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Since this is our first lesson and we’re starting to get to know each other, I think it’s only fair I should tell you something about me.
I have a thing for watching experiments on YouTube, mostly psychology-related.
This is how I came across an experiment involving a mouse which was supposed to navigate through a maze and get out.
It was pretty heart wrenching to watch. That little guy was doing his best, but just couldn’t find a way out fast enough.
And that got me thinking.
There are a lot of different routes you can take – and not a lot of time to make a decision.
Make the right turn and you unlock a world of opportunities.
Choose wrong and you are likely to go around in circles and end up right back where you started.
No cheese for you.
It’s a lot of pressure – we get it. But we’ve figured out an awesome way to help.
A map to guide you through the maze, so that you can make the right turns, move forward and finally get the most out of your content.
In this first lesson, we’re going to lay down the foundation.
We’re going to go over every main stage of the content journey and discuss the stinging pain points in the content marketing lifecycle.
Because getting the most out of your content involves recognizing what content is worthy of nurturing and what content is dragging you down.
In other words, looking down at the maze from above and getting a clear overview.
You need this lesson to understand what’s at stake during each stage – and how to tackle the challenges.
If your content marketing seems stuck and you don’t know whether to make a left or a right, something’s not working.
So, are you ready to get untangled and move forward?
Create a Buyer Persona of Your Target Audience
41% of B2B and 38% of B2C marketers say they prioritize the better understanding of their audience.
One of the best and most basic ways to do that is to build a detailed portrait of your buyer persona.
This is the highest-priority audience segments you want to target online. Your ideal customer, if you want.
How to do it:
- Create a buyer persona empathy map. Here’s an example of how it should look like:
- Brainstorming sessions. Write down your audience’s key struggles, hopes and dreams, interests, priorities, habits and other contextual information you might find relevant. To make the most out of this exercise, include:
Basic demographic info
Some information which shows why they’re valuable customers to you
Say you are a web design company targeting small to medium sized businesses. The first draft of a buyer persona could look something like this.
- Conduct specialized interviews with actual buyers. If you can swing it, this can turn out to be an effective way to profile your buyer persona. If you can’t afford to do this through a specialized service, you can use Craigslist or a similar platform to recruit research participants. There is a growing number of “professional research participants” on Craigslist who earn a living being a part of research sessions.
What’s in it for you: deliver content which will be most relevant and useful to your audience, potential to find new audiences, identify the types of messaging which will convert the right website visitors into leads and then leads into customers, new content ideas.
Figuring Out What Your Audience Is Searching for Online
It’s heartbreaking when you see passionate entrepreneurs or businesses failing with content marketing because their audience doesn’t find value in the content they post.
This is something which unfortunately happens way too often. And the main reason is that it happens is due to poorly chosen content topics.
It’s a common problem, but it can be fixed.
How to do it:
- Keywords research (which we’ve written an entire post about here)
- Look at questions your audience is asking on Q&A websites like Qu0ra and Yahoo! Answers.
- Find trending topics within your industry using a tool like Buzzsumo.
What’s in it for you: ensure you’re creating the right content for the right people and thus increase conversions.
Diving into Content Creation (Head First)
What do the most successful bloggers and businesses in the world have in common? Believe it or not, it’s not a magic wand or huge marketing budgets.
It’s the ability to deliver compelling, highly relevant and targeted content on a constant basis.
We’re confident you can do it, too!
Is your content goal-driven? Great content is, oh well, great, but without a strategy which supports your objectives, it will likely fail.
How to do it:
- Setting KPIs (key performance indicators) for your content. Here’s an acronym which does a good job describing how your targets or goals should be:
- Develop a set of content guidelines and policies which are relevant to your audience and goals.
- Get inspired by influencers in your industry. We suggest making a list of at least ten influencers and tracking their activity online to gain new ideas and learn new content hacks you can use.
What’s in it for you: ensuring the content you create has a real impact.
B) Creating Content Which Converts (Also Known as Quality Content)
A lot of people produce a lot of content. A lot! So, there’s no reason why your audience should settle for anything less than the very best.
No one looks for “fine” content anymore.
That’s everywhere. The goal is to create better, more engaging content.
