Where’s the first place you normally go when you need advice or answers to your burning questions? Most people head to Google or other search engines. In fact, the Google search engine is the most powerful of them all and is preferred by most internet users.
You aren’t alone in your quest to get your questions answered. Google itself is responsible for answering more than four billion queries a day.
Once you enter the question into the search bar, the links appearing in the Google search results are the content you can consume to find out what you need to know.
Whether you realize it or not, you consume content daily through a blog or site.
The guides you read are content, and so are the articles, video tutorials, news stories, GIFs, memes, and Instagram feeds. They’re all content, though some are better than others.
In other words, content is a huge part of your daily life. It’s probably hard to avoid it, and no one really wants to. Content helps you stay informed, answers questions, makes you smile, entertains everyone, guides the many decisions you make, and so much more.
With that, content helps you engage with, attract, and delight customers and prospects. That way, you can bring new visitors to the website and generate more revenue for the company, and that’s exactly what you should be doing.
If you’re not creating content, you are very much behind the curve. However, writing quality content isn’t as easy as you might think. The key to great content is building it from nothing to be unique and fit with your niche audience and targeted demographic.
What Is Content Creation?
Content creation focuses on generating topic ideas that appeal to the audience and buyer’s persona. You can create visual content or written items around those ideas, getting that information onto the search engines so that your potentials and customers can see it. Writing content can take many forms, such as infographics or a blog. You also have videos and various other formats.
Why Is It Important to Create Content?
The ultimate content marketing practice is to create content, but it doesn’t stop there. You must have great content that everyone wants to read, and that search engines can crawl and index correctly. From there, you hope it goes viral and becomes one of the top pieces that anyone has ever enjoyed.
As you create content, you offer useful and free information to your preferred audience to attract potential customers to the website. With that, content marketing also focuses on retaining your existing customers through more engagement.
You may also generate major ROI for the company, as some of these content marketing statistics indicate:
- Content marketing brings in about three times as many leads as regular marketing and costs a lot less.
- SMBs that focus on content marketing see 126 percent more leads than companies that don’t.
- Roughly 61 percent of all online purchases directly result from customers reading a blog.
- Companies publishing 16 or more blog posts each month see 3.5 times the traffic than those posting only four or fewer each month.
Writing quality content can equal more business growth, but it’s focused on your content strategy. This has to be on par if you plan to bring in more revenue and leads.
With that, The Content Marketing Institute claims that 70 percent of B2B marketers say they’re creating more content now than ever before. This trend for blog content isn’t slowing down. If you’re not part of that, you’re missing out on an excellent opportunity.
Content Strategies and Planning
You aren’t likely to start building something without the instructions, have a company without writing a mission statement, or make a sculpture without sketching it out first.
There shouldn’t be any content creation without having a plan. Without that, you run the risk of missing your content marketing objectives.
A content strategy must include everything from the tone and brand to how you promote the content, create it, and repurpose it later. The goal is to have more brand awareness to attract customers, find loyal fans, and continue bringing in more prospects while catering to the ones who are already on your side.
Here’s how to create a content plan:
Set Content Goals
Similar to your traditional campaigns, the content strategy you choose must be centered on the marketing goals you have in mind. These are also derived from the business goals.
Your goals might start with attracting more visitors to the site, generating leads, or anything else. Just make sure that they are SMART goals. An example here could be to boost organic traffic to your blog by 25 percent by the next quarter.
Once you know what the goal is, you should create each piece of content to align with that objective and contribute to the outcome you want.
Therefore, you should start with the goals before you create great content.
Create a Buyer Persona
Building your content strategy takes more than just deciding what content types to create. You have to know who you’re talking to, how to speak to them, and where they are (where they consume content).
The key here is to make every reader feel like you are speaking directly to that person. Ultimately, the only way to do that is to be intimate with the leads, visitors, and customers you have.
You’ve got to know them like old friends. This means being aware of the obstacles and pain points they face, understanding their fears, and feeling their challenges.
It’s also crucial to understand the best outcome for them, their dream solutions, and their fantasies.
