The holiday season is a special time of year. Many of us spend time with friends and family, give thanks for the things we have, and share gifts with our loved ones. But when you run a business, the holiday season is likely the busiest time of the year for you. Planning in advance and creating a holiday content marketing strategy can help take some of the stress out of the holiday season for your business.
Quality holiday content marketing can help you connect with your audience, appeal to new customers, and increase your brand awareness.
If you are unsure where to begin with your holiday content, this guide can help you get started.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Holiday Content Marketing Strategy?
If you’ve never put together a holiday content strategy or tracked the analytics of your holiday content, you might not realize that there are a number of benefits for your business. Here are a few:
1. Increases Demand for Your Products and Services
Consumers spend more during the holiday season than any other time of year. This naturally leads to an increased demand for products and services. With consumers in an active buying stage, this is an ideal time to roll out time-sensitive offers. These deals also work well with Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions and give customers an increased sense of urgency or a fear of missing out (FOMO).
With the right holiday content marketing strategy, you can showcase high-value products and cater to customers who are ready to buy or could be ready more quickly.
2. Improves Brand Awareness
With clever, memorable content during the holidays, you can give your brand awareness a boost. By creating customer-focused, engaging content for each holiday between Halloween and New Year’s Day, you can find a new target audience and build your loyal following.
3. Unleashes Your Creativity
Customers respond best to creative, relatable content. The holiday season is the perfect time of year to show off the more personable side of your business. This type of content presents the chance to add some fun to your brand image.
While you might not use this relaxed type of content any other time of year, the holidays give you more freedom to try new strategies and new content types. The addition of personality may earn you new customers and brand fans. So, don’t be afraid to take some risks. With so much holiday content out there, you don’t want to get lost in uninspired content.
4. Grows Your Business
With a creative holiday content marketing strategy, you can potentially attract and retain new customers. This makes the holiday season the ideal time for business growth. In addition, keep an eye on the performance of your content during the holiday season and then implement some of the strategies that perform well in other parts of the year. This will be especially important if you discover a new strategy for your content.
5. Offers Opportunities for New Product Launches
The holiday season gives many businesses the unique opportunity to release new products and services. That’s why you’ll often see big tech innovations come out near the holidays. Plus, many consumers enjoy holiday-themed products. If this is something your business can offer, consider releasing some limited-time products. Promote these new products on social media and through your other holiday content.
Customers who are drawn in by your fresh products might be enticed to stay and buy other non-holiday products. You’ll find this is true if the new product performs well for them.
12 Content Marketing Strategies to Try During the Holiday Season
Since most folks celebrate something during the winter holiday season, not having a content strategy for the holidays really isn’t an option. Take advantage of the buzz and popularity with a few different strategies. Here are 12 specific actions you can take to improve your holiday-themed content.
1. Start Early
You might still feel the lingering heat of the summer, even if the leaves have already started changing color. No matter what season it is, you can never start planning too early for your holiday content.
Do some market research to see what people are interested in this year, check out your competition’s content, you can even start planting hints of your upcoming content months in advance. It’s important to carve out plenty of time to craft creative, engaging content that will help you stand out from your competition, especially if your sales pick up in Q4.
2. Capitalize on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Consumers and businesses have long been conditioned to expect great deals and compelling offers during the holiday season. If it’s difficult for you to give customers a significant discount, think of a way to add value to your products or services. For example, if you are a B2B business, you could offer a free consultation with the purchase of a corresponding service.
Use the first tip and start teasing your Black Friday/Cyber Monday offers in advance through email marketing. This will build anticipation. Then make your deal even more enticing by offering it for a limited time. It’s a great idea to include a countdown timer on the offer page to increase the FOMO.
You could even take the opposite route like outdoor brand REI did with its #OptOutside campaign. It closed all its stores on Black Friday and encouraged people to head outside. Even though it was a controversial choice, it got people talking about the brand and made them a little more human.
3. Be Inclusive
While the holiday season is packed full of traditions, you should consider moving beyond the norm to be more inclusive with your content. Many customers will quickly turn away from a brand if they feel its messaging excludes certain groups.
Target did a great job of creating inclusive content with its 2021 holiday ad.
To be more inclusive with your holiday content, consider:
Staying neutral: Instead of focusing on and naming specific holidays, focus your content on themes of spending time with loved ones, the change of seasons, and the upcoming new year.
Highlighting diversity: With the incredible diversity in the United States, your brand has a great opportunity to include those who usually feel left out. Instead of marketing gifts “for him” and “for her,” find a more neutral way to categorize your products. You can also highlight lesser-known world holidays that many people celebrate in the United States.
Relieving stress: While some people are filled with “comfort and joy” during the holidays, others find it to be the most stressful time of the year. Whether it’s family issues or just the stress of planning, many folks find the holidays challenging. Your brand can offer holiday content that recognizes these difficult feelings while offering a bit of a break. Use humor, showcase your charitable giving, and show appreciation to your customers to help brighten their mood during the holidays.
