Content strategy & content marketing – difference?
I’ve been reading lately about content strategy and I’ve come across different blog posts that also mention content marketing strategy with it. And it occurred to me, how would you separate the two.
Now what exactly is the difference between the two?
It can be kinda confusing when we try to find content about one and end up reading about the other. So I’ve decided that I’ll try to make it clear as possible to distinguish between the two right now.
Content strategy refers to strategy that involves creating the content itself. Us, bloggers, often search for the next thing that will provide some value to our readers. So, when we make each post, we need to keep in mind how everything is going to be presented.
It’s a strategy that allows us to be more effective at creating content and pumping out as much valuable information as possible in the shortest amount of time as possible.
On the other hand, content marketing strategy puts a light from a different perspective. It’s a marketing technique, that doesn’t actively promote a product or a service, but the value that our content carries itself is the main attraction here.
This way content markets itself, but only if we create it for people that visit our website. We grow our audience by catering to them the content we think they would like.
These two concepts go hand in hand, so it’s easy to mix one for another. We’ll touch up on what’s most important when we’re creating our content, so it ends up being effective time wise and we get the most out of it.
Know your audience
When you start creating your piece of content, you need to keep in mind, who will be consuming it. Knowing your audience is a key factor that can have a huge impact whether people will love your post or they would disregard it completely.
Number one thing that any blogger needs to keep in mind is that they are writing for people first.
People will be able to tell when you’re doing something just for the money and when you’re genuinely trying to help them solve a problem they’re facing.
You need to prove yourself that you’re worth listening to by giving them the value they’re looking for. Once they see, you’re an expert in the field, you will start building following and trust.
One major factor that influences your audience growth is consistency. If you want to succeed in blogging, you need to post consistently. Your readers will expect when they will be able to find new content on your blog.
Once you’ve started to gain on visitors that come and read your posts daily, you can analyze their demographic data to get a feel for what kind of people are most likely to come and check your content out.
Demographic data tells us where our visitors are coming from, what platform are they using when they come to our site, which posts are most visited and other information like gender, age, interests and more.
Create a persona, representing your typical reader
You basically need to make up someone, that could be described as an ideal customer.
For example, we could say based on our demographics data, that Susan, age 44, single mom from New York is a typical visitor and a loyal follower of our website.
Now, more detailed that your ideal customers persona is, better suited content you’ll be able to create for your audience.
This way you’ll be able to plan what kind of content they would like the most and start to attract even more people to your blog. The more you know your audience, more problems they’re facing will you be able to see. And with each problem you solve, more people will trust you and start checking out your blog.
Writing blog posts isn’t the only way to create a following. Nowadays there are many different social media channels that give us options to post content there are build up a following.
Social media is free to use, so it gives us a wonderful opportunity to build an audience from zero to hero.
Each channel is unique to itself. You can choose what kind of format your content will take shape and choose a suitable social media channel that works best for it.
For example if you solely want to make videos, you should choose a channel that is optimized just for videos, like Youtube or Vimeo.
And then there are also channels that give us different choices for our post format, like Facebook. We can post many different things there like videos, photos, plain text, live video, polls and others.
When I first started out writing blog posts, I didn’t really have a very effective technique of gathering the material for my blog posts. Quite honestly, I wasn’t sure how could I create a post that would get any kind of traction.
Despite that I still managed to write something down. As you can imagine, first steps weren’t really promising, but I just kept at it until something clicked. So what I learn from that is, let yourself be a beginner.
To make a post all I did was, I read a few articles that showed up in the first few search results in Google for a keyword I didn’t even bother to research if people were even interested for it.
I managed to keep some of all that info I read in my head and wrote down a mashup of all that value into a single post. I strived to make it at least 1500 words long.
This technique works, if you’re trying to write a post that will have a decent volume. But it isn’t really effective time wise. You see, it took me a lot of time to read through all those posts, because I had to be super concentrated on the task and honestly, it’s quite exhausting to do it all in one go.
Improve your workflow
So I’ve learned, when I was reading through top posts in search results, that there are subtopics that appear in multiple of those posts. If I just wrote it down, I could skim through that part of the post quickly, looking just for parts that would be new to me.
So a valuable lesson I’ve learned is, write stuff down. It’s not only easier to gather material for your post this way. You will also be able to write posts that are longer, contain more value and use up less time writing it.
Plan your content ahead
Now that you know how to make a post efficiently and less time consuming, you can use all the extra time that you can get writing posts ahead of time.
You can create posts and save them as drafts until you’re ready to post them.
Remember when we mentioned being consistent pays off big time?
You can easily make a few posts and put them aside. So you can publish them consistently and not be in a hurry if you feel lazy one week and not write one.
You can write and stockpile posts to publish them throughout the entire year or more. You can devote valuable time to creating more content on other platforms like social media and grow traffic there as well.
Choose your headlines wisely
Let’s actually try and create a decent blog post shall we. So first things first, every post starts with a headline.
You need to choose a good headline for your post, because it’s the first thing people see when they find your blog post among search results.
There are multiple companies that got this down to a science and HubSpot is one of them. They give us a few good examples of how to make a great headline, with an explanation with each phrase.
According to HubSpot, only 20% of all visitors click through to your content if you have a mediocre headline. So it’s important that we choose an inviting headline for our content, so we can get more engagement.
Blog posts from people for people
Now what exactly does that mean, from people for people?
As we mentioned before that your readers will quickly figure out if you’re just trying to sell them something without giving any real value.
So when we set out to compose an article or just a simple informal blog post, we need to show that we care about the problem they’re facing. And that we’re trying to solve it the best and easiest way possible.
