By now, you’re probably bored of hearing the phrase “Content is king.” It’s repetitive, cliche, annoying but also still very true. Creating quality content not only helps you increase your website’s incoming traffic, connect and build trust with your audience but also acts as fuel for your other marketing tactics. In fact, in 2021, 82% of marketers report using content marketing, which is up by 70% from last year.
However, simply producing more content isn’t enough. Having a well-documented content strategy is crucial to content marketing. And yet, only 43% of B2B companies that use content marketing have documented their strategy.
Creating content strategy frameworks that work is important because it helps you define your marketing goals, set priorities, and plan your work, ensuring that the effort put in by your team translates into tangible results. However, this is not an easy task. When creating content strategy roadmaps, you need to be aware that the landscape of content marketing is constantly changing.
For instance, online readers’ behavior is different from five years ago. Today, more than half of all online traffic is happening through mobile devices. In addition, SEO isn’t the same as it was a few years ago; search engine algorithms have changed to favor quality content above all, which means that the content strategies that worked before might not be effective today when it comes to improving your ranking.
In this post, we’re offering a complete guide that contains content marketing tips and best practices to help you build a content strategy that will work in 2022 and beyond.
1. Have Clear Goals
When it comes to your business, without goals, your content strategy is bound to fail. Setting clear goals will not only give your team a sense of direction and enable you to track your progress, but it will also help eliminate unnecessary waste of time and money. In fact, a survey by CoSchedule showed that marketers who set goals are 376% more likely to report success!
Do you want to increase brand awareness or are you looking to promote a new product? Is your goal to establish yourself as an authority in your industry and stand out from the competition?
Whatever your objectives may be, they need to be SMART, i.e. specific and relevant to your business and audience, measurable, actionable, realistically attainable, and time-based. This will help provide direction to your content marketing efforts and prevent you from producing meaningless content.
2. Audit Your Existing Content
Before you begin creating new content, you’ll want to review the content you already have on your website. Retrieve the metrics to see how your content is performing, what content meets your business objectives, and what you can do to improve the content that doesn’t work well.
Next, conduct a gap analysis. Content gap analysis is the difference between what your audience is searching for and what they would actually find online. This analysis should contain all the topics and ideas your readers are interested in. Finally, use all the data you have collected to create a new content strategy that fills in the gaps, improve your existing content, and produce better content in the future.
3. Clarify Roles and Responsibilities
The pandemic changed the communication processes within teams, with some teams communicating more, some communicating less. In the past year, many teams also experienced role and responsibility redefinition or organizational design changes.
To avoid confusion and ensure maximum effectiveness of your content strategy, start the year by making sure everyone involved in the content lifecycle understands how they’re expected to contribute.
Consider updating the process documentation or even scheduling training to help circumvent any collaboration and communication issues that can impact productiveness and morale.
4. Avoid Outdated Content Production Methods
When it comes to content creation, it’s time to abandon the old habits and modernize. It’s 2022 and, as we mentioned earlier, you have to keep up with what’s next in content. If you still haven’t embraced technology, this year will require a review, else your business will struggle to keep up with the competition.
Consider adopting new best practice approaches that leverage automation, artificial intelligence, and modular content. Some marketers are exploring and implementing more modern approaches to content production and promotion such as AI-generated content, automated conversational content via chatbots, “create once, publish everywhere (COPE)” structured content, and advanced workflow and content automation.
Think about where these approaches could improve the scale and efficiency of your content strategy. In addition, check whether your team is already using tools that offer AI features and automation that they aren’t taking (enough) advantage of, and make sure to change that today!
5. Create Content for Existing Customers, Not Just Prospects
If in 2021, neglecting existing customers was considered a short-sighted approach, in 2022, it will be regarded as a major mistake. Many marketers tend to focus on new customer acquisition but according to Forrester, more than 75% of customer revenue comes from existing customers.
Ideally, you should find a balance between creating content that attracts new customers and content that boosts customer retention and engagement. In addition, review your existing content to determine where it is and isn’t meeting customer needs across all phases of the buyer journey to improve the overall customer experience.
6. Focus on Video
If you are not already convinced that video has officially become the top form of content, take a look at these figures:
- In 2021, 86% of brands indicated they were using video as a marketing tool.
- 98% of marketers believe that video will play an important role in marketing over the coming years, and more than 80% of them plan to include video content in their marketing strategy over the next several years.
- 84% of consumers have been persuaded to purchase a product after watching a video, and they are twice as likely to share videos than other types of content.
As a result of the changes in consumer behavior, video is taking center stage for the third year in a row as the main form of media within any content strategy. But although the popularity of video is nothing new, the pandemic certainly brought some changes that you need to take into consideration when developing your content strategy. For instance, one of the prevalent trends these days, “real-life video” reduces production requirements for brands, while the short-form video format is an amazing low-cost format for content marketers.
7. Don’t Forget About SEO
Remember that every piece of content you create should be SEO-optimized, because what good is producing high-quality content if your audience can’t find it online? Here are some of the questions you should ask when incorporating SEO into your 2022 content strategy:
- Are the target keywords strategically distributed through the article, and used as naturally as possible? Is there keyword stuffing?
- Do the meta description, title, and snippets meet the required pixel length?
- Are the external links in the article with a DA of above 60? Do they include competitor links?
It’s best if your SEO proofreader uses a checklist when reviewing each article. If there are any changes in SEO trends, you should also update the instructions in your Article Writing Directions in order to make sure all your content creators are kept in the loop.
8. Always Use Analytics to Optimize and Improve
You are probably already making use of page-by-page analytics for your website, monitoring time on page, exit rates, bounce rates, etc. to get a good idea of how your content is performing.
Analytics will provide insight into the best-performing content themes and topics, which pieces of content got the most traffic and created the most conversions, which headlines got the most clicks, and show you how much time readers stayed on a certain page. Take note of any common characteristics among your successful pieces of content and use this info to optimize both existing and new content.
Besides obtaining basic knowledge of what content draws more visitors and conversions, this will also give you the ability to A/B test and optimize your content in order to provide your audience with the content they want to read.
Creating content strategy frameworks is tedious work. In today’s incessantly connected world, there will always be new developments in the field. Our advice is to keep an eye on any such changes, and try to recognize and implement the trends that matter. And remember, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can always outsource link-building campaigns and content creation.
We hope that this content strategy guide will help you with your 2022 content strategy planning and that the above-listed best practices will ensure your content amplifies your brand and improves customer conversions.