There are over 600 million blogs and 1.9 billion websites worldwide. Let that number sink in. If you want to conquer the digital landscape with your content marketing strategy, you need a powerful plan. 

But it’s not easy navigating the treacherous waters that is content marketing. 

In today’s digital landscape, where attention spans are fleeting, and competition is fierce, mastering the art of content marketing is crucial for businesses looking to thrive. Whether you’re a seasoned marketer or just dipping your toes into the world of content creation, our 18 expert tips will provide you with the strategies needed to craft compelling content that stands out from the crowd, resonates with your audience, and drives meaningful engagement. 

From understanding your target audience to leveraging the latest trends and technologies, we’ll cover everything you need to know to create a content marketing strategy that not only works but excels in today’s dynamic online environment. 

Buckle up because we’re about to unlock the secrets to crafting content that captivates, converts, and ultimately catapults brands to success!

What is Content Marketing?

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s get a solid definition of content marketing. It’s a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and promoting content that connects and resonates with your audience. Your content marketing efforts will focus on establishing authority, building trust, and educating the audience. By providing valuable content, you attract and engage potential customers. The result? Increased visibility and traffic, ultimately converting visitors into loyal customers.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s tackle the big question…

Why Do You Need a Content Marketing Strategy?

I mean, who needs a strategy anyway? Can’t we just wing it and hope for the best? Well, sure, you can, but having a solid content marketing strategy in place is like having a map when you’re lost in the wilderness – it’ll guide you to success!

Still not convinced? Check out these mind-blowing content marketing statistics:

  • Companies that prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to achieve a positive ROI on their marketing efforts.
  • Content marketing actually costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.
  • The average person consumes 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision.

Alright, now that we’ve established why you need an awesome content marketing strategy, let’s get down to business and figure out how to create one!

How to Create a Winning Content Marketing Strategy

1. Know Your Target Audience

The focus of your content marketing strategy is to reach new potential customers. But what happens when you create content for the wrong people

Think of it as selling snow to an Eskimo. A waste of your time. And that’s why 47% of marketers said that audience research was one of the leading factors contributing to their content marketing success. 

Understand who your audience is, what they like, and where they hang out online. For example, you’re a tree care company, but you’re constantly getting inbound calls for lawn work. This means your content marketing strategy isn’t attuned to your real target audience. 

Create customer personas for each of your main types of customers. Start by clearly writing down the following for each target group: professional title/role, demographics, personality traits, motivations, goals, and challenges. 

Once you have that, make sure all your content is directed toward understanding their pain points and marketing to solve those problems. 

2. Know Your Goals

No, not just in your head. Write it down. This needs to be a clearly defined document that aligns your content marketing goals with your business goals. One report found that 80% of companies that had a documented strategy succeeded with content marketing compared to the 52% of unsuccessful businesses that didn’t have one.

What are you trying to achieve with your content? More leads? Increased brand awareness? Define your goals and tailor your strategy accordingly.

3. Focus on SEO

Ah, the magical world of SEO. The goal here is to rank for topics that people are searching for. For example:

  • Real estate company in FL: Florida Housing Market Predictions 2024
  • Landscaping company:  How to Get Your Out-of-Control Landscape Back into Shape 
  • Wellness company: Healthy Weight Loss: 10 Tips to Lose Weight

Make sure your content is optimized for search engines so that your audience can actually find it.

4. Research the Competition

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, right? You can’t fly blind here. Your research should also include your competitors: 

  • Who are your direct and indirect competitors? 
  • Who are they selling to? 
  • What kind of content marketing tactics are they using?
  • What kind of blogs are they writing? 

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Once you know the kind of topics that are getting your competitors the most traffic, all you have to do is leverage that information to create similar blogs with better content to establish credibility.

Diane Desouza, Content Manager at Nerder

5. Establish E-E-A-T

No, we’re not talking about your favorite snack. E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness – four things your content should embody. As per Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, we know that they favor content that’s reliable. 

Here’s how you do it:

  • Talk about how long you’ve been doing what you’re doing (Experience)
  • Show you’re a subject matter expert (Expertise)
  • Build topical authority by building a consistent library of high-quality content (Authoritativeness)
  • Link back to credible sources that prove reliability (Trustworthiness)

6. Don’t ‘Sell’ – Have a Conversation

One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make is seeing content marketing as a one-way ticket to just sell. Kind of a one-dimensional way of looking at things, and definitely not a good one. 

