Creating a content strategy and plan is a big challenge for a lot of companies because in many cases, they either don’t have time to focus on their content strategy or are not really sure how to plan the content they are publishing.
We believe the three most important aspects of content strategy and planning are:
- Write it down. Having a written content strategy ensures you are developing content that meets the needs of your business and its customers.
- Optimize content distribution. There’s no sense writing great content if no one sees it. So optimizing distribution is a key part of your plan.
- Consider SEO when planning and developing content. Don’t just write about what you want to talk about or have to offer. Write about what your customers really want to know.
I think the last is where many companies tend to fall down. I work with a variety of companies and agencies on content, and while some definitely seem to have a strong SEO strategy in place for their content, many others don’t.
My advice for those who do not have a firm strategy in place around these areas is to spend some time analyzing your keywords – don’t guess at them. Keyword analysis will help to ensure that your content meets both the marketing needs you have for the content as well as the need your customer is trying to address when they’re searching – aka, search intent. This is the key to creating content that really resonates with the customer.
Keyword Analysis for Content Strategy
Wondering how to do keyword analysis for your content strategy?
The first thing to do is figure out if you’re having any success with the search engines with your current keywords – how do you rank now? This can be a challenge to figure out, so most SEO people use a tool like SEMRush to get a snapshot of how their sites are performing on search.
For a lot of businesses, the answer will be “we don’t rank at all.” Let’s change that! Begin by focusing your efforts around a single keyword or group of keywords. For instance, if you were a digital marketing company that specializes in content, you could make your focus for the next 60 – 90 days around the topic of “content strategy” and write a series of posts around that topic. If you’re a real estate agent, focus on terms related to your local geography.
Pro Tip: Once you get enough posts related to the keyword, turn your SEO pieces into a content marketing lead magnet by putting them together in a downloadable eBook.
Keyword Gap Analysis
Next, identify gaps between what you rank for now, and what you *should* rank for, and then find the keywords that will be your focus.
A couple of free tools that I really like to help with gap analysis part of keyword planning are:
- SpyFu to determine what terms your competitors are ranking for so you can identify which terms you need to strategically defend; and
- Google’s Keyword planner tool (a free tool within AdWords) to see what kind of traffic the keywords you’ve chosen are likely to get. You don’t want to pick keywords that get zero searches, but you don’t necessarily want the ones that are getting the most traffic either.
Which brings me to another Pro Tip: specificity. An important tip when selecting keywords is to be specific. General keywords tend not to speak to specific customer needs, whereas specific keywords are often a signal that a customer is in the market to buy or has a specific need that they’re trying to address. Keywords that contain a built in question such as “how to plan content” or “what is content planning” are also very good, since in the age of voice-enabled search and Alexa, these will often match the phrasing of the user’s search more closely than broad term such as “content planning.”
It’s also the case that broad keywords are more competitive, making it harder to rank in the top 5 – 10 search engine results without a significant investment in content development. So, focus fairly narrowly.
Got more questions about how to plan your content? Contact us!