When you begin your content marketing you are bombarded with what to do next. This post is going to hopefully help you break those down into a simple 7 step process in which you can execute often.
1.Know Your Audience – Find An Audience
First things first, you have to know your market and who you are going to be writing to. They are called Buyer Personas.
Finding a target market for your Buyer Personas is not nearly as hard as it sounds.
Take away the SEO terminology and you are left with a normal marketing method that has been around for years. Think of it like this. If you are looking to market a simple widget then it may sound good to say everyone would love my brownies. That is not the reality though. Even though everyone may like or even love your widgets, your marketing will fall short if you don’t target someone.
Take your Buyer Personas and Slice Them
The simplest way to get your buyer persona is to think of it on a local level. Where would your perfect candidate be located? What profession? What type of activities, interest, and or social groups? What would they type in when they are looking for solutions to the problems you solve?
Realize you want to start with people that are ready to purchase. You can work on the person that just realized they had the problem known as Population on our “marketing funnel”, after you have those closer to the bottom of the “marketing funnel” already take care of.
When you have the “Prospects” taken care of you can start taking an approach with your leads. and so on until you have a lot more width in your funnel. Think about it. As people progress through the funnel they will need the answers as well in order to turn into profits. So if you answer the questions the lower part of the funnel have and then add more people by moving up the funnel with your content focus then you will not create a clog in the funnel.
If you start to high then you will find that you never push them through the funnel. They turn into prospects but you don’t have answers that advance them into profits. They get “hung” with questions about your services and end up having to field calls and emails all the time instead of the natural progression into a customer.
Now that you have identified the top candidate for your widgets. It is time to take your content and do some high level research.
2. Research – Content Marketing Is Research
You probably did a crap ton of research and read some books to understand what Content Marketing is. We understand. We have and we do the same quite often.
Research doesn’t have to be a huge task for you. There are a few quick go to places in order to research a topic and the keyword in less than a few hours.
Keyword Research for Content Marketing
- Google – Yeah we know it sounds like a duh but wait. Look at Adwords and then actually use the landing page you are wanting to compete with. Then take the top keywords that landing page is ranking for and look through the headline, content, and types of writing that are on each of the searches. Look for a few things. Outdated content that you can spruce up and email the links that pointed towards it. Look for ugly designed old sites as a great way to grab links and a plan for the content.
- Google – Again Really? Looking at the keyword planner you will find the level of content you need to make. What we mean by level is simply how in depth and large the piece of content needs to be in order to own that keyword. If you are competing against national brands then you will need an in depth thought leadership piece that will help you rise. The reason a larger piece or more in depth piece is needed is simply because you are going to have to gain more backlinks and SEO to that particular page of your site than the large brands currently have. If you are going against a less competitive keyword then you won’t have to gain as much acceptance.
- Spyfu – Run your own site or a site in the keywords you are targeting through Spyfu, look on google webmaster tools, and look on Google Analytics. These are great places to find hidden gems that you could easily increase your rankings for by simply making a good piece of content and amplifying it.
- Ask your current customers – This may sound weird but I have seen to many times that you can ask a few of your top clients and ask them what problems you are solving for them and their language describes something you would have never thought of. You just plug that new language into a keyword tool and find some gems and go after them. They fit your current clients persona.
When you get a keyword that you want to target then add them into various groups. Take a few of the main keywords and run them to grab a few easy ones you can target within your content as well. There are great ways to write your content in order to make sure it gains the attention you are wanting.
Researching Content and “How To Guides”
There are a lot of types or styles of blog post that you can utilize in order to gain attention. Check out this post to find some great ideas.
3. Bullet Point List
Take Your Content and break it down into main pieces that you style as a bullet point list. Realize that most web copy is scanned, not read.
Breaking your writing into small pieces of digestable pieces then form it into a list, how to post, or your other creative type to gain the attention you deserve.
