The Process for this Template
Start with your buyers
Research your keywords
Write your titles
Think about distribution
Content Marketing Template Introduction
If you’ve had anything to do with marketing and sales over the past decade, you will no doubt have heard someone at some point use the phrase Content is King.
Frankly, we’re bored of hearing it now. Marketing experts, sales leaders, bloggers, entrepreneurs, YouTubers and so on use the phrase every day to sell whatever course, class or product they’re selling.
The fact is that content isn’t the only way to go about generating high-quality leads. There’s a plethora of other tactics out there including the outbound model, good old fashioned networking, social and so on.
To say that content is The King, then, may be a little overzealous.
That said, done right, content can work well as another tactic which will push leads into your pipeline each month and work well as part of an overall new business strategy.
There’s an art and a science to putting together a successful content marketing template , though. Sadly, it’s not as simple as just writing some stuff and putting it up.
Done right, your content will drive quality traffic to your site, resonate with your decision makers and have them part with their details at the end.
Done wrong though, you may drive irrelevant traffic to your site - which can cause a lot of confusion - and alienate your decision makers with content that just doesn’t make sense.
So what process should you take to planning out your content strategy? Below we've outlined a very simple four step content marketing template you can follow if you want to create a content strategy that works.
Step 1. Buyer Personas
Your buyer personas are key to everything you do. Buyer personas are a great way to nail down on paper exactly who you’re targeting, from their location, job roles and industries to the problems they have which you can help to solve.
Getting this information together is incredibly important for high-quality content as you’ll be likely targeting more than one type of person with different problems and your content needs to reflect that.
There’s a lot of content out there on creating buyer personas, but to be frank, most of it’s absolute nonsense. You don’t need to work out what kind of house they live in, if they have any pets or - worst of all - need to give them a fluffy name like ‘Director Danny’ or 'Sales Samantha'.
The things you actually need to figure out are listed below. The more detail you use on each, the better. My examples are very brief and you will need to use more detail for each persona, especially on the challenges you solve.
It’s also worth noting that this is best carried out as a group exercise. Your sales team are vital in creating accurate buyer personas and a strong content plan; they’re the ones at the coal face, speaking to prospects every day, so be sure to get their input on the following.
A. What are their job roles?
This is always the best place to start. We typically have four:
- Sales directors
- Marketing directors
- Finance directors
Those are the people our services can help and it’s likely that you, reading this, fall into one of those four.
B. What are the problems you can solve for them?
Examples for us:
Finance directors want to measure ROI; we report on the analytic of any work you do with us
Owners/directors want profitable growth; we help to identify new and better ways to go to market
Marketing directors don’t have time to get everything done; we can automate marketing and take workload from them
Sales directors want more leads; we’re famous for helping to generate more, high-quality leads, every single month
C. Where can we find them? Where can they find us?
Pretty much everyone is on social media these days, and most people are across multiple channels. On that note, simply listing out that they’ve probably got a Facebook account isn’t going to be much help.
Instead, look for specific groups on each social channel and work out the sorts of hashtags they likely use and follow.
Also have a think about news outlets they likely read and follow on their social channels. Not just the broadsheets and tabloids, but also think about striking up relationships with industry-specific magazines and blogs, as that can be a great way to get extra exposure.
D. What do they really want?
Listed at the top are job-specific challenges which you can help people to solve.
But beyond that, psychologically speaking, people have greater wants and needs that you can allude to. Owners and directors, for example, often care about trumping the competition and winning business from competitors for example. They also care about making their business an attractive proposition to sell to a bigger fish or to pass on to the next generation.
If you know what these bigger goals are likely to be, write them down for each job role.
Alluding to them through your content - and through any communication points such as pitches and calls - is key to your business’ success.
We humans have far greater drives than just business, business, business. There’s a reason people start businesses; it’s not just because they see a gap in the market, but because of something greater than that. If you can help them to achieve it, they’ll buy from you.
These won’t be directly linked to each one, but have a think about the industries you focus on, too. Some will have very specific challenges you can focus on with regards to their industry and the wider picture.
An example would be manufacturing, which is likely to be incredibly concerned with Brexit at the moment.