Helpful and beneficial content will see much more engagement, because there’s value that can be shared with others.
Nobody likes spammers, who only care about themselves and try and stuff their affiliate links down your throat without providing any real value.Nobody likes spammers, who only care about themselves and try and stuff their affiliate links down your throat without providing any real value. Click To Tweet
Make it easy to digest
You can have a lot of amazing stuff to talk about and share your knowledge with others. But if you don’t arrange your content so it’s easy to read, people won’t bother reading it at all.
One thing that really helps making content easier to digest is that we write in paragraphs. We don’t stuff everything into a giant lump of text to the point it would take massive amount of concentration just to get through it.
And even if you’d manage to read through it, you probably couldn’t take in all the value that it provides anyway. Imagine if you tried to eat whole meal in one bite… I doubt you’d even try.
If you’re using WordPress, you can install Yoasts SEO plugin, which shows you how readable your content really is.
Spice up your content with imagesIt’s common sense nowadays to include images in your content since they make sharing your content easier and attract more attention and consequently, more engagement. Click To Tweet
In the social media world, videos and other type of visuals dominate when it comes to engagement. Youtube, Facebook and many other platforms that give us option to share videos and other visuals will stand on top and have a great chance staying there because of it.
It’s all connected to our attention span. It’s grown shorter and majority of users don’t even bother to read anymore. Because we can create and share videos and other type of visual formats like infographics that relay the value much quicker.
Set a goal for each post
When you’re setting out to create a blog post, what’s are expecting to gain with it yourself?
In every healthy relationship, both sides need to contribute to it so it stays functional. In blogging world bloggers create content and provide value and knowledge to their readers, and readers in return, engage with it, share it and read it.
This is how you build up a loyal audience. If you’d be writing to no avail, would you still be motivated to keep going? Our audiences are the lifeblood of our blogs.
It’s true that sharing something you’re passionate about would probably enough for most of us. But if you’re considering the law of attraction, there’s absolutely no way your voice would stay unheard, if there’s genuine value in your content available to the public.
So, setting a goal with each post is important for the long game. Think, what do you want your blog to become after one year.
If you’re only seeing the money and you’re only just at the beginning, I’m sorry but I’ll have to disappoint you.
There’re no shortcuts that can bring you whatever you’re striving for. You first need to give before you can reap the benefits. By knowing that there are smaller goals that lead to your ultimate one. You can strive for those that are in reach.If we want people to trust us, we need to prove ourselves to be an expert in the topic we’re writing about. And to do that, we need to create helpful content about it. This is what I meant by giving first. Click To Tweet
After you build enough awareness and feel you have started to build a loyal audience that visits your website regularly, you can start promoting affiliate links, e-books and other type of content that will bring you revenue down the road.
Use interactive content
You can create segments on your post that your readers can interact with. These segments can be a filled in tweet with a quote, a poll, a simple like/dislike option and more.Interactive content can help you boost engagement on your website AND your social media channels. Click To Tweet
Include Call To Action
I don’t mean that you shouldn’t ask for anything from your readers. You definitely should include some sort of call to action in every post to encourage more engagement.
Calls to actions are meant to fulfill your goal for each post, so you shouldn’t forget about them.
Keep SEO in mind
This can be crucial for your blogs success. SEO is one of the better ways to get traffic. Since it’s completely passive and people who tend to come to your website are there because they are looking for something they searched in Google themselves.
Nowadays Googles ranking algorithm is advanced enough to know if you’re really writing about what you’re optimizing for. So, if you use keywords that relate to the main keywords you’re optimizing for, they will also be taken into account in the SEO score of your page.
You’ve probably heard this one a thousand times. When writing a blog post, you can relax and just write the way you’d be talking to a friend in person. There’s no need to be formal.
You will find it easier as well if you tried to write a lot of posts in a short amount of time.
People will see that there’s a real person behind those words and they will find it easier to relate to you.
That being said, you will eventually develop your own brand voice, your voice, that will represent your blog. Once people start to get to know how you “sound” like, they will be able to recognize you elsewhere.Don’t let anything stop you from being unique, because it’s the only thing that can set you apart from everyone else. Click To Tweet
Manage your existing content
When you’re starting a blog it’s important that you measure what’s going on on it. Every blogger, who’s trying to grow their blog uses some sort of measuring platform.
We need to see how many page visits we get, how many people buy stuff from our site, where their visitors come from and much more.
Tools like that are necessary so we can create reports to further analyze the results of our efforts and measure what type of content and topics our audiences are engaging the most with.
In my opinion, one of the best and easiest to use platforms that allows you to do all that, is Google Analytics. It’s free and it gives us really detailed insights of who, when and where our visitors come from.
Revisit your content strategy
It’s a good idea to go back and see how could you improve your technique for creating content. We can see how results change with each post we publish and observe how people react to it.
Check out your first post and your last and compare how the quality of your writing has changed. We’re constantly improving ourselves, our writing skills and our understanding of the niche we’re writing about.We’re constantly improving ourselves, our writing skills and our understanding of the niche we’re writing about. Click To Tweet
Creating reports in Google Analytics can help you improve even faster. You can measure how your audience responds to each of your posts by starting the report for 30 days since it’s gone live and see how the numbers gradually change.
You can use these reports to gauge which topics are more popular than others and create posts that will get more and more engagements in that same time period.
Content strategy is a vital part of every blogs success. There are many new aspiring new bloggers out there that are still trying to figure out how to make this whole thing work and I consider myself one of them.
With each post that I made, I’ve learned something new and tried to put in practice what I learned.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Leave a comment down below and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.