WriterAccess Webinar Archive
Content Planning to Drive Results
Thursday, January 31, 2013 – 1:00 PM ET
Once again, it's time to get your content marketing off to the right start. But for many companies, this might mean profound changes in strategy and frustration in developing a content plan that will deliver results you demand.
Good news: You can stop thinking so hard. Learn the top 5 mistakes and top 5 methods for content planning from Jon Wuebben, author of Content is Currency. And join host Byron White for a demo on newly released technology called WordVision that makes content planning and performance measurement easy.
The slidedeck from this webinar is available for download.
Byron: Okay, everyone. Let's start and fire away. Jon Wuebben has joined me today. Jon, welcome.
Jon: Thanks, Byron. Great to be here.
Byron: Jon is making his second batting appearance from the bull pen out there. With this fabulous webinar, we're going to dive into a hot topic right now. We've had a lot of great response for this webinar. A lot of people are excited about it, and we are going to dive in. Let me tell you a couple of things about today's agenda. For starters, my name is Byron White. I'm the founder of ideaLaunch, and I've been running this monthly content marking webinar for quite some time. This is issue no. 37, actually. We’re going to basically invite everyone listening to ask questions to us both at the end of the presentation. Jon and I are both going to go through about a 15 or 20 minute slideshow deck here. Both Jon’s deck and my deck will be available, as well as a recording of this webinar and links to your free 101 Content Marketing Tips book. Not Jon’s book, though. You have to buy that book. Right, Jon?
Jon: Yeah, that’s right.
Byron: But I’m sure Jon has plenty of things on his website Content Launch available to you to download if you want some free stuff. So, without further ado, I invite everyone to ask your questions along the journey here, and I’ll get to those at the end and facilitate questions for both Jon and myself. I’m going to go through my deck, initially here, after Jon goes through his deck. Then I’m going to basically go through some live demonstrations, is that is of interest to people. So again, without further ado, we’re going to start here in one second. Let me chime into this presentation.
I’m going to go through about 10 super-quick slides that I’ll speed through then I’m going to actually show people today what an actual full-blown content plan looks like, what its purpose is and what some of the challenges are—and problems really—with putting together these full-blown content plans. Then we’re going to dive into what I believe the simple easy way to plan your upcoming content and drive results with some new technology that we built that I think is really launching today, officially, in Beta, and we are inviting any and all people to get a free trial of this to try it out, kick the tires and see if it can help them out with their content marketing efforts. So, very exciting stuff that we’re going to go through.
Real quick, I begin all of these webinars with the following, and I’m literally going to speed through these, so we probably by now understand what content marketing is, but I think it’s important to always come back to some of these fundamentals. It’s clearly the art of listening to your customer’s wants and needs. By the way, that is the hardest thing to do in today’s marketing bullpen, if you will. How do you understand what your customer’s wants or needs are? And they of course are probably changing all the time as they move down through the funnel. So, I’m really excited about some new things I’ve heard about in the marketplace with how to do that, and we’ll look for some advances there in the marketplace. Of course, it’s the science of delivering content in that compelling way, and we’re all sort of transforming our businesses and need to become almost old school publishers. The difference is we have many new channels to find our way to delivering that content, and that’s what’s exciting and of course catching customers that are orbiting in high speeds. We can do that in a variety of ways these days and of course with information they want and need and that’s where, of course, the core elements of content marketing come into play. It’s testing campaigns, A/B Testing, Multivariate Testing; I’ll be speaking out at Tim Ash’s conference in a couple of months out in San Francisco. I love that conference, and I always get a great response there. People want to hear what’s happening in the content world. I’m excited about that presentation. It’s finding the most efficient path to engagement, and believe me, guys like me have wasted a lot of resources, spending money on content trying to reach customers. I know writers are on the phone right now; it’s hard to do and you have to find an efficient way to do that. And of course, finally, it’s following a process that delivers the results in tracking the performance, which we’re going to get into today a little bit.
