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Your 5-step guide for developing a winning content strategy

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Content strategies should always be evolving. It’s not something you can set and forget—not with how quickly channels, customer expectations, and market dynamics are evolving today.

Consider the increasing demand for personalized experiences that cater to the specific preferences, needs and wants of consumers—and the strategy and infrastructure it takes to deliver on those expectations time and time again. There's also been a rise in user-generated content and social media and influencer marketing that content teams are attempting to learn and adapt to so they don’t fall behind their competitors. We’re seeing growing adoption of voice search and virtual assistants as well, putting pressure on content marketers to optimize their content for voice-based queries to ensure their content is discoverable and relevant to those users. The list could go on and on. 

How can content marketers be expected to keep up? Between content overload, changing algorithms, resource constraints and more, it can feel next to impossible. However, when content teams return to the basics—when they master the basics—they’ll be set up for success no matter what comes their way.

Whether creating a net-new strategy with today’s market in mind—or revisiting and revamping an existing one—here are five key steps to follow:

A how-to guide on creating a content strategy that can support your evolving business and changing market dynamics 

Understand your business objectives. Ensure they align with your content objectives.

Content should never exist in isolation. It should serve a larger strategic purpose for your business, whether driving site traffic, generating leads or increasing brand awareness. Importantly, to ensure content always directly contributes and ties back to business objectives, content teams will need to collaborate with other business functions across the organization and set clear KPIs to measure the impact of each piece.

Starter questions to ask and answer

What are the topline company objectives that we need to account for?
Have we connected with all critical business functions?
How can we make our content objectives tie back to company objectives?
How can we make content goals measurable?

Conduct upfront research to align with target audience expectations.

Understanding your target audience—their preferences and priorities, their challenges, essentially all the things that keep them up at night—is critical for creating content that will resonate with them and that will entice them to act. All too often, organizations skip this step, don’t conduct thorough enough research or don’t pull in all the right stakeholders from the company to create a holistic understanding of their buyers. This research is absolutely vital for content creators, though, helping them tailor various content types to meet the specific needs and interests of the target audience—and ultimately, helping to reach (or ideally exceed) the team’s set KPIs.

Starter questions to ask and answer

Who are our target buyers?
If there’s a long list of target buyers, how do we prioritize their different needs and wants?
What challenges do our buyers experience?
How can we provide value to our buyers through content?
Which tone will resonate with our audience?
What channels are they on?

Determine critical content types, channels, topics, etc.

Your tangible, living content strategy document should be flexible and adaptable while also well-defined. It should account for the evolving needs of your target audience, industry trends and business goals, and it should serve as a road map for creating, distributing and measuring content that aligns with your overall marketing and business objectives. Include important elements, such as:

  • Content types that are of interest to your target audience and that align with business goals. Think blog posts, infographics, videos, case studies, webinars, podcasts, social media and more. 
  • Content channels that will reach your target audience. Think website, email campaigns, newsletters, events, advertising, social media and more. 
  • Content topics that speak to the interests of your target audience. What are their pain points? Their interests? What industry trends are impacting them? Are there any gaps within your existing content that you can shed light on? These answers should become clearer during your upfront research. 

Starter questions to ask and answer

Are there any channel trends we need to stay ahead of?
What content types and formats are most effective?
What content do we already have to work with?
What topics do your target audiences care about?
Anne Neubauer
By Anne Neubauer
May 02, 2023
Learn how to streamline your content creation process and keep your marketing and communications teams aligned and informed with these proven tips and strategies for content calendar success.

Align on your execution approach, leveraging a modern CMS to streamline the entire process.

Ensure you’re leveraging the right tools and technologies to execute your content strategy. The legacy systems you might currently be using could be slowing you down, making your strategy next to impossible to execute effectively and efficiently. A modern content management solution (CMS) can help fix that. Today’s solutions offer content templates and workflow automation to streamline the end-to-end content process. They can support true personalization and provide targeting capabilities to ensure content is reaching its intended audiences with the right message. They can support distribution and multi-channel publishing as well as content governance and security. There are a lot of factors at play when it comes to content management—modern, flexible CMS solutions can help ensure everything stays on course.

Starter questions to ask and answer

Which solutions/applications are we using to execute our strategy?
Are they still serving us?
Who owns creation vs. approval vs. publication vs. measurement?
Where can we make improvements?

Measure everything and apply the insights to refine your strategy. 

Remember the KPIs you set at the beginning of this process? It’s critical to always be tracking those so that your team can pivot as needed if goals aren’t within reach. Whether measuring engagement, conversion, audience, SEO, or social media metrics, have an always-on measurement approach in place and leverage those insights to refine your strategy as needed.

Starter questions to ask and answer

What’s our measurement strategy?
How often are we measuring?
Who is responsible for sharing results with other business functions?
When and how do we apply insights to our strategy?

Following these five steps and truly honing in on the basics that make content strategies successful will always be important, no matter how many industry changes and trends are on the horizon.

We know that content strategies are a big lift. That’s why Brightspot was designed to fit into your content strategy and publishing process, freeing content experts and creators to distribute content quickly to every channel without the need for IT.

Our platform streamlines the entire process by providing planning, collaboration, performance assessment, brand consistency and analytics features (to name a few) so that you can create content that resonates with your audience and more easily achieve your content marketing goals.

Interested in learning more about how Brightspot can help you create and execute a content strategy for your business? Let’s connect.

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