Nobody likes a pushy salesperson. Instead of selling, focus on providing value and building relationships with your audience.

Here are some examples:

BusinessHard SellThe Right Way
Real estateHurry, call now; we’re getting booked! Buying a home can be intimidating. We make it simple. 
Resort in MexicoAct now! Last chance to book this  resort with amazing amenities Full access to Grand Riviera Princess and Grand Sunset Princess…because you deserve nothing but the best.
Car saleIf you don’t buy this now, you’re going to regret it for the rest of your life.Buying your first vehicle is a big investment. Our agents walk you through every detail so you feel confident and ready to take that first step…or drive.

7. Content Hubs

Think of your content as a spider web, with each piece interconnected. Content hubs are basically “clusters” of content on a specific topic that helps you build authority. 

There are three elements: the cluster pages, the pillar page, and hyperlinks. 

Using a pillar-cluster model, you can organize your content into hubs and provide links between related blogs and the main, central topic, making it easier for your target audience to navigate your content and find the information they need. 

Search engines also like content hubs and will rank these pages higher as they provide a topical authority signal. For example, if Google sees that you’ve written a number of posts on a topic, it’ll assume you’re more authoritative on the topic than someone who’s written one or two posts. Ultimately, it will rank your posts higher.

8. Optimize Older High-Performing Blogs

Just like fine wine, some content gets better with age. Take a look at your older high-performing blogs and give them a little facelift. Updating them with new, relevant data can refresh the content and maintain its SEO value.

You can also repurpose the information to turn them into different forms of content. For example, if you feel your blog “Five Steps to Planting a Tree” is doing exceptionally well, you can turn that into a series of social media posts or an explainer video that can be posted on your YouTube channel.

9. Update and Repost Underperforming Content

On the other hand, content can also become ‘stale’ over time. Information on your blogs can become outdated. Target audience behaviors might vary. Keyword search intent may change. Your rankings may drop over time. 

Look for content that ranks but not well enough (pushing it into a top 5 ranking will drive exponentially more traffic); content that used to rank well but has dropped off, and pages with a drop off in organic traffic. If some of your content isn’t pulling its weight, give it a makeover and see if you can breathe new life into it.

10. Back it up! Create Data-Driven Content

Data driven

Numbers don’t lie. Data reigns supreme. Data-driven content marketing is an approach where all content decisions are informed by data gathered through research and analytics rather than intuition or guesses

Back up your claims with data to add credibility to your content. If you’re writing about “Understanding Alzheimer’s,” it would be best to refer to and link back to statistics that support your claim. 

For example:

When you incorporate statistics from credible, well-known websites (think .org, .gov, .edu, etc.), it shows you’ve done your homework and positions you as a credible source.

11. Focus On Topics with Business Value

Sure, it’s always fun to write about the latest cat memes because who doesn’t love that, right? And it can potentially get you loads of traffic. But there’s no way for you to tie in your business with that—unless you’re a vet clinic. In that case, bring out those cat memes! 

The focus here will be on topics that align with your business goals. Not all content topics hold the same value. To identify high-business-value content, first, analyze keywords commonly searched by your audience and see if there are topics you haven’t covered yet.

Gather insights from sales and support teams. These are people who interact with customers and understand their challenges and questions. This hack can provide valuable content ideas for generating leads.

12. Optimize for Search Intent

Within the realm of SEO, the importance of search intent cannot be overstated. It’s the ‘why’ behind a search query. To optimize for search intent, understand the primary types of search intent:

  • Informational (Are they looking to be educated?)
  • Navigational (Are they looking for something specific?)
  • Commercial (Are they looking to learn about a brand, service, or product?)
  • Transactional (Are they looking to buy something or take action?)

The simplest way to nail user search intent is by putting yourself in your audience’s shoes. Create content that answers their burning questions. Aligning your content tone and style with user intent requires understanding the user’s thought process behind the search query and then ultimately delivering content that truly meets those expectations.

Diane Desouza, Content Lead at Nerder.

13. Promote Content Across Channels

Build it, and they will come, right? Wrong. 

While creating stellar content is half the battle won, making sure it reaches your target audience is the other half. Promoting your content across multiple channels can increase your reach, visibility, and brand awareness. 

The question is, where should you promote your content? 

Wherever your audience is. 

And this will be different for different businesses. 

One research shows that organic search (search engines). social media (organic and paid), and email marketing are the most effective channels for content marketing. 

