Content marketing can sometimes seem like a whole bunch of people describing how awesome their business is, without any care in the world for who is listening or who the intended audience is.
I like to refer to this tendency as publishing content in a vacuum. And while publishing in a vacuum might be okay for a personal blog that you update a couple times a year, it is not acceptable when marketing spend and revenue growth is on the line.
But here’s the thing: it’s super easy to fall into the trap of publishing content that you think your audience will love, but in reality they do not read at all. This is an issue I see all the time, and points to the fact that content creators in general are not putting themselves in the shoes of their ideal buyer when crafting content.
Even the most astute content creators – those who write amazing material full of research and refinement – publish content in a vacuum once and a while.
Is it an unavoidable curse of playing the content marketing game? No. You can avoid this fate by following through with five measurable and repeatable steps before publishing anything!
The steps are:
1. Create Buyer Personas
A buyer persona is a fictionalized representation of a segment of your target audience. Included within a persona are demographic, professional, and attitudinal features that relay touch points for communication in your content strategy. For example, if you are a garden supply store, you might have a persona under the name of Lisa, 25-34 years old, into flowers and with a little bit of space for a garden.
2. Mapping content ideas to Buyer Persona’s
Once you have a list of buyer persona, it becomes easier to come up with content ideas. To go back to the buyer persona of Lisa, when thinking about what sorts of topics she is researching, you might come up with ‘A Guide to the Best Perennials’. This is an excellent piece of informative content for a segment of your target audience that is in the early stages of the buyer’s journey.
3. Keyword research
In order to see fantastic returns on your content, you want to be ranking for realistic long-tail keywords. It is way harder to rank for ‘best garden shop in essex’ than it is to rank for ‘what perennials should i plant this year?’. With your content ideas in mind, go about searching for keywords and phrases pertaining to your topic idea that you can use in the text.
4. Analyse previous content
Before writing a fresh batch of content, it helps to go back and see what your audience liked in your previous work, and what they could frankly do without. It might be that blogs with smaller paragraphs have more views than chunkier articles. Noted! Go with smaller paragraphs!
“I recommend taking some time to write it all in a sprint, but everyone has their workflow preferences.”
5. Writing a chunk of your yearly publication schedule in a sprint
The final step is to actually write the content. Depending on your budget and ambition here, there could be a lot of writing on your plate. I recommend taking some time to write it all in a sprint, but everyone has their workflow preferences. The nice thing about doing all this research and work beforehand is that you can be confident that whatever you do publish will resonate with your audience. Make sure to incorporate perspectives and tone from your buyer persona’s into each text, and finish off with adding the relevant keywords.
We all like to think that the writing we publishing is getting read by tons of people. The truth is that you are doomed to publish in a vacuum if you don’t run through these five measurable and repeatable steps before publishing. It might seem tedious at first, but once you start seeing returns on your targeted content it will become clear why online marketing agencies work in such a methodical way.