List these out and then consider them for specific, topic-focused content. This won’t always be relevant and at the start of your content plan, we wouldn’t say that you need to worry too much.
Step 2. Keyword Research
The keywords you want people to search for will often be pretty obvious. Some will be far more difficult to rank for than others because everyone else will be writing about them.
That said, it’s important to use them throughout your content in order for your whole website to be seen as more relevant to Google.
Start off by writing out the keywords you want people to find you for when they search on Google, most of which will be around your products and services.
Think about using long-tail keywords, too, which are effectively full sentences that people are likely to be searching for which often take the form of questions.
Some examples for this blog post may be:
- Content marketing template
- How to write good SEO content
- How do I create a content plan?
Write these out for every service you offer and everything you want Google to rank you for.
From there, use a free keyword research tool to find other searches people are making around your services.
Simply enter some of your keywords and find not only similar searches you may not have thought of, but also how many searches per month are being made and the competition for each one.
Some keywords will have a very high competition and will be difficult to rank for no matter what you do. Others will have low competition and will be far easier to rank for. While competition is actually based on the cost of PPC ads for that keyword, it’s also a good indicator of how many people in your space are targeting that word.
Another great way to do some research is to Google your keywords and see what comes up first, as well as looking at your competitor’s sites to see what they are writing about.
Step 3. Write Your Titles
Next, you’ll want to look at writing out your titles. Mad Men is a great TV show set in the ‘50s marketing and advertising world, based on real stories from Ad men and women of the time.
One of the lines I heard which stuck with me was:
“Once you’ve written your headline, you’ve spent 90ç of your dollar”.
This is incredibly true of content marketing and email writing, too. Titles and subject lines are the things that will draw people in.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve just found out the meaning of life; if your title is boring and uninspiring, nobody will ever read what you're saying.
There’s a serious art to writing titles, but for a basic rule of thumb, make them directly applicable to the challenge you’re trying to solve. From an SEO perspective, it’s also important to feature the keyword you want to be found for in the title.
Another thing you’ll want to consider is writing content for people at different stages in your decision making funnel.
Some won’t know anything about the problem you solve yet and will be searching for “How to stop XYZ from happening”.
Others who are mid way down the funnel will know they have the problem and will be searching for solutions “What are the best ABC services in PLACE?”
You will need to write content for people at the top, middle and bottom of the sales funnel, both to attract the right people and also in order to move people through the funnel once you’ve got them hooked.
Next to your titles, you’ll also want to list out the other words that need to be featured throughout the content based on your research above. Don’t sacrifice your content’s tone of voice for cold, hard keywords, but do be sure to feature them throughout.
Step 4. Create a Hook
No, not that kind of hook - a hook hook. You know. A content hook.
Each piece of content you put live needs to have a reason for the reader to part with their details at the end. The hook is the reason and way for someone to get in touch with you and take things a step further.
They’ve landed on and read your article so they clearly have the problem you solve. Now it’s about getting them to part with their details so you know they exist and can talk to them about your solutions.
The key here is answering the question: what’s in it for me?
Look back at the top of this article and you’ll see a strategically placed link to a hook I’m working on at the moment. Everyone wants to know what their competitors are up to and we have the sneaky tools and means by which to work that out. So, we’re offering a free competitor spy report as a hook.
Have a think about what you have that you can give to your prospects in exchange for data. Data is currency these days, so make sure you give away enough in your content that they will think “these people know their stuff” and then at the end, offer to give even more valuable stuff away for their data.
This is often in the form of an eBook or report of some type, but could be as simple as a Request a Call form.
If your content doesn’t have this at the end, you’ll get loads of great traffic and end up doing nothing with it.
At the end of this process, you should have a really nice, detailed, SEO-focused content plan that will help you prospects and drive relevant traffic to your site and convert to leads.
It goes without saying that you now need to get that content written up. Feel free to do it in-house or source someone else to do it for you. For the record, we offer both content strategy and writing as a service, so if you’re interested in working with us to drive more leads through your website, feel free to get in touch and I’ll give you a bell.
Thanks for reading. I mentioned that Free Competitor Spy Report a few times through this piece. If you’d like to find out about your competitors's activity online, click the banner below.