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The Ultimate Guide to Devising & Delivering a Content Strategy

Content marketing has become the cornerstone of any modern digital marketing strategy. Research suggests that almost three quarters of businesses currently invest in content marketing – and this figure is only set to grow.

According to estimates, content marketing revenue almost doubled between 2018 and 2022, from 37 billion to 72 billion worldwide. Content-related revenue is expected to increase over the coming years, with the figure projected to reach a whopping 107.5 billion in 2026.

With numbers like this, it’s clear that devising and delivering an effective content strategy is essential for any online business. Whether you want to engage with your users or drive conversions, content is the ultimate way to communicate, connect, guide and influence.

In this guide, we cover every element of creating and implementing a content strategy. From harnessing storytelling and data-driven insights to defining personas and setting goals, we discuss how to create impactful content experiences that drive measurable results.

Table of Contents

What is a Content Strategy?

A content strategy is a comprehensive plan that outlines how you will create, publish, share, manage and monitor your content. It’s a data-driven schedule designed to achieve your business goals, from attracting new leads and building brand awareness to driving audience engagement and boosting conversions.

Essentially, your content strategy serves as a roadmap. It determines what types of content you will create, for whom and at what time. By defining these criteria, you can devise, design and deliver content that meets the needs of your audience at every stage of their journey.

Types of Content Marketing

When it comes to creating your content marketing strategy, there’s a wide range of content formats to choose from. Below we’ll summarise some of the most commonly used types, including guides and blog posts, video content and podcasts.

Online Content Marketing

Also referred to as SEO (search engine optimisation) content, online content marketing is a term that’s commonly applied to keyword-optimised copy. In other words, it’s web page content that has been carefully constructed to help your site rank higher within the search engine results pages (SERPs).

This type of online content marketing is typically used on pillar/landing pages such as home and category pages. With the inclusion of keywords, this content aims to boost visibility by signalling to Google – and its users – what your page is all about.

By conducting keyword research, you can create optimised content that helps to get your website in front of the right people. Want to know more? You can become a keyword research expert by reading our ultimate keyword research guide.

Blog Posts & Listicles

Blog posts and listicles are a versatile, digestible and effective form of content marketing  – statistics show that businesses with blogs generate 67% more leads. Additionally, they are an excellent way to provide advice and tips, share product information and connect with your audience.

Like optimised web page content, blog posts provide an opportunity to generate traffic. On top of this, blog posts can take your users on a journey. From storytelling to internal links and calls to action, blogs can be used to direct readers to the next stage of their research or buying process.

Guides & How-To Articles

Guides and how-to articles are long form pieces of content that walk your users through a process or subject. They offer step-by-step instructions and practical advice while showcasing your authority and expertise.

Well-written guides and how-to articles are valuable tools for building credibility and providing genuine value. In addressing pain points, guides offer an effective means of establishing your brand while simultaneously empowering your audience.

Case Studies

Looking for a way to showcase your products or services? Then case studies are the perfect solution. This type of content does more than offer advice; a case study uses a real-life scenario to demonstrate how your product or solution solves your audience’s problem. 

Case studies can be incredibly impactful as they highlight your expertise while proving that your service or product produces real results. This is particularly true for B2B, as research shows that up to 62% of B2B customers read case studies before purchasing.

Customer Reviews & Testimonials

While optimised content could help searchers find your website, there’s another form of content that could impact their buying decision just as much: reviews. In today’s digital age, word of mouth is just as important as ever and this is where reviews come into play.

Whether you feature them on your website or you share them on social media or via your email marketing, reviews and testimonials are an incredibly valuable marketing resource. According to recent data, more than 90% of shoppers read customer reviews before purchasing a product or service. 

Social Media Marketing

Social media is a core component of any successful digital marketing strategy. With more than five billion social media users worldwide, this form of content marketing can be an effective way to expand your brand and influence your audience.

