We know the importance of a strong public relations strategy, but just how important is a content marketing strategy? Content strategy is an integral part of any marketing plan, with content creation being a top priority for 80 percent of marketers. When executed effectively, content is a powerful tool that can drive traffic, increase engagement, and raise brand awareness. It’s an effective, affordable way to establish your brand as an industry leader and build loyalty and trust with your core audience.
However, content isn’t just something your business should churn out. For your content to reach the right audience and help achieve your business goals—whether it’s a blog, a white paper, a company newsletter, email marketing, social media posts, or video content—it needs to be part of a wider plan. Well-researched, search engine optimized content will continue to generate engagement while you sleep, but only if you have a solid content strategy.
What Is Content Strategy?
Content strategy is the planning, creating, and delivering of valuable, usable content to help achieve your business goals. A solid content strategy serves as a roadmap for your future content; it is a tool to track progress, identify new opportunities, and fuel the creation of meaningful content that attracts the right target customers.
Unsurprisingly, 78 percent of brands that were successful with content last year had a documented content marketing strategy. In other words, it pays to have a plan. Whether you’re new to content marketing or you want to refresh your strategy, here are five phases every vacation rental content strategist should consider when creating a bulletproof content framework.
Phase 1: Brand Tone of Voice
Every successful vacation rental brand has a unique and distinctive tone of voice—and it’s the first place to start when developing an effective content strategy. Brand voice is the personality your brand lives across all its communications. It is the very essence of your business; it should embody your company values and express brand personality while delivering a consistent message that resonates with your audience.
Whether your brand voice is playful, authoritative, conversational, or formal, all content should be written in this style, each word bursting with your unique brand personality.
The very first step towards nailing down brand voice is creating a Tone of Voice document, which can be referred back to by anyone writing on behalf of your brand.
Phase 2: Content Objectives and Goals
Without clear goals and a well-defined strategy, content can just be noise, easily lost in the never-ending pages of Google. Your content should be action-oriented; each piece of content is a building block for the wider strategy, working toward achieving your big brand goals.
Whether you want to rank higher for a specific keyword, increase your visibility on Google, or educate your audience, all content you produce should be purpose-driven, with a clear end goal.
Consider the following questions:
- What does my business want to accomplish in the next six months?
- How can content help achieve these goals?
- What do I want my content to do?
The top three goals marketers achieve through successful content marketing are generating brand awareness, building credibility and trust, and educating audiences.
Phase 3: Target Audience (and Pain Points!)
A content strategy isn’t just about what your brand can gain; it’s about what you can give your customers, too. Not every piece of content will convert (and nor should it). Some of your most valuable content will be purely educational, building a bridge of trust between you and your customers. Remember, the customer’s goal is to find answers, not to find you. For your content to reach the right people, you first need to know who your audience is.
A solid digital content strategy addresses a list of customer personas, detailing demographic factors (such as age, gender, and job role) and the challenges your business can solve for them. Content should provide readers with practical, insightful information, placing you as a reliable and trusted expert in your field.
Phase 4: Search Engine Optimization
One of the most powerful content results is organic growth, but there’s no such thing as effective organic growth without search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is the backbone of successful content; when appropriately implemented, it can lead to higher-ranking web pages, increase organic discovery, generate quality leads, and create a trustworthy web experience for customers. With 61 percent of B2B marketers stating that SEO and organic traffic generates more leads than any other marketing initiative, it’s no surprise that SEO is a core element of an effective content strategy framework. Ensuring all content is effectively optimized should be a top priority when defining your plan.
It’s important to note that SEO moves fast; Google changes its search algorithm hundreds of times a year. What worked well a year ago may be out of date today, so it’s crucial to refresh your SEO content strategy regularly and stay ahead. That’s why working with an external agency to produce your blogs, white papers, and company newsletters can often pay dividends. Any agency at the top of its game is continually updating SEO reports for its clients. Every piece of content Abode creates is SEO charged as standard.
Phase 5: Content Calendar
Finally, all content should be regular and consistent. Consistency helps to build trust, establish authority, and strengthen brand reputation. Whether you plan to publish a blog post every week or produce a white paper every month, it’s crucial to adhere to a schedule. Not only does a content calendar keep you organized, but it provides visibility across all departments, is an excellent source for brainstorming, and can help you keep track of what’s performing.
Armed with these five core elements, you’re already on your way to creating an effective content strategy that delivers results.
Jessica Gillingham is the CEO of Abode Worldwide, a B2B public relations and content agency focused on raising the profile of transformative technology solutions operating within the global short-term rental, hotel, and “living” property sectors. With over 20 years of experience in public relations, hospitality, and technology, Gillingham is also an advisor, leadership mentor, and industry commentator. Her company sits at the heart of the developing intersection between work, life, and play in the property and hospitality markets, and partners with technology solutions playing a lead role in this transformation.