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We’re a specialist content strategy agency, effortlessly blending data and creativity
You might have the words, but without the strategy, prepare to scream exclusively into the void.
Successful content marketing isn’t about luck. And contrary to the name, it’s not just about content, either. It’s about using the perfect blend of creativity, strategy and indisputable data to craft content that actually gets results. That’s where an expert content strategy agency comes in.
Excellent content costs time, money, and energy. Don’t invest blood, sweat and tears into something that won’t and can’t deliver.
What is content strategy?
A content strategy is the planning, creation, publication and distribution of content marketing materials. It includes everything from the pages on your company’s website to the posts you publish on your personal LinkedIn profile.
Content doesn’t just refer to text, either: video, images and audio clips all fall under the content umbrella. A content strategy ties all of these assets together across all of the publication channels your business is using. It unifies all of your content so that different platforms complement each other, maximising the growth of your digital presence.
Why is content strategy important?
Content strategy takes the guesswork out of content marketing. Instead of pulling ideas out of thin air, aimlessly posting press releases, or sharing office antics on social, a content strategy is about leaning into the kind of content that your audience actually wants to see.
A content strategy makes a genuine difference. In fact, according to Semrush, 78% of those who believe their content marketing was very successful in 2021 had a documented content strategy.
A clever B2B content strategy will:
- Highlight your current strengths and weaknesses in content and SEO
- Analyse your competitors’ efforts in depth
- Identify clear opportunities for easy, quick wins and long-term growth
- Create a detailed roadmap for the 6-12 months ahead
- Provide clear metrics to measure your success
Why should your target audience care that you’ve got two new hires or that you’ve introduced Pizza Fridays? Here’s the answer: they shouldn’t, and they don’t. Content strategy is about taking the data and developing a plan to produce content that makes your prospects tick.
It’s about finding ways to take your initial ideas and make them bigger, bolder. Two new hires? Your prospects might not care about the size of your company, but they will care about fresh expertise in the office that would benefit them as a client.
A content strategy gives you the tools to transform the mundane day-to-day into stories that inspire.
What’s more, at the very crux of content strategy is measuring and monitoring: fast-tracking growth and making sure you continually improve, instead of staying still and stagnant. After all, analytics don’t lie.
How to create a successful content marketing strategy
It’s important to note that while content strategy is extremely effective for businesses of all kinds, all sectors, and all sizes, they’re no easy feat.
A strategy of this size is a bit of a beast. It requires a stock take and an analysis of all of your brand’s existing content. The bigger or older you are, the harder it gets.
It involves looking at and organising an incredible amount of data, auditing your existing content channels, your understanding of your target audience, and mapping it all together.
And that’s before you even get to the planning stage.
So for best results, it’s usually advisable to partner with a specialist content strategy agency. They’ll have experience in creating a successful content strategy, plus a clear, established process that’ll make the whole experience more efficient and less stressful.
Teaming up with a content strategy agency means you don’t have to drop one hell of a weight on the shoulders of an in-house employee or team. They can breathe a sigh of relief, your team’s capacity won’t be compromised, and the job will still get done.
(Already buzzing to get the job done? Give us a shout to kickstart your content strategy.)
But what actually goes into creating a successful B2B content strategy? Why are we making such a big deal out of the whole shebang? We’re not trying to be all doom, gloom and ominous, honest. It’s just that – in order to actually work – the process of creating a content strategy is, well, a lot.
Here’s the gist.
The Beesting guide to a killer content strategy
The steps our specialist content strategy agency takes when strategising for ourselves – and our clients.
Conducting a content audit
You can’t possibly plan to improve if you don’t know where you’re going wrong. That’s why we always recommend that any good content strategy starts with a comprehensive content audit.
Depending on the size of your business, this will be easy breezy or a mammoth task in and of itself. But it’s absolutely essential to take stock of all of your current content to analyse how it’s performing – yep, that includes the stuff you published many moons ago that may be totally irrelevant now (even if reading it makes you cringe).
Why does this matter? Well, first of all, poor quality content can actually negatively affect your site’s SEO performance. So if it’s still there, it shouldn’t be. Second of all, your existing content is a treasure trove of potential. All that content might currently be out of date and irrelevant, but it’s a goldmine just waiting to be repurposed and updated.
Creating fresh content is expensive and time-consuming. Refreshing old content is low cost and usually takes up to a third of the time, so it’s a no-brainer.
A content audit will help illuminate which pieces of content are appropriate for the job, and which pieces are so far gone they really do need to be removed altogether.
You’ll look at everything from the amount of traffic a piece of content is receiving and whether or not it’s optimised for SEO, the quality of your pillar pages, to how sufficient your link usage is and whether you’re using enough calls to action.