From Instagram to TikTok, social media content can create real connections with a wider audience. Whether you’re creating viral reels, working with influencers or repurposing existing content, social media posts are an excellent means of driving interaction and boosting brand reputation.

Video Content Marketing

With the rise of social media and platforms like YouTube, video has become synonymous with digital marketing. From short reels and social media posts to interviews and demos, video is a memorable way to engage with your audience.

Through video, your brand can create content that builds an emotional connection in a compelling and visual way. As a highly shareable format, video can also increase your brand’s visibility and reach.

Podcast Content Marketing

A convenient way to consume information, podcasting has emerged as a useful form of content marketing. With almost half a billion listeners worldwide, podcasts are an ideal platform for sharing expertise.

Businesses can utilise podcasts to deliver valuable, relevant and entertaining content that connects with listeners on a deeper level. Conversations with industry leaders can enhance credibility, create a sense of community and build a sense of brand loyalty.

Infographic Content Marketing

Infographics allow you to present complex and in-depth information in a visually appealing and digestible format. Offering compelling representations of data, they can simplify statistics and make information more accessible to your audience.

This type of content marketing can be used in a multitude of ways, from blog posts and PR campaigns to social media posts and newsletters. This makes infographics an effective tool for distributing insights and knowledge. 

Why Do You Need a Content Strategy and Why is it Important?

A well-defined content strategy streamlines your content creation in order to meet measurable goals. It’s a framework that eliminates guesswork and helps you create the right content at the right time. In other words, a content strategy is vital for producing the best return on investment.

An effective content strategy is about more than regularly writing and publishing content: it’s about tailoring your message to your audience. Every piece of content should be created for a specific purpose; it should provide value, resonate with your readers and align with your business goals.

In short, a content strategy must include and consider the following:

  • Specific and measurable goals – e.g. increase organic traffic by x%
  • Audience and personas – who are you writing for and what are their pain points?
  • Stage of the funnel – are they researching or at the point of purchase?
  • Types of content – what kinds of content are your audience looking for?
  • Distributing and sharing – how and when will you share your content?

How Does a Content Strategy Work?

A content strategy is a measurable plan that helps you refine your approach to content marketing based on data and feedback. It works by following a linear process from researching your target audience, setting goals and conducting keyword research to creating, distributing and improving content.

It helps to think of your content strategy as a needs-based communication plan. Whether your audience is researching products or ready to buy, your content should meet the needs of your audience at every stage of the conversion funnel.

Top of the Funnel (TOFU): The Awareness Stage

Top of the funnel content, or TOFU content, is designed to raise brand awareness and capture potential customers at the earliest stage of their journey. It addresses commonly asked questions and broad pain points, helping to educate or inform readers rather than directly promote products or services.

By helping readers who are just beginning to explore a problem or need, TOFU content provides a timely and authentic means of reaching a new audience. As such, it can be an effective way to establish trust while also guiding readers towards deeper stages of the sales funnel.

There are many different types of content that can be utilised during the awareness stage. The most popular include:

  • Blog posts and guides
  • Listicles and checklists
  • Infographics
  • Social media posts and short-form videos/reels
  • Podcasts

Middle of the Funnel (MOFU): The Consideration Stage

After completing their research, a prospective customer moves to the middle of the funnel (MOFU). By now, the reader understands their problem and they have developed an interest in your product or service; they may have followed one of your social media accounts, signed up for your newsletter or made multiple visits to your website.

It’s important to capitalise on this momentum by building a genuine connection with them. As such, your MOFU content needs to show that you understand your reader’s unique concerns and pain points. It should be engaging, informative, provide real value and offer more detailed information.

Here are some effective ways to nurture leads in the middle of the funnel:

  • Long-form blog posts and guides
  • Landing pages
  • Case studies
  • Email newsletters
  • Long-form videos and product demos

Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU): The Decision Stage

After steering your leads through the informational and research stages, now is the time for content that converts. Bottom of the funnel (BOFU) content should compel your readers to take the desired form of action, such as signing up to your service or buying your product.