So, let’s dive into a content plan. So, what does a content plan really offer you at the end of the day? Content marketing, and content planning particularly, is a relatively new sport; I like to describe it. Not many agencies out there understand the real secrets and strategy behind developing a content plan, so let me kind of walk you through what that’s all about.
Here’s a typical table of contents for a content plan. Back when ideaLaunch was more focused on full-service agency work, like Jon now does for customers; the challenges are trying to really help a customer understand: How much content do I need to publish? How frequently should I publish it? How good does the content need to be? What type of content assets do I need to deliver? And how much is this content plan going to cost?
So, those are the problems we’re trying to solve and what a content plan really delivers to you. So, let’s look at what are some of the ingredients of these content plans and the many many hours it takes to find all this data and crunch all this data to answer all those questions we just looked at.
So, there’s certainly a keyword research phase. Keyword research really does define the optimization strategy for any content you are publishing on the web, or I would argue even outside the web. You need to look at your competition to see how you stack up against how much content they’re publishing, and of course, you need to roll it all together and put it together.
The first thing is, of course, domain analysis and keyword research. I have a nice tight list of tools that we’ve used here over the years to dig deeply into keyword research and try to find the golden nuggets of keywords, the longer tail keyword phrases that you can go after to more quickly achieve top listings in the search engines and deliver some results that your customers and yourself are demanding.
Next, you need to filter down the keywords and try to come up with a core list of keywords. This is a project that we did some time ago. We actually looked at 156,000 keywords, and we used those very keyword search tools that you see here. In this case we used SpyFu to find all of the organic keywords that were driving traffic to competitors’ websites. We put all those in a big spreadsheet and removed the duplicates then removed another 138,000 that, for a variety of reasons; we thought we did not want to focus on those, particularly with regards to content creation and the type of content budgets that this customer had to work with. So, we ended up narrowing down what we call the keyword universe to about 3,600 keywords that helped us as a starting point to begin strategy development.
The next thing we did is we put the keywords into groups, and this is very helpful because you can start to see the patterns that create, and you can organize the keywords, if you will. So, writers creating content can see groups of keywords; not just a batch of 3,600 keywords like in the old days where someone might say, “Here’s a lot of keywords. Go use them in all your content.” You need to be more strategic and look at frequency of publishing keywords and basically organize your keywords by groups to track your market share. I’ll take about that later. So, within each keyword group, we find it helpful to find some, what we call, golden keywords, which are often keywords that a customer is hyper-focused on, but we also need some other keywords to get some victories for the customer in case that customer is not doing that well for the keywords that they view as their most important keywords. We call these “low lying fruit” keywords, and those are keywords where a customer’s domain name has achieved within the positions 11 through 50. We like saying 11 through 100, and they are trending upwards perhaps so they have a chance to get in the top 10, which of course is where all the traffic comes from. So, when you’re grouping your keywords, you need to think about some variables such as top PPC, top search volume and some other groupings.
But here’s the problem: You’re left with a massive spreadsheet. Here we see some work we’re doing with Writer Access. We’ve got a keyword universe, we’ve narrowed it down to about a thousand keywords we care about from about 5,000 we initially were thinking we could create content around. We’ve got our competitors in one tab, and then we’ve broken out our tabs with all of our keywords and in each tab you have “Blog Writing,” “Content Marketing.” You can see some of these tabs, barely probably. Get out your magnifying glass—you can probably see that. Those are all tabs for the separate keywords in each of the groups. The problem is it’s tough to work with this. How do you work with a writer on this? That’s one problem that I see.
Next, you need to dive into competitive intelligence and, of course, there are a lot of research tools out there. Here’s another spreadsheet with some logos, and some of these you may recognize; it’s a great list for you. But again, what you’re trying to do with competitive research and analysis is to look at the page rank of all of your competitors; how many pages they have indexed; how many inbound links they have; how many content assets they’ve published. You need to look at a lot of stuff, and this begins to help you understand how much content you need and, particularly looking at how well they’re performing versus you. You can now start to put together the pieces, if you will, for how this can all come together.
So, of course you need to dive into the social media sphere and look at the volume of social media that’s happening in total, as well as in fan bases. But again, too much data, right? There is just way too much data to look at.
