How to create a content strategy in 10 steps

So, you’ve decided to revamp or kickstart your brand’s content marketing efforts, but aren’t sure how to go about things.

Fear not — with a clear content strategy in place, you’ll be much better placed to successfully navigate all the steps involved in content creation, from planning and production, to delivery and distribution. And as one of the UK’s premier content marketing agencies, Pitch knows a thing or two about how to create a content strategy — just ask some of the brands we work with

So, to help you do so for your own business, we’ve outlined our main content creation tips to take on board when devising a content strategy. Let’s dive in. 

Step 1: Work out your goals

While the end goal of content creation is always increased business performance in one way or another, success for one brand may look very different to another. For example, perhaps you want to create content that directly increases sales, or maybe you need it to help you improve brand perception or generate leads. 

It’s essential to work out what your specific and contextual goals are before you start creating content, as this will inform things like your target audience and the mediums and metrics you use — more on all of those aspects soon. 

Step 2: Closely consider your target audience 

Similarly, you must identify who your content will be aimed at. Your brand may already have a distinct target audience, but you may want to laser focus on a particular subset of this demographic, or you may want to reach new audiences outside of your traditional target market to create new sales avenues. 

It’s therefore a good idea to perform both market research and audience analysis. The former will help you assess the broader market landscape and identify new customers, while the latter helps you ascertain things like your current customer’s characteristics, desires and interests, and how their needs may change. Both enable you to create more targeted content overall. 

Step 3: Perform an in-depth content audit

Performing a content audit helps you work out what existing content is performing well and what isn’t, and what gaps there are in your current content creation strategy. All of this informs the direction you take next. 

In order to perform a content audit, you must collect and categorise your content before using relevant metrics to assess how it’s performing. Check out this article by Search Engine Journal for a more detailed guide on conducting content audits.

Step 4: Identify the right formats and mediums

Next, you need to figure out the formats and mediums you’ll be using. The formats refers to the type of content — for example, videos, podcasts, or blogs — while the medium is where you publish your content —  for instance, your website, YouTube, or TikTok.

These decisions will be influenced by the above steps. For example: 

  • Your goals – If your goal is greater audience interaction, then producing more user-generated content may make sense.
  • Your target audience Appealing to a younger audience may necessitate a move towards more TikTok content, whereas Facebook may be better suited for an older audience. 
  • Your content audit – You might want to address a lack of website blogs after identifying this in your content audit. 

Step 5: Figure out what makes your brand unique

There’s tons of commercial content out there, so it’s crucial that yours stands out from the crowd. Before you start creating content, work out what makes your brand unique so you can incorporate this into your content. 

Perhaps it’s that your company is a well-established authority within its niche, you have a distinctive and instantly recognisable brand voice, or maybe your eco-credentials make you more appealing than competitor brands. Whatever it is — run with it. 

Step 6: Create a content workflow

It’s almost showtime. To help you get prepped, our next content creation tip is to create a workflow for your content creators to work from, covering everything from ideation to distribution. This will keep everyone accountable and help you move efficiently from one stage to the next. A content workflow should include the following steps:

    1. Brainstorming – This stage will help your team collaborate on producing new and unique content ideas.
    2. Creating content outlines – Your content team should carefully plan content out to help organise their thoughts and ideas into a clear structure.
    3. Production – Essentially the drafting stage, this is where the first copy of the content is made.
    4. Editing Getting a fresh pair of eyes on the drafted content is critical for catching any errors and improving the overall quality.
    5. Approval A seal of approval and final sign-off is required ahead of publication.  
    6. Adding content to the editorial calendar – We’ll look at the importance of the editorial calendar in more depth below, but this helps keep track of content progress and when they’ll be published.
    7. Publishing content Speaking of publishing, this makes up the penultimate stage of the content workflow.
    8. Distribution – Distribution is about getting your content in front of the right people —  more on this in a moment. 

Step 7: Set up an editorial calendar

An editorial calendar helps content creators schedule their work, as well as monitor content types, promotional channels, authors, and publish dates. Without a mutually agreed-upon system for planning, producing, and scheduling content, you’re more likely to miss deadlines and see content fall through the cracks. 

In order to set up and organise an editorial calendar, you’ll need to decide on aspects like which tool you’re going to use and how often you want to post content. Check out this guide to creating an editorial calendar for a more in-depth rundown of the process. 

Step 8: Carefully produce the content 

In addition to closely following the content workflow, other useful tips when producing content include:

  • Create attention-grabbing headlines – For content like blogs and YouTube videos, the headline/title is essential for drawing the reader in. Be sure to do things like use power words, make the headline or title concise, and ensure it’s unique. 
  • Improve on competitor’s content – Check out the content your competitors have produced on your chosen topic, and think of ways you can improve on it. Perhaps you can make it more current, more in-depth, or better designed?
  • Back up what you say with data – Using data in your content helps to demonstrate the validity of any claims and establish you as an expert on the topic. It can also be used to improve readability through visual aids like charts and infographics. 
  • Talk to your audience like humans – Whether it’s a blog, video, or case study, always talk to your audience like humans, incorporating your brand’s personality and tone of voice. An overly salesly and robotic way of writing or speaking makes it harder for your audience to resonate with your brand. 

Step 9: Distribute the content widely

Taking into account your target audience and the content’s formats/mediums, you should distribute it on the following channels:

  • Social media With almost five billion people worldwide using social media, sharing your content on these platforms is an invaluable way of getting eyes on it.
  • Email newsletters – For a more targeted approach to content distribution, email newsletters are the way forward. These enable you to share your content with existing subscribers, helping to build and cement brand affinity.
  • Paid promotion – Finally, you may want to pay to promote your content. Paid content promotions include pay-per-click (PPC) adverts, influencer marketing, sponsored content and paid social media adverts. 

Step 10: Measure the results closely

This is a critical stage of a content creation strategy that is regularly overlooked. Without measuring your content’s results, you’ll never know if it has achieved its goals or not. These insights are crucial as they can later inform your strategy going forward. 

Which metrics you use to measure content performance depends on your content’s objectives — for example, you’ll want to measure conversion rates if your aim is to increase sales, or social media engagement if you’re looking to improve brand interaction. Read this guide to measuring content performance for a more in-depth breakdown on this topic. 

Reaching this point means you’ve created and completed all the steps involved in a content creation strategy — bravo! If this all sounds like a lot, and it certainly can be, then getting some help from content experts might be your best bet — yes, we’re talking about the team here at Pitch. 

As a leading PR and marketing agency that’s helped some of the biggest brands transform their content efforts, Pitch can help your own company do the same at any or all stages of the content creation process. Get in contact with us to find out more or make an enquiry.

Further Reading