If you look around the internet for information about content strategy, you’ll find that a load of different organizations will completely over-complicate their content strategy workflow. The truth is unless you are a massive player you’ll be doing a load of your content strategy workflow yourself! Here I want to share with you the four simple steps that you can use to create content in a simple and efficient way!
A winning content strategy workflow consists of four key steps:
For this article, we will be looking at content production in general but also how to make sure the content you create becomes an asset and not just more work for you. What this means in a practical sense is that you will be producing content that will perform well over the long term in Google and YouTube searches. That is the only real way that you can ensure the longevity of your content that doesn’t rely on you posting to social media all of the time!
You see, the moment you stop posting on social media is the same moment that you stop having eyes on your content. Having a Search Engine Optimized (SEO) focused strategy, however, will repay you for many years to comes as long as you do in-depth Keyword research and competition analysis and back it up with REALLY helpful long-form content. Written or video it doesn’t matter as long as it is really, really helpful you’ll be close to guaranteed that you will win over the long run.
SEO content, after publishing, will take anywhere between 8 – 12 months to start to rank at it’s maximum. That means you cannot expect quick results and the position of Google Search will also depend on a number of other factors like the age of your domain, the speed of your site and another 200 ranking factors that Google deems important for user experience.
Overall, however, remember this: Google wants to offer up the most valuable information to search queries and provide the best user experience for its users. Everything you do needs to support Google in this mission. If you do not work with Google in its mission your content, you will not be ranked highly.
Okay, with that information guiding our strategy here’s how you should do it:
1: Research topics for content
This is where you should spend a fair amount of your time and early energy. Once you decide that you are going to put a load of energy into making content, it can be easy to get carried away and create a load of content! But hold up! Take a moment to do research on the topics and find out what your potential customers are searching for!
Define your audience
Defining your audience for your content varies in difficulty for each individual and business. If you are an established business with clients you can look at the problems that they are having and you can help with. If you are a newer business you’ll have to make a few more assumptions about your audience. Either way, you’ll still have a chance to optimize your content after making it.
These are the questions you need to ask yourself to make sure you know your audience in full:
Who is your ideal client or audience?
- Marital Status
What do they do and like?
- Interest and hobbies
- Strongly held opinions
- How do they buy products?
What is their pain?
- Problems and concerns that keep them up at night?
- How can you help them solve any of these pains?
It’s only after answering all of these questions that you are able to get a true and holistic view of your audience and how you can best serve them. Remember that serving and helping an audience is the best way that you can create content!
Write a list of 10 things that they are interested in.
Now that you have the perfect audience in mind you are ready to make a list of the topics that they are interested in. By the way, some people like to create a real customer avatar – like one with a name, picture, and bio so that everyone always knows who they are talking too. I’ve even heard of radio presenters sticking up a photo of someone that represents their customer so that they are always talking at the right level for their audience!
The topics should be broad and high-level at this stage. For example “buying a house”, “content marketing”, “Growing a beard”. You need to write down about 10 broad topics that you may be able to write content about.
Keyword research is the key to creating content that will help you get a load of traffic to your website and help you grow your influence! It is the difference between producing assets that will continue to bring in leads to your website and content that is a ‘flash in the pan’ and sits on your computer without getting you any results.
Now that you have a list of 10 things that your audience is interested in, you need to be able to find questions that relate to those topics that you can answer for them.
Ubersuggest and Answer The Public
Both of these tools allow you to see what questions people are asking about the topics you identified above.
Using Ubersuggest to find content keywords.
In Ubersuggest type in the topics, one at a time into the search bar:
Then, click on Keyword ideas on the toolbar towards the left hand side:
You’ll then be presented with a load of topics that you can use to guide your content production. Copy and paste all of the keywords into a spreadsheet. You’ll be able to get a huge number of suggestions. Remember to click through all of the other tabs (Related, Questions, Prepositions, etc.) to get all of the suggestions.