4. Continue Offering Value
While some of your holiday content marketing might focus on your limited-time deals and promotions, you should continue offering the same level of valuable content you usually do. If you all share for weeks on end how to get the latest deals from your brand, you’ll find customers might start ignoring your content.
You can still produce value-rich content that deepens your relationship with your current customers and draws in new ones. Find a balance between value-driven and promotional content to maintain and build on the trust you worked hard to establish.
5. Get Personal
You spend most of the year maintaining the professional image of your brand. The holiday season gives you an opportunity to get more personal and show your customers who you really are. This is a great time of year to showcase your employees or show off the fun you have at your holiday office parties.
Consider creative content ideas like:
Having employees write letters to Santa
Sharing pictures of your holiday decorating content
Your CEO recording a personal message for your customers
Creating an online cookbook of holiday recipes
6. Share Some Humor
Many people don’t feel the holiday cheer because of family difficulties, seasonal depression, and the overall stress of the season. To brighten their spirits, consider sharing some holiday humor. Google did this exceptionally well in 2018 when it invited Macaulay Culkin to give a glimpse into adult Kevin McCallister’s life with the hilarious “Home Alone Again” campaign.
In the video, there are numerous updated shots of adult Kevin reenacting classic Home Alone scenes, but this time, with the help of modern Google aids.
While your brand might not have the same resources as Google, you can still create funny holiday content. Consider:
Awkward family photos in Christmas sweaters
A letter from your new CEO, Santa, and the changes he is making
A holiday content for your customers
7. Give Back to Your Community
While many of us share gifts with our loved ones during the holidays, there are people who do not have the money or resources to do so. Focus on the season of giving and share how your business is giving back.
There are countless opportunities for businesses to give back to their communities. If you don’t have one already, consider starting a charitable giving campaign or promoting regular volunteer hours with your employees. You can also partner with local nonprofit organizations to find specific ways you can help. Try to find a group that aligns with your values. Perhaps there is a local homeless shelter in need of blankets or a food bank struggling to meet the needs of the community.
Share your charitable efforts in your content and invite your customers and readers to participate in their own way. Be sure your charitable activities and the message you share are authentic.
8. Look Back at Your Year
Whether you love or hate the “year in review,” it is a great way to connect with your audience and show how your brand has grown. To make your year-in-review message resonate, consider these tips:
Use visuals: Reading thousands of words of straight text can be tiresome. Break up your content with pictures, infographics, or even videos.
Focus on your customers: While the review is about your business, it is really about your customers. How did your customers affect your brand this year? Do they influence product changes? Find ways to make them feel recognized and appreciated.
Tell a story: While you are focusing on highlights from the past year, make sure you are telling a cohesive story. Lead your readers through an exciting year and invite them to continue their journey with you next year.
Spotify has become a master of this strategy with its “wrapped” concept. It showcases the best and most popular audio content from the past year.
9. Have an Omnichannel Content Strategy
You don’t have to start from scratch with your holiday content marketing strategy. There may be topics you can repurpose either from previous years or from one platform to another. For example, let’s say you had a popular blog post. You can take that blog and break it into multiple Instagram posts or even a marketing email. You could even expand on a popular topic and produce an e-book.
A diverse, omnichannel content strategy will organically lead customers from one platform to the next while telling a complete story. This is a valuable strategy to use all year, not just during the holidays.
10. Start a Tradition
Do you have a product or service that could be slightly modified to fit the season? If so, this is a good time to start a holiday tradition that your customers look forward to every year. For example, every year Starbucks releases red cups for the holidays. These cups signal the return of some of their seasonal drinks and for some people, it can be a hotly debated topic, especially when they changed to a two-tone design.
11. Start a “12 Days” or “24 Days” Campaign
Many businesses capitalize on feelings of anticipation and play on the classic “12 Days of Christmas” song with a “12 Days” campaign. What you do or offer during those 12 days will depend on your business. Perhaps you release a new limited-time deal each day or host a customer giveaway. You could even put a charitable spin on it and make a new charitable donation each day.
One way to up the ante is by tying your donation to the amount of audience feedback you get. These types of promotions can be very compelling. One study from Deloitte showed that 81% of consumers expect to be influenced by holiday promotions.
Another option is to use the theme of a 24-day advent calendar. Did you know the first chocolate-filled advent calendar was invented by Cadbury in 1958 (thank you, Cadbury!). Since then, many people love the anticipation of opening a new door each day and getting a treat. Offer your customers a daily surprise for 24 days, and you will likely get a positive response.
12. Create a Holiday Content Calendar
Once you have your list of holiday content marketing strategies, you should organize it into a calendar. With a content calendar, you space out certain types of content and schedule when you will publish each piece.
You also need to consider the time it takes to write, produce, and edit each piece of content. Include these dates in your calendar, too.
Get Quality Holiday Content Crafted by Experts
You might be good at running your business, but not so good at writing killer content. That’s okay. You need a professional content writing agency that knows how to create high-ranking content without sacrificing quality. When you choose Express Writers, that is exactly what you’ll get. We’re ready to help you implement your holiday content marketing strategy.
