From increased organic traffic to higher conversion rates, the benefits of content marketing are undeniable. But if your business has no experience with a content plan, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. You know it’s not efficient to just throw some blogs onto your site and hope for the best, but how exactly can you execute your content most effectively?
At Nituno, our SEO experts regularly craft content plans for our clients and we’re happy to share the exact process they use to construct them. With that in mind, this will be a step-by-step guide to building a strong content plan.
B2B SaaS Marketing Guide
Content Plan Step One - Discover Your Market
If you don’t understand your target audience, your marketing will never fully resonate with them. Broad marketing won’t reach the right eyes – especially when your product solves industry-specific problems, resulting in irrelevant leads, if any. So it’s important to define your market as your first step.
An excellent starting point is to carry out a competitor analysis. Understanding why competitors in your field have had success, and how they resonate with their buyer, will give you a wealth of information.
Start by making a list of your top three competitors. Examine their websites. How do they position themselves and what content are they publishing? How does this content position their brand and what messaging are they using? Read media coverage of their growth – how are they being portrayed? Who are their customers? Can you read reviews from them?
Understanding what works in your market, what the primary pain points are, and whether there are any gaps in the market will help you build your buyer persona, and help you frame your content library.
Content Plan Step Two - Build Your Buyer Persona
Now that you have a good survey of the competitive landscape, it’s time to turn those findings inwards and create your buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer, based on your research and data, and some educated guesses.
Who is your typical customer? What is their role in the industry? What is their work history? What’s their preferred method of communication (for a millennial it might be emailing, while someone older may prefer phone calls).
Use a combination of data, including data from your existing customers, demographics of your ideal customer, research into your persona, and some educated guesses on your persona’s pain points and concerns within the industry. Boil this down to one individual, and their specific qualities. You might have multiple buyer’s personas to test, but they should each represent different targeting.
We’ve written extensively in the past about discovering what drives your customers. It’s essential to understand your market, and combined with keyword research in the next step, will form the base for your content plan.
Content Plan Step Three - Conduct Keyword Research
In the land of SEO, keywords are the currency. You’ll be looking to choose keywords that are high volume and low difficulty. Volume refers to the frequency of searches including the keyword. Difficulty refers to how hard it will be to rank highly with that particular keyword.
For example, you want to rank first for your company name. But if your company is called Nasa, this will be effectively impossible, because the difficulty of competing against governmental organizations is so high.
- Start your keyword research by brainstorming seed words.
- Have a look at the buyer persona you’ve created and then list topics that will be relevant and important to them. Make about 5-10 ‘topic buckets’ which you can then draw from as you research further. Why is this important? Understanding customer intent behind keywords is a crucial, if somewhat intuitive, part of ranking consistently highly.
- Use your topic bucket list to create a database document – we’re big fans of spreadsheets, but use whatever will make the information most legible to you.
- Now, it’s on to competitor keyword research. You can use sites like SEMrush to see what your competitors are ranking for, or where they’re lacking. Take notes.
- Use SEMrush or another keyword research tool to discover what relevant keywords are ranking highly, and their difficulty levels. Again, take notes.
Content Plan Step Four - Pull Potential Titles From Your Keywords
By this stage in your content plan creation, you should have a document full of potential keywords, a plethora of information on your competition and their content strategy, and a solid idea of who you are selling to. Now, it’s time to bring them all together and plan your content.
Adapt your keywords as necessary. For instance, there might be a keyword like ‘cleantech’ that has great volume but is too high a difficulty to pursue. But if you can adapt it into a longtail keyword phrase, like ‘using cleantech for sustainability’ then you might find a much lower difficulty level for a similar volume. Some SEO tools, like SEMrush, can even make these suggestions for you.
Your understanding of the market informs everything else, so stay focused on your buyer persona and competitor research when wording these potential titles. Identify the questions they are likely to be asking, or the problems they need solving, relating to your keywords.
Content Plan Step Five - Think Big When Defining Your Scope
It’s time to think strategically. Obviously, you’ll be generating blog posts using these keywords. But ideally, you should be designing a holistic content plan that diversifies your knowledge across methods. For instance, cornerstones – long-form blog posts of over 2,000 words – are also great for SEO.
Your goal here is to create a plan that targets customers at all stages of the marketing funnel. Take a look at gated content like white papers and ebooks, and outbound marketing like email sequences. These kinds of marketing won’t rank in search results, but are still incredibly valuable for brand awareness, providing value to your leads, and positioning yourself as a thought leader.
Make a plan for adapting your content into posts for Linkedin and other social media. Build strong landing pages pushing your gated content and use paid ads to drive traffic to them. Consider guest posts on other blogs in your industry. Look into utilizing the dynamic, interactive format of video marketing. Create nuanced, unforgettable marketing with an all-encompassing strategy.
You’ve created a strong content plan – now, the goal is to stay agile. Regularly test new ideas and messages with small, cheap campaigns. Get a free website audit. Pay attention to trends in your industry. The market is always changing and ultimately, creating apt content requires some guesswork and learning through experience.
Whether you are confident in your plan and just want support with content creation, or would like the expertise of a marketing consultant every step of the way, Nituno can help. Get in touch with us today, and make the most of your marketing spend.