This content is tailored to drive purchase decisions, facilitate conversions and encourage loyalty. In order to convert, it should provide detailed and clear information about pricing, features and benefits while also eradicating any concerns or objections.

Good BOFU content features a personal touch, strong calls to action (CTAs) and a sense of urgency. Here are some forms of content that can be used during the decision stage:

  • Customer testimonials
  • Personalised emails containing limited-time offers, prices or free trials
  • Guides and FAQ pages
  • Comparison guides
  • Case studies

How to Create a Content Strategy Framework: Your 10-Step Plan

Now that we have covered the various types of content and when they should be used, it’s time to learn how to create a content marketing strategy. This 10-step plan takes you through the entire process, from setting goals and understanding your audience to monitoring and strengthening your content.

Here is our ultimate content strategy guide:

1. Set Specific Content Marketing Goals

The first step of devising your content strategy involves setting specific, measurable goals. These key performance indicators (KPIs) will serve as the foundation for your strategy, guiding every decision and evaluating the success of your efforts.

Here is how to set effective and achievable content marketing goals:

  1. Define your objectives: Start by defining what you want to achieve through your content marketing. Whether you want to enhance brand awareness and drive lead generation, boost conversions or gain backlinks, it’s important to articulate your goals upfront
  2. Align objectives with your business priorities: Your content marketing goals should align with your overall business objectives. When setting goals, ask yourself how they will contribute to the overall growth and success of your brand
  3. Ensure your goals are measurable: A list of vague or generalised goals can be difficult to achieve, so make sure your goals are measurable. By establishing quantifiable metrics, you can track your progress and gauge the success of your content
  4. Be specific and realistic: Create content goals that are specific and attainable. Focus on concrete, measurable outcomes that you can accomplish within a reasonable timeframe using the resources at your disposal

Wondering where to begin? Here are some examples of measurable content marketing goals:

  • Traffic: Increase organic traffic by 30% over the next 12 months
  • Ranking: Secure 100 new backlinks from authoritative websites over the next 12 months
  • Revenue: Boost sales by 15% year-on-year
  • Conversion: Reduce shopping cart abandonment rates by 10% over the next six months
  • Generate leads: Grow email sign-ups by 20% over the next six months
  • Brand awareness: Increase Instagram followers by 5,000 within the next six months

2. Analyse Your Audience & Know Their Needs

With your content-related goals in place, the next step involves analysing your audience. Understanding your target audience is essential when you’re creating a content marketing plan; your content needs to resonate in order to produce the desired result(s).

Your brand’s buyer personas are an excellent starting point. These detailed personas provide insightful information about the demographics, motivations and behaviours of your customers. Empowered by this knowledge, you can create more relevant, targeted and tailored content that meets the specific needs of your different audiences.

When it comes to understanding the needs of your audience, answering the following questions can provide a more comprehensive overview:

  • What are their goals, objectives and aspirations?
  • What does your audience value?
  • What challenges or obstacles stand in their way?
  • What concerns, frustrations or pain points do they have in relation to your industry, product or service?
  • What are their preferred communication channels? 
  • Where do they spend their time online?
  • What types of content do they consume and trust?
  • What are their emotional triggers? I.e., what compels them to act?
  • What language do they use?
  • How do they prioritise their time and resources? 

3. Audit & Assess the Performance of Your Existing Content

The third step involves auditing your existing content. Although this can be a time consuming process, a content audit is crucial to the success of your content strategy. How can you make progress and meet your goals without understanding the performance of your current content?

A content audit exposes your strengths and weaknesses, shining a light on your top performing pieces and revealing areas that require improvement. This process highlights which types of content resonate with your audience and uncovers issues such as duplicate content. By providing a clearer picture, a content audit informs your future content production.

