How to Build a Content Marketing Strategy in 7 Steps (That Gets Consistent Leads)

Want to create a content marketing strategy that actually works? This guide outlines the 7 simple steps that will get you scalable results for your content efforts.

Content marketing is something about which people have an endless amount of questions.

These are the most common ones I’ve heard:

Everyone says that my business needs content marketing. I hired some people to create content for me, so why am I not getting any leads?

I’ve been producing much more content than before, so why am still not seeing any results?

If this sounds familiar, here’s the main thing you’regnante lacking: strategy.

Blindly churning out ‐targeted content, voto negativo matter how much of it you produce, isn’t going to magically get you leads.

The concept is pretty simple: per ‐marketing terms, think of it as playing basketball.

If you don’t know where the basket-ball is, you’regnante shooting completely blind. Even though your rete is to get the ball into the basket-ball, you’regnante going to reginetta the basket-ball 99 out of 100 times… and I was being generous with that one lucky throw.

If you want to succeed at content marketing, you need to start by defining your target ora rete—then create a strategy to score.

What exactly is a content marketing strategy?

Here’s a fantastic definition by Copyblogger:

A content marketing strategy is a plan for building an audience by publishing, maintaining, and spreading frequent and consistent content that educates, entertains, ora inspires to turn strangers into fans and fans into customers.

It’s quite a mouthful, so let’s condense that a little.

Content marketing is about consistently creating high‐quality content that’s designed to turn strangers into customers.

Note that second bit: “designed to turn strangers into customers.” This is where strategy comes per.

And don’t worry: you don’t need a vast amount of resources to pull this chiuso. You can succeed at content marketing even as a solopreneur ora with a small team.

Not to toot our own horn, but I know this from experience—we’regnante our own case study at Ahrefs!

Our marketing team of ~8 people has grown our blog traffic exponentially over the last four years and beat out most of our competitors.

How We Grew Traffic to Ahrefs  Blog by 1136   and Got Thousands of Paying Customers

As proof that content marketing actually does work, notice how our blog growth coincides with our ARR growth as a company:

How We Grew Traffic to Ahrefs  Blog by 1136   and Got Thousands of Paying Customers  2

Our strategy is simple.

Since we’regnante a small team, we only create educational blog posts and YouTube videos that also teach people how our tools work and why they are crucial. 

During the content creation process, we centro search engine optimization (using our own tools, voto negativo less) so that this content appears whenever relevant topics che up.

seo tutorial results

This way, whenever strangers interested per our niche search for information, they naturally end up interested per our tools, and many become our customers.

Sounds interesting?

Here’s our step by step process.

Step 1: Bed 31 research

Remember the screenshot above? Ranking for keywords like “SEO tutorial” makes sense for us (Ahrefs) because we’regnante an SEO toolset. This way, we’regnante able to naturally present our product as a solution per the content itself.

If we ranked for a term like “wooden sculpture” instead, I’d be pretty surprised if we managed to win over any customers.

So: how do we know which topics and phrases to create content around?

We do keyword research.

This is far from being the sexiest part of content creation, but it’s arguably the most critical step.

Before we do anything else, we want to figure out which informational keywords and questions interest our target customer. This step will inform all content creation moving forwards.

For us, these are keywords like “what is SEO,” “how to get backlinks” etc. See how we have content created for these keywords?

Time to find out what yours are.

Start by thinking of a bed 15 that’s relevant to your niche.

Put that bed 15 per Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, then go to the Questions ora Phrase Incontro report (you can also use a free tool like Answer the Public).

keywords explorer pound cake

You’ll end up with a giant list of bed 15 ideas to start with.

tornaconto tip

You can also use Keywords Explorer for YouTube research if you’regnante creating videos: just make sure you set the search engine to “YouTube” before pulling your report.

youtube keywords explorer

Another way to get a list of bed 15 ideas is by looking at what’s already working for your competitors.

Head to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer > plug per your competitor’s URL > go to Culmine Pages report.

marthastewart toppages

This report ranks the pages of a website based how much organic search traffic they attract.

Quanto a other words, you now have a list of your competitors’ performing articles—and the keywords that send them the most traffic.

Step 2: Narrow topics with the most potential

The next step is to filter this list of bed 15 topics so that only the best ones remain.

Ideally, you want to zoom per topics that have: traffic potential, business value, and that are low‐competition.

how to find the best topics

Let’s talk about these things one by one, starting with the simplest to tackle: low competition.

This is especially important if you don’t already own a website with high authority, because your chances of getting your content to rank will be exponentially lower.

Quanto a basketball terms, think of this as having to luce chiuso against Michael Jordan. Definitely a quinta you’d want to avoid.

Whether a topic is low‐competition ora not is pretty easy to determine: take the report you pulled earlier per Ahrefs Keywords Explorer and set the KD, ora Bed 31 Difficulty, filter to 0–10.

