develop a content strategy

How to Develop a Content Strategy for Your Membership Site in 5 Steps

You need to develop a content strategy if you are going to grow a successful website. Whether you just started a membership site or you’re thinking about launching one, you know that producing content will come shortly after. 

The importance of content has grown exponentially over the past few years. 91% of businesses said they were using content marketing as part of their promotional efforts and 77% said they had a content marketing strategy in place.

Content is still king. 

So do you have a content strategy for your membership site in place? If not, buckle up, we are going to help you not only develop a strategy but show you a successful framework along with examples and templates to get you going. Let’s create some content! 

What is Content Strategy and Why is it Important?

You’ve heard the term content strategy, but do you really know all the factors? Or why it matters so much to your bottom line? 

When you develop a content strategy then you align your business goals and to your content creation so you can use your words as a primary means to achieve the goals you’ve set. It’s a plan for curating and delivering content in different forms. It involves creating objectives tied to your business goals and putting a system together so that the content is able to achieve those objectives.

To clarify, a solid content strategy revolves around the following business goals: 

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Increase the number of leads 
  • Convert leads to loyal customers 
  • Boost brand and web authority 

What’s interesting is that new business owners may not quite understand the importance of producing content. For some reason, blogging isn’t on the top of their list, and that’s a real problem.

The fact is, a solid content marketing strategy can not only help businesses gain new leads but can also provide a level of trust with customers that can last a lifetime. As soon as quality content is made, it’s best to prepare and plan for growth. 

Not only are you building trust, leads, and awareness—you’re growing in the search engines as well. 

Ultimately, creating good content will be the cornerstone of your brand. It is a reflection of what you represent—your website, your blog, your social posts—it’s all content. For a membership site, a place that people will be coming back to continuously, it’s even more important to create lasting content. When you develop your content strategy then you are positioned to be consistent and focused with what you create.

The Core Components of a Content Strategy 

To truly understand your content, you must first grasp the core concepts that are involved. In order to put a strategy together, you’ll need to answer these important questions. 

Who is your content intended for?

When you set out to build content, your target audience is the first building block. Each and every piece of content created (along with your website) needs to have your target audience in mind. Content is not intended to be what you want as a business owner, it’s what your target market wants. 

What value are you providing your audience? 

Remember, creating content is not just about gaining new leads. It’s also to build trust with new and current customers, who can end up being raving fans for life. Not only are you creating content that shouts your brand from the mountain tops, but you’re also showing the world your expertise. 

There is nothing quite like providing value for someone, they will be back if it’s valuable to them. 

What content formats will you focus on?

Don’t get overwhelmed, but there are many different forms content can take on. Content can be a: 

  • Blog article: a short or long-form informative article that lives on your website.
  • Ebook: a downloadable piece of long-form content that solves a problem, guides or offers a tutorial for a trade or skill. 
  • Whitepaper: an informational piece of content to promote or highlight the features of a solution, product, or service.
  • Guest post: a blog article that you create to live on someone else’s website to build backlink opportunities
  • Case Study/Customer testimonial: a short or long-form interview-style article showcasing a use case of your product or service and its benefits. 

There will be more evolving as your content strategy evolves, however, a blog is a great place to start. 

Where will your content live?

Content is so big that it doesn’t just have to live on your website. It absolutely should, for SEO purposes, however, there are many different ways to aggregate your content out to the world. You have choices! 

Other than it living on your website, you can publish it on Medium, Pocket, Quuu Promote, YouTube, Flipboard, and other platforms. Think strategically. Search engines are looking for unique content, so be conscious of this when you are repurposing your words. Each place that your content will live means more exposure, but it also means more management. 

How will you manage your content?

This brings us to our final question. Who will manage your content? Because it’s a full-time job, if not a team effort. Content management involves content strategy, creation, aggregation, evaluation, and on and on it goes. 

A content manager is in charge of not only creating content but constantly making it better—evolving with the trends and building partnerships along the way. 

The Process to Develop a Content Strategy

Now that you know the strategy to begin content marketing, you’re ready to learn the steps involved in actually making it happen. There are five core steps to follow in the content development process. 

Step 1: Set content goals 

Your goals for content are already set (in your content strategy). The ultimate goal is to make more money with your content. But these goals are more specific. They will be based on what you want to achieve with your content. 

Your search engine optimization (SEO) goals are fine-tuned to how many people you can reach. That means your keywords, linking opportunities, and context all play a big role in your content. 

Start with the SEO basics to not get too overwhelmed, and find your own content groove. 

Step 2: Brand your content  

Design plays a big factor in the content development process. Visually, your blog represents your brand image. So, design, images, formatting, and even white space matter when it comes to your content. The most important part is consistency—pick a style and stick with it. 

There are many brand strategies you can go with simply by researching popular templates or examples, or you can outsource your design.

