How to Develop a Content Strategy Plan for Your Small Business: A Start-to-Finish Guide

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Anytime you build a content strategy for a business, it’s important to maintain focus on your objectives.

Most businesses create a content strategy with SEO or social media in mind. This guide will be primarily SEO-focused because, in my opinion, that’s what drives long-term results.

Here are 5 steps to building a winning content strategy for your small business.

Step 1: Determine your objectives

When it comes to building out a content strategy for your business, sales automation as a byproduct of content marketing is obviously the #1 priority.

However, there are a few things that you need as a byproduct of your content strategy for sales to come in:

  • Backlinks: These drive rankings in Google, so content designed to attract backlinks is a must if you want to scale your content strategy.
  • Targeted traffic: If you want to get potential customers to your site, you need traffic that’s likely to convert. This comes down to effective keyword research and search intent mapping.
  • Authoritative content: If you want your readers to trust you to the point where they’ll open their wallet, your content needs to showcase that you know what you’re talking about. While emerging AI tools like ChatGPT are useful for research and brainstorming ideas, they can’t create thought leadership pieces. You’ll have to roll up your sleeves and create these yourself.

So when determining the objective of your content strategy, make sure it aligns with the three things above—and you’ll unlock the full scope of advantages of content marketing.

Step 2: Bucket your content ideas

Once you’ve determined an objective for your content, ideally around getting backlinks, targeted traffic, and building authoritative content pieces, you can start to come up with keyword buckets.

Keyword buckets are groups of keywords or keyword phrases that cover topics you want to rank for. For example, if you own a plumbing business near Plano, Texas, you may want to rank for “Plano plumber,” “plumber Plano,” and “plumber near Plano TX.” Bucketing your keywords allows you to maintain focus on the audiences of each keyword type.

Keyword “types” are ones that align with different types of search intent, such as:

  • Informational: Searchers may be looking for a how-to or data for research they’re conducting or an article they’re writing.
  • Navigational: Users may be searching for specific pages on specific sites. This usually doesn’t apply to content marketing, but mostly to the website structure. You want visitors to your website to be able to find the page they’re looking for in three clicks or less.
  • Transactional: People who are looking to buy will type in these keywords. They’re usually straightforward, such as “buy healthcare project management tool.”
  • Commercial investigation: Users who aren’t ready to buy yet but are doing their research will use this type of keyword. For example, “best password managers.”

To align your content with these types of intent at scale, you want to bucket your content into three types:

  • Educational: This is the type of content that will position you as an authority. Focus on answering the questions your customers have about the industry you’re in to showcase your expertise. In each article, answer the question in the most direct way in the first paragraph, then use the rest of the article to elaborate on and back up your answer with evidence.
  • Sales: Building sales-focused content will intersect with your transactional and commercial investigation keywords. You can build out lists that include your product, or you can get sales by effectively positioning your product inside of how-to articles.
  • Link bait: You need backlinks, but building them is expensive. And buying them will backfire if Google catches you. The best way to get backlinks is to use link bait to get them naturally. Posting a statistics rundown on your blog is a great way to do this. We’ll talk more about that in a moment.

Once you’ve bucketed your content plan into types, you can start doing some keyword research.

Step 3: Choose your keywords

Once you’ve determined your budgets, you can start finding keywords for each.

For educational content, focus on keywords that are similar to questions your current customers are asking. When users type these questions into Google, they’ll find you and recognize you as a subject matter expert on the topic. They’ll trust you and will be more likely to buy your product or service.

For sales content, focus on writing about problems and solutions tangentially related to your product. For example, this article about music copyright has a LegalZoom affiliate link and converts well despite giving the information away for free. People are willing to spend time or money, so give them a way to do both.

For link bait, you can focus on creating statistics roundup posts targeting keywords with the word “statistics” in them. These pages do well at earning links passively because bloggers and journalists look for statistics to reference in their content. Here’s an example of a stats rundown that focuses on the keyword “Microsoft statistics.”

When you’re ready to jump in and get started on keyword research, check out this guide from Moz to get started.

Step 4: Write content that aligns with search intent

Once you’ve found your keywords, you’re ready to start writing your content for those keywords.

For each keyword, write the content so that it perfectly aligns with search intent. Ask yourself what the person typing in these keywords is searching for. Are they looking for a list? A how-to about something? Give them a comprehensive answer to their search intent.

When choosing keywords to go after with content, you want to make sure people using those keywords are actually looking for something to read rather than a sales page or product page.

You also want to make sure the type of content you’re writing aligns with what your audience is looking for.

You can get an idea of the type and format of content people are looking for by examining what currently ranks in Google for your keywords. Look at the results, ask yourself why Google chose to rank them highly, and look for ways to make your content better than what’s already there.

Improve on high-ranking content by providing more recent information, adding charts and graphs to more clearly present the data, and more fully answering search intent.

And while it’s somewhat gone out of vogue, gating your content is still an effective way to collect email addresses for your mailing list and get leads.

Step 5: Promote your content

In SEO, content promotion is synonymous with link building.

This is because backlinks are one of the main things that help improve Google rankings.

There are tons of ways you can promote your content online. For example, sharing it on social media, sending it out to your email list, and running paid ads. But link building is a good long-term promotional strategy to kick off early because it can have a massive, long-term impact on your Google rankings.

Promoting your content is especially important if you’d like to increase your sales with blogging!


To develop an effective content strategy for your small business, you need to determine your objectives, put your content ideas into buckets, select your keywords, write content that answers search intent, and promote your content so it attracts clicks, shares, and potential customers.

Here are some guides you can reference for various link building strategies:

Whatever link building strategies you decide to run with, measure the impact of your link building over time to make sure your Google rankings are improving. If they aren’t, adjust your strategy accordingly.

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