

Helen Steemson

The lead copywriter and creative director at Words for Breakfast. She spends much of her time working with the copy writing team across a variety of projects.