How to Create a Winning Content Strategy

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Our content material technique at Ahrefs is easy.

In a nutshell, we:

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

This technique has been massively profitable for us. We get 500K+ month-to-month visits to our weblog from Google, have 100K+ folks on our mailing checklist, 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 point out you the way to create a content material technique that is smart for your small business.

Here’s all the pieces you’ll study:

What is a content material technique?

Content technique focuses on the imaginative and prescient and plan in your content material. It’s the place you reply questions like why and how 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 your small business.

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

Content advertising is the method of making, modifying, and selling content material for advertising functions. It is perhaps a weblog submit, video, product documentation—something that lets you appeal to, nurture, and retain prospects.

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

To make issues much more complicated, for those who create a Venn-diagram of content material technique and content material advertising, the intersection is your content material advertising technique.

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

Why is it essential to have a content material technique?

Having a content material technique is essential 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 your small business.

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

How to create a content material technique

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

The goal of the content material technique canvas is that can assist you 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 by way of the way to reply every of those questions.

Question 1: Who are you creating content material for?

Putting into phrases who you’re making an attempt to succeed in together with your content material is the primary and most important step. It will function a guiding mild for all of your content material creation efforts and assist maintain you on monitor.

If you’ve executed your market analysis and created buyer personas, this must be straightforward. You’ll have already got a stable thought of who you’re making an attempt to attain.

For instance, for those who’re a mortgage dealer in Florida, that is perhaps 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 pissed off 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 at liberty to maintain issues broader.

For instance, as suppliers of Search engine marketing software program, one thing like this could make sense for us:

People who wish 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 feels like a subject associated to Search engine marketing 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 also have a web site. They’re in all probability simply making an attempt to search 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:

  1. Increase model consciousness and introduce your model to potential prospects.
  2. Create curiosity and need by instructing potential prospects extra about their issues and the way your services or products can resolve them.
  3. Nurture curiosity and entice the acquisition by additional educating potential prospects about your services or products and why it’s one of the best resolution for them.
  4. Retain prospects and construct model loyalty by educating prospects on the way to get probably the most out of your services or products and clearly demonstrating its worth.

If you’re accustomed to the advertising funnel, you’ll discover that these 4 “purposes” align broadly with the levels of the shopping for journey.

Either approach, you’ll see that these “whys” are prefilled on the content material technique canvas as a result of you must create content material for all functions. After all, there’s no level in having a widely known model if no one ever buys something from you, and there’s no level working to draw prospects for those who can’t retain them.

However, it’s essential to grasp 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 follow. For instance, take a subject like “how to find low competition keywords.” This submit arguably serves all levels of the advertising funnel to various levels.

That stated, 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 comparison with our rivals and showcases a number of of our distinctive options.

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

Depending on the place you’re at in your content material advertising journey, it’s possible you’ll must focus extra on certainly one of these “purposes” greater than the opposite. This is the place a content material audit can come in 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 an effective begin, however you additionally must know the place to publish it to succeed in prospects and potential prospects.

Given the myriad of publishing choices lately, this course of could be overwhelming.

Here are only a few locations you could possibly 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 must you select?

Firstly, don’t get slowed down making an attempt to create content material for each channel conceivable. These are all viable choices in a method or one other, however you’ll be able to’t do all the pieces—particularly if 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 your small business, and it is best to base these in your solutions to 2 questions:

  1. Which channels resolve your “whys”?
  2. How and the place do your prospects devour data on-line?

Let’s begin by answering the primary query…

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

For instance, publishing an e mail publication 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 that can assist you retain prospects and construct model loyalty.

You both want to decide on 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 decide on?

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

How and the place do your prospects devour data on-line?

Your market analysis ought to have uncovered the reply to this query however for those who’re unsure, think about asking or surveying your prospects instantly. Alternatively, for those who’re contemplating your weblog/web site or YouTube channel as certainly one of your advertising mediums, use a key phrase analysis software like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer to see if persons are trying to find subjects associated to your small business.

For instance, we see hundreds of individuals trying to find Search engine marketing-related subjects each month on Google and YouTube:

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

We additionally know that we will use social media and e mail advertising to nurture and retain prospects, 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’ll be able to publish. But for a lot of different advertising channels, issues aren’t at all times so apparent.

Take your web site, for instance. There are many varieties of content material you could possibly publish, together with:

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

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

For occasion, on our web site, we primarily concentrate on creating three varieties 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—based on 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 comparison with our weblog and free instruments, however the goal of this content material isn’t to drive tons of visitors. Its goal is to teach and retain prospects by answering frequent questions on our toolset.

On Twitter, we primarily concentrate on creating and sharing product updates…

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

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

It’s additionally fantastic to make use of the identical sort of content material throughout a number of levels the place it is smart. For instance, we make the most of weblog posts for all the pieces from elevating model consciousness to nurturing prospects, so we checklist that content material sort throughout all levels in our canvas. But we solely checklist 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 contemplate the way to execute your plan.

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

You can group these assets into two classes:

  1. People. Who do you must rent, and what abilities do you want?
  2. Products and providers. What instruments or providers will you want?

For instance, say we needed to create weblog content material and YouTube movies for a brand new model, we’re in all probability 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 number of services, together with:

Here’s our accomplished canvas:

Final ideas

Having a content material technique is invaluable for retaining 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 lure of making content material only for the sake of it.

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

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter.

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