Step 3: Create your content 

Now that you have some building blocks in place, it’s time to start writing. We get that starting a blog can be intimidating, but if you break it down into bite-sized pieces, it can be easier. 

If you’re starting with a blog (congrats!), begin with a keyword and an outline. Create 3-5 topics about your keyword and always keep the goal in mind—what value are you bringing to your audience? What problem are you solving? And let the content creation begin. 

Step 4: Analyze and optimize 

There are two more steps after your content is written. It’s not just about putting words on a website, it’s about how you can make each word work for your bottom line. 

To analyze your content means not only figuring out what value it can bring to your audience, but what value it can bring to you. You have the ability to generate leads, build brand awareness and partnerships, all with your content. Each keyword, link, or image is an opportunity to scale. 

Step 5: Repeat and repurpose

Lather, rinse, repeat. Content is a never-ending job that will yield great benefits if you don’t give up. The goal of a good content strategy is to bring new and existing visitors back for more. Each piece of content creates signals to the search engines that you’re out there, and you’re valuable. Shoot for one article a week, to begin with, at the very least, try for two articles a month and grow from there. 

When content grows stale, there will be a need for repurposing. You can’t always create evergreen content, so there will be dated articles that need edits and updates. Work these into your content strategy as your database grows. 

Content Tips and Words to Live (or Write) By 

A content strategy is one of the biggest and best decisions you will make for the success of your business. No pressure. 

Here are some content tips: 

  • Be human. The most unique and valuable content comes from connection. Write with heart. 
  • Don’t overdo it. Using too many keywords can be harmful to your website. 
  • Not all links are created equal. Be careful who you link out to – it could mean a bad link for your domain. 
  • Write short and long-form content. Mix and match different types of content to reach different types of people. 
  • Backlinking is a science. Use external linking as a resource to branch out to people and brands that you trust and want to build a foundation with. 
  • Write how you speak. Read your articles out loud and make sure they are written like you would chat with a friend. 
  • Formatting matters. Break up the content with bullets, white space, shorter paragraphs, and bolding. 
  • Images are calls to action. Hyperlink your images if applicable, people click on things  more than you think. 

Hopefully, with these basic tips, you can begin a strategy that will create positive content habits. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad blogs out there, it would be a shame to become one of them. 

Content Marketing Metrics for Your Membership Site 

Your membership site will be something that you take care of for a long time. It’s an investment. So measuring your content with the right metrics, matters. Here are some content metrics to keep an eye on. You need to know your marketing measures so you have the right information to develop a content strategy that will bring the biggest return to your investment.

User behavior 

Your blog will bring visitors to your website. That’s the goal, anyway. These visitors are considered “users” in that they are using your website as a tool. When it comes to your content, you want to track behavioral analytics, which lets you better understand how many people are interacting with your website. 

You’ll also want to learn which web pages brought them to your site to begin with, and develop the recognition for which pages they engage with the most — these also play a part in how the search engines rank your website.

The core content metrics for user behavior include: 

  • Page views: how many people are viewing multiple pages of your website 
  • Total users: how many people engaged with your website over a period of time
  • Time on page: how long a visitor or user spent on your website (and where) 
  • New visitors: how many new people are coming to your website

Engagement 

Content is all about engagement. Measuring the amount of engagement is key to understanding how people value your brand. The engagement metric really reflects how you’re connecting with your audience. 

Currently, engagement is one of the top metrics that matter most when it comes to conversions. If someone is interacting with your website, they are interested. The core engagement metrics may include: 

  • Likes: how often someone likes or loves a post
  • Comments: how often someone leaves a comment on an article
  • Shares: how often someone shares your article across social media
  • Reshares: how often someone reshares or republishes your article across the web 

Search engine optimization and ranking 

We know now that your blog is a big factor in determining where your website sits in the search engines. Your blog will bring in the most organic website traffic if it’s done correctly, so this is a great metric to try to hit.  

The core components of a solid SEO metric are: 

  • Organic website traffic: how many users found your website’s page through a search engine
  • Keyword ranking: how your keywords rank in comparison to competing brands
  • SERP ranking: how your website ranks against relevant competing brands 

Develop a Content Strategy Just Right for Your Membership Site 

The most important takeaway you can glean from this article is that content is a core part of growth. A stellar content strategy can scale a business from nothing to success – when the ambition, tools, and mindset are aligned. 

At Restrict Content Pro, we see hundreds of people begin membership sites each month. We want to see each and every one of them succeeds, out there in the world WILD web. When you develop a content strategy that works for your website, your brand, and your customer, this can happen. 

We’ve taught you the basics of content to get your membership site started, the steps you can take to write content that works, and some metrics to measure for success. 

Good luck taking content into your own hands, with the right tools for the job and a little help from your friends, you’ll develop a content strategy with ease. 

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