You’ll want to do this for each of the topics you have in the list you created!
Now let’s take a look at another powerful way to find out what questions people are asking using Answer The Public.
Using Answer the public to find content keywords.
Like Ubersuggest, when you first log on to the page you will have to enter the topics into the search bar:
Once you push “Get Questions” you will be supplied with a load of questions that people are asking in search engines about that topic. They present the data in a graphical “visualization” format as default. But click on “data” and you’ll be able to get a list that you can copy and paste into your spreadsheet with all of the ideas for content keywords.
Answer The Public have a whole heap of options (Questions, Prepositions, Comparisons, Alphabetical and Related) that you can copy across to your spreadsheet. I use all of them when considering what content keywords to target,
But getting the keywords is not the end of the story! There is no point targeting a keyword that only gets searched 10 times a month. Now we need to go to get the google keyword Search Volumes. And these are available to us from google themselves.
A small caveat to note is that many people believe the information in google search volumes to be misleading. However, as a way to prioritize the content you are making, I think there is no better way to compare the keywords. It just shouldn’t be used to get an absolute number of times that the keyword is searched. As a comparison tool, however – I can’t think of anything better.
Google Keyword Search Volumes
This is the best way to get relative search volume information! If you don’t have a Google AdWords account use this guide to create an account without having to use a credit card: Click here to access the blog post. The Keyword Planner is part of the Google Adwords suite of tools. But you don’t need to spend any money to use it.
When you go to Google Keywords Planner and create an account, you’ll be presented with a page with a number of options on it. You need to click on the “Get search volume and forecasts” box.
Once you do that you need to copy and paste all of the keywords that you collected in a spreadsheet into this box:
Once you have entered ALL OF THEM press “GET STARTED”. You’ll be presented with the search volume data of all of the keywords that you’ve entered (minimum and maximum for each keyword). Download this data by clicking the download icon towards the top right of the results.
Save the “Plan historical metrics (.csv)” file to your computer and open it in your favorite editors – such as excel or open office equivalent!
Use this file to sort the keywords from high max search volume to low max search volume. If you are not sure how to do this click here for a video on sorting data. What this is doing is giving you the ability to see what is searched the most in Google search.
Clearly, choosing to write or film content on these topics is going to be worth your while. But there is one more thing you need to take into account before you actually produce content.
This is where the Keyword Golden Ratio is your friend.
Keyword Golden Ratio
The Keyword Golden Ratio is something that can really impact your content strategy workflow. The ratio enables you to get an idea of the competition of a keyword.
This is very important as there is no point going after keywords where there is so much great content already out there. You’ll not be able to compete with the awesome content in the short term and a lot of effort may be wasted,
Simply, the Keyword Golden Ratio is:
Keyword Golden ratio = “allintitle:” search volume results / search volume
Check out one on My LinkedIn vlogs for more information on this equation. Info starts at about 1:30:
You want to aim for a golden keyword ration below 0.25 and as low as possible for search terms with a search volume of 1000 times per month. The Keyword Golden Ratio that you end up going after will depend on your market and the competition in that market but aim for a ratio as low as possible and you can’t really go wrong! Here is my spread sheet for this blog and my vlog content:
Okay, almost there! The last thing you need to do is a manual check on Google to see what is being offered up.
Manual Google search check
The last step is to take your chosen keyword and type it into Google Search to see what the results look like.
This will take a bit of getting used to but here’s what you are looking for:
- No big players – you are looking for a search result that doesn’t contain big players in the market. You’ll struggle to get noticed above their content. Google now prioritizes content based on the authority and you simply will not be able to compete for the top spot.
- Forum posts – you want to see a forum result on the first page. This means that the search engine is struggling to find authoritative results and is relying on forum content. If there is Quora, Reddit or another forum on the front page this keyword is yours to have!
- Results that do not answer the query – have a look at the results on the first page. Does it look like Google is struggling to find content that answers the question or query? If you think the answers are not very good – this is a great sign that you can reach the top with content that is extremely helpful and answers the question perfectly and in detail!