4. Talk To Your Audience Like You Talk
Don’t let the fact that your content will be viewed by “millions” change who you are. Write in your own voice and act like you are speaking to that local prospect we were talking about earlier. Even better is when you actually have someone in mind that you are talking to through your content. A personal touch is the new web.
5. Don’t Hype – Craft Your Lead In
Never hype something up or make it seem to good to be true. Just present your case and let the chips fall where they may.
Make sure you craft your initial Headline and first few paragraphs as you lead in.
Types of leads that perform well in content:
- Fascinating story
- Little-known fact
- Contrarian viewpoint
- Promise of information available nowhere else
- Breaking news
Headlines are one of the most important piece in your content and having the initial information represented by the headline you offered is one of the most critical pieces you have to perform.
Think of your Content Marketing Headlines and Lead Ins like this:
- When you are looking through or scanning through content you normally got there because of the headline.
- You look for that point first and based on that you will know whether you trust the author, want to read more, and if it is really good you bookmark it
- Content that you read more than once has in depth points that you have to think through and can’t just scan – that is the ultimate goal
Actionable Important Information
When you are crafting the final steps of your piece of content, realize that you want to make the content actionable. The entire piece of content needs to have action steps or be leading to the solution of the problem that is written out in the content.
Put your most important information first but tell a story. The flow needs to make you want to get to the next part. This can sound hard but it is simpler than it seems.
It just means that you edit, and then you edit, and then you edit some more. Write in simple “burst.” This is where you craft out the idea and then draw a few supporting sentences to support that main topic. At the end just leave the small simple cliffhanger mentioning something towards the end of your piece.
You obviously can’t add these in until you have the entire piece flushed out.
6. Design – Edit – Design
This is where we spend most of the time on our projects. It takes a ton of time to take content and then make it into a designed piece. Design the landing pages. Design the eBook or post itself.
We often use piktochartand build the entire piece of content like it was an infograph. If we want that piece then into an eBook we simply download it from piktochart as blocks. This comes out as a PDF and is perfect for having as a guide or eBook download.
7. Amplification of Content Is Content Marketing
When you have your perfect piece of content then you have to make sure others see it. This means you have to pitch them on the content.
You can always email the entire PDF out. We first often make a few blog post that we can offer as guest post on various blogs. We use buzzstream to look up a list of blogs around our content, reach out to the writers of those blogs, and then offer them the guest post. We also offer in the email that they can just link to the guide.
Reaching out to journalist and writers can be a daunting task. As we talked about in our Strategy Guide, we have completed a tedious process to make sure we have the right connections.
Here is how we came to getting those connections.
We started with various freelance websites. We posted jobs with our template found above and asked that the responders provide the type of links they can get, the website they can get it from, and several samples where they have gotten those links.
We also asked what the approval percentage was for that medium (site) and how we could contact them ongoing in order to make sure we gained approvals before payment incurred.
We then ran analysis using Moz on the website linked from the medium and on the linking page itself and took into account the ranking factors of each site.
We then doubled this process by running press releases that only stated we are looking for journalist and writers. Our goal was not to get the press release published but to gain contacts from writers that fit what we are doing.
We then interviewed this group of people. This was the freelancers and the journalist and found out how to create content that would improve our approval ratings from their mediums.
We found out exactly what type of content each journalist, freelancer, and site wanted and what categories they published in.
This resulted in some Thought Leadership Findings for our business in the process in which we create content and how we research content for our clients.
We then expanded our search for journalist, writers, and freelancers by doing more press releases and job postings. We ran classified ads in newspapers while emailing various authors that had posted previously.
We struck GOLD.
There are the simple 7 steps we follow to make sure each piece of content we produce gains the authority we know it should. This also insures that the content gets the readers it needs and that we “own” the keywords we went after with that content.
Check Out Our Complete Guide To Gain Even More Tips And Exact Templates We Use To “Own” A Keyword
Content Marketing Playbook
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