Our team of writers is the best in the industry. We offer a wide variety of package options, whether you want a one-time blog or a full suite of custom content.
88% of online shoppers reported that they wouldn’t return to a website if they previously had a bad user experience. Yet only 55% of companies currently conduct user experience testing on their sites.
You may not realize it, but user experience could make or break your website. Meanwhile, many companies fail to see if their sites function properly and are easy to use. Without testing, your website could unintentionally be scaring away tons of potential customers.
So, what’s the secret to creating a website that people want to visit and explore?
You implement a content-first design that allows the high-quality content you create to be the focus.
But wait! What exactly is a content-first design? And why is that so important to the overall experience your website offers to its users? That’s what we’re sharing in this post.
What is a Content-First Design?
A content-first design is one that prioritizes the content hosted on a website. Instead of designing and building a website and then filling it with content, you need to determine what kind of content the site will feature beforehand. Then, you shape the web design around that.
This is beyond just thinking about a generic blog post. You’ll want to consider things like the photos on your site, whether or not you’ll use charts or tables, and even if you’ll embed videos. When designing your site, you’ll want to consider all of these types of content.
Think about it like building a house. You aren’t going to start building the house without first knowing how many rooms it’ll contain and where each one will go. You’d map out the interior before you begin building. Think of your content as the interior and the beautiful web design as the exterior.
When you focus on the content first, you ensure your message is effective and can stand on its own. The design is merely complementary. Whereas, if you opt to design your website before considering your content, you could wind up spending extra resources redesigning various web pages to work with your content. You may even find yourself making changes to your content to accommodate a design you already have. And, in doing so, you compromise the quality of your content.
How a Content-First Design Improves Your Website UX
Armed with a better understanding of content-first design, you may still be wondering how this is helpful. Well, there are a few reasons why prioritizing your content will improve the overall user experience a visitor has when exploring your site. Here are a few:
1. People Are Visiting Your Site for the Content Anyway
The content you’ve created is why people are accessing your site in the first place. They clicked a link and opened your web page because of the promise of valuable content. They may have come across you via a Google search because you carefully used keywords in your blog post so you’d rank higher in an effort to attract readers. Or maybe they found you via social media and clicked a link to read your latest blog.
However they found you, they went to your site to consume the content you worked hard to create. They aren’t there to admire your stunning site design. They’re on your site to be informed, learn, or maybe even for entertainment purposes. So, if a user is accessing your site specifically to enjoy your content, shouldn’t that be enough to make it your number one priority?
When you direct your attention to the reason people visit your site, you can ensure the whole experience is enjoyable. Take a moment and pull up your own site to check out your latest piece of content. Is the experience a positive one? Or could improvements be made? If you can’t be impartial, ask someone to give you honest feedback so you can fix any issues you may have.
2. Your Website and Content Will Work Perfectly Together
As mentioned above, you don’t want to design your website only to find out later that your content doesn’t fit. If this happens, you’ll wind up spending additional resources, like time and money, to redesign elements of your site. That’s simply not practical. Nor do you want your content to suffer because you had to make it work with an existing design that isn’t cutting it.
Creating a powerful user experience with a content-first design means the elements should complement each other. Done right, your site will be a joy for visitors to explore. They’ll be able to easily navigate your site, effortlessly finding what they’re looking for. They’ll be able to read landing pages, fill out forms, and make purchases with zero hassle.
3. It’s a Reminder to Prioritize Accessibility
When you focus on a content-first design, you’re reminded to make sure everything you publish is accessible to all visitors. Sometimes this gets overlooked because we forget that not everyone has the same abilities as we do. People who have vision or hearing impairments may visit your website and be unable to consume your content if you haven’t taken the proper steps to ensure accessibility.
To do this, test if a screen reader can read your latest blog post aloud. Add transcripts for audio files and include captions on videos. Taking these extra steps goes a long way in showing your site visitors that you care. Plus, it gives them a reason to keep coming back in the future.
4. It’ll Help Your SEO in the Long Run
Google doesn’t just consider your content when its algorithms decide where you’ll rank in the search results. Your web design is a factor, too. Having an SEO-friendly website is crucial because Google doesn’t want to send its searchers to poorly designed, difficult to navigate, or slow-to-load sites. And, don’t forget that it should be mobile-friendly too. A great web design built around your content will be beneficial in increasing organic traffic.
Creating Your Content-First Design
Now, the question is how do you create a content-first design? It might sound overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be. Luckily, we have a few tips to help you start this process. But if you’ve already built your site, don’t worry. You can still implement these tips to make some changes to your site if needed.
Here’s the advice you’ll want to keep in mind:
Map Out Your Content Strategy:First, it’s wise to conduct an audit of the content already on your website (if you have one). This way, you get a clear picture of the content you’ve previously published. You’ll also want to determine what kind of content you’ll share in the future. Will you primarily focus on blogs? And if so, what will those blog posts feature? What about your landing pages? They may have imagery, charts, or even videos embedded. You’ll want to consider all these elements so you can create a site design that accommodates that.