When conducting a content audit, here are eight key areas to consider and questions to ask:

  1. Content inventory: What content assets do you currently have? What types/formats have you produced?
  2. Audience engagement: Which pieces of content have generated the most engagement? I.e., likes, shares, comments, backlinks, etc.
  3. Traffic and keywords: Which pieces are driving the most organic traffic? Do you need to optimise for keywords?
  4. Performance: Which pieces have the highest conversion rates?
  5. Content quality: Does every piece of content contain accurate, up-to-date information? Is it unique and does it provide value to your audience?
  6. Content gaps: Are there any gaps in your library? What other topics are relevant to your audience?
  7. Popular formats: Which pieces/formats are most popular with your audience? Do they prefer short blog posts, long guides or more visual content?
  8. Content lifecycle: Can you refresh old content to maintain its value? Can it be updated or repurposed?

4. Select Your Types of Content

Your audience research and content audit should have revealed some interesting insights and trends about your existing content assets. Armed with this information, you are now ready to begin planning the first stage of your content plan: selecting the types of content you will use.

As we discussed in ‘Types of Content Marketing’, there are a wide variety of content formats to choose from. This includes text-based content like blog posts, guides and landing pages as well as visual and audio content such as infographics, videos and podcasts.

When selecting your content types, you also need to consider the three funnel stages: top (awareness), middle (consideration) and bottom (decision) – you can revisit these in ‘How Does a Content Strategy Work?’. 

A well-rounded content strategy is diverse. It incorporates a variety of content types to reach a wider audience, catering to different preferences, pain points and stages of the buyer’s journey. For example:

  • Blog posts and guides for the awareness stage
  • Landing page copy and product demos for the consideration stage
  • Case studies and personalised emails for the decision stage

5. Choose Your Content Channels

You will have obtained information about how each channel performs during your content audit. Now it’s time to take a closer look at this data, spot trends and find your top-performing content channels.

For example, are visitors finding your blog posts via social media, organic search or from your email newsletter? I.e., where and how are you being found? These higher engagement channels are an ideal starting point for your content plan.

When choosing your content channels, evaluate each option based on their reach, engagement opportunities and your current results. Focus on channels that allow you to distribute your content in a way that resonates with your audience while also maximising resources and meeting your goals.

If you would like to secure additional data, we recommend viewing your Acquisition and Engagement reports on Google Analytics. These reports will show you where your traffic is coming from as well as which pages/pieces of content were visited.

6. Determine Budget & Plan Your Production

Step six of creating your content strategy involves setting your budget. This involves outlining who, how and when you will produce your content. This step is crucial as it ensures the effective allocation of resources and helps to set a realistic timescale for your content production.

When determining your content budget, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What tools and software do you need? How will you create, monitor and measure the success of your content?
  • Do you need additional resources? I.e., freelance writers, graphic designers or proofreaders
  • Will you write your content in-house or do you plan to outsource production?
  • How will you distribute and promote your content? I.e., will you need to pay for ads?

7. Develop Your Content Calendar

Now you are ready for the exciting part: creating your content calendar. This is a document that acts as your content schedule. It houses all of the information a writer requires to create each piece of content including topic, title, brief, keywords, type/format and due date. 

A data-led content calendar takes the information from the previous six stages and compiles it into one, comprehensive plan. This ensures that every piece of content aligns with your goals, facilitates collaboration and helps to maintain a consistent publishing schedule. 

When creating your content calendar, we recommend prioritising based on your goals, keyword research, your audience’s needs and your capacity. For example, do you have pre-existing content that could benefit from optimisation? Have you discovered content gaps that are important to your audience? Or do you need to focus on seasonal events and trends?

8. Create Your Content

With your budget and content calendar in place, it’s time to create compelling, captivating content that converts. The key? Prioritise your reader. This means producing well-researched content that creates a genuine connection and provides useful information. 

It can be tempting to centre your content around your products or fall into the trap of focusing on optimisation, but this kind of content rarely feels natural. Instead, focus on understanding your audience’s needs and empathise with their challenges. Ultimately, your content should make them feel understood, empowered and inspired to take action.

