Planning website content is a commonly overlooked process when doing digital marketing. Many website owners define their business goals and perform basic research but never implement a content strategy that would yield maximum results. For example, entrepreneurs rarely use a content calendar and barely explore the functionalities of their content management system.
If you’re serious about your web business, you should streamline content marketing efforts so all your pieces provide an immersive experience. Every blog post you create should serve some purpose for your brand, turning random visitors into long-time fans while achieving maximum conversions.
In this article, the MiroMind team will share some awesome tips for planning, organizing, and streamlining your content marketing strategy. Check it out!
Define content goals
When companies create content, their priority is to drive as much traffic as possible and to make major sales. However, this shouldn’t necessarily be considered a content or business goal, as it’s something that all brands are trying to achieve.
Instead, you should define content goals as maximizing the number of published articles or creating numerous marketing funnels. In other words, they should be much more tangible and easier to execute. Otherwise, you might fall into the trap of doing everything yet doing nothing. Here are a few best examples of well-defined content goals:
- Building brand awareness
- Educating the target audience about product or service
- Improving customer loyalty
- Serving to provoke links from other sources
While content goals usually work in unison (as you increase traffic, you also generate more leads and build brand awareness), there are also many situations where they provide opposite results. For example, a business can focus on maximizing visits, even though the traffic quality is so low it won’t increase sales.
For a goal to be viable, it should be measurable, and you should also be able to benchmark your efforts against competitors. Luckily, there are various SaaS tools that can help you analyze content production and user engagement. Tools such as Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and AhRefs should give you deep insights into how people and search engines react to your articles.
Perform keyword research
Keyword research is a process commonly done during search engine optimization. Marketing companies use it to determine what people are browsing for and how difficult it would be to create articles revolving around these phrases. That way, a company can focus on phrases that are more likely to provide promotional and, thus, commercial benefits.
Most notably, marketers will take a peek at search volume, keyword difficulty, and relevancy. In a perfect world, they would only pursue phrases that get lots of monthly visits and are easy to rank for in search engines. However, as this rarely exists in reality, they usually have to find the balance between the two factors, accepting higher difficulty to gain extra visitors.
Audience research is often coupled with keyword research. During this step, marketers try to learn more about the target audience so they can modify web pages for that particular demographic segment. The best free tool for this task is Google Analytics, which gives you amazing audience insights, including gender, age, and interests.
Most notably, keyword research can provide some creative content ideas that could set you apart from the competition.
Decipher user intent
Marketers often talk about user intent as something that should guide your hand when creating content. It’s a process during which a marketer tries to determine whether a person is looking for information, entertainment, a product, or a service when using a specific query.
The informative articles are much easier to rank compared to their commercial counterparts. This is especially true for phrases with a lower search volume and perceived as a waste of time by SEO teams. As you can presume, commercial phrases are more competitive as they can improve a brand’s bottom line.
However, that doesn’t necessarily mean informative pages are irrelevant, as companies often use them to create sales and marketing funnels. As they’re easier to rank for, these keywords give smaller companies an opportunity to increase brand awareness without investing too much in content creation and promotion.
Use content framework
The content planning process requires a good methodology to provide maximum results. Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach explain their framework nicely in their book “Content Strategy for the Web.” These authors mention the Quad framework that relies on two main components in content and people:
- Workflow (people process): Explains the process, resources, and tools necessary to create blog posts
- Governance (people process): Tackles quality, authority, and consistency of different pieces
- Substance (content process): Deals with writing style and tone, covered topics, and message that these posts try to relay to readers
- Structure (content process): Refers to our ability to break up large blocks of text into smaller bits by using numbered and bulleted lists, YouTube videos, and images
In a nutshell, website content planning should be a meticulous process that considers all relevant elements. While having quality written content should always be the focus, we also need to consider how different posts affect readers over time. With content governance, website owners need to ensure that all articles have similar forms so that users wouldn’t have a different experience every time.
Implement editorial calendar
While calendars might not be that important for smaller teams, they’re vital for bigger news blogs featuring dozens of authors. As you can guess by the name, these calendars are essential for managing content during a week, month, or year. They streamline future content creation, tracking related keywords and topics, designated authors, channels, and content formats.
A content calendar is a public document that authors can access online or in the form of downloadable files. With it, they can plan content production, which is critical for authors that freelance for other companies. Most notably, calendars prevent overlapping between writers and ensure they don’t breach deadliness.
Among others, a calendar provides information about formats so that an author can perform the necessary research before creating a more complex piece or coordinating with a graphic designer. Lastly, this tool provides information about social media channels and where you should promote your web post.
For this purpose, you can use a simple spreadsheet, although it’s much better to use collaboration tools such as Trello.
Categorize pieces into clusters
One of the best techniques for pushing pieces higher in search results is using content clusters. With this method, you boost the power of individual articles by connecting them with other, less relevant pieces. That way, your main article, also referred to as the pillar page, will gain authority from ancillary pieces.
