Inbound Marketing for Manufacturers Blog

    How to Create a Content Strategy in 6 Simple Steps

    5 minute read

    Understanding how to create a content strategy can prove tricky at times, especially if you’re making it for a B2B company. However, by using certain tools and tricks, you can quickly generate blog topic ideas (and other forms of content) that’ll be relevant and beneficial to your boss or client.

    Below are six considerations for how to create content ideas. By following a flow chart of priority, and exhausting every avenue, you’ll never run out of blog topics.

    How to Create a Content Strategy

    How do you create content for clients that’s relevant and will provide results? How do you keep it educational while still nudging your prospects along the buyer’s journey?

    Here are six ideas to take into consideration:

    1. Think About Company Needs (Today AND Tomorrow)
    2. Look at Past Successes
    3. Variety (or, “How Can We Do This Again?”)
    4. Think of Your Competitors
    5. Remember the Buyer’s Journey
    6. Think About Audience Questions

    1. Think About Company Needs (Today AND Tomorrow)

    Not all websites are created equal. As a result, it’s important to understand what’s most important to your company or client and what areas of their content or lead pipeline are lagging behind the most.

    Think about what short- and long-term goals the company may have.

    For example, if the company is desperate to increase its monthly web traffic of 40 visitors, you may want to focus on traffic-driving content that falls under the Awareness stage. If the goal is to increase the number of RFQs (requests for quote) per month, then Decision-stage content is the priority.

    If you’re unsure where to start, talk to your decision-makers and discuss their most urgent needs. Remember: Popular blog topics are not always the best topics.

    You should also always take note -- and be leery of -- client requests. While they may believe they know what content is best for their site, they may be totally off-base or out of the loop regarding inbound marketing best practices.

    More on Weighing Client Requests vs. Needs

    There is a BIG difference between a client/customer request and a client/customer need. And when it comes to content creation, you’ll want to know when to say “no.”

    how-to-create-a-content-strategy-weighing-client-needs-vs-requestsObviously, you want to keep your paying boss or client happy by accepting their suggestions. After all, it’s their business. But to keep them happy, you’ll need content that provides positive and fast results (or, at least as fast as inbound marketing allows).

    Most of the time, these two concepts don’t play nicely together. It’s your job to create that line in the sand to separate the good ideas from the bad. Whenever a client offers a content suggestion, ask yourself two questions:

    • Is this idea more self-serving or sales-orientated than helpful?
    • Is the content more relevant to the client’s industry peers than to their customers?

    If you answered “yes” to either question, you most likely need to propose compromises.

    2. Look at Past Successes

    History has a tendency to repeat itself. You have to know the past to understand the present. Really, you can use any cliche quote for this one.

    The past results of content is a great indicator of what may work going forward. This also provides the advantage of not having to start from scratch because you will already have ideas and keywords to build on.

    To determine what past articles may be beneficial to expand on, ask yourself these questions:

    • What’s getting high traffic?
    • What’s generating a high number of contacts?
    • What’s been popular on social media?

    By answering these questions and taking a closer look at what makes the content successful, you can create new spins on previously existing content.

    3. Variety (or, ‘How Can We Do This Again?’)

    While you’re trying to figure out how to create content, think about topics that provide opportunities for infographics, videos, and other visually appealing elements. Providing the same style of how-to article 23 weeks in a row may wear on your readers and social followers.

    These visuals help break up your content’s monotony.

    Don’t have an idea for an infographic or video? What about taking one of your blog posts and repurposing it? Or, if you have plenty of graphic assets but not enough blog ideas, why not spin pre-existing videos and pamphlets into blog posts?

    In marketing, sometimes it’s OK to work smart, not hard.

    4. Think of Competitors

    It may be tempting to take your boss or client by the shoulder, turn them away from their competitors and say, “Don’t even look at them,” but you would be missing out on a great opportunity.

    (Legally) spying on your clients’ competitors is one of the best ways to determine content topics. By taking note of what competitors are writing about, you can generate blog topic ideas based on their content. It also never hurts to look at their social media presence (or lack thereof)-- any insights there?

    This is where a search engine optimization (SEO) tool like SEMrush makes your job infinitely easier. With its Keyword Gap and Organic Research tools, you can quickly see what keywords your competitor is targeting.

    Just be sure not to obsess over competitors, as you’ll eventually lose focus on your own content strategy.

    5. Remember the Buyer’s Journey

    If your website has a first-time visitor, and they’re immediately greeted by a blog post that shills how much money you could save them, you may scare them away.

    Unless you have extremely specific traffic or lead goals, you should eventually write content for all three stages of the buyer’s journey. This is especially true if you’re in the B2B content marketing

    Remember the marketing funnel concept -- there should be a smooth progression for your buyer through their journey. Creating content for only one stage of a buyer’s journey can cost you a lot of leads.

    Consider the pain points that your target audience has and ask yourself what step of the buyer’s journey you’re missing. Is there a successful Awareness-stage topic you’ve already created that’s begging for a Consideration-stage follow-up post? Do you have a Decision-stage e-book you’re promoting, but no Decision-stage blog posts to promote it on?

    6. Think About Audience Questions

    Knowing what questions your audience has about your product, service, or industry is a huge help in content creation and will give you a guideline for how to write blog posts clearly.

    This serves as a good resource for Awareness-stage topics along with topics that are question-based. As more people favor voice-activated searches via their phones, question-based queries continue to rank better and better in Google. This provides you with multiple new routes for content creation.

    Questions you may ask include:

    • What are your prospects’ pain points?
    • What comparisons might they be making in materials, products, or services?
    • What questions/complaints are the sales team receiving over and over?

    Next Steps

    Your next steps should focus on creating content in a manner that benefits your clients and their customers, not just your own company

    These tips largely focused on blogging -- there is, of course, much more to content marketing than that. For a fuller look at how you can create an all-bases-covered content strategy, download our free e-book below:

    content marketing essentials guide download

    Topics: Content Marketing Blogging B2B Marketing

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