Although writing content can be a lengthy process, it’s imperative to take your time and get it right. Whether you are writing in-house or outsourcing, creating brand style guides could help. These documents ensure every piece is written in a consistent tone, creating a cohesive message that fosters trust and builds brand recognition.

Quality Content Checklist

Want to make sure your content is consistent? Use these questions to check the quality of your content:

  • Audience understanding: Does your content demonstrate a deep understanding of your reader’s needs, preferences and concerns?
  • Value: Does your content offer valuable insights that deliver tangible benefits?
  • Relevance: Is your content timely and on trend? Is it relevant and important to your audience?
  • Uniqueness and expertise: Is the piece unique? I.e., no duplicate content. Does it meet E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness) guidelines?
  • Clear and consistent: Is your messaging clear, easy to understand and consistent with your brand’s tone of voice
  • Authenticity: Does this content establish trust and credibility with your audience?
  • Engagement: Does the content encourage interaction, discussion or sharing? I.e., does it foster engagement and build community?
  • Call to action: Have you included a clear and compelling call to action (CTA) that prompts the audience to take the next step?
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO): Have you optimised the content for search engines? Remember that you should include relevant keywords, meta data and structured data to improve rankings and visibility.
  • Visual appeal: Have you included eye-catching visuals to enhance the reader’s experience and ensure that your content is visually appealing?

9. Distribute & Promote Your Content

When you have written and finalised your content, the next step of your strategy involves publishing and promoting. Using the insights you outlined during stage five, your plan should detail how you will distribute and get your content in front of your target audience.

There are a variety of methods and channels you can use to promote your content including your social platforms, email marketing and paid ads. The key here is to focus on the channels that work best for your business and align with your goals.

Here are some of the content promotion strategies that you could consider:

    • Social: Share on social media to maximise reach and push engagement
    • Email: Send content to your email subscribers to nurture leads
    • Paid: Invest in paid ads, such as Google Ads and social media ads, to boost visibility and drive targeted traffic
    • PR: Create a PR campaign with the aim of getting your content picked up by trusted outlets, websites and online publications
    • Content syndication: Distribute content through third-party platforms to reach new audiences
    • Online communities: Post your content in relevant online groups, forums and communities to provide value and promote discussion
    • Influencers: Partner with influencers or industry experts to amplify your content
    • Repurposing content: Extend the lifespan of your content by repurposing it into different formats. You will also expand your reach through increased distribution

There are a range of tools to help track your content production, streamline your workflow and keep tabs on your promotion efforts. Some of the most popular options include Trello, Notion, Asana, GatherContent and ClickUp.

10. Monitor Results & Update Content

The final stage of any content strategy involves continuously monitoring, analysing and updating your content. A successful strategy is about more than producing high-quality content; it assesses performance, measures impact and ensures your content remains relevant.

This step is vital to ensuring your content is performing well. Reviewing your results will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of your content, as well as how close you are to hitting your goals. To do this, you need to collect data.

The tools required for this will depend on the channel(s) used and the metrics you need to monitor. For example, you can track your website and email traffic using the Traffic acquisition report on Google Analytics. However, some platforms have their own analytics, such as YouTube Analytics.

To track your social media performance, you can use tools like Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Buffer. Each of these tools offers insightful metrics such as impressions and engagement numbers. Additionally, they can also be used for scheduling and publishing.

After compiling your data, you can make informed decisions about your current strategy. Ask yourself: What are we doing right? What can we improve? And are we achieving our goals and KPIs? 

Regularly reviewing your strategy and making tweaks to it is essential to maximising performance. 

Elements All Successful Content Marketing Strategies Share

In addition to these 10 steps, we have outlined five elements that all successful content marketing strategies share. These tips will help you create a content strategy that cuts through the noise, establishes brand authority and guides your audience.

