How to Build a Winning Content Marketing Strategy in 9 Steps

If you’d like to win at content material advertising, you want a content material advertising technique. 

As a result of when you will have one, you’ll find a way to obtain outcomes like this:


And this:

On this submit, I’ll present you the way to create a successful content material advertising technique primarily based on our expertise at Ahrefs.


However first…

What precisely is a content material advertising technique?

A content material advertising technique is a plan for persistently creating high-quality content material designed to flip strangers into prospects.

Most individuals assume this has to be one thing difficult, however that’s not true.

In reality, our technique at Ahrefs is fairly easy. We create instructional weblog posts and YouTube videos that train individuals how to remedy their issues with the assistance of our instruments. We deal with SEO (web optimization) throughout the content material creation course of, so our content material seems for related searches.

3 evergreen content ranking


Under, I’ll clarify how one can replicate our technique in 9 easy steps.

  • Set a goal
  • Know your audience
  • Choose a content type
  • Find what people are searching for
  • Prioritize the most promising topics
  • Create a content calendar
  • Promote your content
  • Monitor the results
  • Refresh your content
  • Purpose setting might be difficult, however it doesn’t have to be. If you happen to’re accustomed to ideas like SMART goals and OKRs, be happy to use them.

    Nevertheless, we desire to hold issues easy.

    That’s why our content material advertising aim is solely to appeal to focused site visitors from serps like Google and YouTube.

    Your aim could be totally different, and that’s okay. Another widespread targets embrace:

    • Get extra inbound leads in your gross sales staff
    • Appeal to hyperlinks to your web site
    • Build model consciousness
    • Develop into a thought chief in your {industry}

    For this submit, we’ll assume that, like us, you need extra focused site visitors.

    Step 2. Know your viewers

    Content advertising isn’t about attracting anybody and everybody to your web site. You want to appeal to individuals who would possibly really purchase your services or products.

    Which may sound apparent, however it’s a widespread mistake, particularly for these new to content material advertising.

    For instance, let’s say you run a video manufacturing firm. Do you have to write a weblog submit about “how to shade appropriate in Adobe Premiere Professional?” Most likely not, as a result of this isn’t what your prospects are on the lookout for. It’s what different video editors are trying to find.

    If you happen to’re focusing on small enterprise homeowners on the lookout for video manufacturing assist, you want to goal matters they’re in as a substitute.

    And the one means to do that’s to be clear about who you’re making an attempt to goal.

    To do that, you possibly can contemplate creating a purchaser persona. That is an “imaginary particular person” that represents the widespread traits of your superb buyer.

    Right here’s what that may appear like for us:

    buyer persona

    Is that this one thing you will have to do? Probably not. For instance, we’ve by no means achieved this train at Ahrefs as a result of we already knew who we had been making an attempt to goal.

    So, for those who already really feel you’ve obtained a good grasp of who your goal prospects are, be happy to skip this step. Nevertheless, if it’s one thing you’ve by no means actually considered, it may be a helpful train to put this down on paper. Right here’s a good guide explaining how to do this.

    Step 3. Select a content material sort

    Weblog posts, movies, podcasts, webinars—there are tons of content material varieties you possibly can select from.

    Nevertheless, for those who’re beginning out, don’t strive to run earlier than you stroll. Simply select one.

    How? There are two points you need to contemplate.

    First, take into consideration what sort of content material your viewers consumes. For us, that was weblog posts, as most SEOs use Google to discover data. If you happen to run a cooking academy and need to share recipes, movies could be a higher choice.

    Second, take into consideration the place your skillset lies. Some persons are naturals on digicam, whereas others can’t bear to hear their very own voice. If you happen to’re the latter, written content material would possibly work higher.

    how to choose the right type of content marketing

    If you happen to’re caught, begin with both running a blog or video advertising.

    It doesn’t matter what {industry} you’re in, your viewers will nearly definitely be on the lookout for data on Google and YouTube. So, both format shall be a good place to begin.

    When you’ve determined, persist with this format till you’ve discovered a  course of for creating it persistently. Solely then do you have to department out to a new format.