In fact, more than 70% of marketers have prioritized creating stronger connections with their audiences, by delivering engaging content in 2017.
How to do it: Check out the infographic below! It’s inspired by Ann Handley’s “Everybody Writes,” which is meant as a go-to guide to help content creators and marketers create insanely good content which attracts and retains customers:
What’s in it for you: more inbound links, build brand authority, increase conversions and engagement.
Acknowledging All Content Opportunities
Last week, it was one of my friend’s birthday and I got to meet some of his friends for the first time.
They asked me what I do for a living and I decided to give them a short answer because, honestly, I was mostly there for the cake.
I said I was in content marketing. “That’s blogs, right?” – that’s the most common reply I got.
And it’s not just my friend’s friends. Many people seem to be struggling with the concept of content marketing.
Content marketing is NOT just blog posts. Content comes in many different forms and formats:
- website pages which feature products, newsletters, testimonials
- landing pages
- e-commerce features such as shopping carts
- social media posts across all platforms
- social media accounts/profiles
- email newsletter
- SlideShare presentations
How to do it: experiment with different content formats, repurpose content (turn an article into an infographic or a video into an article or more articles into an eBook for instance).
What’s in it for you: build a loyal audience which won’t get bored, find the content formats which best match your goals, stay up-to-date with content trends.
SEO is all about content marketing. The two work together in a reciprocal relationship.
Poor SEO means nobody is going to find your content (not even if it’s the mother of all content). And that’s a sure way to get stuck in the maze.
How to do it:
- Use an SEO tool like Squirrly SEO to optimize for the right keyword and user. The result? Content which is both search engine and human-friendly. Neil Patel included it in a top for best tools which can double your search traffic.
- Make sure every page has a unique title and a unique meta description.
- Do a content clean-up/inventory/audit on your site (Lesson 8 will show you a step-by-step way to do this yourself).
- Create relevant, long-form content.
- Check for SEO errors in your site.
What’s in it for you: more targeted traffic to your site, better search results, boost online visibility and brand awareness, cost effective marketing, build authority.
Promoting Your Content
What’s the fastest way to doom your content marketing for all eternity? Do nothing after you create your content.
Content marketing is not JUST creating content. That’s just part of the fun.
After all, there’s a reason it’s called content marketing. Promotion is just as necessary.
How to do it:
- Send out email newsletters
- Send a marketing email to a landing page
- Google posting
- Facebook posting
- Comment on other websites and mention your content
- Twitter posting
- Sharing in LinkedIn
- Re-sharing content multiple times
What’s in it for you: find and focus your efforts on your most efficient channel, more traffic to your site, more social shares, more online visibility, extend the lifecycle of your content. ContentLook helps you the best in figuring this out for each of your sites.
How well do you know the content on your site, from product pages and landing pages to blog posts?
Are you sure you’re not burying potentially great content under piles and piles of ineffective content?
This is often a result of stacking content without actually tracking its performance.
The main purpose of tracking performance is to learn. If you don’t understand what is going on with your content, you will keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
To move forward, you sometimes have to look back.
How to do it:
- Figure out what are the most relevant metrics taking the goals you want to achieve into account (page views, social shares, bounce rate, those kinds of things).
- Keep track of chosen metrics to see how they evolve.
- Analyze those metrics, not only individually, but also in relation to one another. The goal is to turn that raw data into decisions and decisions into actions.
ContentLook offers a simple yet effective solution to do all that and more. You can keep track of how your content performs, so that you can focus your efforts on what matters most.
Moreover, ContentLook helps you understand the information behind your website in an easy and straightforward way. It’s like having a content marketing analyst on your side 24/7.
What’s in it for you: leverage top content, match key metrics with your content goals, figure out what’s working, what’s not, what content to scrap and what new pieces to create, make data-driven decisions, prioritize actions, build better marketing campaigns.
That’s all for today!
Great job sticking with us through this lesson. This was only the introduction, but we still covered a lot of ground today!
Now that we went through all this and the fog has lifted up, we’ll be ready to tackle the next lesson which will be all about creating marketing campaigns.
Lesson 2 will be full of tips you can apply straight away.
We’ll get into the specs and offer you actionable information and examples.
See you in class!