Content marketing is a good, non-intrusive way to get people interested in your business’s products and services. Successful content marketing is a critical component of Inbound Marketing, marketing that invites people to engage with your company through education, entertainment, and relationship building rather than sticking your business in front of their face. But, content marketing doesn’t just happen and you can’t wait on inspiration to strike if you want to be successful with content marketing.
Like traditional forms of marketing and advertising, successful content marketing is about strategy and planning. At Bold Entity we plan content weeks and months ahead of when we begin developing it. And we always develop it with a goal in mind for our client. Sometimes that is creating content that supports lead generation. In other instances it’s to improve a website’s search engine optimization.
To help with developing content we use a content planning document. You can grab a copy of the document to follow along HERE. Let’s go through the document step by step.
Successful Content Marketing Information
In the top section you should fill out all the background information for your planning. Time is crucial to successful content marketing. How far out do you need to plan your content? Depending on the client, Bold Entity plans content every two weeks, monthly, or quarterly.
Insert website analytics for your content from the previous period. This will help you determine what type of content is performing well and what was not interesting to your audience. Obviously, we want to make more of the content people like and less of the content people pass over. The last consideration you want to record is any internal and external feedback your previous content received. Did you receive follow-up questions on your last piece of content? That can give you an idea as to what you might want to focus your next piece of content towards.
Sometimes inspiration strikes or you receive a critical piece of feedback and you know exactly what you want to develop for your next successful content marketing piece. Other times, not so much. As a content creator, Bold Entity knows you can’t sit around waiting for inspiration to strike for your next piece of content. That’s one of the reasons we do research in the planning process. Take a look at your industry in the news. What’s new and changing in industry trends? Maybe there’s a big issue being discussed where your organization can add its two cents.
What are your competitors doing for content? Hopefully nothing to the quality and quantity of what you’re doing, but it’s helpful to see what your competitors are doing, especially if you can do it better. Consider organizations that are not direct competitors as well. Many indirect competitors have ideas you can use as inspiration for your own content generation. In that same way you can also look at similar industries for ideas. If you’re a tile distributor it makes sense to keep an eye on a few carpet and hardwood companies to see what they’re doing for content.
Sometimes it’s helpful to pull from the general news. Recently, widespread shelter-in-place orders forced companies around the world to adapt to continuing business in a remote, online-only environment. That’s the perfect time to talk about how your organization dealt with the challenges and found ways to overcome. What company processes have been forever improved due to coronavirus adjustments?
Are there any holidays that align to your industry or causes particularly important to your company and/or team? It can be a good time to show the personal side of your business and the extra curriculars close to your business’s heart. It could be team building, an industry-related holiday, or a regional charity event.
Research Topics & Trends
If you’ve done your due diligence in research hopefully you will see some items show up multiple times, cream rising to the top. These should be your frontrunners for content ideas.
Serious and successful content marketing creators subscribe to one of the many services that help us look at a client’s website and its ranking for search terms in Google. But, you don’t need to commit to an expensive service if you’re just starting out for your own organization. Take a look at your website analytics, in the organic traffic results you can find a list of search terms people used to find your website. For an even better idea make sure your website analytics are set up with Google Search Console.
A good place to start when determining what keywords you want to improve is to look at the keywords for your website that rank on page two of the search engine results page (Rank 11-20). Make sure it’s a keyword you want to rank higher for and record it on your document. Out to the right you can jot down any content ideas that spring to mind from the identified keywords.
Successful Content Marketing Ideation
Now it’s time for the nitty gritty, content ideation. But before you jump to ideas, think about how many pieces of content can you realistically publish in your allotted time frame?
Unless it’s your only task, you’ll be hard pressed to keep up a pace of five content pieces every two weeks. But, you probably want to accomplish more than one piece per quarter. Our recommendation, like it is for social media, is to set a minimum threshold for your content generation. Maybe that’s publishing one blog every month. You can always publish more if the lightning bolt of inspiration strikes. The idea is to have a consistent baseline of content publishing. Anything above and beyond is a nice bonus for your company and your audience, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your next piece of planned content.
Look over your research and start filling out the individual content piece information.
Successful Content Marketing Piece
First off, what’s the topic. At Bold Entity this usually turns into the working title of a content piece. Below that add any keywords from your research. This step is critical if you’re aiming to improve your website’s SEO through content. Identify your audience. Because content marketing is a part of inbound marketing it can be helpful to identify what level in the inbound marketing funnel your target audience is at.
That can also help you determine what content medium is best to reach them for successful content marketing. Someone at the top end of the funnel needs very general, often basic information that’s easy for them to access and digest. Targets towards the bottom of the funnel are interested in more in-depth information and how your content relates to their specific situation. The latter is sometimes gated (placed behind a form to capture high-value prospect contact details). So, think of your target audience when deciding on the appropriate format and length of your content.
In a few sentences or bullet points lay out a synopsis of your successful content marketing piece. This along with the previous questions of content type and length will help you determine how much effort the content piece will require. Helpful if you land on creating a 20 minute video in the next two weeks. You know you need to clear your schedule or maybe push the content piece for a month or two until your work load is a bit lighter.
If you are looking to create a 20 minute video and don’t know where to start. Check out HOW TO GET STARTED VIDEO MARKETING.
It’s also important to know when it’s just not going to happen. Inspiration passes, maybe the topic’s no longer relevant, or the piece is so labor intensive you can’t foresee a time when you would actually be free enough to produce it.
Make sure you download the document HERE to help with your content development. Successful content marketing is about making a realistic plan and sticking to it. Don’t be discouraged if your first piece of content isn’t a hit that floods your company with new business or shoots your website to first place for your targeted keyword. Content marketing is a long game.
Think of it as writing a book about your company, industry, and clients. There’s more value in a 100 page book on the topic than a 10 page book. If you continue to improve and grow your content marketing, people and search engines will begin to see your organization as a credible and authoritative thought leader in the industry. And that’s not something you achieve by waiting for inspiration to hit and writing a few blogs.