Behind every captivating blog post, factual infographic or entertaining video will be a coherent and comprehensive content strategy. Coming up with a definitive and distinct plan is crucial, as simply creating a piece of content and publishing it on your website won’t suffice in this highly competitive and connected world.

The way in which Internet users are discovering, viewing, experiencing and sharing content is changing all the time. This has called for a more versatile, resourceful and multifaceted approach from marketers in order to remain relevant, appealing and above all else, successful.

It goes without saying that the content itself needs to be useful, interesting and engaging, but a well organised strategy also needs to pinpoint specific audience members, scrutinise previous campaigns, distribute content in the right places sand provide scope to analyse the results. But if you manage to cover these bases, you should be able to implement and execute a winning content plan of action.

Identify your audience but focus on individuals

It is all well and good saying your audience consists of single mothers, affluent professionals or retired couples, but chances are they’ll be scores of others businesses looking to target these consumers too. Therefore, you need to be a lot more individualistic in your approach and establish clear buying personas. That way, your content strategy can focus on the people that will definitely buy into your message or purchase your products.

To find out the typical demographics or common habits of your audience, you’ll need to ask certain questions. What websites do they visit? Where do they have social media profiles? Who do they communicate with and what motivates them? It may be beneficial to ask open-ended questions to a small sample of customers in order to establish some familiar themes. If you manage to create a handful of specific personas, content will be far more effective, convincing and successful.

Research your competitors and learn from their content

As mentioned previously, you’ll probably come up against scores of other brands or businesses that have also developed rational and reasoned content strategies. But the secret here is to develop your own voice and style, as copying what everybody else has done won’t lead to favourable outcomes. Taking inspiration from a particular marketing campaign can often be beneficial, but in terms of content, the same rules don’t apply.

But if you want to be different and create something unique for your visitors to enjoy, some in-depth research is required. Carry out qualitative and quantitative analysis of what already exists, as this will enable you to get one over on your rivals by volume and quality. However, some keyword research is also needed to see who you’re coming up against. Rather than copying the type of content your competitors are producing, it doesn’t hurt to adopt best practices, optimise existing techniques and learn from their mistakes.

Unleash your content but constantly monitor its success

There’s only so much research you can do and before long, it will be time to create some content, get it out there and examine the results. Every piece of content you produce needs to serve a purpose or have a point to it. Content can be packed full of emotion or tell real-life stories, but it must always be relevant, shareable and valuable to your audience.

When it comes to subjects or themes, think about the questions you receive from customers, experiences that the company has overcome or opinion from employees. But try not to go on about the brand too much and focus on your audience. You can always enlist the help or services of freelancers and agencies to create quality content, as they can kick-start your campaign and increase efficiency. However, you must pay close attention to what is working and what isn’t. If a certain content medium is performing well, produce more similar examples. On the other hand, content that doesn’t resonate with your audience should be withdrawn or abandoned.

Promote your content and start conversations

To ensure your content strategy performs to the best of its abilities, a bit of promotion and marketing is required. After all, not everyone will discover your content via search engines or the company website. Your first port of call is bound to social media, as this is where scores of potential customers and clients dwell. Content should be optimised for social media sharing from the start while relevant hashtags will increase audience numbers. Concentrate on the social spheres that are most applicable with your previously identified buying personas and don’t forget to interact with these individuals. More networks do not necessarily mean more success.

Teaming up with an appropriate non-competitor for some co-marketing is also highly advantageous. If you can drive success and maximise your value proposition with another brand, business or individual, then more people can be reached. You should also get in touch with some industry influencers and media outlets that have extensive audiences to call upon. Identify these opportunities on social media, share their content and ask whether they’d be willing to talk about your work too.

Encourage your audience to take action but only measure important metrics

After reading or looking at a piece of content, your prospects need instruction on what to do next, which can be achieved with Calls-to-Action. Rather than explicitly ordering them to buy your product, think about where they are in the sales funnel. Certain visitors will want to know more about your brand and can sign up to a newsletter, while others might be willing to exchange personal information for a free trial or download.

As for analysing the success of your content strategy, only the most important metrics require examination. An emphasis should be placed on quality not quantity, as a few top-notch blogs could easily receive more conversions that numerous poorly written ones. A lot will depend on your initial objectives, which can range from increasing website traffic to generating more sales. Commit to these metrics from the start, monitor them as you go along and adjust future strategies accordingly. Bear all this in mind and you should be able to achieve content prosperity.