Do this for a few of your keyword options that pass the KGR test and you’ll get a feel for what is actually worth targeting. Once you have decided which ones you’ll be going after it’s time for the grueling task of content creation! But what does your audience want to see and engage with?
2: What content will resonate with your audience?
Now is your opportunity to work out what content you should create to engage your audience. Here are your options but I would also take into account what sorts of content are being offered up by google and consider matching that. Also video content on YouTube is a very powerful way to get the top spot on a lot of Keywords – simply because it is harder to make.
Here are your content options.
Creating a blog is probably one of my favourite ways to create content! They are perfect for improving your website SEO as long as they are planned based on keyword search terms.
You need this mix of content in your blog to make it super valuable:
- 33% Pillar posts – these are blogs that are really, really long and contain a lot of value. They need to be at least 3500 words long and tackle a topic in detail! I reserve these for keywords that are a little bit more competitive and can be delved into deeply.
- 33% Social posts – these are blogs posts like “the top 10 beard trimmers” or “5 ways that you can communicate better”. These tend to be highly shareable and clickable when cross-posting to social media. These need to be at least 1500 words in length.
- 33% Direct response post – These blog articles are a direct response to a question. They need to be at least 1500 words in length and answer the question that the keyword is focused around.
For each of these types of articles, you need to include lot’s of multimedia. Infographics, videos, custom images and downloads for them to be truly valuable!
You should aim to have at least 30 articles on your blog – get them up as soon as possible – and then aim for 50 in about one year. This will lay the foundations for true growth.
Videos should be playing a more significant role in content strategy workflow. Videos that contain YOU are going to increase your professional value quicker than anything else!
I do not care about vanity metrics such as likes and comments. What I care about is sentiment in the comments. Are people engaging? Are they saying positive things?
Videos help you grow your personal brand. If you don’t believe me – I have people coming to my website via a google search that have googled my name…it is clearly working to grow awareness and drive engagement with me as a professional. I know it can do the same thing for you!
Spend a lot of time on the narrative and hook (the first 5 seconds) of the video. These are going to be what grabs and holds the audience’s attention. If you need help with creating video content check out my FREE guide!
Producing your own eBook is another important thing you should consider. An eBook can be used for collecting email addresses and growing a list of people that you can then contact later on with offers or more value!
EBooks generally provide a detailed process or explanation about a particular product or service sold by the business. Part self-help and part info product – eBooks are great for growing authority in a field.
The power of using eBooks include the perceived value of information in a book form. Some of the things to consider when creating an eBook include the number of pages that you are offering (more is perceived as a higher value!); the content should be clear and well presented. One of the things that scare people who are considering producing an eBook is the investment that’s required to write one. But don’t be put off! The investment is returned many times over if used properly.
You can even roll your blog posts together into an eBook! Doubling up on content is one of my favourite productivity boosters.
4. Create a checklist
A checklist is another content marketing strategy that gives you a simple way to grow authority with your audience. In the list, you should include the essential steps that you need to accomplish at the end of the specified period or process.
This can be used as a download in exchange for an email or just as extra value in a blog post.
Always ensure you re-purpose the content in your checklist into an ebook or it can be split over any social media posts too!
Using infographics can be a winning strategy for content marketing as long as they are designed beautifully to lure the audiences to reading them.
Infographics give easy to digest, visual information about a specific subject. Infographics rely on the use of visual statistics to display information quickly to an audience.
Some things to consider when creating an infographic are making sure that your topic is relevant, to your potential customers.
Moreover, it is essential to ensure the infographics are designed by experts and time is taken to give them the wow factor.
Podcasts are another type of content marketing that has several advantages if you use them as one of your content marketing option.
By using podcasts you will be able to interview the experts in an industry, are essential tools to help a business to stand out among many competitors.
