CONTENT MARKETING

Content is like currency–it’s the lifeblood of everything your brand communicates about itself online. That’s why a bulletproof content strategy is key to successful SEO, PR, Networking, User Experience, Customer Acquisition and so many more essential organizational processes. If you’re not producing great content, you’re behind.

A NOTE FROM DREW //
“If you’re struggling to create relevant and consistent content, go ahead and email me for a free consultation. If you want to understand the basics of how great content is planned, created, published and promoted, keep reading! This guide will walk you through the fundamentals of content marketing.”

A GUIDE TO CONTENT MARKETING

Below you’ll find my guide to Content Marketing. I take you through my step-by-step process from strategy all the way through promotion to give you some context and better educate you on the process of generating great content consistently.

HERE’S WHAT’S INSIDE:

SECTION 1

STRATEGY

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IDEAS

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CREATE

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PROMOTE

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DEVELOP A CONTENT STRATEGY

Strategy is always step #1 in content marketing. 

The biggest mistake I see many business leaders make is that they generate content within their organizations at random, without giving thought to where it fits within their overall site structure and user experience.

Here’s how I kick off all of my content creation campaigns:

 

DEFINE YOUR WHY

Whether you’re going to outsource your content creation or generate content with an in-house writer, one fact remains in both cases. You must define why you’re creating content.

What is the mission of your content? How is it serving your customers & prospects? What’s the higher purpose here?

Questions like these go miles in keeping you focused on the experience your user has with your content, which is one of the most important and fundamental aspects of content creation.

Most poeple miss this step.

Write our your content “why”. Create a document, print it out, or pin it to the top of your onboarding documents so that all content writes know why they are creating content in the first place.

This kind of thinking, paired with clear communication, is what keeps you and your team creating consistently high-value content over the life of your content marketing campaign.

Try it out, it works!

DEFINE YOUR TARGET

Content must be laser focused in order to serve its readership effectively.

The process of defining this “reader persona” is a constantly evolving one, becuase you’ll constantly gain new insights into this persona, but it’s important to make an educated guess at the start of your content marketing campaign.

Create a kind of contact card that clearly defines your target reader’s persona. I do this for every client I work with because it helps to focus content creation efforts through all phases of the process.

Here’s what my contact cards look like:

CREATE A CONTENT CALENDAR

Project management is a huge part of what I do, especially when it come to technical SEO, link building and content marketing.

There are just so many moving parts. You’ll need a way to keep everything in order.

That’s where your content calendar comes into play.

Create a simple spreadsheet that tracks these baseline areas:

• Topic
• Main Keyword
• Competition
• Search Volume
• Content Type
• Who’s Responsible
• Due Date

 As you move through this process, you’ll now have a dashboard of sorts to work from that allows you to stay organized and the manage your content from strategy all the way through promotion.

Keep things like your persona card and your reason for blogging pinned to this document so everyone working in it has access to all the basic strategy information needed.

ORGANIZE SITE & CONTENT STRUCTURE

I talk about site and content structure a lot because it’s so vital to both your users having a quality experience as well as the search engines finding and making sense of your website content.

In your content strategy phase you’ve got to take a step back and assess what the current structure of your site looks like and plug your new content categories into that existing site structure.

For instance, if one of your top level menu items is SERVICES, then under that menu item a user would typically find the services you offer. Your blog posts should revolve around these services and all content created should plug into these broad categories.

I refer to this method as the Hub & Spoke model, and it looks like this in our example:

SERVICES (Top Level Menu)

Seo (Sub Menu Item)

How SEO has changed in 2019 (Content Topic)
8 Ways To Get Better Rankings This Year (Content Topic)


Website Design (Sub Menu 
Item)

User Experience Is Crucial To ALL Website Design (Content Topic)
How To Design An SEO-Forward Website (Content Topic)


Branding (Sub Menu Item)

Why You Should Create A Personal Brand (Content Topic)
Power Branding: How To Be Everywhere Online (Content Topic)

 

This simple visual explains the importance of zooming out and looking at your site and content structures BEFORE you get too deep into a content marketing strategy.

GENERATE CONTENT IDEAS

After the strategy work is done, I move on to generating content topic ideas that fit into the categories within the client’s content structure. 

The most effective way of doing this is to take a data-driven approach. 

I use an SEO tool (such as Ahrefs) to analyze the target organization’s top five competitors and scrape all keywords that those five competitors are ranking in the top 10 Google search results for. 

Then, I compare these keywords against my client’s keywords to produce a list of keywords that are organized by search volume and ranking opportunity. 

At this point I have everything I need. 

This list provides hundreds of keywords arranged by content topic that can be used throughout the life of my 12 month contracts. 

CREATE CONTENT

You’re ready to start writing content after you plug your next month’s worth of topics into your content calendar and assigned either internal or external resources to them.

The process of writing is really straight forward, so I won’t get into that there, but there are a few points I want to hit on that will increase overall reception and reach of your content.

 

CONSISTENCY

The importance of consistently posting content online can’t be overstated. 

From a reader standpoint, people who love your posts will start to expect your content if you offer it to them regularly. This is a good thing, but now this user has expectations of you, and a soon as those expectations get dashed, ie. they don’t see anything from you for months at a time, they lose interest. 

-and-

From a search engine point of view, consistent content means your site is up-to-date. This is a signal to the major search engines that your content is likely to be more relevant than the other sites in your category. This freshness and relevance will help you outrank your competitors who are lazy about their content consistency.

 

QUALITY

Quality is the prerequisite to any content marketing campaign.

I know you’ve probably run across content that seems like it was written by a middle school student… Not from a technical perspective, the content is there and it’s correct, I’m talking about that human connection that must be present in good writing.

Content quality depends entirely on your brand voice and the context of the communication. What this really breaks down into is:

1. Are you communicating in a way that connects you to your readers

2. Is the content delivering an in-depth answer or addressing a real want/need

 Make sure your brand is represented in your content and ensure that your prospects are communicating in that same “tone of voice”.

When the alignment is right between these two areas, and you’re delivering content that your readers can’t live without, you’ve got the winning combo as far as quality is concerned.

SEO OPTIMIZED

Lastly here, the major benefit of creating high-quality content regularly is that it has massive potential to rank within the search results, especially if you take my data driven approach of topic selection directly from an SEO tool.

Primary keywords are important, but without great page structure and on-page SEO optimization, you’ll miss ranking opportunities.

Make sure your content posts are using H1-H4 header tags that bring attention to your keyword headings. 

Create compelling titles and meta descriptions that are focused around your primary keywords. 

And finally, focus on creating a great user experience with every piece of content you create. Ask yourself “Is this piece of content really good? Would this benefit the reader in a big way?”

 

PROMOTE CONTENT

The final piece of any great content marketing campaign is to promote your content.

There are hundreds of ways to promote content, and the ones that are right for you depend on your current resources and audience size. 

Here are my first recommendations for ways you can create your newly created content:

1. Email List

Promoting your new content to your email list is a great way to deliver a ton of value and goodwill, provided you don’t use this opportunity to sell. A once-weekly full value email that teaches, trains, or entertains your list will be received by your list with open arms. 

2. Social Media

If you have a social media following, every piece of content should be shared to your social profiles numerous times and in numerous formats. Break down your main posts into multiple “micro-formats” that can be then shared to their respective social media platforms. Video clips, quote pics, inspirational cards… These are all great ways to repurpose your posts into social media content.

3. Paid Ads

Lastly, consider paying the online advertising platforms to push your content to the front of your readership’s mind. The platform you choose will depend entirely where your readers spend most of their time, but sites like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google Adwords are all great choices.

 

 

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