After you’ve mapped out the customer experience journey, it’s time for the next step: planning out content.
Content marketing is important because it’s one of the primary ways that you can drive traffic (and new leads) to your website. It also allows you to give customers the information that they need in order to move forward in their customer journey.
By the way, when I say content, I’m talking about blog articles...and social media posts, email campaigns, downloadable PDFs, or anything else you can create that provides value to the customer.
Step 1 — Find Your Niche
First and foremost, you need to determine your areas of expertise. Are you the go-to guy for antique fishing lures? Do you have all the gear someone needs for a canoeing excursion?
When you have a specific niche to write content about, you’ll be more likely to reach your target customers.
You’ll want to choose 3-5 topics to use as your “content pillars”. Sure, you can write about your core product or service, but you want to try to think outside the box. For instance, if you are the go-to guy for antique fishing lures, you may want to write a content piece about Heddon Lures, but you could also branch out and write something about the best places to fish in the U.S.
By doing this, you’ll be able to reach people who search for “Heddon antique lures” and people who search for “Where to fish in the U.S.”.
Take a moment to think about your core values, company culture, brand ethos, and types of customers. What are you all about? What distinguishes you from others? Choose four to five areas where you can provide value and expertise, then look for keywords that are related to those areas.
Step 2 — Research and Choose Keywords
Ubersuggest and Moz are two tools you can use to find keywords that will fuel your editorial calendar, but there are plenty of others out there that you can find with a little research.
Use these tools to find keywords in your “content pillars”. One way you can do this is by going into Ubersuggest and typing in a term related to your area of expertise. Then, click on “keyword ideas” from the left-hand column and select “related”. This will show you other terms that people have typically searched for in tandem with that keyword.
Pro tip: Choose keywords with low volume and low search difficulty, and you’ll have a better chance of ranking in the search results for that term.
Step 3 — Create a Content Calendar
After the first two steps, you’ll have a lot of information floating around. Organize your content pillars and keywords in an excel spreadsheet that lists the pillar, keyword, volume, and search difficulty.
Once you’ve placed your keywords in your spreadsheet, sort them by volume first and difficulty second. This will give you a quick overview of your top volume keywords and how hard it is to rank for them. Whenever you need ideas for content, you can visit this page and use it as a starting point for something new.
You can also use this spreadsheet to plan out and keep track of upcoming content pieces. Create two tabs: Content Brainstorming Swipe-file and Master Content Calendar.
- Content Brainstorm Swipe-file — This is where you can keep all of your ideas for new content. Whenever someone mentions a great idea, open up this tab and drop it in here. Then, when you have a quarterly planning meeting, review the swipe-file and choose the best candidates for upcoming articles.
- Master Content Calendar — All of the ideas that get approved can be moved into this section of the spreadsheet. Use it to keep track of the status of the content (in progress, published), its due date, the concept for the content, and live link after it’s published.
Step 4 — Repurpose Your Content
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to create a post on your social media channels or develop a new email campaign. Save time by pulling sentences from the content you create (like sound bites), then push those snippets out across the touchpoints where it will impact your customers the most.
Here are a few ideas for how to repurpose a blog article:
- Turn it into a downloadable PDF.
- Find the most exciting sentences and turn them into social media captions.
- Pull key stats and turn it into an infographic.
These quick tricks will help you save time and create interesting, valuable content. And that’s just one of several hacks to take the stress out of content creation.