Identify Existing Site Issues:If you already have a website and aren’t starting from scratch, you’ll need to spend some time to see if there are any areas that need improvement. Are there any known usability issues? Make a note of these problems so you can fix them in the next iteration of your site. This way, you won’t have to worry about them later.
Begin Creating Content:Then, you can begin the content creation phase and develop valuable, high-quality content based on what your audience is searching for. As you do, format the content how you’d like it to look when published. This means you’ll want to add headings, lists, images, etc. This will give you a visual of what your site design needs to be created around.
Once the Content is Finalized, Create Your Design: The final step is to move into the design phase. It should pair nicely with your content and match your company’s branding while appealing to your target audience. Make it an enjoyable experience. That’s why it’s so important to understand what resonates with your audience so you can create a site they’ll love.
Doing all of this ensures you’re providing a great experience to anyone that visits your website. If you’re not sure your site is up to your standards, ask someone to visit and offer honest feedback. It’s the best way to get an accurate view of how accessible and user-friendly everything is. Then, you’ll know if you need to make changes.
Put Your Content First With Express Writers
If you’re ready to get serious about creating a content-first design, then invest in a high-quality content agency at Express Writers. Our team is passionate about creating valuable blog posts, web pages, and more to help you serve your audience. We’re here to help with all of your content needs!
Did you know the Express Writers team is filled with carefully handpicked content creators? In addition to our behind-the-scenes team, our expert content writers are passionate about producing quality content. And we couldn’t be more grateful!
With the help of our team, we have had the privilege to serve over 5,000 clients, ultimately completing more than 40,000 projects since the company was founded in 2011. We couldn’t have reached such great success without an incredible team on our side.
But if you haven’t worked with us yet, you might be curious about those managing everything behind the scenes on the Express Writers team. For instance, who exactly is involved in the content creation process? And how can you learn more about the team you’re trusting to create your content?
To help you get to know us, we’re sharing a little about the team members who are directly involved in fulfilling your content orders. Plus, we’re giving you details about the writers on our team and introducing you to the team members that keep things running smoothly here at Express Writers.
Who is Involved in the Express Writers Process?
Every order placed inside our Content Shop is handled with care. That’s why we have a human team handling every aspect of bringing your content to life. There’s no automated process assigning a project to whichever writer happens to be available. Instead, everything is carefully assigned thanks to some thoughtful planning by our Content Manager.
Here’s a look at the Express Writers team members who are directly involved in creating your content:
Content Manager: Once you place your order, our Content Manager reviews the details of your project based on the input form you’ve submitted. This information allows the Content Manager to assign your content to the writer who would be the ideal fit based on their areas of expertise, content writing level, and the format of the requested content. Doing this ensures our clients are always matched with the writer who will deliver the best results possible.
Writer: After a project is assigned, it’s in the hands of one of our expert writers. Our writers are skilled and able to create content in a wide array of formats. We have writers trained to craft blog articles, social media posts, ebooks, press releases, and just about anything your brand could need to stand out online. That’s because we want to serve you in any way we can!
Editor: When a draft of your content has been submitted, our editors take over. All of our editors go through extensive internal training under our leadership team so they can meet your brand guidelines every time. They fine-tune your content and correct any errors. Should significant changes need to be made, they’ll send it back to the writer to make final changes. Otherwise, our team will send it over for your approval.
We take great pride in this process because we know it works. Not only does this ensure client satisfaction by pairing you with the best writer for the job, but it keeps our writers happy as well. After all, writers who are passionate about the content they’re creating craft the best articles.
About the Writers on Our Team
Let’s take a moment and talk about the writers on the Express Writers team. We want to ensure quality with every client project, so it’s important that we hire experienced and knowledgeable writers. That’s why we carefully review each application we receive and hire those we know will be an asset to our team.
Our writers are based in the U.S. and are all native English speakers. They’re excellent with grammar and spelling, so you can rest easy knowing you won’t need to make any edits to the finished project you receive. They also understand SEO best practices to ensure your content is properly optimized. And they’re passionate about learning and evolving their skills.
One of our focuses is hiring writers with niche and highly specialized backgrounds. These writers have years of on-the-job experience and advanced degrees in fields from legal and finance to marketing and real estate. Rest assured that your content is in good hands with these industry specialists.
Not only that, but we also offer industry-leading training for our writers so they have the opportunity to strengthen their writing skills over time. By staying updated with industry best practices, our writers can produce captivating, high-quality content every single time.
Get to Know the Express Writers Team
The tricky thing about working with a remote team is that you don’t usually get the opportunity to meet them in person. We strive to put people first, so we want to put a face to the name of the folks you’ll work with. On our Who We Are page, you’ll see a sampling of some of the Express Writers team members, but here are a few that you definitely need to know:
Adam Oakley, CEO
Adam Oakley took over the role as Express Writers CEO in 2021 after our founder, Julia McCoy, stepped down to pursue other career opportunities. Adam brings more than 20 years of experience in various executive roles to the Express Writers team. He has previously worked in manufacturing, technology, and professional service businesses.
