Effective content marketing requires a good content strategy: planning your content, creating your content, delivering your content, and auditing the success of your content. Each piece works together, with the final piece influencing the first, creating a continual loop of content development designed to drive traffic to your site and grow your audience.
A good content strategy agency understands that analysis and planning are vital components of content marketing. This is how you stay on top of trends, continually delivering relevant, fresh, topical content.
Planning Your Content Strategy
Your content strategy is the story of your brand. Like any good story, the main character (your brand) has to grow and evolve. Where do you want to take your brand? The answer to that question drives your strategy. Identify your goals and audience, brainstorm possible directions to get there, and find your voice.
Planning is a recurrent process; your story never reaches "The End." You continually analyze the effectiveness of your strategy, as well as changes in the industry to determine:
With the data from that analysis, you plan your next campaign.
Choose an agency that analyzes these trends and understands how to grow organic traffic. At STU, for example, we conduct keyword research and create pitch packages around trending topics in your field.
Generally, your content falls into two categories, visual and written, and both come with certain expectations. Specifically, it must be engaging, effective, accurate, original, easy-to-find, and optimized for mobile users. The right strategist oversees the process to ensure your content meets each expectation.
Visual content has exploded in popularity, with photographs, video, and infographics appearing on nearly every page. It's no surprise, really. Visuals have always drawn people in, since our earliest ancestors first drew pictures on cave walls. The takeaway here is that engaging content must include visuals to be truly effective.
Written content continues to grow and evolve from its early days, when "writers" packed their content with keywords, obviously intending to do no more than draw users to a site. Today, readers expect to find something valuable when they click on an article link. Yes, articles still use keywords, but in an organic way, similar to a high school essay in which you identified the main topic of your paper and then wrote about it.
With so much available content, writers must ensure they add something new to the conversation, not simply regurgitate content available on half-a-dozen other sites. In addition, the importance of research cannot be overstated. Your content must include reliable, accurate facts, preferably with links to authoritative sources (especially when quoting statistics).
In a report from Neustar, consumers say that, not only do they expect factual content; they expect error-free content. What's more, when they don't get it, they don't trust that site. This means no typos, misplaced punctuation, or misspelled words.
To meet these expectations, your content agency must hire professional writers who research everything they create, as well as professional editors to verify the facts, proof grammar, and ensure every article posted to your site meets user expectations.
One of the keys to ranking well in search engines is posting content regularly. The agency you choose needs to provide weekly material for your site, and deliver quality work on time, every time.
Delivery also includes ensuring mobile optimization for mobile users, as well as optimizing for terms that are actually searched. Gathering the questions people ask about our services or products, in particular, is where your content strategy agency joins the picture. The research conducted by the agency to guide content creation focuses heavily on making sure your able to answer searcher's queries and appear in the search results.
Your content agency uses a variety of metrics and tools to determine the efficacy of your promotions and campaigns. How many clicks did your last post receive? How many of those readers took a next step, such as signing up for a mailing list or requesting a white paper? This is the information that lets you know how effective your content is in drawing an audience.
Content analysis encompasses more than the material on your site. It looks at competitor sites, industry standards, and the surrounding environment. These data points help determine where to focus your efforts and where the "low hanging fruit" may be (meaning, there is little competition for those keywords). This is where the process loops back around to the planning stage, as this research helps inform next steps.
Choosing the Right Content Agency
At Solid Thumbs Up, we work with our clients to develop the strategy and tell the story of their brand, leaving you free to manage and grow your business. We research your industry, your domain and your competitor's domains (some you may not see as your competitor) for low hanging fruit that is easy for your domain to achieve. We can brainstorm ideas together, or you can hand us the reins and we'll steer your content, delivering pitch packages for your approval.
Our team of expert writers delivers engaging, fully researched articles to professional editors, while our designers create visuals for your piece. Each week, you receive your new content, ready to publish. The following week, the cycle begins again, ensuring you never miss a post.
(NOTE: If you want to convert your existing website traffic into paying customers then we made this for you. Grab the “5-Point Website Audit” and use it to ensure your website can sell like you expect it to ... like a professional sales team.)