Remember: You’re marketing to humans, and they want to feel connected.
Ideally, you know and speak directly to each person who visits your website, but that isn’t possible. Instead, you should create buyer personas.
This is the person you want to reach out to with the content. It’s often a semi-fictional character and represents your target audience (those who are more likely to benefit from the message and turn into customers).
Creating your buyer persona takes the guesswork, research, and tweaking. However, the result is a clear picture of the person you need to market to who is happy to consume your content.
Focus on the Buyer’s Journey
By creating content for every stage of the customer’s journey, you ensure that no one who visits your website falls through the cracks. Each person that comes to the site feels that they’re receiving useful and relevant information.
Therefore, you need to select content formats that are tailored to each part of the buyer’s journey. A new visitor at the awareness stage doesn’t want to see a live demo of the product. However, they might read a blog post or checklist to help them realize their problem.
A prospect at the decision stage doesn’t necessarily need to know about the possible solutions. They want a demo or consultation to show them that your product has what it takes.
Always meet your target audience where they are.
Here’s a guide to the best quality content formats for every stage of your buyer’s journey:
- Awareness – Whitepapers, blog posts, tip sheets, checklists, infographics, e-books, quizzes, games
- Consideration – Webinar, podcast, comparison matrix, worksheet, template
- Decision – Free trial, demo, consultation, product guide, coupons
Perform a Content Audit
Whether you’ve been writing content for a while or have been using a strategy, a content audit can help every marketing department out there. You might not have started with a clear or defined strategy, but that doesn’t mean that your existing content can’t fit into one.
Content audits mean that you’re taking inventory of what you’ve already done and organizing it to fit into the new plan.
The process could involve rewrites or might reveal gaps that you can fill with new content to appeal to your buyer persona at the right journey stage.
Here’s how to perform a content audit:
- Gather the content into a spreadsheet.
- Create some columns for target words, buyer journey stages, buyer persona, main topic, and format. Fill in each of those for the content piece.
- Add columns to include key metrics (engagement, shares, page views, etc.)
- Categorize every post with a new column or highlights by those that need improvement, are doing well, can be merged with something else, or should be rewritten.
Though the content audit can seem tedious, that manual labor is worth it because you see more leads and traffic. Plus, this is a verifiable plan to move forward with.
Choose the Right Format for Creating Content
Remember the buyer persona you created earlier? You are crafting content for them. That means it should be in a format that’s easily enjoyed by the prospects consuming it.
The content format could be a blog post, Slideshare, video, e-book, graphic, podcast, whitepaper, or anything else. As long as it can serve the persona, you’re in good shape.
With that, you don’t have to stick to a single format for each content piece you create. However, you should be able to produce it in whatever format on a consistent basis.
While a podcast series could be a good marketing tactic, you might lack the patience and resources to stick with it, so a blog could be better for you.
Use these questions to guide you about the right format to use:
- Can you produce the content at quality and competitive levels?
- What format can you create consistently?
- Where does the persona spend most of their time online?
- How easy is it for the target audience to consume the content?
- What stage of the buyer’s journey are you writing for?
Promotion of Your Blog Post/Content
It’s not good if you create great content and no one sees it. While you want people to flock to the website each time you publish a new post, it isn’t likely to happen by itself. You must entice them to consume the content and move them into your space.
Content promotion is so important to your strategy and could even be more important than what you create.
The promotion plan must be guided by the persona you created earlier. Where do they usually spend time? What days and times do they use various platforms? How often might they want to see your content? How do they enjoy consuming content? These questions can help you figure out where to promote what you’ve created.
Social media is considered a relationship-building tool, so it’s perfect to help you promote content. Just make sure that you balance self-promotion with sharing useful information and entertaining the followers.
Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are excellent mediums to help you share and create relevant content. The key here is to modify your content to fit that platform.
Email is a great way to reach your preferred audience, especially when promoting content. People opt into your email list to get information from you, and this guarantees they see your message. Plus, you can improve open rates by sending content that’s relevant to segmented lists, too.
