How to Create a Winning Content Strategy

Our content material technique at Ahrefs is easy.

In a nutshell, we:

  • Create weblog posts and movies about related subjects that individuals seek for on Google and YouTube.
  • Nurture and educate these folks with helpful content material on Twitter and in our e-newsletter.
  • Retain clients and construct model loyalty utilizing product-focused tutorials in our assist heart, academy, and in our instrument itself.

This technique has been vastly profitable for us. We get 500K+ month-to-month visits to our weblog from Google, have 100K+ folks on our mailing record, and have 200K+ subscribers on YouTube.

More importantly, it’s helped our ARR grow pretty consistently over the years.

But whilst you may blindly copy our content material technique, that wouldn’t essentially be sensible as a result of what works for us won’t work for you.

That’s why we wrote this information—to present you ways to create a content material technique that is sensible for what you are promoting.

Here’s all the pieces you’ll study:

What is a content material technique?

Content technique focuses on the imaginative and prescient and plan on your content material. It’s the place you reply questions like why and the way to create content material, who the content material is for, and in the end how you’ll make the most of content material to market what you are promoting.

What’s the distinction between content material technique and content material advertising and marketing?

Content advertising and marketing is the method of making, enhancing, and selling content material for advertising and marketing functions. It may be a weblog put up, video, product documentation—something that helps you to appeal to, nurture, and retain clients.

In different phrases, content material advertising and marketing is the execution of ways that additional your content material technique.

To make issues much more complicated, should you create a Venn-diagram of content material technique and content material advertising and marketing, the intersection is your content material advertising and marketing technique.

Content advertising and marketing technique considerations itself with the planning and orchestration of your content material advertising and marketing efforts. It entails defining your model voice and elegance, content material ideation, creating a content material calendar, setting and measuring targets, and many others.

Why is it necessary to have a content material technique?

Having a content material technique is necessary to make sure that every bit of content material you create has a goal. It stops you from creating content material for the sake of it and throwing cash down the drain on random content material that does nothing for what you are promoting.

It additionally helps make sure that you’re creating content material for the proper viewers, in the proper format, for the proper channel.

How to create a content material technique

Creating a content material technique might be fairly a daunting course of, so we’ve created a easy framework to make issues simpler referred to as the content material technique canvas:

The goal of the content material technique canvas is to enable you to create a primary content material technique by answering 5 easy questions:

  • Who are you creating content material for?
  • Why are you creating content material?
  • What sort of content material will you create?
  • Where will you publish the content material?
  • How will you create the content material?

Let’s stroll via how to reply every of those questions.

Question 1: Who are you creating content material for?

Putting into phrases who you’re attempting to attain together with your content material is the primary and most vital step. It will function a guiding mild for all of your content material creation efforts and assist hold you on monitor.

If you’ve performed your market analysis and created buyer personas, this needs to be straightforward. You’ll have already got a stable concept of who you’re attempting to attain.

For instance, should you’re a mortgage dealer in Florida, that may be one thing like:

Millennial {couples} (25–30) in Florida with aspirations of proudly owning their first dwelling. They’re working professionals strapped for time and really feel annoyed by the complexity of the method of getting on the property ladder.

If you don’t know fairly a lot about who you’re focusing on, be happy to hold issues broader.

For instance, as suppliers of Web optimization software program, one thing like this is able to make sense for us:

People who need to drive extra visitors to their web site(s).

It’s considerably oversimplified, nevertheless it’s sufficient to assist us keep away from creating content material about dead-end subjects.

For instance, take a subject like “reverse image search.” This seems like a subject associated to Web optimization on the face of it, and it will get an estimated 1.6M month-to-month searches within the US…

… however the actuality is that most individuals trying to find this seemingly don’t even have a web site. They’re most likely simply attempting to seek out a catfish.

Here’s our content material technique canvas so far:

Question 2. Why are you creating content material?

Each piece of content material ought to have a goal.

Broadly talking, there are 4 of these:

  • Increase model consciousness and introduce your model to potential clients.
  • Create curiosity and want by educating potential clients extra about their issues and the way your services or products can clear up them.
  • Nurture curiosity and entice the acquisition by additional educating potential clients about your services or products and why it’s one of the best resolution for them.
  • Retain clients and construct model loyalty by educating clients on how to get probably the most out of your services or products and clearly demonstrating its worth.
  • If you’re conversant in the advertising and marketing funnel, you’ll discover that these 4 “purposes” align broadly with the levels of the shopping for journey.

    Either method, you’ll see that these “whys” are prefilled on the content material technique canvas since you want to create content material for all functions. After all, there’s no level in having a well-known model if no one ever buys something from you, and there’s no level working to appeal to clients should you can’t retain them.

    However, it’s necessary to perceive one factor earlier than we proceed:

    Each piece of content material can serve a number of functions.

    Many of our weblog posts provide good examples of this concept in apply. For instance, take a subject like “how to find low competition keywords.” This put up arguably serves all levels of the advertising and marketing funnel to various levels.

    That mentioned, some content material items will likely be extra targeted on fixing only one downside.

    For instance, take our “Ahrefs vs.” web page. This web page explains what the trade thinks of Ahrefs in contrast to our opponents and showcases a few of our distinctive options.

    Here are the issues it does and doesn’t clear up by my estimations:

    Depending on the place you’re at in your content material advertising and marketing journey, you could want to focus extra on one among these “purposes” greater than the opposite. This is the place a content material audit can turn out to be useful, however that’s a subject for one more day.

    Question 3: Where will you publish content material?

    Knowing why you’re creating content material is a good begin, however you additionally want to know the place to publish it to attain clients and potential clients.

