Have you ever noticed that most of the online traffic in your industry tends to be concentrated in a few blogs that dominate with content? 

Though these websites enjoy a brand advantage with the more traffic they generate, you’ll also notice that their content tends to be more thoughtful and original. So how are these blogs capable of creating dozens of long-form evergreen pieces that outrank their competitors? They’ve mastered their content marketing process. 

Establishing a repeatable content marketing process provides concrete steps for content creators to churn out new content that is thoroughly researched and highly relevant to user queries.  

That’s why we’ve developed this guide to help you build your content marketing process so you can learn how to be good at content marketing.  

1. Keyword and Competitive Research

The first step in any content marketing process is researching topics and keywords. Ideally, your SEO team should devote time each month to researching new topics and opportunities for your content to rank. 

There are several free and paid content analysis tools, such as Google’s Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and SEMrush. These tools offer the ability to research new topics and find highly relevant keywords you would like your blog to rank for. 

Using Google’s free Keyword Planner, you can research broad-match keywords relevant to your industry and view their search volume. One of my favorite tricks is to filter your search results by the “top of page high bid” to see which keywords advertisers have bid the highest on. 

However, if you want to find longer-tail keywords, you could use a more granular tool like SEMrush’s Keyword Magic tool for broad match results. 

For example, SEMrush allows you to filter keywords by category, volume, keyword difficulty, and intent.

To generate more informational-intent-based keywords, I can set a filter for informational intent or switch to question phrases inside SEMrush. 

Additionally, these tools offer competitor research to discover which keywords and topics drive the most traffic to competitors’ blogs. For example, SEMrush allows users to analyze the keyword gap between competitors using shared or missing keywords that you are not ranking for. 

You could also manually type in each competitor and conduct Organic Research on that website to see which pages generate the highest traffic or rank for your target keywords. 

Once you have a list of keywords and topic ideas on hand, you can begin phase two of your content marketing process: developing a calendar. 


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2. The Content Calendar

Your content calendar is the repository where you will physically record each step of the content marketing process. These steps include

  • Topic Ideas
  • Template Creation
  • Assigned Author
  • Due Dates
  • Edit Assignment
  • Publish Date
  • Promotion Strategies

You can use a spreadsheet or a project management sheet to record your calendar. 

So once you have a list of topics, start inputting them into the content calendar and assigning tasks to write and publish your new content. 

To make your content calendar full-proof, we’ve added a few tips to assist you:

  • Create custom SEO templates for topics to keep writers on track (SEMrush offers free templates)
  • Ensure all tasks are manually checked off at each step of the calendar to keep it orderly
  • Employ automated task reminders in tools like HubSpot or your project management software to keep your process smooth
  • Ensure all content is edited to meet a suitable Flesch reading score using Yoast or SEMrush 
  • Ensure all content is free of grammatical errors
  • Research optimal publishing dates and frequency limits (e.x. Publish at the same time each week if you have active readers and at certain times of night when engagement is highest.) 

3. Content Creation

The next step of your content marketing process will be creating the content. Generally, we recommend using custom SEO templates with target keywords, titles, and semantically linked keywords available to ensure your content is SEO optimized. 

You generally have a few options for creating content, including in-house writers, freelance writers, or white label services. Choose whichever services make the most sense for your budget and expertise. 

When you’re finally ready to write or produce the physical content, follow these guidelines to keep your content readable and SEO-optimized:

  • Use catchy headlines and hooks in your first paragraph to keep readers engaged
  • Provide educational value to readers to make an impression on them
  • Ensure keywords are strategically employed in the title, headers, meta description, introduction, and throughout the body of the content
  • Ensure your target keyword is used at a density between 1-3% so search engines index your page for that keyword
  • Match the length of the post with a blog with the highest word count within the top 3 positions on a SERP
  • Answer as many questions and sub-topics as possible to rank for multiple keywords
  • Link to subtopics in posts to create content clusters around broad topics
  • Use internal linking to promote relevant content 
  • Ensure your content is free of grammatical errors
  • Keep content scannable by chunking information into short paragraphs or bullets

4. Content Promotion

Once your content is ready for publishing, you should also make it an integral part of your content process to promote it. While some content will rank naturally on its own, flooding your new post with positive user metrics, including comments, will theoretically help it rank higher. 

Some common content promotion strategies include:

  • Sharing content on social media (i.e., LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Boosting content on social media
  • Promoting content using influencers
  • Advertising content using Search Ads
  • Building links to content 

The last strategy will be a little more difficult and may require lots of manual research using your favorite backlink research tool. For example, SEMrush allows you to view your competitor’s backlinks and look for blogs to reach out to and ask for a link. 

5. Analytics and Repurposing Content 

Finally, you should make it a part of your content marketing process to analyze content monthly after it’s been published. Google Analytics and Search Console provide easy-to-use tools that allow you to see how many page views and sessions a piece of content is getting, as well as their click-through and bounce rates. 

Use these metrics to update features in your content that are restricting it from ranking higher, including your title, meta description, call-to-action, or even just some slow-loading images. 

Additionally, we can repurpose content if it falls in rankings by updating it with new information to see if it will rank higher again. For example, we can use SEMrush to look back in time and see which pages used to rank highly but no longer do. 

As we can see, this content used to drive some traffic to the blog but is all but dead. By repurposing this content or redirecting it to another page, we can bolster additional traffic to our blog without having to do much work. 

Developing a successful content marketing process is no simple task. Still, once mastered, it will ensure your DIY blog continually drives new traffic to your website or new leads to your business.

 

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