    That’s what we did. Nearly all our efforts had been on the weblog till 2018, once we employed Sam to take over our YouTube channel. And Tim, our Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) didn’t deal with different content material advertising codecs (like programs and free instruments) till he delegated the weblog and YouTube to Josh and Sam.

    Step 4. Discover what persons are trying to find

    Our content material advertising aim is to appeal to focused site visitors from serps like Google and YouTube. So, moreover figuring out who our viewers is, we additionally want to know what they’re trying to find. That’s the one means we are able to create the kind of content material they need to see and appeal to site visitors from serps month after month.

    For this, you’ll want a key phrase analysis software like Ahrefs’ Key phrases Explorer.

    To begin, brainstorm a few related ‘seed’ key phrases. If you happen to promote espresso on-line, these could be “espresso,” “espresso beans,” and “french press.”

    Paste these key phrases in Key phrases Explorer, and choose Google or YouTube relying on the kind of content material you’re creating.

    4 seed keywords

    Subsequent, go to the “Questions” report. It is best to see a large record of key phrases and their month-to-month search volumes and different web optimization metrics.

    5 questions report

    If you happen to’re unsure what ‘seed’ key phrases to use, take a look at what your opponents are already rating for in Google to get some concepts. How? Paste your competitor’s URL into Ahrefs’ Website Explorer and go to the “Prime pages” report.

    6 top pages

    This report ranks the pages on a web site by estimated natural search site visitors. In different phrases, you now have a record of your opponents’ top-performing articles and the key phrases that ship them probably the most site visitors.

    Step 5. Prioritize probably the most promising matters

    Since your aim is to get extra focused site visitors, you need to prioritize probably the most related matters for your small business.

    We do that by assigning a ‘enterprise worth’ rating to every subject.

    Right here’s the dimensions we use:

    • “3”— our product is an irreplaceable answer for the issue;
    • “2” — our product helps fairly a bit, however it’s not important to fixing the issue;
    • “1” — our product helps marginally;
    • “0” — our product doesn’t assist remedy or relate to the issue at all.

    The neat factor about this scale is that it may be utilized to just about any {industry}.

    For instance, let’s say you promote espresso gear on-line. A subject like “how to make latte at dwelling” will in all probability be a “3,” since searchers will at the least want to purchase a milk frother to do that correctly.

    However, a subject like “how to clear a espresso maker” would doubtless be assigned a “2”. Though you would possibly promote specialistic cleansing merchandise, most searchers in all probability have already got one thing they’ll use to clear their machine, like white vinegar. In order that they in all probability aren’t going to purchase something out of your retailer immediately.

    Lastly, matters like “how to get espresso out of the carpet” could be both a “0” or “1”. Whereas it’s nonetheless topically related, individuals trying to find this are unlikely to be espresso fanatics with a penchant for costly brewing gear. Perhaps they only spilled a mug of prompt espresso.

    It’s up to you which ones matters you do and don’t cowl. We deal with matters that rating 2–3 and barely publish something that scores a zero.

    Step 6. Create a content material calendar

    Constant content material creation is all about discovering the stability between your content material high quality and the velocity of manufacturing. Your aim is to publish as typically as doable with out dropping your high quality requirements. In any case, there isn’t any level in posting content material that doesn’t get learn, watched, or listened to.

    Sadly, we are able to’t say how typically works for you. It varies from enterprise to enterprise. However what we are able to inform you is that you just want a content material calendar to hold issues on monitor.

    Content calendars are simply schedules displaying what you propose to publish and when.

    For instance, that is what our content material calendar seems to be like at Ahrefs:

    7 content calendar

    With this easy calendar, we are able to simply see at a look who’s engaged on what, the stage they’re at, and when the content material is prepared for publishing.

    This retains the whole lot organized and ensures we’re publishing persistently.

    Step 7. Promote your content material

    Content doesn’t get found by itself. You’ve got to get it in entrance of individuals so they may learn and hopefully share or hyperlink to it.

    Listed here are a few easy content material promotion concepts to get you began:

    1. Ship new content material to your electronic mail subscribers

    This one is the oldest trick in the e book for a purpose: it works.

