Developing a Content Strategy that Works – It Starts with the Right Approach

With over 70% of digital marketers actively carrying out content marketing activities in 2021, a solid content strategy is certainly not a ‘nice-to-have’ but an absolute necessity for every business looking to compete in an increasingly crowded marketplace. But while a high (and growing) percentage of digital marketers engage in content marketing, many have been taken in by common myths that now guide or even govern their approach to creating and executing content strategies for clients. 

Yes, content may still be king, but if your approach to content creation and distribution isn’t backed by a strategy that considers the relevant factors, it won’t help you achieve the goals you’ve set out to achieve. That is, if you have goals that guide your content creation and distribution activities. And many marketers in the digital marketing space don’t. 

As there’s a huge — and quantifiable — difference between creating content that achieves your short and long-term goals and creating content just because it’s the done thing, taking an informed approach to content strategy development is a must. And on that note, there are more than a few content strategy myths that need debunking if digital marketers are to develop and implement successful strategies. 

From content strategy being solely about keywords and content topics to its relevance limited to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), here are five of the top myths about content strategies that need debunking, some of which may have influenced your content strategising approach. 

Content strategy is all about keywords and topics

One of the most commonly held myths about content strategy is that it simply involves coming up with a list of keywords that align with topics relevant to the business. This is far from the truth. Yes, a content strategy involves identifying keywords that align with relevant topics, but that’s just one aspect of creating a strategy that achieves clients’ short and long term goals. 

Business goals, or more specifically SMART business goals, are at the forefront of a successful content strategy and should be segregated into specific marketing goals for each marketing channel, for example, paid ads, SEO and social media marketing. Starting with an understanding of who the target market is and how to reach them, you can then identify the type of content that best suits each marketing channel, then research topics and identify keywords that align with the target audience for the relevant stage in the customer journey. Once you’ve identified suitable topics for your target audience and the search terms they’re using, then content creation and distribution briefs and content performance KPIs can be developed. 

Content strategy is only useful for SEO

That many marketers believe having a content strategy is only useful for SEO is somewhat understandable, after all, every content strategy leverages a list of keywords. Naturally, there isn’t any point in creating content on topics and themes that people — more specifically, your target audience — aren’t looking for, but all marketing channels, including paid search, social media marketing and even email marketing, leverage keywords and search terms that align with relevant topics. Sure, successful email marketing doesn’t involve keyword rankings or search visibility for specific terms, but it does involve identifying the topics that interest your target audience at a specific stage in the customer journey and including search terms that will entice them to open an email and engage with the content. 

All digital marketing channels need a solid content marketing strategy, one that leverages topics and keywords aligned with the products and services they’re promoting and the specific stage of the customer journey the target audience is at.  

Content strategy is a one-time affair

Contrary to popular belief, developing a content strategy isn’t a one-off affair, something that you develop, implement and then move on from it’s something that needs to be monitored, measured, tweaked and updated whenever necessary. That doesn’t mean you need to reinvent your content strategy on a weekly, fortnightly or even monthly basis, but you do need to keep track of how it’s going if it’s to achieve the goals that you’ve set out to achieve. This is why (realistic) KPIs in the form of SMART goals are so important — they provide a focus for the various activities across marketing channels, along with set time frames that ensure your content strategy is kept front of mind. 

Content strategy can’t be measured

While it’s easy to track the performance of a piece of content, what many marketers overlook is the importance of measuring the performance of the content strategy. Again, this is why KPIs are so important when developing a content strategy, as you have specific performance goals to work towards and you can measure the success of the strategy by comparing the results of your content with the previous period and measuring the progress. 

A simple way to measure the progress of a content strategy and how successful its implementation has been is to evaluate what’s been put in place and determine if it’s driving positive results. By doing this across all the items of content you’ve created and distributed in line with the KPIs you’ve set for each marketing channel, you’ll get a clear picture of how successful your content strategy is. So, if you’re hitting those KPIs, you’ll know that your strategy is working, but if you’re not, then it’s time to revisit and review the strategy and implement changes based on historical performance. 

Content strategy can be automated

In a day and age of automation, it isn’t at all surprising that many marketers believe that content strategy can be automated. Certainly, many content strategy activities can be automated, for example, content distribution and keyword clustering, but there’s no substitute for a talented digital marketer who’s capable of (and willing to) understand the target audience and what the various stages of the customer journey look like, identify the right messaging and tone, ideate or develop content that aligns with brand guidelines, conduct competitor research and identify content gaps that help deliver a leading edge. 

If your current digital marketing activities aren’t achieving the goals you’ve set for your business, NOUS can help. Give the team a call on (07) 3003 0722 or email [email protected] to chat about your SEO and digital marketing goals today. 

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