Make sure you have an SEO-focused content plan if you want to write effective, consistent content. That’s the key takeaway from a deep dive into content planning and workflow.
An SEO-focusedd content plan is:
… a detailed proposal for creating and distributing useful information to core audiences to achieve organizational goals. –Guiseppe Getto, Content Garden
The proposal includes goals, a content audit, audience assessment, channels you will use to distribute your content, templates with detailed instruction on how to create the content, and scheduled tasks that integrate with your daily, weekly, and monthly workflow.
As you work the plan, you create better, more engaging content that improves SEO and lead generation.
What do you know about your content?
Content planning begins with a content audit. Using a simple spreadsheet, you can develop metrics that measure content effectiveness once you know more about page titles, meta descriptions, targeted keywords, and so on.
How well do know your audience?
A business coach once reminded me that I’m not my market. Many of his clients made the same mistake, confusing their own pains, fears, and desires with their customers’.
Personas will help you understand what your real customers want and need. Personas, however, are not fictional characters. They are real people based on real data that you get from customer interviews, website analytics, social media, forums, and surveys.
How will you distribute your content?
You have many choices when it comes to content types. You can create podcasts, video, slide decks, PDFs, and infographics.
Before you commit to a content type, however, find out where your customers get and share information. You will distribute your content using the social channels they like using.
How will you create content?
It’s hard creating all the content you need to market yourself. Checklists can help you stay on track with activities or tasks.
Your content plan, however, will include detailed templates for each content type you plan to publish. That way you can easily hand off content creation to someone else.
A template for one busy entrepreneur includes writing down a few bullet points that she explains in a recording. She then embeds the recording in the outline and outsources it to a writer who creates the final version.
What are you going to do when?
Plans often fail because they don’t include scheduled tasks.
What are you going to do when? When are you going to publish your content types? When and how are you going to check and the effectiveness of your activities and whether you’re meeting your goals?
To answer these questions, create a list of content marketing tasks. Then integrate these tasks into your daily, weekly, and monthly workflow.
How do you know if you’re on the right track?
Your content plan began with a couple of assessments. You assessed your content with a content audit. You also assessed your audience by developing personas based on real data.
Assessment, however, doesn’t stop there. You have to include assessment with your scheduled tasks. What are the metrics you’re going to use with your blog and social media post? What do the metrics show you about meeting your content and organizational goals?
Once you know how effective your activities have been, you can leave your goals and tasks as is, or you can make adjustments so your tasks and goals move you closer to growing your audience and business.
How do you create goals that work?
Goals in content planning have two essential ingredients.
First, goals have to be SMART; that is, they are:
- Specific. You clearly and simply state what you will accomplish and when.
- Measureable. You use metrics to assess your accomplishments or desired results.
- Achievable. You must be able to reach your goals given your team’s talents, abilities, and resources, even if you’re a team of one.
- Results-oriented. You measure outcomes such as an increase in qualified leads. You don’t, however, measure all activities used to create the result.
- Time-bound. You measure outcomes or results achieved during a specific time period.
Second, your goals must align your content with the needs and wants of your audience so you can realize specific organizational goals.
What would an aligned and SMART content goal look like?
You may have a goal to increase qualified leads from a specific targeted audience. For this purpose, you decide to post blog articles on a website so many times per month, week, or day.
This goal would also state when you would perform tasks: how often will you post a blog article, when and how often you will announce articles via email and social media, and when you will assess your progress. During assessment, you may decide to adjust your goal to make it more realistic or to better reach your targeted audience.
Content marketing efforts can seem like a waste of time to small business owners.
Because you use data to plan and assess outcomes, a content plan focuses your effective content marketing efforts on activities that integrate well with your daily, weekly, and monthly workflow.
With a well-crafted plan, you create content that your audience needs and wants while meeting your organizational goals.
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