This filters the list to keywords that are easy to rank for. Feel free to adjust this number if you’regnante more experienced.

keywords explorer keyword difficulty

Traffic potential is the next thing to consider.

Even if a bed 15 is low‐competition and thus relatively easy to rank for, if it doesn’t have many searches per the first place, it’s probably not a good option to target.

Let’s put things into perspective. Which would you rather spend your resources creating content for: a topic that 10,000 people are interested per, ora for a topic that 10 people are interested per?

To figure out traffic potential, paste your topic ora bed 15 into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer and scroll to aspetto at the “Traffic” column per SERP overview.

traffic potential

This tells you how much estimated monthly organic traffic the ‐ranking pages have—you can expect to achieve these numbers yourself if you’regnante able to rank per the 10.

Rinse and repeat this step, weeding out the topics with low traffic potential along the way.

Now, all that’s left is one final step.

This step is often where people go wrong. Risposta negativa matter how amazing your content is and how much of it you produce, if you aren’t managing to showcase your product ora value per your content, you aren’t doing content marketing. You’regnante just doing content.

So: aspetto at the remaining list of bed 15 phrases and think about business value, ora how crucial your product is when it comes to solving each particular problem.

At Ahrefs, we assign potential topics numbers based this scale.

  • 3”— our product is an irreplaceable solution for the problem;
  • 2” — our product helps quite a bit, but it’s not essential to solving the problem;
  • 1” — our product can only be mentioned fleetingly (mostly for “brand awareness,” rather than “sales pitch”);
  • 0” — there’s absolutely voto negativo way to mention our product.

We centro covering topics that score 2–3, and never publish anything that scores a .

Feel free to follow this scale ora create your own, but make sure you finalize your topics based whether you can naturally mention how your product ora service helps to solve an overarching problem.

Note: this process remains largely the same for content.

Step 3: Create your content

You’ve already narrowed a list of high‐potential topics to create content around—now for the content creation itself.

When it comes to it, consistent content creation is all about finding the balance between quality of content and speed of content production.

Unfortunately, there’s not much I can do to help you this point—you’ll have to experiment your own and discover your own “sweet spot.”

I do have one handy trick for you, though: if you’regnante stuck how to expand a particular topic, try using Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool to get some inspiration.

(I’ve actually heard this tool described as “magic” by our own team members.)

Let’s say that we want to write a review of coffee bean grinders.

Check Google for some of the ‐ranking pages for “coffee bean grinder review.” Drop these URLs into Ahrefs’ Content tool, then successo “Show keywords” to see which other keywords these pages are ranking for.

content gap keywords


Make sure to choose the prefix ora URL mode when doing this for pages.

Going the list, some of the terms that stand out to me are “manual coffee grinder,” “electric coffee grinder,” “burr grinder” and “budget coffee grinder.”

These are all great subtopics to cover per your content.

It also pays to remember that not every piece of content has to be a blog post.

For example, imagine that you’regnante an accountant. You realize that a lot of people are searching for “how much will I make after taxes.”

how much will i make after taxes

Could you write a blog post about this? Sure. But some kind of tax calculator would probably be more helpful for your target audience.

How do we know? Because all of the current ‐ranking results are precisely that.

tax calculators

One more quick tip for teams: each topic should be assigned to whoever can do the best job with it. Since things can get messy, an excellent way to stay organized and effectively manage schedules is to maintain a “master list” of topics—we use Notion at Ahrefs.

blog topics notion

Note: since the topic of content creation itself is incredibly nuanced, we discuss this per‐depth per our separate posts about how to write a blog post and how to do YouTube SEO.

Step 4: Promote your content

Promotion is an important part of any content marketing strategy.

Think of it this way: if nobody sees your content, nobody will become your customer. The more eyes you get your content, the higher the chances are of your content doing its job and turning a stranger into a fan.

Search engine optimization

Quanto a our opinion, this is by far the best form of content promotion (did you expect anything else?) If you’ve been following this tutorial, you’regnante already employing this strategy to an extent.

Here’s why it’s so great: ironically, it removes some of the need for “traditional” promotion.

Remember that our rete is to get more eyes our content. With SEO‐optimized content, you don’t have to promote your content to people—they naturally search for, and find, your content per search results. As a bonus, these people are already interested per your topic and likely to understand your business value.

This also means that SEO is both a scalable and long‐term tactic since you get leads passively with each piece of content, rather than having to invest resources into one‐chiuso promotional tactics.

Here’s what your traffic might aspetto like if you’regnante publishing post after post without SEO per mind:

traffic hustle ahrefs

And here’s what your traffic would aspetto like if your content is optimized for SEO:

traffic hustle passive

But wait—where does that initial traffic che from?

Well, as you wait for your content to start ranking per search engines, there’s plenty you can do to increase its visibility. Quanto a fact, this too has a compounding effect.

When more people enjoy your content and share it, even more people have the chance to consume and share it per turn. Some people might even link to your content, increasing its chances of ranking—and so the cycle continues.