    Each time we produce a new piece of content material, we ship out a devoted electronic mail to our ~70k engaged subscribers.

    8 email newsletter

    2. Outreach

    In content material advertising, there’s a secondary, “hidden” viewers that most individuals neglect to goal.

    Often called “amplifiers,” these are the journalists and influencers who can share and amplify your content material to their followers.

    comtent four groups

    If you happen to can by some means get these individuals to care about your content material, you could possibly doubtlessly earn shares, hyperlinks, referral site visitors, and even future partnership alternatives.

    In digital advertising, this is called “outreach.”

    And the important thing to doing this properly is having a compelling purpose in order that they may care.

    Listed here are simply two causes which you can use:

  • You talked about them (or their work) in your content material. As you’re creating content material, chances are high you’ve talked about sources from different content material creators. So, it’s a fast, additional step to allow them to know you’ve talked about their work.
  • You’ve got one thing groundbreaking the influencer didn’t learn about, however is genuinely in. For instance, you may need achieved a knowledge examine the place you discovered some distinctive findings, like our personal examine on how 91% of content material doesn’t get any search site visitors.
  • That second one has labored properly for us on quite a few events. In reality, we lately created a record of web optimization statistics and reached out to over 500 bloggers that had been linking to outdated statistics. As a end result, we earned hyperlinks from 32 web sites.

    Find out how we did that right here:

    3. Paid advertisements

    Paid promoting might be the quickest means to get your content material in entrance of recent prospects. Whether or not it’s Fb, Twitter, or Pinterest, once you put some cash into paid advertisements, you’re paying for trackable outcomes: from impressions to clicks and conversions.

    Proper now, we promote each new submit with Fb advertisements. If these advertisements carry out properly, we make investments more cash into the advert (this usually means a low CPC of < $0.30).

    9 facebook ad

    We additionally repeatedly sponsor podcasts and run YouTube advertisements:

    If you happen to create YT tutorials that function your product, contemplate spending 💰 on advertisements. Doesn’t have to be a lot. In July, we spent 154.62 SGD (~112.75 USD) for 174.8 hours of watch time (10,488 minutes).

    That’s $0.01/min or $0.65/hour. Identify a cheaper medium for related/targeted attn— Sam Oh (@samsgoh) August 16, 2020

    Step 8. Monitor the outcomes

    Since issues change on a regular basis, we even have to be certain that our content material stays related to rank years down the highway. That’s why it’s essential to monitor content material, and there are numerous methods to do that.

    The very first thing that most individuals consider is Google Analytics. That is the industry-standard when it comes to checking precise site visitors numbers.

    1 google analytics

    If you happen to’re creating YouTube movies, then, after all, you need to be taking a look at YouTube Analytics.

    11 youtube analytics

    And at last, since rating excessive on Google is vital to us, we hold monitor of our rankings by way of Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker. We do that by monitoring the principle goal key phrase for every submit.

    12 ahrefs rank tracker

    If site visitors and rankings for a particular web page drop for a few months in a row, we’ll begin wanting into why that occurred. And in most circumstances, we frequently schedule a rewrite or replace of the submit.

    Step 9. Refresh your content material

    As I simply talked about, you need to control how properly your written content material is doing at any given level of time.

    If it’s sustaining its rankings in search outcomes, it in all probability doesn’t want updating.

    If it’s quickly dropping ranks and dropping visibility, although, it’s in all probability time to give it a makeover.

    Which may imply simply updating a bit of data to hold it recent, or rewriting the submit completely. At Ahrefs, we often wait about six months to give a weblog submit time to rank earlier than deciding to rewrite (video format doesn’t precisely have this luxurious, although.)

    For a extra complete information on how to refresh your content material, learn this submit, or watch the video:

    Ultimate ideas

    Content advertising is like investing in index funds. Within the quick time period, returns are small. However over the long-term, it will probably generate vital returns, however provided that you keep it up and hold investing.

    It’s the identical take care of content material advertising. It takes effort to get began, and it takes time to work. However deal with it long-term, and it’ll get you outcomes.

    Have questions? Ping me on Twitter.


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