So, step three, you finally need to recommend a portfolio of content assets that you think the customer should begin working with. So, you of course look to a quantity required to capture market share; you start making recommendations on how many blog posts you need and articles and data sheets. Again, to not only compete but beat the competition, and you need to estimate the cost of creating all those content assets. This is a laborious process, but at the end of the day, you’re left with some sort of expected ROI measurement for some content marketing investment. A lot of clients want to see that very granular, like “Exactly how much new traffic will come to my website?” But of course there are a lot of ways to track conversion, as we’ve seen above with improved conversion rates, stickiness of the site…lots of ways to define ROI measurement, so it’s not just one way to find ROI for a customer. But the problem is that our ROI measurement can really be guess work. Imagine that we were sometimes asked to spend 400 hours putting all this data together for a customer where they’re paying a fee for just the plan itself, but it tends to be a moving target. You don’t know how difficult it is to prove and lift conversion rates until you get in there and start banging out content. And this is one of the great frustrations that we experience as a full-service agency. We thought, “There must be a better way.” Since we left our full-service agency days, we kind of launched Writer Access, which you all are very familiar with and pooled together thousands of great writers and were able to attract thousands of great customers, and they have been using our platform and all is well, but we wanted to do something a little bit different.
So, we’ve essentially launched WordVision technology and re-launched it to make it much more simple and easy. But when we think about content planning and content strategy, the core thing that we were really left with. When we delivered these 70 to 150 page plans, we were basically left with the very list that you see right here. What are the keyword phrases? What are the keyword groups? What’s the search volume? And what’s the PPC, or price per click, for these keywords that I want to go after? At the end of the day, this is what all the strategy was built around, finding these keywords.
So, if you can magically find these keywords and companies like Jon’s can help you do that and develop a strategy, I think you’re basically ready to go, and you’re ready to start publishing content. So, from my perspective, the goals of content marketing strategy and the goals for content marketing in general are to, very simply, produce a lot of content, optimize that content and look for quick ways to find ROI measurement with improved listing positions and increased traffic. And if you believe that to be the goal of content marketing strategy—there are many goals, as I mentioned—but that’s the core thing we were focusing on to really make this all work.
With content planning, the challenges are: “How can I get my content creators aligned with the performance goals?” That’s hard to do. You don’t tend to put your writers into your Google analytics account because that’s too scary. But maybe there’s a way you can do it. How can you create fresh content and avoid duplication? This is another real problem a lot of customers have. Writers don’t necessarily want to reload page after page after page of a customer’s website to read every single blog post they’ve ever done. They want a quick way to see what’s going on, and they want to see how many content assets have really been created around particular keyword phrases. Another challenge is “How can I track performance and drive content strategy?” and “How can I get writers and SEO specialists and marketers all on the same page?”
So, that was the challenge that we took on with content planning, and here’s what we basically came up with. We think that we have a new tool that you can try out and see if you like it. It’s actually free for up to 200 keywords, so it’s exciting for what we’re trying to do. What’s even more exciting is this is really simple to set up. Really simple. So, in five or 10 minutes, you can be up and running and ready to go and start really being more strategic in how you come up with ideas for content, how you look at the performance of the content you’re publishing and really manage the work flow. So, check it out. Step 1, it’s easy to set up and get started. You can drop in up to five competitors. I think you can actually drop in more than that. You just simply put in their domain name then you load in your keywords, and you can get 200 keywords for free, or you can upgrade to 1,000 keywords or 4,000 keywords. You can either upload your groups along with those keywords or you can use our tools inside to drag and drop your keywords into various groups, which I’ll show you in a second. Then you can put in your Google analytics data and plug that right in. You can plug in API connections to Facebook and Twitter and Wordpress. Then we suck in all your past posts and pop those on an editorial calendar and, most importantly, you can choose who you want to log into this. And our plans over at Writer Access are to let our customers use WordVision for free and let writers also log into WordVision along with customers for each individual domain name if they want and establish a great relationship with writers they love so writers can see what’s going on and help customers with their optimization strategy.
