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Content Marketing Strategy: 2024 Guide

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Content Marketing Strategy Tn

Content marketing is one of the most valuable fields of marketing, yet it requires more creativity than most people expect. For a company to succeed at content marketing, it must produce content that possesses real value, either through insightfulness, originality, or by organizing information in a new way. With the rise of generative AI, the standard for quality is higher than ever. However, when this standard is met consistently, it positions the company as an expert in its field, creating a consistent flow of MQLs, increased conversion rates, and a far higher ROI than other forms of marketing.

This guide walks you through the steps of creating a content marketing strategy to meet the needs of 2024’s exceptionally difficult digital marketing landscape. The steps are:

  1. Define Your Campaign Goals
  2. Create Audience Personas 
  3. Utilize the Hub & Spoke Model 
  4. Maintain an Editorial Calendar 
  5. Repurpose Content 
  6. Measure, Iterate, and Adjust

Define Your Campaign Goals

The first thing that a content marketing team needs to agree on is the campaign’s purpose. Doing so is often more difficult than it appears, as the common temptation is to speak in corporate jargon (e.g. “We strive to create visionary content that bridges the gap between our customers’ needs and our solutions”). To avoid this pitfall and ensure your team has articulated the campaign’s unique purpose, we propose the following: 

  • Be Specific: Avoid vague language that doesn’t clearly define your goals (e.g. “Address clients’ pain points”). Direct your campaign toward a specific goal (e.g. generate MQLs, increase sales velocity) to make the final step—measuring and adjusting—more possible. 
  • Research Your Competitors: Often, the nature of your campaign will hinge on gaps and unattended markets left by other companies in your industry. Analyze what they are doing to determine your best course moving forward. 
  • Standardize Your Voice: In addition to “what” is being said, consider “how” it’s being said. Good content marketing establishes your company as a voice of authority within your field, so consider what type of authoritative voice your audience is most responsive to. 

With clarity of purpose, you’ll be able to more easily define the type of content that needs to be produced and ensure that it is aligned with your overall business goals. Doing so also allows you to better tailor your content to your target audience and respond to their needs and interests.

Create Audience Personas 

With your campaign goals in mind, the next step is to understand who you’re marketing to and, more specifically, the process by which they make a purchase. This process varies significantly between B2B and B2C campaigns; for example, a B2B purchase is usually the decision of not one but several co-signers on new software or technology for an office while B2C transactions are far more individualized. 

Regardless of which model your campaign requires, the most important step is to have a reference document for the team to get into the heads of your customers. These documents are called audience personas, and typically look like the examples below:

Examples of B2B and B2C Audience Personas

Example 1: The Small Business Owner Example 2: The Department Manager Example 3: The Parent
Sofia 300x300 Stewart 300x300
Geraldine has been wearing many hats at her small tech company for the last 8 years. Her main goal is to make the company grow, fulfilling her responsibility to investors.

As a result, Geraldine is likely to respond positively to content that provides actionable ideas about growth and operational efficiency that she can implement right away. Because she is particularly busy, short-form content is optimal for her.
Sofia manages an IT team at a small community college. She is evaluated based on the number of cybersecurity threats and the quality of the overall IT infrastructure within the school.Sofia is more likely to respond to highly-technical content that comes from a trusted, authoritative source. Interviews with industry experts on relevant topics would be a likely way to get her attention. Stewart is a typical, busy parent. When he is not at work, his two daughters take up most of his time.  He does, however, enjoy doing home projects and improving his backyard. Stewart is likely to respond to straightforward content discussing parenting methods, hacks around the house or yard, and articles that help him understand child behaviors.

The process for creating a persona is the same regardless of the specific type of audience.  

  1. Examine existing clientele to identify patterns.
  2. Identify the underlying reasons for those patterns. 
  3. Create a persona based on these underlying reasons.

Once you’ve created these audience personas, they can be used to identify important keywords. It is here that we begin to see significant differentiation between B2B and B2C campaigns, as people tend to search differently for business-related items rather than those for personal use.

How these keywords are targeted by the campaign is especially important. The next section covers this in detail, demonstrating how to create a hub and spoke model for your keywords.

Utilize the Hub & Spoke Model 

In order to ensure that your content marketing strategy targets every relevant online search to your company, the best performing campaigns utilize a Hub & Spoke strategy, which consists of: 

  • Hubs: Also called “container” keywords, hubs are short keywords indicating a broad area of search intent. 
  • Spokes: Also known as “longtail” keywords, spokes are longer keywords containing the hub that indicate a specialized or otherwise narrow use case.

The most important element of the hub and spoke strategy is that the spokes fit with the hub like gears in a machine. The graphic below illustrates this further:

Ai Investing 500x500

In the example above, the hub keyword, “ai investing” can be found in every surrounding spoke, demonstrating to Google that your site is obsessed with the topic. Furthermore, each “spoke” in the model above speaks to a specific search intent, as illustrated on the spectrum below: 

A simple search such as “how does ai investing work?” would be searched by someone on the research-oriented side of the spectrum, while “does AI investing reduce risk” speaks to a specific problem that the user is trying to solve, placing them directly in the middle. The search “best AI investing platform” is more transactional still, and would be searched actively looking for a firm to work with.

