Content Marketing Strategy 101

Your full guide on creating a successful Content Marketing Strategy in 2022.

Content Strategy 101

A content strategy is essential to the success of any business with a digital presence.

It allows companies to become known for a specific topic and increase trust with potential customers. A good content strategy creates so many qualified leads, businesses have the luxury to choose who to work with.

Unfortunately, most companies don’t deploy a well-thought content strategy and get subpar results.

A content strategy is an edge over your competition

As reported by the last B2B Content Marketing 2022 report, only 40% of B2B companies have a documented content marketing strategy.

Most marketers, however, try to do as they can without any proper strategy deployed. This is a clear lack of vision, and so many missed opportunities are left to be seized by those who do their homework. But why do so many stay in the dark?

  • Not enough resources: 58% of the least successful B2B companies don’t have any employees dedicated to content marketing.
  • Too busy working on daily tasks: Without clear processes, the focus is dedicated to tasks at hand, with no window for strategic planning.
  • Not a company’s priority: your business is sales-led, it’ll be hard to get buy-in from the executives to get resources to spend on content marketing.

Deploying a content strategy is not always easy to prioritize or justify. However, it is one of the – and the, in our opinion – most impactful tasks a company can accomplish. And while it’s a challenge, we’re here to help!

This is why we decided to publish this guide. We hope to shine some light on the ways to define a successful content strategy.

Here’s how to create a content strategy, in seven steps:

Step 1: Market Research & Keywords Listing

Market research is the key to your strategy, and where everything starts.

Most SEOs would tell you to do keyword research and list a lot of relevant keywords using our beloved tools. Well… We will tell you that in a few paragraphs, too! But there is a step before which is crucial to your success.

You need to start by talking to your customers.

Discover insights through Customer research

How you will be able to talk to your customers entirely depends on your organization.

If you evolve in a big corporate environment, you’ll certainly have sales teams to reach out to. If you’re working in SaaS, you can talk to Product. However, even if you know who to reach out to, it doesn’t mean they will happily give you ways to contact your company’s customers.

So before you go to them, prepare your pitch. Always remember that one of the greatest strengths you can have is your ability to get buy-in from other teams!

Another solution we encourage you to use is an amazing audience research tool, Sparktoro. Just create an account, and start using the free searches to get useful information about your potential customers!

Compile your business priorities

Many SEOs dive directly into keyword research.

But they end up misaligned with the company’s vision and global goals. That creates a disconnect which makes it harder to get budget, buy-in from executives and end up in a lot of frustration for everyone.

Don’t fall into this trap! Talk with your company’s leaders to identify the key trends and goals that have been setup for the year, and beyond.

Now, you have:

  • Your customers’ pain point and needs, along with the way they consume content on the web.
  • Your business priorities for the upcoming year and overall vision.

You’re ready to dive into keyword research!

Keywords Research

With our SEO experience, we had to talk about keyword research. But it’s not only useful for discovering those keywords. Doing this task is amazing to discover trends and broad topics of interest.

Keyword Research also simplifies the upcoming task of clustering and choosing the priorities for content planning.

To do keyword research, you have several ways of proceeding.

  1. Look are your existing ranking
  2. Look at your competitors ranking, both true competitors and content competitors
  3. Look at the topics you identified when talking with customers and business executives
  4. Expand from those three sources to increase your list of keywords, while keeping them as relevant as possible to your business
  5. Rinse and repeat, exploring new options as you find them

In the end, you will have a big list of keywords classified by search intent, monthly search volume, SERP features and keyword difficulty.

Step 2: Cluster you Keywords by Topics

While the idea of clustering has been there for years already, it recently evolved and became much more interesting.

First of all, some professionals will try to cluster their keywords by hand. Browsing dozens of thousands of keywords, they will take an eternity to cluster the list with some predefined logic.

Others will just cluster the keywords by topical proximity. It kinda works. But it is still missing some essential elements that must be taken into account.

Truth be told, this step is the fastest and easiest one of the seven, if you can put a little budget in it.

All you have to do is to head over a keyword clustering tool like KeywordsInsights and drop your big list in the app. A few minutes later, it will happily give you back your list, completely clustered!

If your list contains tens of thousands of keywords, a clustering tool can get expensive pretty quickly. In that case, trim your keyword list:

  • Remove any keywords that are not fully relevant to your business
  • Remove any keywords that is not a priority – even if it is something you’re doing
  • If it’s still not enough, choose ONE topic to focus on, which you should be able to do if you’ve done your due diligence and talked to customers, and chosen your business priorities.

However, you’re not done yet.

Now that you have you clusters and associated monthly search volume, you want to update a few things on the document:

  1. Change the search volume to annual, instead of monthly
  2. Add back Search intent, Keyword difficulty and SERP Features

Now, finally, you have your keyword clusters, and all the SEO information you need! But something is missing in this big file… Business and market relevancies!