Today is not a debate about hiring an In-house content strategist or an agency team. I’m going to talk about the real need of having content strategists for your brand website’s, how they can do wonders to grow your brand popularity and make you able to stay ahead of your competitors.
Content marketing is a big part of online marketing, up from 18.9 percent in 2012 to 34.8 percent in 2013, more than 55 percent of websites are planning to have a defined content marketing strategy. Big brands especially, are utilizing content to build community and using different mediums for content promotion.
Without the content a web page is dead, images are dead and your online presence is dead.
Image Source: 37Signals.com
You need to think, how you can get big with small things around. For example: you get a visit. You need to think, how to take advantage of every unique visitor your website is getting, how you can make every visitor work to grow your brand by engaging them with a good to great user experience. You can begin the process by connecting with them on any social media channel, blog RSS or if you want them to become a prospective client, you will need to share with them your “story”.
A content strategist creates a brand-building strategy and spends significant time on every aspect of improving web experience: relevancy; credibility; traffic; audience building; and ultimately, leads.
So, what are the roles of the Content Strategist?
Content strategists build a structure for website content and undertake the audience research to understand whom they are going to speak with, how they like to be addressed, how to engage them, how to “speak their language” for our purposes and how to get them to connect with the brand for longer.
Let’s discuss each role briefly.
1) Content Audit
This is the first step of the process in all, to audit the whole website regarding what pages need to be improved: grammatically, visually or by content structuring. It will not only improve the user experience but also help in the average visit duration, lower bounce rate and increase pages per visit.
Simultaneously, also checking what type of content is present and what needs to be deleted, rewritten, or redirected to related pages. This process ensures current content quality as well as providing a detailed overview which will help in linking relevant pages within the content.
1a) Web Problems
While completing the detailed content audit, content strategist identifies all the possible bad user experiences i.e. missing formatting, usability issues, broken links & images etc. Resolving these issues will maintain the users’ experience and engage them for longer. Also, staying longer will make the website trusted in Google eyes and would increase the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) rankings for the website pages (which is one of Google’s ranking factors).
1b) Fresh Content
Content freshness gives new life to the old pages. Sometimes the news gets older, technology becomes more advanced, new solutions arrive, and things you referred to are no longer the good or permanent solution you discussed. So, a nice refresh of web pages makes the content stay stronger by time.
Content freshness is also one of a Google’s ranking factors. Websites that update their content and publish new content get high precedence in ranking and gaining traffic organically (from Search Engine).
2) Competitive Analysis
Select top three to five brands in your industry that are utilizing content marketing successfully and list them in an excel sheet. Analyze their strategy and find:
- Which topics they cover i.e. SEO, Usability tips, Content & Blogging etc.
- Which type of content engages their audience – in terms of social shares and comments
- Which type of content get the most links/mentions
- What channels they are targeting
- Which type of content they produced, including blog posts, eBooks, infographics, research reports, social media posts etc.
Then try to find what they are missing that you can offer through content marketing
After the competitive analysis, you need to plan the process of publishing new content by day and by week. See the snapshot of a template below for reference:
Image Source: Content Marketing Institute
There are different types of content you can utilize either weekly videos, daily blog posts, infographics, biweekly eBooks & whitepapers publishing, latest news on important dates, new events section, important researches, surveys, keywords targeted web pages, new products, tools, and the list goes on.
Remember, uploading new content shouldn’t be just words or topics which are “already discussed” or could be available on every next website. It will bore the audience and they may move on. Publishing worthy content that could help them in anyway, or maybe your personal experiences can engage the users better and make them happy to share it widely.
4) Content Distribution
With content distribution, I mean to promote the “link-worthy stuff” i.e. annual reports, videos, researches etc, and the strategy of writing on the niche related blogs, news & event publishers’ websites, magazines etc.
Regular contributions on such high authority websites help promote the brand, traffic, valued links and represent you as a thought leader in the market. These mentions may attract prospective customers, increase brand popularity, newsletter subscribers, and referral traffic.
Maybe, you can follow the above (#3. new content’s) template for content distribution as well.
Content marketing is the ideal brand building strategy and grows small businesses as a top notch firm. Depending on the goals, budget and size of the business, you can improve or update the plan as you go along. You can prepare an excel sheet for every research you make for a record, and maybe to coordinate other team members.
I hope you enjoy reading the blog post, please feel free to discuss about it in the comments section below.
Special Thanks to @Sha Menz for the copy-editing help.
The Discipline of Content Strategy, A List Apart
Why Our Content SUCKS, Jonathon Colman
Content Strategy: More than a Bunch of Tactics, Brain Traffic
A Blog Is Not A Content Strategy, John Doherty
The Philosophy of Data, Boxes and ArrowsWhy You Should Hire a Content Strategist and How They Do Wonders For Your Brand? by Kumail Hemani