They Empower Your Customers

A successful content strategy empowers your customers by utilising an audience-centric approach. It prioritises providing value, educating and informing over promoting your products and services. By creating engaging content that addresses audience needs, desires and pain points, this approach ensures that your customers feel heard and understood.

They Are Timely and Targeted

A good content plan targets each stage of the conversion funnel – awareness, consideration and decision – with content tailored to address specific needs. This allows you to reach the right people, with the right message, at the right time. It guides and informs your reader at every step, meeting their immediate needs with carefully timed content.

They Consistently Build Trust

Consistency is key to establishing trust and building brand recognition. After all, high-quality, relevant content is more likely to resonate with your audience. Successful content strategies deliver a familiar, cohesive feel. They regularly publish content that features a consistent tone of voice alongside recognisable imagery and branding.

They Are Driven by Data

How can you take action without knowing where you stand? Using a data-driven approach is vital to the success of your content. With data, you can measure your performance, spot opportunities for improvement and make informed decisions. This includes continuously optimising and updating content to ensure it remains relevant, helpful and effective.

They Align With Business Goals

A successful content strategy is one that aligns with long-term goals. Each piece of content you create has the power to amplify your brand’s voice and expand your reach. In strategically planning and promoting your content, you can ensure that every piece you produce helps to solidify and grow your brand. 

Content Strategies We Love

To round up our guide, we have picked four successful content strategies that incorporate these five elements. Here are the strategies we love.

Spotify Wrapped

Spotify Wrapped has mastered the art of transforming user data into an immersive content experience. What other company has managed to track and present user data in such an entertaining and highly anticipated way?

Every year, millions eagerly await the arrival of Spotify Wrapped, the company’s annual end-of-year campaign that has been designed for sharing. This clever marketing campaign highlights the power of personalisation, combining carefully selected language in a visually striking and interactive format.

Patagonia Stories

Patagonia Stories is another example of an engaging content campaign. This outdoor clothing brand has built a campaign that focuses on individuals, detailing their achievements, activism, and environmentalism. Each feature tells a powerful story, using a journalistic approach that ignites action and creates community. 

These editorial-style stories are a clever piece of marketing. They position Patagonia as a brand that not only promotes but actually lives their values. Every feature calls for global action and highlights the brand’s real world connections with their audience. 

Duolingo’s TikTok

When it comes to visual and engaging content, the Duolingo TikTok account has become a viral sensation. Featuring their iconic green owl, Duolingo’s mascot cemented the brand’s personality with playful TikToks.

From the owl’s obsession with Dua Lipa to their collaboration with Scrub Daddy, the brand has successfully built a TikTok community that just keeps growing – the account hit 10 million followers in February 2024. 

The key to their success? The brand has made a character out of its mascot and creates its videos to entertain, rather than promote their services. 

Slack Customer Stories

Like Patagonia, Slack has used storytelling to its advantage. Slack Customer Stories are similar to case studies, but rather than focussing on stats, they utilise a human-centric approach. Every story features a different organisation, with heartfelt quotes and pictures of real employees. 

Their MiQ story is a perfect example. This piece takes the reader on a journey, outlining how MiQ used Slack to build a community and create a collaborative culture. It showcases how the software enabled the company to better support their staff, regardless of their location. 

Create Your Digital Content Marketing Strategy

Whether you’re building a new business or hoping to elevate your existing presence, a content strategy is essential to your online success. By following these 10 steps, you can produce an effective content strategy that meets the needs of your audience, hits your goals and provides a higher return on investment. 

Ready to get started? Bookmark this guide to revisit each step. Want to know more? Our content experts are here to help. 

We appreciate there is a lot of information here and you might have questions about your current strategy. Whether you have a quick query or you require comprehensive advice, contact us at Another Concept and learn how to master your content strategy today.

Author

  • Tom Brook

    Tom has more than 10 years of experience working in copywriting, content strategy and PR. Over the years, he’s led one of the largest copywriting teams in the UK and has worked on a freelance basis for some of the country’s biggest brands.

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