Not only that, but he also has prior experience running the marketing department for a large manufacturing company. He’s even been part of the leadership team for a global technology provider, where he focused on business operations, scaling the worldwide group, and developing the client service model for a $30 million company.
His leadership and management skills make him a natural CEO for Express Writers. Since taking over the role, he’s fully immersed himself in our company culture, taking the time to meet directly with various team members, establish a relationship with them, and ensure a smooth transition. It’s his mission to expand on EW’s success, helping us to make an even greater impact on the world of online content.
Alicia Oakley, COO
Alicia Oakley became our COO in 2021. After 20 years of experience across different fields, including education, real estate, and entrepreneurship, Alicia is now lending her expertise to Express Writers. She even brings along a Master’s degree in education. Her mission as COO is to guide our team to the next level, as it’s one of the things she’s most passionate about in her career.
Much like Adam, Alicia didn’t hesitate to jump in and familiarize herself with the core members of the Express Writers team after coming on board. By taking the time to get to know the existing team, she has been able to identify areas for improvement, which will ultimately propel our agency to even greater success and massive growth.
Outside of Express Writers, Alicia enjoys spending time with her four children, traveling, reading, and expanding her real estate portfolio.
Korilynn VanDyke, Content Manager
Korilynn VanDyke has what is arguably one of the most important behind-the-scenes roles on the Express Writers team. As our Content Manager, she matches our clients to the writer that’s best suited to their project to ensure quality with every piece of content our team creates. She also oversees the support team and our project deadlines to keep things running smoothly.
Considering Korilynn has had a passion for writing since her elementary school days, it’s no wonder she found herself as part of our team. She’s been writing professionally for over 12 years now, so it’s safe to say she knows a thing or two about great content. As a member of the Express Writers team since almost the beginning, her experience and industry knowledge make her invaluable as we continue to grow.
When she’s not working, you can typically find her spending time with her husband and three children.
Nicole Inge, Client Success and Marketing Coordinator
If you’ve ever reached out to us to get help with placing an order, you’ve most likely talked to Nicole. As our Client Specialist, she answers all of your important content-related questions. She can help you choose the right content for your needs and assist you in purchasing from our Content Shop.
Additionally, Nicole coordinates our marketing efforts. She works on our marketing campaigns, writes copy for the site, and edits and updates our blog each week. Combining her knowledge of client needs with her marketing background helps EW reach more folks who need high-quality content, which she thinks is the best part of her job.
Nicole has been passionate about writing since she was 13. This interest led her to get a Bachelor’s in creative writing in 2016. She also completed her MFA in poetry in May of 2020. While in grad school, Nicole also worked in the marketing department for a book festival and as an editor for a literary journal, giving her tons of experience that she’s able to utilize here at Express Writers.
Let Express Writers Handle Your Content Creation
Now that you’ve learned more about the Express Writers team, let us handle your content creation. Our team can create everything from blogs and social media posts to marketing materials such as press releases. Whatever you’re looking for, our team of expert writers is ready and willing to tackle your project!
We have to agree. To stand out online, the best way to do that is through your content.
While many marketers recognize the importance of great content, not everyone is in the same boat. Sometimes it takes some extra convincing to get people on board with the investment, for instance, those higher-ups on your team. For those who understand the value of content, we know it’s worth the commitment to show up consistently with irresistible blogs and social media posts.
However, if you’re someone who needs a little extra convincing, this post shares the benefits of content for business. This way, you’ll see the value in content planning and creation.
5 Benefits of Content for Business
Here are five benefits you can expect for your business when you get serious about content creation:
1. By Optimizing Content, You’ll Become More Visible Online
It’s not enough to publish content on your blog. You need to take extra steps to optimize your content so you stand a better chance at ranking high in search results. When you rank on the first page, for example, you’re going to see a significant boost in traffic.
That extra traffic will generate more awareness for your brand, meaning more people will know who you are and what you do. As people begin to see you and your content everywhere, they’ll be more inclined to purchase your products or services over a competitor.
2. Great Content Gives Your Audience a Reason to Come Back
A key element of success is getting people to return time and time again. You don’t want them to visit your website, then leave and never return. Once your target audience discovers you through an initial piece of great content, they’ll want to keep coming back for more. Provide value and address their pain points, and you’ll soon become their go-to resource.
3. It’ll Help You Build Trust and Authority
Building the Know, Like, and Trust Factor (also known as the KLT Factor) is an essential element in your success when growing an online business. People do business with those they trust. However, you can’t build trust without first helping your audience to get to know you and start liking you. And the best way to do that is through the content you share.
Focus on publishing quality content around the topics that interest people in your target audience. In time, they’ll begin to see you know what you’re talking about, positioning you as an authority in your field. Trust builds from there because they’ll start to realize they can always count on you for reliable, informative content.
4. Content Can Lead to More Sales
One of the benefits of content for business is that it can increase sales and profits. For instance, a simple call to action at the end of a blog post can lead potential buyers to check out your products and services. It’s easy to implement, but it can spark massive change within your business when revenue skyrockets.