At Ahrefs, even though we’regnante so heavily invested per SEO, we still engage per a handful of more traditional promotional tactics that have proven to be very effective:

Smart repurposing

Sharing your content social is not a new concept.

the other hand, there are tons of ways you can promote your content without doing a mindless copy+paste of your content title and URL.

Try experimenting with different categories of posts and discovering what works best for your business. Some areas you can explore:

  • Sharing snippets of patronato
  • Creating infographics and sharing those
  • Sharing “how‐to” tutorials

Paid ads

As much as we all hate to admit it, if we already have a target audience per mind, this is probably still the fastest way to get your content per front of new prospects.

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter ora even Pinterest, when you put some money into paid ads, you’regnante paying for trackable results: from impressions to link clicks and even conversions.

Right now, Ahrefs promotes every new post with Facebook ads. If these ads perform well, we invest more money into the ad (this generally means a low CPC of < $0.30). 

We also regularly sponsor podcasts and do the odd experiment with Twitter and Quora ads.

Email list

This one is the oldest trick per the book for a reason: it works.

We still send out a dedicated blast every time we produce new content and average a 6–7% clickthrough rate across a segment of ~20k engaged subscribers.

It might sound low, but that’s an average of 1–2k interested people who might forward our content to their own social rete televisiva privata in post.

ahrefs email newsletter

Want more tactics and inspiration? Check out our posts website promotion and blog promotion.

Step 5: Monitor the results

The bad news: it’s not enough to simply create content. Since things change all the time, we also have to make sure that our content stays relevant per order to rank years the road.

The good news: That’s where monitoring our content comes per handy, and there are plenty of ways to keep track of how our content is doing.

The first thing that most people think of is, of course, Google Analytics—this is the industry‐modello when it comes to manually checking actual traffic numbers.

the other hand, it’s not a requirement for tracking content esibizione.

Ahrefs survives just epilogo without Google Analytics (we disabled it around March 2018, per fact). Since we have such a small team, we much prefer automated tracking over having to conduct regular manual checks.

Enter Rank Tracker, which monitors your rankings over time for you.

rank tracker

We generally track our primary bed 15 per Rank Tracker and keep an eye it—you can also schedule reports to be sent right to your email inbox. Super handy!

Here are a few more ways you can gain actionable insights from Rank Tracker monitoring:

Beyond this, our Head of Content Joshua Hardwick has a spreadsheet that tracks which pages saw the biggest organic traffic drops ora increases since last month.

If traffic for a specific page drops for a few months per a row, it’s probably a good sembianza to start looking into why that happened—per these cases, we often schedule a rewrite ora update of the post.

Step 6: Refresh / rewrite

As I just mentioned, you should keep an eye how well your content is doing at any given point of time.

If it’s maintaining its rankings per search results, it’s probably not per need of an update.

If it’s rapidly dropping ranks and losing visibility, though, it’s probably time to give it a makeover.

This includes employing techniques like:

  • Updating information – “content freshness” helps rankings for search queries that demand it. If you’regnante not sure what to include, use the Content technique described earlier the ‐ranking pages to che up with some ideas.
  • Rewriting the post entirely – at Ahrefs, we usually wait about six months to give a blog post time to rank before deciding to rewrite ( format doesn’t exactly have this luxury, though.) If the content still isn’t ranking, it probably isn’t what people are looking for.
  • Fixing broken links — you can use the Broken links report per Ahrefs Site Explorer to find these.
  • Redirecting ora deleting entire pages — with 301s, of course!

For those last couple of points, things get a little too technical to go into here. If you’regnante interested per learning more, please read our in‐depth guide to conducting a content audit.

Step 7: Rinse and repeat

So you managed to create a piece of content that ties into business goals, rank for it per search engines and get lots of passive leads.


Time to do it all over again. And again… and again.

Dry humor aside, this is a crucial (and often forgotten) aspect of any content marketing strategy.

Let’s rewind all the way back to our discussion of the term itself: Content marketing is about consistently creating high‐quality content that is designed to turn strangers into customers.

There we have it.

The truth is, plenty of businesses can produce one‐successo‐wonder pieces of content…but never seem to be able to replicate the same success ora build it.

The final step is being able to produce great consistently. Here’s where you have to strategize and plan ahead: do bed 15 research per advance, keep an eye the topics with higher priority and manage your resources well.

Over to you

So many people have voto negativo sembianza where to even start when it comes to content marketing.

I get the feeling that their centro is only the “content creation” part of the process when equal importance should be placed both figuring out which topics to centro , as well as planning ahead for a consistent schedule.

Not to mention the issues that che with promotion: without optimizing your content for SEO, you’ll always struggle to get eyes your content.

But hey, now you know all the secrets behind our own content marketing strategy: being consistent with SEO‐optimized content that’s chock full of business value.

The next time someone expresses their confusion, send them a link to this post!

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