Next, you can create keyword groups. I mentioned this a little bit. So, when you load all your keywords into WordVision, you can see them in the left column over here. What we’re tracking is that asset column, which has a bunch of zeros in it now, is telling you all of the individual content assets that have used that keyword phrase, so we’re beginning to correlate not just “Did I write an article?” but “How many keywords did I include in that article?”
The next thing we’re doing is the score column where our algorithm is recommending to you the best keywords to use for the upcoming content assets that you’re creating, say next month. So, we have an algorithm in the score that looks very closely at the trend of keywords, the pay-per-click price and the search volume, and does some triangulation of that data to come up with an overall score of what we recommend you use to make it easy for writers to choose the best keywords for projects to of course get the best results for their work they’re doing.
The third step in WordVision is you can quickly see what’s been published in the past. Again, this is running under a particular domain name, and it’s tied into your Wordpress account, your Twitter account, your Facebook account, so you can quickly suck in all of the posts. You can open up each of these and see which keywords you’ve used in each of these posts, when it actually published and get a really good feel for what’s going on.
The fourth and most exciting thing—and this is really what WordVision was designed to be used for—is you can actually start planning upcoming content, and you do that by developing what we call a content plan, so you’re creating a content plan for next month, and what you’re doing is putting in “What type of asset is this?” “What’s the title of it?” ”What are the instructions?” What are the required keywords and additional keywords I want to use?” What you do is you drag the keywords from that left column where it says “keyword phrases” into that “required keywords area,” and it kerplunks right in that area. So, you can sort of optimize…you can maybe let your writers come up with the ideas and then you can get your SEO person in to drop in the keywords that should be used in that particular asset that you’re recommending be created. You can assign an author that you want to get created. You can put a status if it’s an idea or if it’s in production or if it’s already published, and you can put it on the editorial calendar. We’ve made this really simple and really easy, and you can actually export all of content plans that you’re creating and import them into Writer Access where you can have your freelance writers work on the projects. So, here’s a plan that you can see a sample of. You can see the type of asset, the title, the notes, the required keywords, what writer we want to assign this to over at Writer Access, what its status is and what the due date is for this work to be created. It makes it easy. You can see what’s going on, and everybody can get on the same page. Best of all, on one hand you’ve got all this content being created, but now you can actually see the performance of this content. I meant to put in a different slide. You can track performance in WordVision in a variety of ways. You can look at your competition. Again, you’re going to see I have 1,000 keywords loaded into the system. I’m losing with one of my competitors for Writer Access, Constant Content. I’m losing 132—by the way, Jon, I think I have you in here, as well, and we can pull that up on the demo, if you want. It’s fun. You can see your winners and your losers and the keywords that you’re overlapping.
You can look at the market share—this is where we look at each keyword group and whether you’re ahead or behind your competition. With the copywriting keyword group, for example, we’re getting killed by our competition, but you can start analyzing what’s going on. And the little chart on the far right is kind of fun; it shows where are all the keywords that I have in this group. Are they greater than the top 100? Do I have some in positions 51 through 100? Some in positions in 11 through 50 and how many of them are in the top 10. As you can see, it’s kind of scattered, so I have some victories with some of the keywords in each of these keyword groups, but the point is capture more market share and bang out more content and use the right keywords and hopefully build internal link strategy, as well, and all the other fun stuff you need to do.
Next, we’ve got Google listing position tracking. Every month we do SERP tracking in Google for all of these keywords, so we’re building an archive for you for each of the domain names you have running in WordVision. We have position trend reports, which are fun, which show trends in the last three months; on a month-to-month basis. It also shows the number of content assets created for each of these keyword phrases, so you can see that, with a cheap article writing service, we’re now in position 14, up 186 points, but we’ve created three assets using that keyword phrase, so there’s probably a reason we’ve had some success with that long-term keyword phrase. Whereas content asset, for some reason, we dropped one listing position; yet we’ve created four assets for it, so it allows you to get granular and see what’s going on.