    Given the myriad of publishing choices nowadays, this course of might be overwhelming.

    Here are simply a few locations you would publish content material:

    • Blog/web site
    • YouTube
    • Social networks
    • Email
    • Slideshare
    • Guest posts (i.e., on different peoples’ web sites)
    • Podcasts
    • Q&A websites (e.g., Quora)

    So which do you have to select?

    Firstly, don’t get slowed down attempting to create content material for each channel possible. These are all viable choices in a technique or one other, however you possibly can’t do all the pieces—particularly while you’re simply beginning in your content material journey.

    Secondly, don’t select randomly.

    You ought to select one or two channels that take advantage of sense for what you are promoting, and you must base these in your solutions to two questions:

  • Which channels clear up your “whys”?
  • How and the place do your clients eat info on-line?
  • Let’s begin by answering the primary query…

    Every good content material technique entails creating content material for every stage of the journey—from model consciousness to buyer retention—however not all advertising and marketing channels are appropriate for fixing all issues.

    For instance, publishing an e-mail e-newsletter is of no use for constructing model consciousness as a result of these unaware of your model don’t subscribe. Similarly, doing podcasts is hardly seemingly to enable you to retain clients and construct model loyalty.

    You both want to select one channel that’s appropriate for all levels or a number of complementary channels.

    Here’s a fast cheat sheet for the preferred owned channels to assist:

    How have you learnt which two channels to select?

    This is the place the second query is available in helpful:

    How and the place do your clients eat info on-line?

    Your market analysis ought to have uncovered the reply to this query however should you’re undecided, think about asking or surveying your clients straight. Alternatively, should you’re contemplating your weblog/web site or YouTube channel as one among your advertising and marketing mediums, use a key phrase analysis instrument like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer to see if individuals are trying to find subjects associated to what you are promoting.

    For instance, we see 1000’s of individuals trying to find Web optimization-related subjects each month on Google and YouTube:

    This tells us that publishing content material on these channels is sensible for us.

    We additionally know that we are able to use social media and e-mail advertising and marketing to nurture and retain clients, so we’ll create content material for these channels too.

    Question 4. What sort of content material will you create?

    If you’re planning to publish content material on YouTube, it’s fairly apparent that you simply’ll be publishing movies as a result of that’s the one sort of content material you possibly can publish. But for a lot of different advertising and marketing channels, issues aren’t all the time so apparent.

    Take your web site, for instance. There are many forms of content material you would publish, together with:

    • Blog posts
    • Whitepapers
    • Landing pages
    • Wiki articles
    • Interactive instruments
    • Video programs

    Nobody has limitless sources for creating content material, so it’s price contemplating which content material sorts you need to focus on.

    For occasion, on our web site, we primarily give attention to creating three forms of content material:

    • Blog posts
    • Wiki articles
    • Interactive instruments

    Right now, we have now 906 weblog posts, and our weblog will get an estimated 253K search visits each month—in accordance to the Top subfolders report in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.


    Many of those weblog posts are translations; we solely have ~300 English posts. 

    We have 10 free instruments, which ship us an estimated 301K month-to-month search visits.

    And we have now 267 Wiki/assist articles that ship us an estimated 2.3K month-to-month search visits.

    Those 2.3K visits to our Wiki articles might sound negligible in contrast to our weblog and free instruments, however the goal of this content material isn’t to drive tons of visitors. Its goal is to educate and retain clients by answering frequent questions on our toolset.

    On Twitter, we primarily give attention to creating and sharing product updates…

    NEW: The “Organic traffic” graph now accounts for seasonal fluctuations of search quantity!

    This knowledge will present in Organic key phrases 2.0, Top Pages 2.0, and the Organic search tab and metrics in your Site Explorer Overview.

    — Ahrefs (@ahrefs) May 6, 2021

    … and informative threads with distilled information from our weblog posts:

    If you’ve got customized illustrations or infographics in your web site, it’s extremely seemingly that others will use them of their content material.

    For instance, right here’s a graph from our put up about long-tail key phrases on one other weblog:

    — Ahrefs (@ahrefs) December 29, 2020

    When it comes to filling out this part of your content material technique canvas, don’t overthink issues. Just jot down related forms of content material for every step within the journey.

    It’s additionally effective to use the identical sort of content material throughout a number of levels the place it is sensible. For instance, we make the most of weblog posts for all the pieces from elevating model consciousness to nurturing clients, so we record that content material sort throughout all levels in our canvas. But we solely record wiki/assist articles within the retention stage.

    Question 5. How will you create the content material?

    Creating a content material technique isn’t nearly planning what to do. You additionally want to think about how to execute your plan.

    In different phrases, you want to ask your self: “what resources will I need?”

    You can group these sources into two classes:

  • People. Who do you want to rent, and what abilities do you want?
  • Products and companies. What instruments or companies will you want?
  • For instance, say we needed to create weblog content material and YouTube movies for a new model, we’re most likely going to the next folks at a naked minimal:

    • Blog content material author(s)
    • Scriptwriter(s)
    • Blog editor
    • Videographer
    • Video editor
    • Designer
    • Virtual assistant (VA)

    We’ll additionally want a few services and products, together with:

    Here’s our accomplished canvas:

    Final ideas

    Having a content material technique is invaluable for protecting your content material creation efforts on monitor and making certain that the content material you create has a goal. After all, it’s tremendous straightforward to fall into the entice of making content material only for the sake of it.

    If you’ve already created your content material technique, the subsequent step is creating a content material advertising and marketing technique and begin creating content material.

    Got questions? Ping me on Twitter.

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