In this sense, not only does a hub & spoke model allow you to target multiple instances of a larger keyword being targeted, it also allows you to address the entire spectrum of intent. This approach is robust and applies just as well to businesses in industries as diverse as IT, real estate, financial services, and chiropractics. Structuring your keywords in this manner helps your content marketing strategy account for every stage of your marketing funnel.

Maintain an Editorial Calendar 

Consistency is critical in content marketing. Our research indicates that campaigns need to routinely publish 2 high-quality pieces a week, for a minimum of 3-6 months before a business’s website can expect to see the significant increase in rankings and traffic that we call the News Website Bonus. As a result, content marketing teams need to have a central document—an editorial calendar—which ties the campaign together and keeps writing, editing, and publishing on schedule.

Below is an editorial calendar for a hypothetical healthcare business specializing in robotic surgery:

Editorial Calendar

Status Writer Due Editor Due Publish Date Title Hub Keyword Spoke Keyword Author Editor Notes
Published 3/13 3/20 3/21 Comparing Computer Aided Surgery: Examples from the Operating Room Computer aided surgery Computer aided surgery examples Deidre Shayna N/A
Drafted 3/20 3/27 3/28 Robotic Surgery: Pros and Cons Explained Robotic surgery Robotic surgery pros and cons Jeff Shayna May be delayed since Shayna is coming back from vacation. 
Pending  3/27 4/3 4/4 Is Robotic Surgery Safe? A Surgeon’s POV Robotic surgery is  robotic surgery safe Jeff Shayna Need to set up an SME interview for more information on the topic.

Depending on team needs, ECs should often include additional columns for: 

  • SME Questions: Especially useful for publishing high-quality content while working with a subject matter expert that is willing and able to meet regularly with the team. 
  • Page Type: Whether the written piece will serve as a landing page or a blog article will help strategists determine actionable next steps. 
  • Additional Resources: Links to relevant research articles and documents helps keep information centralized in one location. 
  • Relevant Audience Information: Especially useful for campaigns targeting multiple audiences, including relevant audience information will help ensure that the proper approach is taken with each piece.

Having this information on hand ensures that marketing teams are able to keep on the same page and produce content in a timely manner using coordinated processes that work together towards the same end like gears in a machine.

Repurpose Content 

Effective content marketing depends entirely on the quality of work produced. The benefit of this approach is that quality translates between different mediums, allowing marketing teams to repurpose existing content and transform it into meaningful content geared towards other marketing channels. 

For example, the graphic below looks at what can be done with just one high-quality article written as part of an ongoing SEO campaign:

By using quality content as the basis for your content marketing campaign, marketing teams can cover a wide range of additional marketing channels that generate and nurture leads while driving sales in markets that might otherwise have not been available had it just stuck to a single marketing channel. You can find more information on how to produce quality content marketing material in our related article here.

Measure, Iterate, and Adjust

Once the campaign is underway, marketing teams need to keep a close eye on the response to published items to measure engagement and interest. The most useful metrics to track are: 

Useful Content Marketing Metrics

Metric  Description  Benchmark
Visitor to Lead Conversion Rate The percentage of visitors to your website who indicate an interest in your company by engaging with the site (e.g. leaving information for a newsletter, reaching out to the sales team) 2.4%
Organic Traffic The number of online visitors who arrive through search engines rather than backlinks. This most often means Google traffic. +47% YOY
Clickthrough Rate The percentage of  online visitors who click on your website from Google’s SERPs page.  1st Page Average: 9.8%
Engagement Rate

The percentage of visitors to your website who 

  • Stay on for 10+ seconds
  • Clicked through to a 2nd page on your website
  • Performed a “conversion event” (e.g. leaving contact info, filling out a contact form) 
B2B: >63%B2C: >71%

Once the health of your campaign has been measured, procedures like A/B Testing provide pathways towards improvement. A/B Testing is an iterative process in which a single element of a page is changed and observed in order to determine if the change makes a significant difference in viewership or engagement. A/B testing can impact several elements of a page, but simple example (pictured below) might included changing the wording on a CTA:

While A/B testing provides a clear look into what type of content works better for your website, the downside is that it takes a long time to gather information and measure results.

Implementing Your Own Content Marketing Strategy

As this article might have already made clear, running your own content marketing campaign is exceptionally difficult. For all the benefits that an in-house team might grant in respects to product/industry knowledge and brand expertise, the resources required to execute a successful campaign are often beyond the means of most businesses.

Many companies instead choose to outsource their content marketing. Our full-service SEO agency specializes in creating thought leadership content that generates qualified leads. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about a partnership. 

Evan Bailyn

Evan Bailyn is a best-selling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership. Contact Evan here.

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