I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “content is king.” But did you know this quote originally came from a Bill Gates essay published in 1996?
Decades later, these powerful words still ring true.
Your content marketing strategy in 2023 is arguably more important today than ever before. Whether you’re selling D2C products, B2B services, or anything in between, winning content is the best way to increase your exposure and generate revenue.
But content marketing is ever-changing. I created this guide to focus on what matters the most as you’re creating a content marketing strategy in 2023.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing defines the process of strategizing, developing, and distributing content through various channels. These channels include blogs, websites, social media, podcasts, video platforms, print, and more.
The main idea behind content marketing is to create content that reaches and resonates with your target audience. As a result, the goal is to ultimately boost brand awareness, increase engagement, drive sales, and create loyal customers.
Why You Need a Strong Content Strategy in 2023
Without content marketing, it’s much more challenging for your target audience to discover your brand and convert. Brick-and-mortar businesses would have to rely on foot traffic, and online businesses would have to rely on people navigating straight to their websites.
But with content marketing, you can:
- Reach prospects so they know your brand exists
- Educate consumers about the products or services you provide
- Explain how your products and services solve problems your audience is facing
- Create relationships with your customers to promote loyalty
- Increase your organic reach
82% of marketers actively invest in content marketing. If you’re not one of them, you’re going to have a tough time keeping pace with your competitors in 2023.
How to Craft a Winning Content Marketing Strategy That Gets Results
Everyone’s content marketing strategy will be unique. Rather than telling you exactly what you should be publishing or how you should be doing it, I’ll help you create a winning strategy that aligns with your brand. The six “D’s” below should be drilled into your brain, making it easy to remember this blueprint.
Define Your Brand Story
You can’t have an effective content marketing strategy without first establishing your brand image internally. What story do you want to portray to your audience?
The answer to this question will largely depend on your business type. For example, I’ve spent years working on content marketing for law firms. This type of brand story will be very different from an ecommerce footwear business or B2B software company.
Your story and voice should be consistent throughout your content marketing strategy. So defining it early is a must.
Develop Audience Personas
Now you need to define who is going to consume your content. Go beyond the basic demographics and create multiple audience personas.
You can eventually create specific content that targets unique personas. Using the example above, it’s unlikely that a single campaign or piece of content would effectively target all three of these people.
It’s much more effective to have highly-targeted campaigns that speak directly to a specific persona. Your content should identify their problems and provide them with a solution—regardless of which channels you’re using for distribution.
Discover New Opportunities
Now it’s time to figure out where the opportunities are in your market. I always like going for the low-hanging fruit. For example, it’s easier and often more effective to target keywords with 500 monthly searches and a 31 difficulty score vs. keywords getting 15,000 monthly searches and an 85 difficulty score.
You can look for opportunities by:
- Analyzing competitor content
- Looking for new backlink opportunities
- Conducting keyword research
- Identifying existing content that can be improved
- Searching for newly trending topics in your niche
Opportunities are everywhere. You just need to know where to look. Using SEO tools like Ahrefs will make your life much easier as you’re going through this process.
Decide What Content You Want to Create
The type of content you create should directly align with the opportunities you identified in the previous step. Your audience personas should also be taken into consideration here.
Examples of different content you can create include:
- YouTube Videos
- Google Search Ads
- Facebook Ads
If you’re targeting business decision-makers for a $5,000 per month professional services campaign, you’ll likely have more luck with webinars and ebooks. But a webinar or ebook wouldn’t be useful for selling more socks on your ecommerce site.
Diversify Your Distribution Channels
Using just one channel to distribute your content is a mistake. I’d recommend experimenting with at least three different channels. Depending on your business type and budget, you can even have as many as five or more distribution channels that you’re constantly producing content for.
These were the most popular marketing channels in 2022.
Your campaign tone and approach should vary based on the channel.
For example, the same study found that 80% of marketers said funny content was the most effective on social media. But being funny likely wouldn’t be the best approach for a blog, as people landing on your blogs aren’t looking for a laugh—they want information.
Determine the Effectiveness of Your Campaigns
Testing is the only way to truly know which campaigns are working. If you aren’t tracking KPIs, then you could be blindly putting money, time, and effort into content that isn’t producing results.
Examples of content marketing KPIs you should track include:
- Organic site traffic
- Conversion rate
- Average time on site
- Average sales cycle length
- Top keywords
- Engagement rate
- Paid vs. organic outreach
- Scroll depth
- Email open rate
You can use UTM parameters to measure which specific pieces of content drove people to a landing page or conversion.
This makes it easy to distinguish which percentage of conversions are coming from a specific blog post compared to your monthly newsletter or an organic Facebook post.
5 Content Marketing Trends to Shape Your Content Strategy in 2023
In addition to the blueprint above, you can use these content marketing trends below to help you with the content creation process.
1. Podcasting is Booming
According to a recent HubSpot survey, more than 80% of marketers planned to continue investing or increase their investment in podcasting and audio content last year.
Even if you don’t currently have a podcast or plan to start a podcast, investing in podcast ads can be equally effective.
That’s because a whopping 81% of podcast listeners say they pay attention to the ads. Even more impressive—60% of listeners have purchased a product based on an ad they heard during a podcast.
2. Prioritizing User Experience and Value Works
User experience must be a top priority in everything you’re creating. It’s hard enough getting people to land on your website. Don’t waste those opportunities by failing to provide a good user experience.
Look at the top reasons why site visitors bounce:
All of these are directly tied to user experience.
Here’s something else to consider. 80% of consumers say they’re willing to pay more money for a better user experience. So an investment in UX can really help deliver a high ROI for your content marketing campaigns.
3. Short-Form Video Dominates
Short-form videos fall anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds.
73% of buyers say they prefer watching short-form videos to learn more about products and services. 30% of short-form videos have a watch rate of over 81%, and 59% of short videos are watched for 41% to 80% of their length.
These trends are dominating 2023—with 90% of marketers worldwide planning to maintain or increase their investment in short-term video this year. An additional 21% of marketers plan to start using short-term video content for the first time in 2023, making it the fastest-growing content marketing trend of the year.
4. Consistency is Key
You can’t produce content for a few weeks or a few months and hope to get results. Keeping a consistent production and publishing schedule is crucial for success.
Here’s why this is interesting.
Consistency is also the biggest challenge for content marketers, with nearly 37% saying that producing content on a consistent basis is a struggle.
This is a great way to gain an edge over your competitors who can’t stick to a plan.
Consistency drives results, too. Just look at the impact on traffic based on something as simple as blog post production.
You’ll experience similar trend lines for all of your content marketing campaigns if you can produce high-quality content at a regular cadence.
5. High-Quality Backlinks Are Still Important
With all of the new and trending content marketing strategies out there, it’s important that you continue prioritizing things that provide a strong foundation for everything else.
Building high-quality and relevant backlinks has consistently been one of the best ways to drive organic traffic and boost SERP rankings in recent memory. This isn’t changing in 2023.
A recent study found that 90% of all websites get zero organic traffic through Google. Of those sites getting no traffic, 66% of them had zero backlinks. So there’s an obvious correlation here.
In many ways, content marketing in 2023 will look similar to the way you’ve approached it in the past. But there are a few new trends to keep in mind, like podcasting and short-form videocontent.
To create a winning content marketing strategy for your business, just follow the blueprint that I’ve outlined in this guide.
Be consistent, and make sure you’re providing real value to your target audience.