We even have a great case study from one of our past clients, Marketing Labs UK. After partnering with Express Writers, they boosted an agency client’s revenue by a 77% increase year-over-year. And it all stemmed from our team writing new product descriptions!
5. It’s an Affordable Way to Market Your Business
If content creation isn’t your strong suit, there’s no need to worry. Outsourcing the writing to a skilled team lets you focus on other important tasks within your business. When you work with Express Writers, you get access to our vetted team of writers while netting savings in HR costs and employing writers.
You can also save on advertising costs because people can find your business from organic searches rather than PPC campaigns. These searches bring in traffic without you having to lift a finger, simply delegate to an expert in your industry and let the writing do the work.
Let Us Create Content for Your Business
Inside our Content Shop, you’ll find all our available services, including blog posts and social media content. Those two content formats are essential to standing out online and attracting the right people your way.
Get in touch with any questions and learn how we help with your content needs. Then visit the Content Shop to see how our expert writers can serve you.
Content alone will do nothing to improve your marketing results.
(But you know that.)
Pushing out content with no direction, no strategy, no purpose, no goals, and no targeted audience will just end up wasting time and money – even if your content is beyond incredible!
So, that begs the question –
What does your content need behind it to truly have an impact on your audience, bottom line, and web presence?
What does your content need behind it to work well in a post-pandemic world?
You guessed it: a digital content strategy. ?
I repeat: To work, your content needs some kindof digital content strategy in place. Without that solid foundation, your blog posts, articles, ebooks, web pages, guest blogs, and more will go to waste.
Yes, it’s a lot of extra effort. You’ll need to put in time and money to get a strategy crafted and set up.
But… it’s worth it. Why?
As you’ll soon see, the numbers don’t lie. A digital content strategy is essential to any content marketing endeavor. It’s what differentiates the successful from the unsuccessful. Plus, you can bet your bottom dollar your competitor has a strategy, especially that brand with the content you’re constantly jealous over. ?
Now that you understand that a digital content strategy is 1000% necessary, let’s dig into a clear definition of what it entails. Then we’ll jump straight to a master plan for building your own profitable digital content strategy. Ready?
The 6-Step Master Plan to Building a Profitable Digital Content Strategy
1. Understand the Key Fundamentals and Foundations of Digital Content Strategy
Know Your Content Goals
Know Your Content Differentiation Factor (CDF)
Know Your Topic Area(s)
2. Understand Your Audience
Do Audience Research
Create Audience Personas for Your Content Strategy
3. Know How SEO Fits into a Digital Content Strategy
Research Targeted Keywords Your Ideal Buyer Is Searching
4. Build and Solidify Your Online Authority on Your Website
5. Create Content the Right Way
Optimize Your Content with Keywords
Find a Workflow that Works
Map Your Audience Persona to the Marketing Lifecycle
Map Content Topics to Your Content Goals
Guest Blog Strategically
6. Set Up Processes to Manage & Maintain Your Content
Budget for Your Major Content Activities
Promote Your Content
Maintain Your Digital Content Strategy
What Is a Digital Content Strategy? & What Is It Worth?
The simplest way to think of a digital content strategy is to imagine it as the engine of a car.
The car represents your content marketing. The engine that drives your content marketing is the digital content strategy. It moves your content marketing forward, pushing it in the right direction. It gives your content its power and impact. ?
Last but certainly not least, the digital strategy gives your content a purpose – and gives YOU a way to reach ROI.
Without a strategy, your content will remain stuck in the mud. And you’ll end up with a ton of unwanted facepalm moments.
The digital content strategy is also a lot like a map. It tells you the direction to take your content to best appeal to your ideal audience, so you always know how to get to ROI. This includes:
Where to publish content
How often to publish
Where to share/promote/distribute it
The style/voice to use in your content
The audience niche you’re writing to
Your content budget
Your topic areas and target keywords
Marketers who forge ahead without a strategy are literally traveling without a map. It’s no wonder they end up lost more often than not.
This is what the numbers say about using a digital content strategy for your content marketing:
Without a strategy, you’re paddling upstream. According to CMI’s 2021 B2B Content Marketing Report, 63% of marketers blamed “content creation challenges” for their organization’s lack of success in the past 12 months. (Conversely, with a strategy in place, you take the guesswork out of content creation.)
Another 51% said they had general “strategy issues.” (Correctly done, a digital strategy should work seamlessly, on repeat.)
79% of content marketers have a digital content strategy in place, either documented or undocumented. 17% don’t have one, but plan to create one within the year. Only 4% have no strategy with zero plans to create one in the future. (That says a lot about the importance marketers place on strategy, even if their grasp on strategy is shaky.)
Some of the benefits of a documented digital content strategy:
It aligns your team around your mission/goals.
It helps you figure out which types of content to develop.
It keeps your team focused on priorities.
It helps you allocate resources for better results.
It clarifies your target audience(s).
And of course… it helps you actually measure and see PROFITS and growth.