Podcasting has amazing power for acquiring new customers and also helps in building trust with your targeted or existing audience.
If you are considering using podcasts, take a look at my blog on the reasons podcasts fail and how to fix them!
3: Create the content – the hardest bit!
I’m not going to lie to you. This is probably one of the hardest things about this strategy – someone is going to have to produce the content. The strategy although taxing on the mind is the easy part.
Creating excellent content is taxing for both the mind and a test of your persistence. When you are producing content you’ll get to a stage when thoughts like “is this really worth it?” and “I’ll just do this later” start to pop into your head. Execution is the only thing that will get you through this part of the process. Nothing else. You will get distracted but always come back to creating content!
Here are the stages of execution that I go through for each bit of content:
I like to create an outline of the broad topics that I can cover in the content. If it is a video I produce an outline of the script – the important bits that I want to cover.
If it is a blog I write the headings first and fill in the content later. I find this process much easier to complete rather than staring at a blank page and expecting the structure to come to me as I write – that does just not happen to anyone!
If fact, this is what the next few sections looked like before I wrote anything. You can see that it is only the headings. This allows me to check the structure before doing the hard bit of spilling my words out on the page:
Secondly, it allows me to get up a long-form post easily by writing a load of short 150 – 300-word bits rather than considering the whole article as one big bit. Any little motivation tricks to make you finish are worth it!
Write or record
Here’s the timeconsuming step – write or record your content! There is no substitute for pushing record on your camera or phone or sitting for hours to write a 4000-word blog post.
One thing that you need to keep in mind is that you have done the keyword research and so none of your efforts will be wasted!
Get shit done!
After you have finished the content, take a moment to look at the keyword and check to see if you’ve actually answered the question and done the keyword justice! This is probably a good time to mention the term “search intent”. It is the human aspect behind what people are searching for. You need to ask yourself “what is the intent of someone looking for this keyword?”. You need to make sure your content satisfies that INTENT!
If you need to reframe the article to make it fit the keyword search intent better this is the time to move on to the editing phase.
Edit your article for:
- Media placement
- Sentence length
- Flesch Reading Ease
Once you have satisfied all of the editing criteria, you are ready to publish.
This is the moment where you need to link back to the keywords that you are targeting and make sure that search engines know what keywords you are targeting.
On page and video SEO optimization
This topic could be a whole blog post on its own! But here are the things that you need to make sure your blog posts have:
- A page title that contains your keyword
- A meta description that contains your keyword
- Alt image tags that contain your keyword
- The Keyword throughout your content where it fits naturally (don’t force it on the page)
- A URL slug that contains the keyword
- Links to other pages
- Links to external authoritative sites
These simple steps will help your content get to the top of the page. Watch this video if you need more help implementing this on your page:
Promote to your audience
The second step is to promote to your existing audience (if you have one). They may be on social media, in your mailing list or in online groups and forums that you are a member of.
Steer clear of being spammy and only participate in forums that you are already
4: Optimize the content
After about three months, take a look at the results of the content that you have produced. What does it look like?
What do the engagement stats look like for each bit of content that you produced? I take a look at:
- Organic traffic
- % engagement
I take a look at my vlog that discusses the things that I actually care about when reviewing my content.
The goal here is to produce more of the content that is working! If it is a blog post you can also go back and re-optimize the content to make it even more valuable.
In the case of videos, you just want to take note of all of the topics that get views and produce more videos like that!
Does this content strategy workflow get results?
So, after 3 months of this content strategy this is what I was able to achieve for SEO impressions for a client:
We’ll be refining the content and re-optimizing the videos as we progress into the next three months but there is no reason not to expect more and more valuable impressions on the client’s brand and content. This positions them as an expert in their field.
Their inbound leads have skyrocketed and the future looks brighter form them than it did before – and that is the important part of all of this!
If you want advice or specific information for your content strategy workflow get in contact – click here – I’d love to help you refine your purpose-driven content strategy workflow!