Why should I click on your site?

It’s a simple question. It doesn’t even ask for much of a response—one sentence will do.

But if you can’t answer it, it’s likely because you don’t have a content strategy.

“Content” is a catch-all term that refers to anything you might have on your small business website that’s worth viewing. For Chris Hogan, that’s a retirement calculator. For Tim Ferriss, it’s a series of thought-provoking podcasts.

But content also refers to the simplest feature of your website—the words. According to the Content Marketing Institute, some 76% of business-to-business marketers blog. You might even have a blog of your own. But without a content strategy, you’re left wondering how to get more customers, more clients, more leads. Let’s not wonder anymore.

Step One: Goal-Setting

This is content strategy, after all. Not content generation.

Anyone can generate content. You sit down at a computer and write. A goal is what makes your content efforts a strategy. A goal is something you can measure your content against.

The simplest way to generate a goal is to ask yourself, what do you want to do with your content? Do you want to…

There’s no right or wrong answer here. But it is critical and ask yourself what you want your content to achieve. Those goals will help determine what you write—and what you write about.

Step Two: The Editorial Calendar

The concept behind an editorial calendar is simple: it’s a list of ideas and when you plan to have them written and published.

The execution of an editorial calendar? Not so simple.

Let’s face it: generating ideas is hard. There’s reason it’s called “brainstorming,” not “brain-relaxing.” There are a few ways you can kick off the process, however:

Step Three: Picking a Style and Medium

What kind of content will you host? Will you generate videos? Long-form blog posts? Will you emphasize fun links on social media?

Generally speaking, the medium you choose doesn’t matter. The most important thing is to create valuable content worth the click. But your style will matter as it relates to your content strategy.

Want to get more leads? According to Curata, long-form blog posts generate 9 times as many leads as short-form blog posts.

Want to build relationships? Then social media is your sandbox.

You don’t have to limit yourself to any one of these strategies. In fact, it’s probably better that you construct a content funnel wherein you decide how you want to attract your potential readership and direct them towards your ultimate goal—for example, attracting people through social media, then to long-form blog posts, then to click on your lead-generation page.

The key is to choose the options that make the most sense for your stated goal. When your content strategy aligns with this goal, you’ll stand a much better chance of generating content that resonates with the target audience.

Step Four: Generate Content

You’re busy running a small business, which means you likely don’t have time to manage a blog. You have a few options here:

At this stage, it comes to the writers and marketers to generate content that will entice people to click through to your website. So you’re done, right? After all, there can’t possibly be a step five.

Step Five: Analyze and Adjust

At McDonald’s, they rigorously test their sandwiches. They hire experienced chefs, conduct market research, and even bring in taste-testers to provide feedback.

But once that work is done, they don’t send out a sandwich out into the world and hope for the best. That’s not the end of the road—otherwise, we’d still have the McHotDog.

Instead, they change their menu based on real-world feedback. And you need to do the same for your small business. Measure your content strategy with tools like Google Analytics.

What gets measured gets managed. Your analytics will provide insight into the most powerful forms of content, telling you how to refine your strategy and deliver the content that people respond to. This feeds into every other step of the process, helping you come up with an editorial calendar that will engage your audience.

Content Strategy that Works

Your content strategy is about more than writing a blog and hoping for the best. It’s about taking the time to understand your market and its needs. In many cases, your content should be a reflection of those needs—an answer to the question, “Why should I click on your site?”