Time and again, when marketers implement a strategy (or tweak the one they have for the better), their content improves. And, when their content improves, their marketing improves as a whole. ♥
The 6 Essential Steps to Build a Digital Content Strategy
How do you build a digital content strategy that gets results? There are 6 steps to putting all the pieces of this framework in place. Let’s take a look at how it all comes together.
1. Understand the Key Fundamentals and Foundations of Digital Content Strategy
You can’t build your digital content strategy without these key fundamentals. Start here and get these solid before you move forward.
A. Know Your Content Goals
What do you hope to gain from content marketing? These are your content goals, and they should drive your entire content strategy. Identify goals first before you do anything else.
B. Know Your Content Differentiation Factor (CDF)
Before you can assemble the other pieces of your strategy, you have to have one key fundamental in hand. I call this your Content Differentiation Factor, or CDF for short.
This factor is what separates you or your client’s brand from the billions of others out there on the internet. It answers these questions:
What sets you apart from your competitors?
How do you help your customers/audience differently?
How do you help them better than anybody else in your industry?
Once you have a handle on your CDF, you can dive into which topic areas you will own for content creation. That’s a HUGE part of any good digital content strategy.
C. Know Your Topic Area(s)
Content marketing is all about giving your audience value and information in the form of blogs and articles, images, infographics, videos, ebooks, white papers, and more. When you provide accurate, reliable, trustworthy content, time and time again, you build trust with your people.
Of course, if you’re going to provide all of these resources, you need something to write/talk about. It can’t be just any random topic, though. It has to be:
Relevant to what you sell
Relevant to your audience
Related to your industry expertise
I call this your topic area – the place where what your audience wants and your expertise collide.
Your key topic area is a broad umbrella under which lots of other related topics live.
Example: If your expertise is “selling running shoes,” you don’t have to limit your content to that topic alone. Lots of connected, related topics will lead your target audience to you, too:
2. Understand Your Audience
The next question that should be on your radar when creating a digital content strategy:
If you’re thinking “Wow, I have NO IDEA,” you need to do audience research, STAT.
A. Do Audience Research
Audience research is an indispensable activity to do when you’re forming your digital content strategy. This helps you get to know your targets on a deep, personal level without any guesswork. (Because if you only guess at what your ideal audience is like, you’ll probably miss the mark!)
My #1 tip for audience research is to simply talk to them. That’s right – sit down and have an old-fashioned conversation with your ideal customer, whether over the phone, on Skype, or at your favorite coffee shop.
Pick their brain, get to know them, and find out what makes them tick. This type of research will be monumentally helpful when you go on to create your audience persona.
B. Create Audience Personas for Your Content Strategy
An audience persona is like a cheat sheet that tells you all of the important facts, stats, and demographics about your ideal customer. This little tool not only helps you remember your audience is made up of living, breathing people – it also helps you stay hyper-focused on who you’re talking to in your content. It might look like this:
How do you create a persona? Ask lots of personal questions about your buyer. This is a good example of a persona development checklist from WiredImpact. This is specifically for nonprofits, but many of the questions can apply to any type of brand or industry:
3. Know How SEO Fits In
Your ideal buyer is searching on Google for information. Targeting the keywords your online leads are typing into the search bar means they will discover you that much quicker.
That’s called search engine optimization (SEO), and it’s a major piece of any digital content strategy.
SEO begins with keyword research.
A. Research Targeted Keywords Your Ideal Buyer Is Searching
Keyword research is how you find those key terms and phrases your ideal buyer is searching for on Google.
Your best bet is to find long-tail keywords (3 or more words in length) with low competition (usually meaning a keyword difficulty score – KD – of less than 50; i.e. still “easy” or “possible” to rank for that term) and highly relevant to your brand/industry. I call this your “sweet spot.”
Some of my favorite keyword research tools are KWFinder and SEMrush. This is what a possible keyword looks like in KWFinder:
To find your own highly relevant, low-competition keywords:
Start with broad seed keywords that describe your industry niche. (Example: “content marketing”)
Add onto those terms to make them long-tail. (Example: “content marketing in 2021”)
Look at the keyword variations your tool suggests.
Check keyword difficulty and search volume. Weed out the keywords that are too hard to rank for/have too much competition.
4. Build and Solidify Your Online Authority on Your Website
Building up your online presence and authority has a ripple effect:
It demonstrates your expertise in your industry.
It builds trust with your audience, transforming them from visitors to leads to customers.
It builds your website’s domain authority (DA).
It generates valuable backlinks to your website (which helps your content climb the rankings).
All of these positive effects are essential to profitable content marketing. That’s why ironing out how you will build your online authority is a must-do when you build your digital content strategy.
Where will you focus on building your authority?
What’s the main web address that will be associated with your brand?
Where will all outside links to your content point to?
The answer to all of these questions is what I call your content house.
This is your content basecamp, where you will host and publish all of your content pieces, landing pages, and blogs. It will be the main focus of your digital content strategy efforts.