PPC campaigns can get your content to a new audience through paid, targeted advertisements. Such ads run on search engines, other websites, and social media. When you have your buyer persona, you want to make sure you target the right people so that you’re not wasting money.
Promoting your content through third-party, authoritative channels is another great way to build an audience. Syndication helps get your brand in front of new eyes that you couldn’t reach alone.
Repurposing Content for the Target Audience
When you repurpose your content, you reuse something you spent time on to create and then transform it into various formats so that it’s consumed more widely.
In a sense, it’s like you’re recycling. You spend less time creating with more time getting in front of the audience. For example, if you wrote a blog post on marketing stats, this could become an infographic or even a video!
Your Content Creation Process
Marketers are busy, so they don’t have time to deal with inefficiency. Therefore, you need a process for everything you do.
The system rolls out and is tweaked until it works. Then, you can repeat it to generate the same results. Before you start writing, consider creating a process like this:
Creating a buyer persona gave you ideas about the topics to write about and the questions the audience has. This is a great start, so now you should confirm if your ideas apply to a larger audience. While it might be great to write one blog post directed at a single person, it’s a waste of energy!
Search engine optimization research is sometimes called keyword research. It shows you how well a particular keyword or phrase does and if it’s worth it to invest in creating quality content around it.
A good way to do keyword research is to write down questions the persona might have for their goals and obstacles. Then, research around those queries to see if people are currently searching for them.
One rule of thumb is to target the words that are attainable, so they have a larger monthly search volume and difficulty to correspond with your domain authority.
If you try to target competitive keywords and you’ve just started blogging, this might not end well for you.
In other words, you want to rank in search engines and must do that by the number of external sites that link back to the content you make. For that to happen, you’ve got to have a large library of content, which is valuable enough to worthy citing.
The longer you’re writing content, the higher the domain authority is likely to be. From there, it’s easier to rank on competitive keywords that put you first in the search engines.
Ultimately, it’s better to target long-tail keywords with low volume that see about 200 to 1,000 monthly search visits. That way, you have a good chance to rank for keywords and get the content in front of the people!
Here are a few ways to perform research on keywords:
- Use appropriate tools like the Moz Keyword Explorer or SEMrush.
- Type the keyword into different search engines and note the auto-filled queries.
- Check out the SERPs to see the related searches.
Now that you know which keywords to target, you can brainstorm some great content ideas. The best way to do that is to create long-form content, such as a pillar page for your keyword. Then, link that content to other stuff you have created on related topics.
Writing like this ensures that you focus on long-tail keywords. Start with a main, longer piece of content and then create shorter ones around it. That way, your audience can go deeper into the topic if they want.
The longer content piece might have plenty of bullet points, and each of those is a link to another article or blog.
You can get inspiration about topic ideas from books, competitor sites, industry studies, and related SERPs searches. Once you have them all down, create an editorial calendar to help you figure out what to write and when it should be posted (and where).
Regardless of the content you want to create, the creation process for writing is often similar. It could be a graphic, video, or an interesting article.
- Write to the persona. Make sure you use their euphemisms, voice, and humor to construct something that resonates with them.
- Use a great headline, meta descriptions, and teasers to compel the audience to read the content. Put the advantage of the content in the title, so they know why they must read it.
- Build unique pieces. Don’t regurgitate the information out there already. When writing, infuse your unique style and cite new information to emphasize the point you want to make.
- Stick to a single idea when writing and use the content to reinforce it all. Don’t confuse the audience by going off on tangents or explaining various somewhat related topics at once.
- Keep your voice. You don’t have to impress the audience with a large vocabulary, and this is often a big no-no. They don’t speak that way, and neither should you.
After writing the piece, you should edit your work, which is highly subjective. You might prefer to edit as you write or wait a while to review it with fresh eyes.
Regardless, here are a few things to watch for while refining the content: clear language, active voice, short sentences, and more white space.
A few tools can help you with this, such as Hemingway Editor or Grammarly.
Now that the content is ready, you have to put it where people can see it. A CMS (content management system) hosts your digital content and ensures that it’s displayed on the website and other places on the internet.
