We all know that an effective email marketing strategy boils down to your content. Content marketing fuels your email strategy, so a lot is riding on whether or not the way you go about creating content is effective. That’s why it’s probably best to dedicate some time to create a content strategy.

Having a content strategy will keep your team aligned and help you see the big picture so that you can create content that serves a variety of purposes. When it comes to digital marketing, content spurs lead generation, educates prospects to move them down the funnel, and lends more authority to your brand. It also costs 62% less than traditional marketing.

A dedicated content strategy ensures that you focus your resources on quality content that supports your bigger objectives, and it’s pretty much guaranteed to get you better results. Here’s how you can get started with your content strategy.

1. Establish Your “Why”

Your content goals serve as the foundation of your strategy. As such, you need to have a clear idea of what you’re trying to accomplish with content creation, including how it fits into your larger digital marketing objectives.

All marketing initiatives are driven to increase sales and brand awareness, but you want to dig a little bit deeper than that. What behaviors are you specifically trying to influence with your content? Are you trying to bring more organic traffic to your site? Increase your email contact list? Deliver more qualified leads to your sales team? Or, all of the above?

Whatever you’re trying to achieve with your content, setting it out from the start helps make sure that you design a strategy geared toward getting you there.

2. Establish Your “How”

Now that you know what you want your content to deliver, how do you intend to make it happen? More so than just topic generation, this step is about designating roles and responsibilities and coming up with a process that keeps the wheels turning.

For your content marketing dream team, you’ll ideally want a project manager, a writer/editor, a designer, and a strategist. If you’re operating a small business and don’t have the staff to accommodate, assign a project manager and strategist in house, as this can be the same person, so long as they have the bandwidth. Bring on a freelance writer and designer to round out the team and fill in the other needs. Trust us, high-quality original content is worth paying for, and it’s a necessity if your content strategy is going to succeed.

Next up is outlining a process that works for your team. Figure out your ideal content creation pipeline, keeping in mind that, for efficiency’s sake, simpler is usually better. It may end up looking something like this:

Ideation/Brainstorming and SEO Research → Writing → Editing → Approval → Publication → Distribution

This process might not always be linear. For example, you’ll probably want to do some bulk brainstorming and SEO research right off the bat and come up with a month or so of content needs at a time. Then you can get to work on scheduling when each piece will be written, published, and so on.

3. Establish Your “What”

Finally, you’re going to want to figure out what tools you’ll need to actually pull this strategy off. These tools will depend on your budget and scope and could include a mix of paid and free platforms. They should include:

  • An editorial calendar to keep you on track
  • An SEO/keyword research tool to help you generate topics
  • A social media calendar so you can prioritize distribution
  • Marketing automation software to help you use the content you create in your nurture campaigns and target your content to the right recipients
  • An analytics platform to track and measure content performance

At this stage, you’ll also want to outline your metrics. Return to the goals that you set out at the beginning of your content strategy and determine exactly what you’ll need to track to measure success. Depending on your objectives, this could include blog engagement numbers, email marketing metrics, social media metrics, inbound marketing metrics, and/or sales metrics.

Putting It All Together

Now you’ve got the stepping stones of your content strategy in place, so it’s time to act. Keep in mind that a great content strategy isn’t static. Your strategy will (and should!) change over time since it’s connected to specific goals. As you measure performance, tweak your strategy to align with areas that need more work. You should also plan to review your strategy in its entirety every six months or so to ensure that it’s accurately serving your needs.

There’s no underestimating the importance of content for your brand. Use your strategy to help guide the way and commit to putting out your best effort — the rest should fall into place.