Build content on your own land (your website) versus proprietary platforms (Facebook, Medium, Blogger, etc.). Outside platforms come and go, and your control over the content you post is never guaranteed. In contrast, you have total control over your own website, and your content will be there as long as you maintain it.
Some other tips for building your online authority:
Keep your website updated and fresh. Blogging helps with this!
Make sure the design is user-friendly, including links, navigation, and images.
Here it is: the nitty-gritty part of your digital content strategy. Content creation is truly the heart of the whole shebang.
Luckily, you already did a lot of the dirty work by going through steps 1-4. Having your target audience + personas in hand as well as relevant keywords, your topic area(s), and your content goals will make content creation a snap.
A. Optimize Your Content with Keywords
Remember those keywords you found via strategic keyword research? It’s time to put them into action.
Sprinkled throughout, including synonymous keywords
B. Find a Workflow That Works
To create great content consistently, you need a proven workflow that works every time.
Your workflow can and should stem from your digital content strategy. Lay out the key steps you’ll take each and every time you sit down to create content, and the process will flow much easier. Include these three basic steps:
Ideation – Come up with content ideas that fall within your topic area(s) and match up with your content goals. Do it regularly so you never have to face a blank mind and a blank computer screen. (See “Map Content Topics to Your Content Goals,” below.)
Creation – Write, research, draft, and edit your content. In this stage, you’ll also add images, optimize with keywords, and potentially collaborate with other writers, editors, and graphic designers.
Preparation – Schedule your content to publish strategically. Use an editorial calendar to organize your posting schedule. Start thinking of where you can distribute and promote your content besides your content house.
C. Map Your Audience Persona to the Marketing Lifecycle
Remember the audience persona from step 2 of building our digital content strategy? Don’t just write for them. Write for where they currently stand in the marketing lifecycle.
This will help you create content that’s ultra-targeted, that speaks to your buyer’s deepest pain points. You’ll be addressing them right where it hurts and offering help – and that’s beyond powerful.
The modern marketing lifecycle looks like this. Note that it includes a key stage, Loyalty:
Check out this post on the marketing lifecycle to read about what each stage means for your buyer. Once you figure out what stage your persona is in, you can map that stage to a type of content you should create for them, or an action you should take to help them move to the next stage.
Use the marketing lifecycle in tandem with the next section (5.D. – mapping content topics to goals) for content that packs a punch.
D. Map Content Topics to Your Content Goals
What’s the best way to ensure the content you create moves you closer to your goals and ROI?
When your content topics connect to your goals. In other words, your content should always serve a purpose. It shouldn’t just exist – it needs to do something to get you closer to your idea of success.
I rely on my three-bucket topic strategy to make sure my content aligns with my goals. Here’s how it works:
I visualize my major brand goals for my digital content strategy as 3 different buckets:
Build SEO rankings
Build sales & connections
Build brand awareness
Every single content piece I create needs to fit inside at least one of these goal buckets. If a content topic idea doesn’t fit into one of these buckets, I throw it in the trash and move on to the next idea.
Guest blogging is an activity that majorly builds your online authority. When you guest blog strategically, it will lead the host blog’s audience (which should overlap with your target audience) straight to your content house, like so:
When approaching guest blogging opportunities as part of your digital content strategy, remember to:
Only approach guest blog publications that are directly related to your brand/industry, for which you share a target audience.
Familiarize yourself with the publication’s posting guidelines, and follow them to the letter.
Contact a real, live human from the publication about guest posting for a better chance at a “yes.” This is usually an editor or managing editor.
6. Set Up Processes to Manage & Maintain Your Content
The final parts of setting up your digital content strategy include setting your budget, planning for content promotion, and generally keeping your content marketing momentum going strong into the future.
This means you MUST set up ongoing processes geared toward managing and maintaining the content you publish.
A. Budget for Your Major Content Activities
To carry out your digital content strategy, you’ll need to depend on some outside resources and investments, such as:
Tools and software for keyword research, topic research, email marketing, etc.
Tools and software for tracking and measuring your content performance
As such, you should budget for everything you plan to use to make your content strategy work. And, if you think you can save money by skimping or going without some essentials (tools and software, for example), think again.
Going without will put you at a distinct disadvantage next to your competitors. Remember, content is a long-term investment that only comes through with patience and dedication. According to Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute, seeing success and ROI from content can take as long as 12-18 months WITH all the necessary investment and commitment. That means, if you skimp and implement wimpy content marketing, you may never see success at all.
Bottom line: INVEST and PERSIST with content!
B. Promote Your Content
SEO is only one way your target audience may discover your content. Along with this, you should come up with ways to promote and distribute your content to get as many eyes on it as possible. This might include:
Auditing your content for quality and freshness – Eventually, lots of your old blogs and content pieces will get outdated with stale information or old quality standards. Updating these posts is a great idea for your digital content strategy. It ensures your content always aligns with your goals, mission, and standards.
Tracking and measuring – You will have no idea what kind of effect content marketing has on your brand presence and revenue if you don’t track and measure it. According to Content Marketing Institute, a few KPIs (key performance indicators) to hone in on include: