Building a Tangible Website Content Strategy: A Beginner’s Guide

Picture of Julia McCoy

Julia McCoy

Creator and Co-founder

website content strategy - laptop books and coffee cup

Spinning business growth out of content marketing is achievable, but not for everyone. 🤷‍♀️

  • If you only post mediocre content once in a while, you won’t see growth.
  • If you publish one or two blogs and expect to earn thousands of likes, comments, follows, and customers right away, you won’t see growth. (Sorry, but you’re delusional.)
  • If you decide to dip a toe in content marketing, you won’t see growth. (You need to commit. Period.)

What’s the necessary ingredient missing from all of these failure scenarios?

A website content marketing strategy. In other words, a plan that guides your execution of content.

A plan ensures commitment and excellence in content marketing. It also maps out direct paths to growth for your brand.

People who don’t commit to a website content strategy, who keep thinking they can game the system or cheat their way to success, will never find what they’re looking for.

Instead, the future of the web belongs to smart, strategic content hackers who create content with a growth mindset.

It’s not just about growing your business either. It’s also about:

  • Growing your audience’s knowledge
  • Growing your audience’s trust in you
  • Growing your qualified, organic traffic (the people who actually care about what you have to say, who find you through Google search)
  • Growing your reader base, and by extension, your leads, prospects, and customer base
  • Growing your industry clout and influence
  • Growing your reputation as a content creator

And, yes: A website content strategy helps you achieve ALL of that. 💯

That’s exactly what we’re discussing today:

  • Defining content strategy and explaining why it could be your biggest growth booster
  • What you need to create an effective digital content strategy, including steps to take to start planning
  • The essential tools, resources, and elements of any good content strategy

If you’re ready to learn, dive in with me! Your content strategy template is right here. ✅

P.S. Short on time? We’ve got a free checklist PDF that summarizes today’s mega-blog. You’re welcome. Click below to get it. ⌚️

website content strategy guide

How to Build a Website Content Strategy: A Beginner’s Guide – Table of Contents

building a website content strategy

What Is a Website Content Strategy? Why Do You Need One?

What Does It Take to Build a Working Website Content Strategy? 7 Elements You Must Not Skip

1. Know Your Content Strategy Basics & Goals (Build a Foundation)

2. Research, Identify, and Get to Know Your Audience

3. Learn SEO and Integrate It into Your Website Content Strategy

4. Commit to Build Authority in the Right Places

5. Establish Content Creation Workflows and Best-Practices

6. Budget and Promote

7. Maintain Your Website Content Strategy into the Foreseeable Future

The Essential Website Content Strategy Assets + Corresponding Tools You Need to Succeed

1. Content Calendar

2. Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

3. Web Pages

4. Lead Magnets and Ebooks

5. Emails and the Email List

What Is a Website Content Strategy? Why Do You Need One?

If you plan to publish content of any kind on your website – blogs, videos, guides, case studies, etc. – you need a plan.

Think about it. You wouldn’t approach any other major task – work or otherwise – without a plan. So why wouldn’t your website content have one, too?

Overwhelmingly, carefully planning and strategizing works 100% better than flying by the seat of your pants or counting on luck. You don’t need any stats or data to know that’s true, either. You probably have plenty of evidence from your own experience to back that up.

How many times, when you approached any task with a solid plan, did you succeed? How many times, when you relied on luck alone, did you fail?

A plan makes a GIANT difference, no matter what we’re talking about.

Star Wars - Tell us we have a plan

Image source: Giphy

That’s what a website content strategy is: A plan that maps out how, when, where, and why you’ll publish content on your site.

Why Do You Need a Website Content Strategy?

You need a website content strategy because it’s proven to work better than having no strategy at all.

Let’s bring some stats into the equation. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2020 B2B Benchmarks, Budgets, & Trends Report, 69% of the most successful marketers report having a content strategy in place.

CMI report - marketers with a strategy

In the report itself, CMI specifically mentions this: “Our annual research consistently shows that a documented strategy is often a key indicator of content marketing success.”

Furthermore, content marketing tasks associated with strategy are ones successful marketers do:

  • Setting KPIs (key performance indicators – similar to goals) to measure content initiatives
  • Using metrics to measure content performance
  • Measuring content marketing ROI (return on investment)
CMI report top performers

Publishing/posting content with a strategy in place WILL boost your efforts overall. You’ll have firm direction, including:

  • A deeper understanding and connection with your audience.
  • A goal-oriented, move-the-needle mindset behind everything you do.
  • A plan for content creation and promotion that will make it easier.
  • A strategy for building your audience and your list.
  • A clearly outlined path to GROWTH for both your website and your business.

When we lay it all on the table like this, the answer to the overarching question is obvious:

Why build a website content strategy?

Why NOT build one?

What Does It Take to Build a Working Website Content Strategy? 7 Elements You Must Not Skip

It’s time to build.

A website content strategy needs each of the following elements to work. Leave out one, or skimp on some of the details, and none of it will work.

For content strategy to turn your content marketing into a mighty tool, you must do your homework. Let’s start on the ground floor and work our way up.

Consider this your content strategy flowchart.

website content strategy checklist free guide

1. Know Your Content Strategy Basics & Goals (Build a Foundation)

First things, first. Do you know WHY you want to do content marketing and WHAT you hope to achieve with it? You should.

A. Decide on a Few Goals (or KPIs)

You shouldn’t do content marketing without a few goals in mind right off the bat. What do you hope to achieve with content? These objectives should drive your entire content marketing strategy.

Do you want to increase awareness around your brand? Get more traffic and leads? Increase revenue?

These broader goals can be considered in terms of KPIs (key performance indicators). KPIs can be tracked and measured, and indicate growth toward your goals. Here are some common KPIs in content marketing:

  • For tracking growth in revenue – Leads, conversion rates, and ROI
  • For tracking SEO – Organic traffic coming from search engines, keyword rankings, and backlinks
  • For tracking user engagement – Shares, conversations, and comments
Top content marketing KPIs


B. Define Your Content Differentiation Factor

Once you know your goals, you need to define your Content Differentiation Factor, or CDF.

When you push “publish” on those blogs and articles, what will differentiate them from the millions of other content pieces already out there? What will differentiate them from content published within your industry, by your competitors?

content differentiation factor

In other words, what will separate you from the pack?

The answer is your unique perspective.

More than likely, there are already TONS of blogs out there similar to yours. They cover the same topics and the same questions. What will set yours apart is how you help your audience differently thanks to your unique perspective in your industry:

  • Your individual journey to a place of expertise.
  • Your background and credentials.
  • The unique mission you hope to achieve through your business (beyond making money).

Once you add up all these elements and think about them in terms of how they position you to help the customer as no one else can, your CDF should come into focus.

C. Outline Your Topic Area(s)

We’ve come to one of the biggest questions to answer in your digital content marketing strategy:

What are you going to write about?

This isn’t as easy to answer as it sounds.

Pulling random topics out of a hat and writing content about them will never lead to ROI.

Instead, you need to write about topics connected to:

  • What you sell
  • Your audience’s needs
  • Your expertise in your industry

I call this your topic area – the place where your expertise + what your audience wants from content align.

know your topic area

Note that your topic area should be a broad subject with many, many facets. For example, the topic area of “selling running shoes” has tons of related sub-topics: Training, hydration, running events, warm-up exercises, and more.

(YOU may be an expert on running shoes, but your audience wants to hear about tons of other topics related to running. What your audience wants is always more important. We’ll talk more about discovering and paying close attention to your audience’s needs in the next section.)

Lastly, if the sub-topic you want to write about doesn’t fit into one of the major topic areas you defined in your content strategy, you shouldn’t write about it. It simply won’t be relevant to your brand, to your audience, or to what you sell.

Example: You want to write about the health concerns connected to wearing high-heels constantly. (Your topic area is “selling running shoes.”)

Nope. That’s totally unrelated – scrap that idea. It has nothing to do with running or running shoes.

Make sense? As you can see, the point of defining topic areas is to ensure your blog always stays relevant to your readers, who are coming to you for specific information. Stay inside your wheelhouse for the most cohesive, consistent blog presence your audience will come to rely on.

My FREE, 60-minute masterclass is a great resource on all things content strategy. It includes guidance on finding your CDF, outlining your topic areas for content marketing, and more. Sign up right here.

2. Research, Identify, and Get to Know Your Audience

ALL of the pieces of a digital content strategy we’re covering are important, but this one is doubly so.

Successful content marketing hinges around knowing and understanding who you’re writing to. Without that knowledge, you’ll miss the mark, and your content will bring crickets rather than customers.

A. Do Audience Research

First up: audience research. It’s all about discovering who will be interested in your content (and by extension, your products or services).

Who needs what you have to offer? Who’s looking for a solution exactly like yours? This is what audience research works to uncover.

Common audience research methods:

  • Surveys
  • Social media monitoring (also called social listening)
  • Interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Competitor audience analysis
  • Conversations

My favorite method for audience intel is conversations – informal, off-the-cuff, casual exchanges. You can have these everywhere, at any time, as long as you stay engaged with your industry and community:

  • On social media
  • In-person at events, conferences, or meet-ups
  • In meetings
  • In comments and discussion threads
  • Via email or DM
  • Via Drift chats

In fact, you probably are having valuable conversations every single day that can help you learn more about your audience – you just need to listen actively and take notes on what you learn.

Taking notes

Speaking of notes 📝: Don’t let those conversations pass without taking physical notes on them in a place you can reference later. I recommend keeping a Google Doc with this information (or a note in Evernote, or in your phone’s native notes app – wherever you can access that info easily).

B. Identify Them with Personas

After you gather audience intel (and, by the way, this is a continuous process – never stop doing audience research, because your audience is not a static entity) – it’s time to take that information and turn it into a tool that will help with content creation.

Enter the audience persona.

“Persona” is just a fancy word for a tool you’ll use to better imagine your ideal audience member. Usually, a persona consists of an information sheet packed with details about this imaginary person.

Actually, a persona is a lot like a character card, like the ones you see in card games and video games. These include a picture of the character, their name, and some details about them that help you get to know them. For example, some versions of the game Clue come with character cards giving you greater depth and details about each suspect:

Clue character cards

A persona is similar, but all the details come from research and represent an actual slice of your audience. In fact, a great way to think of a persona is to imagine taking a chunk of your audience and merging them into one person – who would that person be?

audience persona example

Audience persona example via Impact

Common information to include in your audience personas:

  • Name (if you have multiple personas, naming them uniquely helps you differentiate them)
  • Photo matching persona’s age and lifestyle (this helps you visualize your audience better)
  • Demographics
  • Education
  • Career, position, and salary
  • Habits and preferences
  • Favorite brands
  • Social media channels they use
  • Pain points
  • Worries/fears

One of the best things about audience personas: After you complete them, they become a tool anyone who touches your content can use. (Think writers, social media marketers, editors, branding experts, etc.) Personas are super-easy to update with new information as it rolls in, too.

Keep these in your website content strategy toolkit and refer to them often.

3. Learn SEO and Integrate It into Your Website Content Strategy

Content marketing online is nothing without SEO behind it. If you use search engine optimization in a smart, strategic way, you’ll gain SO much on auto-pilot.

The value of SEO lies in its ability to bring IN leads and customers without having to push your message OUT to the masses. Inbound marketing is truly something magical. ✨

However, you don’t want to bring in just any traffic. You want qualified traffic coming to your website – people who want what you offer, need the answers you provide, or are interested in the topics you cover. The way to target them with SEO is to consider their search intent.

A. Understand User Search Intent and How to Target It

Search intent describes the goal behind the user’s search when they type keywords into Google.

More often than not, they’re conducting an internet search because they need or want something: Information, answers, a specific product, a website URL, etc. Here are the various kinds of search intent via Backlinko:

types of user search intent

For the best SEO, the trick is to find keywords that reflect the user search intent that points to your business. Then, you need to target those keywords in your content.

B. Learn to Do Keyword Research

Keyword research is all about discovering the best keywords to use in your content – the ones you have a high probability of ranking for, and the ones your audience is actively searching.

When you target the right keywords in your content, you’ll rank higher, earn more qualified traffic, and attract interested readers who may eventually become buyers.

Usually, the right keywords are both long-tail (AKA have at least 3-5 words in a phrase) and low-competition (they score low on a keyword difficulty [KD] rating of 1-100, with 1 being the easiest to rank for and 100 being impossible). They also MUST be relevant to your business, products, or services. I call this the keyword sweet spot.

keyword sweet spot

How to do initial keyword research:

  • Start with your favorite keyword research tool. I personally like KWFinder, SEMrush, and Ahrefs.
  • In the search bar, enter a broad seed keyword (also called a head term) related to your industry. For example, if you sell running shoes, you might start with “running shoes” as your seed keyword.
  • Look at the list of related keywords in the results. Find long-tail versions (seed keyword + additional modifiers) with a low difficulty score. For example, when researching “running shoes,” I found the related keyword “cross country running” with a KD of 26. I could use this term plus “cross country running shoes” as a related term in my content.
KWFinder research
  • Repeat this process with different seed keywords related to your industry. Remember to note every possible keyword you could target in your content. Keep a running list handy whenever you’re brainstorming content ideas.

Keep in mind, this is a simple intro to keyword research. For more depth on this topic, I teach an intensive online course, The Practical Content Strategy & Marketing Course, that will give you the tools to become a keyword research machine. ⚡

enroll in the Content Strategy and Marketing Course

4. Commit to Build Authority in the Right Places

By now, a few pillars of your digital content strategy are in place. It’s time to set up another biggie by answering this question:

Where will you build your authority online? Where will be your “home” on the web?

Fittingly, I call this part establishing your content house. 🏡

This is your web address where you will build authority. Ideally, it should be a domain you own exclusively. This is the place where you will focus on publishing most of your content. It’s what your website content strategy will focus on, too.

A. Building Your Content House – Why You Need a Domain

content house

Why shouldn’t you build your online authority on, say, your Twitter or Instagram account? Why not on Facebook, or on a free website hosted by Wix, Weebly, or even WordPress?

Because all of these locations are proprietary. That means you don’t fully own any of the content you post there. If one of these platforms suddenly decided tomorrow to shut down, you would lose everything you built – all of your content, all of your followers, and all of your authority.

That’s why you need to purchase your own domain and hosting. It needs to be under your complete control, not at the whim of some faceless company.

I recommend Bluehost for hosting and your domain name, if you don’t have mega assets to manage and run (we use Vultr for my ecommerce brand, Express Writers, but only because we have so much to host — you’ll do great, and pay less, with Bluehost).

B. Why All Roads Should Lead Back to Your Content House

On top of owning your platform, all outside roads should point back to your content house, too. That includes:

  • Guest blogs you post on other sites
  • Your social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Podcasts you contribute to or create
  • YouTube videos
  • Articles you create on Medium
content house with outside channels

Your domain/content house is the focus because, as long as you invest in upkeep, it will always be there. On the other hand, those proprietary platforms have no guarantees attached to them.

Social media platforms come and go, but only your owned domain has the unique ability to remain a center of gravity for your brand and business.

5. Establish Content Creation Workflows and Best-Practices

Yep, at this point, it’s time to start thinking about how to build your content.

Randomly writing blog posts and publishing them at whim is not a strategy. Instead, you need a content creation workflow, one you can reuse over and over that saves time and simplifies the process.

Luckily, you already have a great foundation laid out thanks to the previous content strategy steps.

A. Start with Keywords to Find Topics

Pull up that list of keywords you researched in step #3. This is one of the best places to begin content creation.

Why? Those keywords can easily turn into topics your audience is searching on Google and would LOVE to read about. You already know they’ll work, because the research is done.

For each keyword on your list, brainstorm a handful of potential content topics. Writing around a focus keyword ensures your content is super-relevant for that keyword, and thus a higher chance of ranking.

A few ways to find content topics using keywords:

  • Enter your keyword in Google search and see what the top results cover. Is there a theme that emerges, or an overarching topic other brands are writing about?
    • This gives you a great idea of what Google is looking for concerning the search intent of the keyword. If you write a post on this theme using your focus keyword, and you do it better than the top results, you have a great chance of ranking.
  • Use tools like Answer the Public or to quickly come up with topics springing from your focus keyword. For example, when I enter the keyword “cross country running” into, it gives me a bunch of ideas I can run with (pun intended 🏃‍♀️): content ideas

Of course, there are other ways to come up with content topics, but starting with keywords gives you a good leg up on positioning your content to rank in Google. If that’s one of your main content marketing goals, definitely start there.

B. Use My 3-Bucket Topic Strategy to Map Content Topics to Goals

Once you have some content topics in hand, you can’t start writing yet. First, I highly recommend mapping your content topics to the goals you outlined in step #1.

Your goals might look different, but for my content marketing, my main goals are to build brand awareness, sales & connections, and SEO rankings. To move closer to each goal, I need to be creating specific types of content:

3 bucket topic strategy

Before I move on to writing a piece of content around a topic I brainstormed, it must pass muster. Will it fit into one of my “content buckets”? Will that content piece help me reach my goals? If it doesn’t, I trash it. I call this process my “3-bucket topic strategy.”

3 bucket topic strategy flowchart

For example, say one of the topics I came up with was a guide on how to find the best cross country running shoes (pulling from that keyword I found earlier, “cross country running”). This topic will land in my SEO rankings bucket, so I can move on to creating that content piece.

This process is one of the major keys to making your content marketing profitable and ROI-worthy. Don’t skip it.

C. Remember ICP – Ideation, Creation, Preparation

Any good content creation workflow is made up of three basic stages: Ideation, Creation, and Preparation.

Ideation is the part when you brainstorm content topics and research whether they’ll land with your audience. Ideation can begin with keyword research, from questions you see over and over from your audience/customers, from topic research on Google, and other sources.

Creation is the nitty-gritty part. This is where you take a topic you matched to your goals and start researching, outlining, drafting, writing, and editing.

  • Keep in mind: You may not be the person this job falls to. If you hire content writers, editors, or other creators, you may have passed your content topic to them to turn into a blog post, article, or another content piece.
  • If you hope to win SEO rankings with your content, optimization is a large part of the creation process. That includes:
    • Incorporating your focus keyword (+ any related or synonymous keywords) throughout your content piece.
    • Including headings and subheadings for readability.
    • Formatting for online readers (e.g. no walls of text, readable colors and fonts)
    • Including both inbound and outbound links (links to other high-quality sites with high relevancy to your content)

Preparation is the stage where you have a completed content piece (written, edited, and optimized) ready to be published and shared.

During this stage, you’ll schedule your post to publish at an ideal time (ideally using an editorial calendar like Airtable – more on that later). You’ll also think about where you can share your new post (on social media, via email, etc.) and how you want to do it.

D. The Benefits of Content Creation Workflows

As you can tell, the content creation workflow can get pretty detailed. If you don’t map out the steps as part of your content strategy, you’ll quickly lose yourself in the process and feel overwhelmed.

lost and overwhelmed

That’s why it’s so useful to have a set, repeatable workflow you can use over and over – whenever you ideate, create, and prepare content for publishing.

content workflow example

Sample content creation workflow with tasks and team roles via CMI

Document all the steps you use to ideate, create, and prepare content for the world. Refer to them often, and share them with anyone who joins your creative team. You’ll be glad you did.

For more information on the whys and hows of content workflows, this post from CoSchedule is a great resource: How to Develop Clear Content Marketing Workflows to Execute Better Work.

E. How Strategic Guest Blogging Fits into Content Creation

The final piece of content creation we need to talk about is guest blogging.

Guest blogging is a KEY way to build your authority and clout in your industry.

Don’t get me wrong – blogging on your own site should still be your main focus. That said, guest blogging once every few weeks (or once a month, or every other month) regularly will help build your reputation by leaps and bounds.

For instance, I regularly guest-blog on publications like Search Engine Journal, Content Marketing Institute, and Marketing Profs.

Julia McCoy on SEJ

My guest blogging presence on Search Engine Journal.

my guest blogs on SEJ

However, you must have a strategy for this.

Document these rules for guest blogging in your website content strategy and follow them every time you consider a guest blogging opportunity:

  • Only invest your time and energy in guest blogging when the publication is relevant to your industry and audience.
  • Contact an actual human from the publication about guest posting, but first, make sure the site accepts guest contributions. If they don’t ever post guest blogs, there’s no point asking. If they DO, find the email address of the editor or managing editor to contact.
  • Study the publication’s posting guidelines, especially for topics they accept/don’t accept. Don’t submit anything that breaks their posting rules – you’ll just waste their time.
  • Carefully check where links back to your own site are allowed – just in your author bio? Once somewhere in the body copy, included naturally? Take note and include your links carefully – this is a huge opportunity for extra traffic and leads.

When it comes time to write content for a guest blog, use the same workflows you established for your main website content. Only submit the same type of amazing, high-quality content you would publish on your platform. Lots of guest blogging opportunities are sure to follow!

6. Budget and Promote

The last pieces of your website content strategy to finalize include setting up your budget, tracking and measuring, and promotion.

A. Figure Out What Content Marketing Will Cost, Then Set a Budget

Your investment in content marketing depends on who you hire to help out, which tools you use, and your ground-floor investment in website hosting.

Common content marketing costs:

  • Staff costs: Writers, editors, graphic designers, project managers, admin, etc.
  • Tool costs: Keyword research, topic research, email marketing, creative tools, subscriptions, tracking and measuring software, etc.
  • Website costs: Monthly or yearly hosting costs plus the price of registering your domain name.

Figure out how much you need to spend to have everything you need. Then, look at how much money you actually have to work with.

Content Marketing Institute includes some valuable stats about budgets in their yearly report. For example, in 2019, 36% of all respondents said they spend less than $100,000/year on content marketing. Meanwhile, the average budget for small companies was $81,500/year.

CMI report budget trends

B. Promote Your Content

SEO will help draw more traffic to your content, but it’s not the only way. You can also physically promote it to make sure as many people see it as possible.

Methods of content promotion:

  • Email newsletters
  • Social media posts
  • Google Ads or other paid promotion tactics
  • Influencer mentions
  • Content sharing communities

You don’t have to use every method – you just need to use the ones that work best for your business, audience, and budget. For more on content promotion strategies, Buffer has a great guide that includes 11 tactics.

In general, make sure you document your chosen promotion/distribution methods in your website content strategy. Create a social media content strategy template. Follow the same procedure for every post and content piece.

get the free 7-step checklist

7. Maintain Your Website Content Strategy into the Foreseeable Future

Your content marketing won’t stay alive unless you maintain it. Going forward, to keep it thriving and healthy, you’ll need to continually check-in.

A. Commit to Tracking and Measuring Your Progress

Without tracking and measurement, you won’t have a clear idea of how far you’ve come with content marketing, or how far you still need to go to hit your goals.

Speaking of goals, that’s where you should start when figuring out what to track and measure. Return to the goals you outlined in step #1, and if you haven’t determined any connected KPIs (key performance indicators) yet, now is the time.

Once you know what you’ll be measuring (KPIs like organic traffic, engagement metrics, comments, social shares, etc.) you can determine the tools you’ll need to use to get that data in your hands.

Finally, make a plan to track those progress indicators regularly, over time.

B. Do Periodic Content Audits

Another part of maintaining your content strategy is keeping tabs on your existing, published content.

If your content is optimized and promoted well, then it will keep drawing traffic and leads in the background as you publish new pieces. That means, if the old content is outdated, irrelevant, or low-quality, your passive content marketing will suffer.

As such, create a schedule to audit your old content regularly. Check for:

  • Quality and accuracy
  • Relevancy to the intended focus keyword and user search intent
  • Outdated or broken links
  • Outdated facts or information

Remember: Google loves fresh content. Updating those old pieces may potentially give them a rankings boost!

C. Revisit the Strategy Regularly and Reassess

Change is inevitable. As the internet changes, as your goals shift and your audience widens, your content strategy will need to change, too.

Your strategy should never sit in a forgotten desktop folder or dusty drawer somewhere. Instead, you should reference it constantly. It should be a living, breathing document that guides your content marketing every day.

It’s not set in stone, either. If something isn’t working, make changes. Review, reassess, and revise.

After all, this is your content strategy. If you want it to be great, it’s entirely in your hands.

The Essential Website Content Strategy Assets + Corresponding Tools You Need to Succeed

1. Content Calendar

If a major part of content strategy calls for scheduling and publishing posts strategically (it does), you need a solid content calendar.

A content calendar will not only track your posting schedule, but also your content creation workflow. At a glance, it should tell you what phase of creation a piece is in, who’s working on what, which pieces are finished and scheduled for publication, and more.

I always recommend Airtable as a wonderful content calendar tool. It keeps my Write Blog content schedule organized to the hilt:

Write Blog content calendar on Airtable

2. Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

There’s a secret ingredient you can add to any web page, blog post, or content piece to make it more profitable. It’s a little tool called a CTA.

The call-to-action does exactly what it says: It calls your reader to a specific action. It encourages them to DO something after they have read your content.

Surprisingly and often magically, the CTA turns committed readers into email subscribers, followers, or even customers.

Great content without a CTA somewhere in it is a missed opportunity. That’s because readers WANT to take action after reading incredible content. You’ve wowed them, informed them, entertained them, guided them… or all four of those things. They’re excited! They’re fans!

Without a CTA, providing a way to act, they’ll be left in the dust with all that positive energy and nowhere to put it. It’ll fizzle, and they’ll click away from the page. That means you’ll lose.

The point is, you need to include CTAs on your web pages and blog posts to capture those excited readers.

Need examples? The homepage of Content Hacker is full of CTAs. Case in point:

CTAs on Content Hacker

Learn to create compelling CTAs – recommended reading:

3. Web Pages

Did you know your web pages have the power to pull your visitors deeper into your orbit? A good web page can incite curiosity and entice your reader to stick around.

What makes a good web page? Two elements:

  • Good design – The design of your web pages doesn’t just refer to the colors and images. It also refers to how easy it is to use, to read, and to carry out various actions (like finding your contact page or filling out a form). Content strategy for the web and UX (user experience) go hand-in-hand.
  • Good writing – A well-written web page follows all the tenants of great online writing. It’s not over-complicated, speaks to the target user, and is formatted for readability.

Put together a well-designed, well-written web page PLUS a great CTA and you have a formula for conversion – the point when a person who was merely browsing turns into a bonafide fan of your business, or even a customer.

Here’s an example of an effective web page from Canva, which explains their infographic maker:

Canva web page example

Learn to write & create awesome web pages – recommended reading:

4. Lead Magnets and Ebooks

Another way to nail conversions? Two words: lead magnets.

A lead magnet is a desirable piece of content that contains a bit more depth than your average blog post. It’s usually longer, for one, may contain custom illustrations, and includes information not found elsewhere on your website.

Lead magnets can be long or short. As long as they’re valuable pieces of content, length doesn’t matter. (Ebooks can be lead magnets, for instance. So can short tip sheets and cheat sheets.)

As such, a lead magnet is great to offer your readers as a bonus in exchange for their email address. A well-put together lead magnet can work wonders for pulling in subscribers.

Here’s an example of a lead magnet we offer on Express Writers:

Top 100 content marketers lead magnet

I like to use ConvertKit to create landing pages and sign-up forms for my lead magnets. It’s super easy and looks professional every time.

ConvertKit features

5. Emails and the Email List

Last but not least, emails are one of the BEST ways to keep your audience up-to-date on your newest blog posts and content.

As long as you use the list-building tactics and tools described above, building a list of email subscribers is pretty straightforward. And, once you build that list, suddenly you have a direct line to your audience, like they’re all on speed-dial.

One of the easiest ways to use email as a tool for your website content strategy is to send a message to your subscribers whenever you update your blog. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated, either. Just a friendly message + a link to your new content with a short summary is enough.

It’s a major tool to stay connected with your people. (Pssst… I use ConvertKit for emails, too.)

Here’s a simple example of an email promoting a new blog post:

email newsletter example

How to write emails and built your list – recommended reading:

Your Website Content Strategy: The Key to Killer Content Marketing

You’re just starting out on your content marketing journey. You’re excited. You’re ready.

You know what I’m about to say…

You need a plan. 📋

That’s what your website content strategy is all about. It lays the groundwork for content marketing success. It maps out your trajectory and tells you exactly how to move forward to reach your goals.

Smart content hackers know that content strategy is the key to killer content marketing. By now, you do, too. Don’t leave home without one.

free 7-step checklist

Become a Content Hacker

Collaborate with other growth-minded, savvy Content Hackers – plus a host of experts. The price of two coffees/month gets you in.