The benefit of using a CMS is that it connects the content, storing it in one place. That means it’s easy to link a blog article to your landing page and insert content into emails. With that, you can analyze the results of the content you write for various campaigns to help with your audits. In a sense, you have a centralized content marketing system.
For example, the CMS Hub keeps your great content together and helps you figure out when and where to send it.
You could publish the content immediately once you upload it, but it might be best to wait for a specific amount of time to maximize its impact.
If you’re just starting, then publishing it right away isn’t likely to hurt the audience too much. However, if you have a regular schedule, such as delivering new posts each Wednesday, the audience expects that.
Content marketing comes into play here. You should make sure that the content is consumable on mobile devices and computers/laptops, as most people use their smartphones.
Content Creation Tools
A CMS helps manage the content, but it doesn’t write it for you. Therefore, you need the right tools for the job. They work well if you’re not artistic and can’t hire someone.
To get started with great content writing, consider these tools:
- Canva – You can build beautiful designs for social ads and much more.
- Giphy – This helps you make GIFs that call to your audience.
- Vidyard – Make video content and host it on this platform.
- SurveyMonkey – Get all the customer feedback you need with this survey creation tool.
- Anchor – If you’re a beginner and want to podcast, this is a great resource.
- MakeMyPersona – Build a buyer persona effortlessly.
Creating Your Content Plan
Content is everywhere, but the success relies on your abilities to adapt it to the right medium. One size doesn’t fit all here.
Social media content is much different than blogs. Therefore, you must tailor it to reach the audience. Writing doesn’t have to be hard, but you need to know how to work it. That way, content marketing is easier, too:
Social Media Content
There’s an art to making content for social media, but it’s worth your time because there are over 2.6 billion users on various social media platforms throughout the world. Remember, you aren’t creating a whole article here!
With that, if someone follows you, it’s a warm lead; they like you already and want to know what you’ve got to say. This audience is there to engage with you and promote social shares.
Consider social media marketing on top of content marketing with these tips for creating content on different social channels:
- Facebook – Use it to build your micro-communities and share to a wide audience.
- Instagram – This works best for high-quality images and short videos.
- YouTube – With 1.3 billion users, this platform works well for DIY videos and anything else that your audience might want to see.
- Twitter – This platform uses supporting images, short messages, and hashtags.
Website content must focus on the persona, the keywords, and the solution you bring. In a sense, you’re telling your whole story here, so the copy must guide visitors to the solution naturally and cohesively. In a sense, it’s like a map.
While social shares are a possibility here, you don’t want to turn people away with distracting elements like social media feeds. Writing requires you to attract them and do everything possible to keep them on your website.
Blogs can support your business by bringing qualified leads and attracting strangers. It’s a free resource that usually isn’t tied directly to sales. Still, quality content can generate revenue for the business. Research shows that businesses with blogs have more traffic and leads, which is great for content marketing efforts.
Analyzing the Content
The final and most important step is to analyze the content. Without appropriate data, you don’t know what works or how you can improve it.
There are various data points to track when analyzing the content. Use your goals to set those parameters. Then, those turn into your metrics.
You can analyze anything, but here are a few ideas:
- Page View – This is the number of users who visit the content.
- Organic Traffic – This is how much traffic comes from search engines.
- Bounce Rate – The bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave the website after seeing one page. On-page SEO can help with this issue.
- Conversion Rate – That is the percentage of your audience who engages with CTAs.
- Engagement Rates – This is how many people interact with the content through comments, shares, likes, and more.
- Audience Growth – This is how many new subscribers and leads are generated from one piece of content.
You don’t have to have the latest news posted on your website to have compelling content. As long as you focus on what the audience wants, it’s a no-brainer.
Creating content is a process that can pay off well. Once you have it down, you can generate creative works that delight everyone and grows the business. However, you must remember to produce high-quality content. Otherwise, people click off without engaging or buying from you.
Without content creation, you can’t have content marketing. They go hand-in-hand, and now you have the tools needed to write excellent content!