Where to Begin When Creating a Content Strategy

DJ Shirley

After attending a local HubSpot event through SDCHUG, which featured HubSpot's Sr. Customer Success Manager, Avani Patel. We wanted to recap our takeaways to help guide individuals who need to create a Content Strategy for their business or breathe new life into their existing efforts.

The Content Creation Landscape

Content has always been a foundational component of any marketing strategy, but the method, frequency and style in which we create content has continually changed. A contributing factor to this change has been the evolution of how people find and consume content.

Search Engines like Google are one of the primary sources we all turn to when looking for information. As the search engines have improved their capabilities to identify intent, context, and relevancy we have changed how we type our search queries into Google. With this advancements, we can search broader terms or even topics and still see the result we desire. This is were HubSpots Topic Clusters come into play. Create a topic cluster around a unique topic so you can turn into an authoritative powerhouse on that topic.

So how does one go about creating a content strategy that pushes your brand to be the authority on a given topic? We subscribe to the methodology of identifying and targeting a single pain point of a single buyer persona. In this sense, we apply the same concept to content that we apply to responsibility. If everyone is responsible, then no one is responsible. In turn, if you are writing for everyone, then you are really writing for no one.

This aligns with Avani thesis stated in the presentation as well:

"Create targeted clusters of content that cover a specific topic in-depth."

If you can narrow in your focus on a specific topic and create sub-topics to address common questions, hurdles, reservations, or best practices. You can become a reputable resource on the topic. For a quick breakdown of the topic cluster concept, watch HubSpot's introduction below:


Common pitfalls and frustrations when creating a content strategy

  1. Overwhelmed. Selecting the focus of your content strategy and individual topic clusters can quickly turn into an overwhelming process. The key is to remember to keep a narrowed focus. Identify the common questions around a single pain point for a single persona. Once you make the shift to only focusing on how you going to help that single individual, the process of developing a content strategy becomes a manageable initiative.
  2. Don't Re-invent the Wheel. When researching competitors and looking at what content is already ranking. You may fall into a line of thinking that you should attack the problem from a different angle or think outside of the box. These concepts are great and we encourage them, but only after we have built the box. All to often, we only need to have a partner sit down and talk through the following topics. The content we can extrapolate from the session can often be worked into better content than what we are seeing online already.
    1. What they do and why they are great at it
    2. Common questions they get from clients or prospects and how they address them
    3. How the industry has evolved
    4. Client that are a great fit
    5. Clients that are a poor fit
    6. Alternative solutions to their service or product
      More often than not, 
  3. Link your content together. This is a crucial element when creating topic clusters. You need to provide users with helpful links to related topics in your cluster so your reader can continue to engage with your content. Ideally you are answering questions or offering insights on topics they didn't even know they were interested in yet. HubSpot's Content Cluster tool does a great job in making sure you content is linked by highlighting the connections between pieces as red if they are not linked.Internal Linking HubSpot Cluster
  4. Don't Cross the streams! If you find yourself wanting to link separate pillar pages together, then you should take a step back and validate your focus is narrow enough. This can be a hard rule to follow but it is important for both the user and search engine. If cross over your topics they are going to dilute each other and less likely to be the powerhouse you are wanting to create.

In Summary:

The key takeaways we took from the presentation:

  • Keep your focus narrow - identify your persona and how your product or service is going to address the single pain point they are facing.
  • Focus your efforts through the lens of being the best resource for people interested in your topic.
  • Factor in content topics that address every phase of the customer journey. (Awareness, Consideration, and Decision)

Lastly, a special thank you to Kara Susvilla, the SDCHUG Leader for coordinating and hosting the event as well as Avani Patel for speaking and leading the presentation.

If you are still looking for a place to start, try identifying your target persona. You can download the Digital Utopia Methodology Blueprint to systematically identify your target persona and the role your brand plays in his or her life. This is a great starting point to identify the key pain point if your target persona.

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