  • Organic Search – If you optimize your blog and website enough to get to the top spots for multiple search results, you build credibility.
  • Social Media Promotion – Using paid promotions on these platforms can significantly increase your reach, visibility, and brand awareness. Live streaming, for instance, on platforms like Facebook Live or Instagram, can help you connect with your audience in real-time, offering a more authentic and immediate interaction.
  • Email Marketing – Building a list of interested subscribers and creating engaging, mobile-friendly content can improve open rates and overall engagement. It can help you stay “top of mind” with your audience and keep them informed about your latest content.

14. Don’t Obsess Over the Length of Your Content

Now, this is a hot topic. We often see clients asking us questions like: How long should my blog be? What is the ideal length of a web page? Is a 500-word blog too short? Is 4000 words too long for a blog? And so on. 

One Ahrefs study of 900 million pages showed that the average 10,000-word post actually gets less search traffic than the average 2,000-word post. So bigger is not always better. 

The debate on content length can divide the content marketing community. While long-form content can be valuable, it’s not the be-all and end-all. One thing remains indisputable: Quality should always take precedence over quantity. Topical authority is the key. 

Don’t obsess too much about the word count. Most of your blogs should be about 1000 words long, sure. From there on, don’t be a compulsive counter; focus on creating valuable and helpful content, whether it’s a short and sweet blog post or a super long explainer post.

Mladen Mladenovic, SEO Lead at Nerder

Overwhelming audiences with excessive content can be counterproductive, so it’s vital to focus on engagement and the quality of the content rather than just its length.

15. Stand Out – Have Opinions

No one’s looking for the same cookie-cutter responses. You’re competing on the big World Wide Web. If you’re saying the same thing as everyone else, you’re not cutting through the noise. 

Don’t be afraid to take a stance and share your opinions. It’s what sets you apart from the competition. Take a look at these opinion blogs we like to do: Website We Love: Skinny Ties and Websites We Love: Benevity.

Opinionated content allows a business to position itself as a subject matter expert, fostering trust and reader engagement.

16. Check Your Site for Technical Issues

The attention span of a Goldfish is 9 seconds. Humans? Less. If you’re my average reader, I have less than 7 seconds to make a good impression on you. Now, what happens if your website has glitches? That’s right, I’ve just lost a potential customer. In the online world, every second matters, and website performance contributes to those seconds.

Diane Desouza, Content Manager at Nerder

These technical issues include but are not limited to:

  • Site load time/Website speed
  • Site’s crawlability
  • Indexability
  • Mobile responsiveness
  • Broken links
  • No HTTPS security
  • Poor navigation
  • Messy code
  • Improper redirects
  • Bad website structure

In a study by Google and conducted by 55 and Deloitte, decreasing mobile site load times by just one-tenth of a second led to a decrease in bounce rate: 0.6% for homepages, 5.7% for product listing pages, and 1.9% for product details pages. 
Take a look at this 15-Minute Website Checklist to check if your website is in good shape. Nobody’s got time for broken links and slow load times. Make sure your site is running smoothly to keep both users and search engines happy.

17. Mine Customer Reviews and Testimonials

Over 99.9% of customers say they read reviews when shopping online, with 49% of people saying they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family.

If you’re a small business, there’s a good chance that reviews and word-of-mouth are driving sales for you. When people shop for products and services, they want to see social proof: Google reviews and testimonials by real customers. 

Gather some of the best quotes and testimonials and post them on your blog, website, and social media platforms. They pretty much act as your unpaid brand ambassadors.

18. Keep an Eye on Your Metrics to Improve Performance

So you’ve just launched a new website. Posted five blogs in 30 days. You’ve created detailed blogs that you’re sure will help customers and ultimately attract traffic. 

Are you tracking your success? 

Numbers don’t lie. Your content marketing efforts are guided by metrics that serve as a reliable compass. Analytical tools such as Google Analytics and metrics tracking are essential to measure the effectiveness of your content marketing strategies so that when you know option A isn’t working, you can move to option B.

Here are some content marketing metrics you should be monitoring: 

  • Page traffic 
  • Leads and/or Conversions
  • ROI and/or Cost per lead

Master the Content Marketing Game with the Content Nerds

And there you have it, folks! 18 awesome content marketing tips to help you create a killer strategy. But remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so be patient and keep refining your strategy as you go. And if you ever need a helping hand, don’t hesitate to partner with a content marketing agency that can help take your strategy to the next level. 
You can schedule a call or request a quote to get started. Now, go forth and conquer the digital world!