Developing your brand’s content to reach your target market may seem like a daunting challenge, especially if you’re beginning at the beginning. Factoring in all that needs to go into effective content performance marketing can seem overwhelming - but the good news is that it doesn’t have to be. In this post, we’ll go over what is needed to achieve a successful, sustainable content creation and marketing performance strategy.
Creating a Content Engine
As the graphic above shows, there are four essential processes required to grow your brand’s content capabilities. It’s important to note that content creation, management, marketing and measurement is a cyclical process, with measurement informing topic selection from one quarter to the next:
- Topic Selection
Let’s explore the mechanisms driving these four cylinders of a well-oiled content development engine.
Content Topic Selection
The content ideation and creation process is perhaps the most challenging of all. At this initial stage, your goals are to capture the search intent of your audience with each piece of content, such that it resonates with their needs. Eventually, the goal is to build a steady flow of qualified organic traffic. Here are the mechanics to make it happen …
An informed keyword strategy is central to this quantum first step of SEO analytics, beginning with keyword research. (Sudhir Sharma recently outlined a basic guide to keyword research here on the BrightEdge blog). With access to the BrightEdge platform, you’ll be able to publish content that responds to your customers by:
- Uncovering new topics through keyword research
- Identifying opportunities for quick wins
- Capitalizing on high-volume terms with low competition
- Prioritizing coverage based on high-converting search intent
Understanding how your search (and direct) competitors are faring with their own content marketing efforts is key to giving you the edge. Our SEO platform offers competitive intelligence that allows you to:
- See your top competitors’ strategies
- Identify “gaps” – or opportunities – in your market
- Develop a detailed action plan based on our recommendations
Social signals are now an integral part of search engine algorithms, and key to your content’s SEO performance. Besides playing a significant part in SEO overall, social activity also lets you know what content is resonating with your target market (via likes, shares, etc.) versus what is falling flat. Social SEO means making smart content strategy decisions by analyzing social trends not only by your own fans and followers, but also by your target market influencers and competitors’ social networks.
Personas, Audience and Brand Development
Developing your brand means understanding its intended users. When you work to uncover who your personas are through data from search, social, surveys and more, you can deliver on Google’s “Zero Moment of Truth” directive by developing the right content, for the right person, delivered at the right time.
Execution: Content Workflow
Coordinating content development and marketing tasks is a second major hurdle most organizations face when implementing an overarching, sustainable content strategy. Key to an economic process, especially with enterprise-level firms, is to build efficiency into your approach with scalable workflow. To make this piece work, you’ll need to:
- Disseminate your organic content strategy effectively across the organization
- Coordinate remote resources, and develop cross-department coordination
Content Creation: Training, Tools and Support
Clear communications with your content creation staff is a cornerstone of projecting a consistent brand message. Defining the target audience, establishing content goals and clarifying the search intent behind each keyword are all integral to effective content development. You can bring key content creators on board by creating content briefs that:
- Define your brand’s “tone” and personas
- Train and support your content creation teams on optimization
As any content editor would emphatically state, a content calendar is a must, whether you’ve only one content creator or an entire team. Content calendars with forecasting into each month or quarter serve to establish the cadence and predictable lead times for creators to do their best work, as well as prioritize content where your brand needs to make an impact and bring your top creative team in on the big picture. In this step, you’ll want to:
- Analyze your market space to both inform and build content calendars well ahead of time
- Be flexible to adjust content calendars on the fly to capture new opportunities
Promotion: Social Amplification to Influencer Outreach
As alluded to previously, social media sharing is now factored into search engine algorithms as an indicator of trust, authority and credibility. By creating brand awareness and link-building opportunities, social platforms carry SEO weight.
Of course, each social media channel courts a different audience that needs to be reached accordingly. Tapping into your social data, you can readily:
- Identify priority social platforms based on your target audience
- Identify influential figures on select platforms
- Integrate your social and SEO campaigns
Measurement: Reporting to Securing Executive Buy-In
Proving the ROI of organic content marketing may seem like a paper-chase nightmare of endless reports that may or may not be enough to achieve C-Suite buy-in. BrightEdge can help here. Our key performance indicator (KPI) reporting capabilities allow you to readily compare performance quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year so you have the data needed to refuel your content strategy cycle. To secure executive buy-in, BrightEdge also allows you to connect the dots between investment in content marketing initiatives and dollars earned. By building a customized reporting dashboard, you can access key numbers on the fly and on demand. BrightEdge provides ongoing support and training for executives, as well! I hope this overview of how to grow your content capabilities fueled some ideas you can implement in-house. Questions or comments? Let me know in the comments section below!