So, what can clusters do for my blog?
- Help crawlers understand what the piece is all about
- Push existing content higher in search rankings
- Create a logical content structure that relies on internal linking
- Guide buyer’s journey on your site
Most importantly, clusters boost the pillar page without requiring additional investment. Of course, you’ll still need to get more exposure via social media platforms and through links, but you won’t be as dependent on external factors.
Entrepreneurs often use clusters to gain sales from informative keywords that drive traffic. As these pieces have no commercial value, it would be a shame for them to go to waste. So, by connecting your highly-visited articles with landing pages, you should turn irrelevant organic traffic into a demand-gen vehicle.
Prepare internal links
Speaking of clusters, it’s crucial that you prepare the field for internal links while creating content. Here’s how the process would look in practice:
- Based on previous cluster creation, you should understand which articles should be tied together
- Use the destination article’s main keyword as the link anchor. Although you can play a bit with anchor, using the exact-match phrase will help relevancy
- Implement these phrases into your future pieces. They should be spread apart so that a person is not overwhelmed
- Consider readers’ perspectives to increase the odds they click on a link. These links primarily serve to improve their knowledge and should be introduced when a reader becomes intrigued enough about the topic to click on the link
Internal link strategy is the backbone of every good website content plan. Not only does it help with clustering and sales, but it’s also crucial for improving your authority and site-wide click-through rate. In other words, it provides numerous direct and indirect SEO and operational benefits.
Focus on consistency
In an ideal world, you would only have one writer who would tackle the posts for the entire blog. However, as companies are forced to get fast results, they need to pump out dozens of pieces in a single week.
This can be a major problem for consistency. Not only will your team work around the clock, often leading to human error, but they’ll also have significantly different styles and tones. There also might be issues with sub headings, bullets, tables, links, and other article elements. Luckily for you, this is something that you can resolve quite easily.
Your company should create a company-wide Google Doc document outlying the optimal content structure. That way, all your employees will follow the same procedure, creating articles that are quite similar to each other. As a result, your visitors will have the same experience each time they land on the blog, which is vital for retention.
Get the right tools
Similar to other marketing processes, a content marketing plan is heavily dependent on various software. Content planning tools are a difference maker as they streamline various processes, simplify complex tasks, allow communication and collaboration within a team, perform optimization, and rely on actionable real-time data.
Here are a few platforms the MiroMind team recommends for your content planning process:
Basic Google tools
These are your basic, free platforms that provide information about things like user behavior, ranking keywords, traffic, and click-through rates. However, you can also use them for content creation and data sharing. As they are made by Google, they have the most relevant data, and third-party tools often extrapolate this data for their platforms.
- Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
- Google Docs
- Google Drive
All-in-one SEO tools
In theory, Google’s tools could serve as the only optimization platforms in your toolbox. Unfortunately, this software is lacking in certain departments, so marketers often introduce other suites for primary and ancillary processes, such as link tracking, content audit, and keyword research.
- Screaming Frog
Before you start creating articles, it’s important to determine your go-to content writing platform. Unfortunately, as this software category is only geared toward writing, authors nowadays use content optimization tools that allow them to write and simultaneously optimize articles.
- Microsoft Word
- Google Docs
These AI-driven platforms create outlines for your pieces and are a critical part of your website content plan. Most importantly, they show you what keywords you need to include and how many words and headings an article should have to rank in Google.
Collaboration platforms are useful for all teams regardless of their size. They allow editors to delegate tasks to writers, set deadlines and requirements, and share articles online.
Although artificial tools are far from perfect, websites have started using them to automate writing and graphic processes. These platforms can pump out thousands of words within seconds, cutting your costs and improving productivity with minimal investment.
Lastly, you have numerous other specialized apps that help you with specific tasks.
Provide content briefs
To tie everything together, an editor should provide briefs to its writers. That way, there won’t be confusion as to what needs to be done, for example, which keywords and links to prioritize.
The briefs can be significantly different from company to company, as every brand has its unique workflow. Ideally, you should streamline the briefing process by having internal documents that outline style, tone, and goals for different formats and article types. As previously mentioned, this small trick is essential for consistency and relieves the burden from editors’ backs.
As the entire process has become automatic over the years, it’s common for editors to simply provide a link to Frase or SurferSEO. There, authors can write their pieces while also adding relevant keywords and introducing other improvements for search engines. That way, the entire writing and editing process is executed on one page, with team members collaborating by sharing the link.
Create a social media plan
Social media has become an integral part of our lives, and it’s hard to imagine any marketing strategy that doesn’t include these platforms.
First, you should decide which channels are the best for your business. Facebook is seen as a good catch-all channel that can provide results for any type of company. Instagram and TikTok have gained steam in the last few years and are more popular among young people, while LinkedIn is ideal for “stiff” industries.
Similar to your blogs, you should decide on textual and visual style when sharing social media posts to maintain consistency. As you’ll already have an outline of articles you wish to create in the following month or so, you can create social media content independently from your blogs.