How to Create a Content Strategy: The Complete Guide

I saw many complicated exercises to come up with a content plan for a business, on the internet. When we become too technical in such circumstances, what happens is, those who try to create a content strategy give up in the middle, and go back to create content without a proper strategy, which is unfortunate.

Therefore, I thought of creating this piece of content to help small and medium businesses to develop their own content strategies.

Without further due, let’s dive into the task.

I explain the process in 9 simple steps. Remember, each step is important and they’re connected!

Page Contents

Step 01: Establish your purpose

This is the purpose why you create content in the first place. Do not confuse this with the purpose of your business. Do not make this complicated either. Defining your purpose is important for the next step of defining your audience. Further, your writing style, call to action (CTA), distribution channels will all be based upon this.

For instance, I create content,

  • To educate and share knowledge with business owners and marketers to develop a relationship with them
  • To establish my authority over the key words that I care

If you are still confused about establishing the purpose, refer to the definition of content marketing.

Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing valuable and relevant content, to attract, engage and nurture your target audience with the purpose of driving profitable actions in future

Step 02: Define your audience

I create content on marketing. My audience consists of business owners, managers, marketers, or anyone who’s interested in marketing or business management.

If you have already created your buyer persona, it’d be an easy task for you. If not, ask yourself these questions,

  • What are the demographics of your target audience? (age, gender, marital status, employment, education etc)
  • What are their interests? (sports, clubs, pets, hobbies)
  • Where do they spend most of their time? (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)

A basic understanding of your audience would be enough for this particular purpose.

Step 03: Select the content platforms

As you now know, where your audience spends most of their time, you can consider those platforms as your content platforms. For example, my audience spends most of their time on Instagram and Linked In. They also search on Youtube and Google when they want to know something specific. Therefore, I use Instagram, Linked In, Youtube and my blog to distribute my content.

Also, use any additional platform if they have a future potential of success. TikTok is one such platform.

Use a multichannel (omnichannel) approach for content distribution. That helps you reduce your Cost Per Click (CPC), reach a wider audience, and to increase your return on investment (ROI).

Most importantly, BE REALISTIC. Choose platforms only if you can afford your time and money to create content on a consistent basis.

Step 04: Create a content repurposing plan (CRP)

Content repurposing is the process of using one piece of content to post on many platforms.

This way you can easily manage an omnichannel content approach while posting on a consistent basis.

Here’s how I did mine,

content repurposing plan
My content repurposing plan

I start my content creation process from the blog and publish the original post on my website. If the content is relevant, I re-publish it on Medium. Simultaneously, I create the video and my graphic designer creates relevant posts.

While doing yours, define the starting point and endpoints for your content. The blog is the most efficient starting point for me, as when I finish writing the blog post, I already have my video script.

Step 05: Search what your audience wants

You know your purpose and the audience you’re targeting. Now, you need to find out what type of content they consume and what information they are searching for. In other words, their content desires.

This is called Keyword Research. There are plenty of FREE and paid tools to carry out keyword research. You can even use Google auto suggestions to see what people are actively searching for.

For this to work, use incognito mode (private browsing). This stops Google from using your search history to auto-complete. If your target audience location is different, use a VPN accordingly.

google search for keyword research
Google auto-complete is a powerful keyword research technique

Another great FREE resource is Udemy. This website has thousands of free and paid courses for almost all niches. When I search “content marketing”, there are hundreds of courses with different keywords, people willing to pay and learn.

I had even completed courses on Udemy. However, I got to know this method from Brian Dean’s blog.

udemy for keyword research
Udemy for keyword research

Udemy

There are so many paid keyword research tools such as MozAhrefsSEMrush. I recommend Ubersuggest as a cost-effective paid tool.

If you’re serious about this, using a paid tool would have massive advantages. You can get more than just a keyword with these tools. You get access to valuable information and raw data for your marketing decisions.

However, do not make this complicated. If you do not want to use any of these, think about what your audience actually wants to learn. Sit back, relax and think!

For instance, if you are into baking cakes, think about what your customer would be searching on Google.

  • Birthday cake ideas
  • How to make wedding cakes at home
  • How to decorate a cake for a special occasion
  • Sugar-less cake recipes…

These are the content you should plan on creating if you want to reach your target audience.

Your brain is the best tool to do keyword research if you are an expert in the business. So use it.

Step 06: Create the content plan

After you find out the content you are going to create, document them all. Create a realistic content calendar. This should include the dates you’re going to create the content and the dates you’re planning to publish.

Let every content idea flow through the CRP and check which content is suitable for the particular keyword. In my case, some of the marketing keywords I write are not suitable to make a video, and some make no sense of re-publishing on Medium.

I made this content calendar using Numbers on Mac for the cake baking business we discussed. You can even use a simple excel sheet to do this.

content calender
Content Calendar

Step 07: Execute

It’s time to take action!

Take one content idea and drive it through your content repurposing plan. This is like a process in a manufacturing facility. You put one content in, you get multiple contents out, ready to be distributed in different channels.

This is how I run this particular blog post through my CRP to generate multiple contents.

I ran my blog post through CRP

When you start doing this, you will realize the most efficient ways to create your content. Change your CRP accordingly.

Step 08: Promote the content

Spend 50% of your time creating the content and other 50% of your time promoting them. That is how important promoting is.

promote content
Content promotion

Share the content on social media, share them on relevant groups and chats. Ask your employees, friends, and colleagues to actively promote them. Use Search engine optimization together with paid advertising to drive more traffic.

Step 09: Track the results

Track both the organic and paid results. Page visits, video views, post engagements, everything.

The best research is the one you do yourself

You created the content based on the research, distributed, promoted, and getting feedback for your efforts. Now you know what works and what doesn’t, which platform works and which doesn’t. This priceless information will help you refine your next content marketing effort for success.

Content strategy cycle

Content marketing is a never-ending cycle.

You Do > You Learn > Refine the Strategy > Repeat

I hope you gathered some valuable and actionable knowledge on creating your content marketing strategy. What is your biggest takeaway from this? Let me know in the comments!

Thanuj Gunawardana

Marketer and Business Analyst. Say Hi on Twitter

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