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A content strategy plan being worked on by two colleagues in front of a computer.

The latest research reveals that 64% of flourishing B2B companies have a clearly defined content strategy plan. This statistic uncovers a deeper truth about successful brands.

They're not just throwing together content and hoping it works—they've got a foolproof plan.

Content no longer sits in the background, waiting to be noticed. It's essential to the success of businesses today—whether you're a small startup or an established brand. Any B2B brand that's got an eye-catching marketing strategy is guided by a powerful content strategy plan.

Content Strategy Takes Front Seat

While most organizations understand the value of content, SEMRush reported that 66 percent of businesses acknowledge having a clear-cut content marketing plan in place. But not all companies get it right when it comes to content strategy. Instead of content being a priority, it's often an afterthought in branding efforts.

But, if you want high-quality content that engages readers and drives results, content development must be front and center in your marketing strategy. It requires meticulous planning and regular review. And if you get it right—you'll better understand your audience and their needs.

In this article, we'll give you the basics of laying out your own content strategy plan that builds authentic connections with your customers.

Whether you're starting from the ground up or need to introduce fresh ideas into your existing plan, this article will get you started on shaping an effective and winning content plan.

What is content strategy?

Content strategy is a plan for creating, distributing, and managing content. Content includes everything from what's on your website to what you share on social media—blogs, vlogs, webinars, podcasts, videos, research papers, the list goes on.

At the forefront of your content strategy are your business goals, your audience, and marketing objectives. It's a roadmap to deliver valuable content and track if it's doing its job and driving conversions.

A young person looking at social media in bed.

Who's involved with planning a content strategy?

Content strategy doesn't fall on one person's shoulders—it's typically a team effort. It’s a collaboration between writers, editors, SEO experts, marketing strategists, content managers, and graphic designers. Together they plan, produce, and launch a full spectrum of content consistent with your brand strategy and relevant to your audience.

7 Steps to Create a Highly Effective Content Strategy Plan

While content has become increasingly irresistible to audiences, it wasn't until the pandemic that content consumption really skyrocketed. The disruption of 2020 increased content usage by 207%, and people are now left thirsty for more. There's never been a better time to begin the groundwork for a content strategy.

Here are the steps to planning a top-notch content strategy.

01—Set goals.

Every brand measures content marketing success differently. For example, over 60% of marketers measure the success of their content strategy through sales. However, a recent survey of B2C marketers reported the top three goals content marketing helps them to accomplish are building trust, cultivating brand awareness, and educating their target audience.

However you decide to measure content success, it's critical that you define your goals. The best content is created with a specific purpose in mind and has a way to measure its performance.

Plan S.M.A.R.T. goals that align with your business objectives, and don't assume that content is the best solution for every marketing achievement. For example, if you're looking to drive direct sales for your product, content may not be the best solution, but it might be effective at generating leads.

02—Identify your target audience.

Who are you creating content for? What do they want to learn? How do they prefer to consume content?

You need to understand your audience before you can create content that they'll love. Dig deep into their demographics and their interests and create buyer personas—these describe your ideal customers and what motivates them. A buyer persona can give you a better idea of what type of content your customers are looking for and how you can deliver it.

03—Decide on what content types you will create.

Right now, the most popular types of content being created by marketing teams include videos, blogs, and images. But that doesn't mean other types of content, like case studies or podcasts, might not work for your content strategy.

Decide what content makes the most sense based on your goals and target audience. Don't just create content because it's trendy—for example, if your target audience is retirees looking for Medicare information, videos on Tik Tok may not be the most effective content type. However, an ebook with information on Medicare plan options and how to sign up might be more compelling.

A content creator making a video.

04—Perform a content audit.

Most brands produce a wide range of types of content. But not all of it is working as well as it should. Some content just sits there, getting no views, shares, or engagement. Don't wait for content to fail before you make changes.

Content audits help you identify content that's performing well and which content needs a facelift. Once you've nailed down which types of content are getting you better results, you can steer the direction of your content strategy toward content that's driving results.

05—Check the competition.

Don't develop content in a silo. Take time to see what content your competitors produce and if it's working for them. Perform a competitive marketing analysis by asking questions like—

  • What types of content do they create?

  • How often do they post content?

  • What gets the most likes, shares, or engagement?

  • Where could my brand fill in content gaps?

Answering these questions can generate content ideas and help you decide how to differentiate your brand.

06—Measure the results.

Once you've developed content and it's been published or posted, you need to find out how it's performing against your goals.

How many people are engaging with your content? Which content pieces are generating the most leads? Does your audience like your content, and why?

Content tracking tools provide metrics on how content is performing and if it's helping you reach your content goals. Here are a few metrics to consider tracking.

  • Consumption Data—These are factors like page views, unique visitors, bounce rate, and average time on each page. Answers to these questions will help you gauge if a blog post brought a lot of readers to your website or if a social media post generated enough engagement to justify the cost.

  • Social Sharing Data—How often your content is shared on social media can tell you a lot about content engagement. Look at what types of content are shared most frequently and on what social channels they perform the best.

  • Leads Data—These metrics will show you how content pieces are driving leads, such as newsletter sign-ups or product purchases. Content may need to be tweaked at each stage of the sales funnel for a specific audience.

  • Sales Data—For most brands, the ultimate goal of content is to boost revenue. Check content pieces that are directly related to sales, such as the content on product pages, pricing options, and customer reviews.

A content team member looking over performance metrics on her computer.

07—Analyze and optimize efforts regularly.

One of the top challenges brands face with content strategy is attracting quality leads with their content. A content strategy plan requires more than a one-time approach to content creation. It's an ongoing process and only part of your sales funnel.

Regular content audits, optimization, and measurement can help you ensure your content is generating traffic, clicking with your audience, and proving the ROI content marketing can bring.

Amplify Your Content Strategy Plan

Don't be scared away by content strategy logistics. While it can seem like it involves many moving parts, once you have a defined strategy, content planning becomes easier, more organized, and more effective.

These steps will push you in the right direction to create a great content strategy that'll help you unleash content that boosts your brand awareness and is irresistible to your customers.

At Rebel, we help ambitious companies stay in lockstep with their customers with content strategies that deliver results. Contact us to learn how a content marketing strategy can help your brand make profitable leaps.