Refreshing and republishing
Coined by content marketing kings Hubspot in their 2018 blog, historical optimisation is about deducing which of your blogs are worth updating – then, upgrading them in order to either rank better on the search engines or increase the number of conversions they produce.
The reasoning behind this is that Google’s algorithm rewards freshness, and so do users. Your article could be the most fascinating thing in the world, but the older it gets, the less weight it carries. Users want relevant, up-to-date information; your content can stop ticking this box mere months, let alone years after publication, depending on the pace of your industry.
So, the solution here is to update the blog, both re-optimising with more relevant keywords while additionally refreshing the content to make sure it’s now contextually up to date and relevant.
Then, rather than simply saving the changes, you republish the content. Either removing and re-uploading altogether, or simply changing the publication date.
What about those blogs that aren’t worth republishing? Either remove them altogether or scour them for decent snippets to be used elsewhere in your content engine, either as bitesize social posts or the basis of a newer, better blog.
Either way, the audit is essential. You don’t know what’s worth saving or changing without knowing what you’ve got in the first place, and you don’t know what you’ve got until you’ve conducted an audit.
Content audits are one of our core content strategy services. We offer everything from full audits to take complete stock of your content, to smaller packages which analyse the performance of your pillar pages, sub pillar pages, and key blogs. Our content audits can cover social channels like LinkedIn, too – get in touch to learn more about them.
Creating a content calendar
Following on from a content audit, it’s time to create a content calendar. We’re not talking about a measly calendar listing the date and time your social posts are due to be published; we’re talking about a well-scheduled and thought-out beast.
This kind of content calendar is designed to keep you and your team entirely in the loop as to what content is being published to what channel and when. We’re talkin’ blogs, important social media posts, e-books, white papers, webinars, podcast episodes – you name it.
Knowing exactly what is going out and when will enable you to adjust your content plans to promote important pieces of content accordingly. It’s key to making sure the content you worked hard to produce is properly distributed, both when it’s published and later on.
Distributing and redistributing
One of the biggest mistakes we notice in our clients’ content strategies is this: they create the content, but they don’t distribute it. Not enough to be effective, anyway.
The lifespan of most content is minuscule. It gives the mayfly a run for its money – and mayflies only live for 24 hours. Bring out the tiny violin.
The reason for this is simple. The majority of companies will produce content, promote it once on their socials or via an email list, and then they’ll forget about it.
When you distribute your content once, it is only seen by that one fraction of your audience, meaning casting a wide net should be top of mind. Creating a proper distribution plan that shares each piece of content multiple times on rotation is absolutely crucial.
Content shouldn’t just be distributed in one format, either. Each piece can easily be recycled into additional, high-value assets, taking a fraction of the time and cost to produce original content.
Repurposing is extremely easy too. One blog can easily become a series of bitesize yet insightful social posts, or it could be transformed into a script for a long-form video or podcast episode.
You could use the same research to delve further and write an e-book, or create the basis for a webinar. Or you could take your key points and transform them into an interactive carousel for your personal LinkedIn profile. The possibilities are limitless.
Pro tip: don’t repurpose later down the line. Repurpose as you go. Get into the habit of writing ten LinkedIn posts or hosting webinars around the e-books you produce. Repurposing doesn’t just squeeze more value from each piece of content, it’s also extremely useful to drive more traffic to on-site content.
That webinar you host? Create a LinkedIn Smartlink to host the e-book and share the link during the live session. Keep track of the viewers to get a brand new list of leads. Ta-dah, repurposing works.
Content has more arms than an octopus has tentacles, and things can become messy very easily. Creating an organised, cohesive strategy is what ties all of these ends together – chat to us if you think we can help.
A competitor analysis takes a good look at the strengths and weaknesses of the content on your main competitors’ websites and then takes full advantage of that knowledge.
The first step is identifying your competitors.
You may already know who you’re up against or may need to have a Google to see who is ranking above you for those all-important keywords that should lead users to your site.
You aren’t necessarily aiming to outrank everyone above you but rather the businesses that are most likely to be stealing your web traffic and ultimately, your customers.
With your competitors in your sights, you need to take a deep dive into:
- Which of their pages are ranking for the most keywords
- Which of their pages are getting the most web traffic
- What keywords are your competitors ranking highly for that you aren’t but want to be – this is called a keyword gap analysis and informs how to update your existing content and create new content
But surely this information is private right? Wrong.
All you need to snoop on your competitor’s web traffic is a handy SEO competitor analysis tool, such as SEMrush’s Market Explorer.
This is one of those tools that you can easily get lost in, so it helps to have a pro on hand, such as a content strategy agency that specialises in SEO content writing services (plus they’ll have the fully paid, bells and whistles version).
Now it’s time to close in on your competitors.
As a part of our competitive evaluation, we perform a full gap analysis as a part of any content strategy.
A gap analysis looks at all of that data we gathered from your competitors and assesses what’s missing from your own content library. What content do they have that performs well that you’ve not touched? What keywords are they ranking highly for that you aren’t?
A gap analysis is an important part of planning out what content to create in the future. Combined with the findings of a strong competitor analysis, you can then do two things:
1) Close keyword gaps
Are you irked by those keywords your competitors are ranking higher for than you? By analysing their content, you can figure out how to improve your content to outrank them.
2) Fill content gaps
Have your competitors missed some obvious topics that tickle the fancy of your target audience? It’s time to create some all-new content to grab that ready-and-waiting web traffic.
Once you’ve got these sorted, you can write content to fill these gaps. Or alternatively, we can do it for you. This is the magic link to follow for more on keyword research and keyword mapping, FYI.
Understanding your audience
Working hard to create excellent content is absolutely pointless if you’re not creating it for the right audience. Luckily, this is something that a content strategy agency can help you with.
Buyer personas are a brilliant way of learning to understand your audience.
What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona, sometimes also known as a client avatar, is a representation of your ideal client. Though totally fictional, buyer personas aren’t drawn out of thin air (at least, they shouldn’t be); they’re created using real data and demographics to imitate your target audience.
A buyer persona shouldn’t be too broad, either. It’s not a representation of all of your clients, but the best ones – hence ‘ideal’ customer. However, for most businesses, one buyer persona won’t be enough.
It’s a good idea, especially if you’re devising a B2B content strategy, to create a range of personas: different job titles (indicating levels of seniority) across the various industries in which you work in. You can take this another step further by placing each persona at a particular stage in the buyer journey.
Then you can allocate a persona to every specific piece of content you plan to create, so that you know precisely who you’re writing for.
At Beesting, we take our buyer personas a step further. We don’t just look at jobs, but career history. We decide where they might live, what their annual income could be. We even give them names and faces. None if this is guesswork, by the way – it’s entirely based on the in-depth research we carry out.
Buyer personas are one of the core content strategy services we offer. Let us know if you’d like a hand in bringing them to life.
Understanding your audience is one thing. Knowing what makes them tick is quite another.
Pain is one of the most powerful tools in marketing. When harnessed correctly, it can easily be used to inspire, persuade, and convert. And when applied to copy, it can really pack a punch.
But only if you know what those all-important pain points are.
We all have pain points. Some of them are the small frustrations, the day-to-day bug bears that cause a sigh or an eye roll. Others are bigger, the kinds of problems that have your prospects losing sleep. If your product or service can stop them tossing and turning, that’s a powerful tool at your disposal.
As a specialist content strategy agency, extracting pain points is our bread and butter. We’ll start by chatting with you, so that you can give us your thoughts on what those pains might be. Then, we’ll do our own research; we’ll look at reports, KPIs from job descriptions, and online communities, to supplement your answers with problems you might not even know about.
Then, we’ll look into the ways your services solve those problems. Combining the power of pain with hyper-targeted buyer personas will allow us to create a high-impact, pain-centric content strategy to drive conversions, and to write more powerful copy too if you’re also with us for copywriting.
Monitoring and Measuring
An impeccable B2B content strategy is the very opposite of stagnant. To succeed, it must move and evolve over time.
That means it’s absolutely essential to monitor the progress of your content strategy by establishing clear goals and reporting on your progress in meeting them.
This begins in its creation. In creating your content strategy, you must establish realistic but ambitious goals and KPIs. These must be goals you’re actually capable of achieving, too. Use the SMART goals framework:
- Specific – know exactly what you want to achieve, use precise figures.
- Measurable – make sure you can track your progress.
- Achievable – they’re realistic, and not overly ambitious.
- Relevant – there’s no point setting a goal that won’t in any way benefit your business.
- Time-bound – when will you achieve this by? Set a clear timeframe, and use benchmarks along the way.
Continued monitoring and measurement is crucial to the success of your strategy. It’s going to be important to choose metrics to measure the performance of the content that you create as a result of your strategy.
Be careful not to get caught up with vanity metrics here. Choose metrics to measure that genuinely reflect the KPIs you’ve chosen for your strategy, otherwise the data you get won’t be insightful at all – which is a big waste of your precious time.
The Beesting way of working
As a specialist content strategy agency, we offer a variety of different content strategy services. This includes full packages, covering all of the steps we’ve looked at in varying levels of detail, to one-off services, like buyer persona building or content audits.
We’ll help you to navigate the confusing world of content strategy to create a strong, cohesive plan, one that’ll bring your brand’s content together and make it stronger.