Here is how many content marketers come up with content ideas:
The best-case scenario – an SEO specialist takes a good look at what the competitors are doing and figures out which keywords the company should focus on to get ahead. Then they give the content team the scoop, and they all sit down together to brainstorm and create blog posts that are optimized for those keywords.
The worst-case scenario – an SEO specialist completely misses the mark and gives the content team the wrong keywords to focus on. The team then spends months creating blog posts that are optimized for those keywords, only to find out later that they're not even relevant to their target audience.
Focusing solely on SEO and keywords can be a bit of a trap if it's not backed up by broader marketing goals and a deep understanding of the target audience. Sure, you might be able to rank well for certain keywords, but if your content isn't actually resonating with your audience or driving conversions, then what's the point?
Relying solely on SEO to drive your content strategy is like trying to win a marathon by sprinting the first mile. Sure, you might be in the lead for a little while, but you'll quickly run out of steam and fall behind the pack. Just as a marathon runner needs to have a long-term strategy to win the race, content creators need to take a balanced and sustainable approach to content creation that takes into account their target audience, marketing goals, and the ever-changing landscape of SEO.
Let's call this approach content roadmapping. Like product roadmapping (hello, startups!), it helps you plan your work and get it done.
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When it comes to digging up new content ideas, there are five sources that can be particularly fruitful:
1. Your target audience. By analyzing the people you're targeting, you can uncover the specific challenges they face in their work and determine the "jobs to be done" that your product or service can help them with.
2. Your company perceptions. By distilling what your brand represents and identifying its attributes, you can come up with ideas that communicate what you want your company to be known for.
3. Funnel stages. By mapping out your content to match the different stages of your audience or buyer persona, you can easily spot any gaps or overlaps in your content and focus on creating new pieces that fill those gaps and ensure that your entire funnel is covered. It's like laying out a roadmap for your audience – once you have a clear understanding of what content you need at each stage of the funnel, you can start to create content that leads your audience down the path toward conversion.
4. Existing content. You don't always have to reinvent the wheel. In fact, you can often get great results by taking a closer look at your existing content and finding ways to make it even better. By identifying what works and doubling down on those pieces through distribution, updates, expansions, or even complete rewrites, you can improve the impact of your work.
5. Finally, SEO. If you want to be found on Google, you need to create a list of keywords and phrases you want to rank for. Once you have your keywords in hand, it's time to get creative and see if there's anything you can turn into a content pillar – a core topic or theme that you can build a series of related pieces around. When creating new content, be sure to center each piece around a focus keyword that aligns with your SEO strategy or fits within one of your content pillars.
Alright, now you've got a bunch of content ideas ready to roll – great work! But what's next?
You need to see all your content ideas in one place with all the info you need before deciding which ones to prioritize. What kind of info?
Add all this information to a spreadsheet.
Now that your roadmap has all the info, you can move on to content prioritization.
When choosing which content to prioritize, you can look at it in two ways: how much impact it will have and how much effort it will take, and also how it fits into your overall marketing strategy.
To start with, you need to look for things that will make a big impact with little effort. These are the low-hanging fruits.
Let's estimate the impact and effort required for your content ideas. You can assess impact using two criteria: traffic and leads. Assign each idea a label of "high leads or traffic," "medium leads or traffic," and "low leads or traffic" to determine its impact. Then, determine how much time will be required to create each piece of content. This will help you prioritize your ideas and decide which ones to focus on first.
There might be times when you need to focus on high-impact, high-effort work. You might choose to invest in it because you think it has the potential to be a hit, or because it's important for your overall marketing strategy. So don't be afraid to consider all factors when deciding which ideas to prioritize.
Once you've gone through the impact/effort prioritization process and picked out your top content ideas, you still have other ideas left on your list that didn't make the cut.
Remember that your top ideas may only represent a single type of content such as a blog post or funnel stage such as the bottom of the funnel, or they may be targeted toward a single buyer persona. In such cases, it's best not to rely solely on those few ideas.
Your content roadmap should be broad enough to accommodate a range of content pieces that can appeal to different audiences at different stages of the buying journey.
So, make sure to consider all of the content ideas on your list and find a balance between different funnel stages, buyer personas, and content types. You may want to add 2-3 pieces of content that target a different funnel stage or audience segment, such as content for the top or middle of the funnel.
You can also choose a couple of content formats that go beyond blog posts, such as videos or templates, to keep things interesting and engaging for your audience.
Don't forget to select the best ideas that appeal to buyer personas you haven't covered enough yet.
And make sure that you have enough SEO content to achieve your goals and that your content roadmap tells the complete story about your brand, and includes all the perceptions that you want to create.
This will help ensure that your content strategy is well-rounded and can maximize your chances of success.
Finally, you need to take a step back and look at the big picture. It's time to finalize your quarterly roadmap.
You need to be realistic about what you can achieve within the given timeframe so don't overwhelm yourself with too many tasks or unrealistic goals. Take a critical look at your list and determine what is achievable in the next quarter.
Once you have a solid quarterly roadmap, you can break it down into monthly plans and start pulling content into your schedule accordingly. Consistency is key, so make sure to stay organized and keep up with your plan.
So there you have it.
Remember to regularly review and adjust your content roadmap based on performance and new insights, and keep experimenting with new ideas and formats to keep your audience engaged.
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