Then finally, our traffic reports. Again, we’re sucking the data right in from Google analytics, so we’re showing you how many customers were delivered to your website for each month for all the keyword phrases. And there’s all kinds of report options. You can do more digging into all of these.
But that’s really it. I wanted to give everybody that topographical overview today. WordVision is free for everyone, up to 200 keywords, so spread the word. It’s $500 per year if you want up to 1,000 keywords and $700 per year if you want 4,000 keywords. And just so people know, those are costs that really cover our costs to do the SERP tracking. That’s what is hard for us to bring in. Another thing we did, which is kind of interesting is you can bring your own data, your own pay-per-click price and search volume into WordVision, and it sort of archives that. We still track monthly listing positions for you, but if for some reason you’re unhappy with the data that we’re pulling from a variety of sources, you can bring in your own data from your own source and upload that data.
Therein lies the end of my presentation. There’s a link to download a free copy of the book right there, if you don’t want to wait until you get the free version of it. Feel free to reach out to me at any time, we’re both very excited to get reaction to this presentation that both Jon and I are giving, as well as some feedback on WordVision if you go in and play around with it to get a feel for it.
So, without further ado, I’m going to turn it over to you, Jon.
Jon: Okay, great. Byron, thank you so much for having me on this call. I think this is a super relevant topic, and I think we’ve all seen in the last two or three years how content marketing has really jumped a huge leap in terms of importance and relevance and a lot of the tools that have come online, like WordVision and ideaLaunch that have been produced over the past few years really helps companies and individuals really get their arms around content marketing; how to do this stuff consistently, with high-quality content because, let’s face it, you’ve got a lot coming at you, you’ve got a lot of demands on this content marketing thing, so you’ve got to find ways to automate and leverage it so you can have the most impact and start reaching out to new audiences and new customers.
So, we’re going to talk about content planning, specifically; and how you do that better over the next 15 or 20 minutes. I think we all kind of know what content marketing is by this point, but I just want to reiterate what we’re talking about. It really is creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience. Now, there are still a lot of companies out there—B2B especially—who haven’t gotten their arms around this. So, this is the first order of business to really appreciate and understand what we’re doing here. We are providing content that people are going to love; that they’re going to get something out of. We’re not going out there and hawking our products and services, right? We are going out there first with content and producing it in a way that is going to get them to get engaged with your company.
Other key points here: Obviously, you want to convert those prospects to the customers with this content you’re developing. You want to utilize opt-in permission, obviously. Use social media channels and RSS feeds, email and all the other channels or silos, if you will, to get it out there and become a valued resource for a lot of people. You want to really be that resource. So, if you’re a knowledge leader in your industry, great. Let’s maximize that. If not, here’s a huge opportunity to do that. And last, of course, you don’t want to sell them once—you want to have this content keep working for you over and over again so you really create a friend who enjoys buying from you for life through the content you’re developing.
So Byron touched on the types of content—I’m not going to go through this—but obviously there’s a wide range of content types that you can create for a lot of different purposes and a lot of different audiences. I think the bottom line is to just get started. Now, if you don’t have a blog, get a blog and start producing some great quality blog content. Then the list goes on down from there, right?
Many questions. There are all kinds of questions around this new content marketing dynamic like “What types of content do I need for my industry or my target market?” “How does content influence SEO? “How can I use mobile content and really capitalize on that channel?” So, there’s a lot of questions that we have. Hopefully, we’re answering some of the questions for you today in this webinar.
I also want to impart upon you the content lifecycle. Really, there’s four stages to this content stuff. Number one is planning of it, and that’s what we’re talking about on this call. Strategy and planning, and that’s absolutely the most important and first step. I would say as important as the creation piece, which is next. The creation stage is the time-consuming piece, and you’ve got to dedicate the resources to get it done right. Third is marketing and distribution, getting it out there, and getting it out there effectively. Leveraging your channels and really capitalizing on that leverage and automation capability. And last, managing and curating it. Do you have to get rid of content? Do you have some evergreen content that’s going to be around forever? You’ve got to manage that day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month and make sure that your content is as effective as it was a month ago versus now.
In my book Content is Currency, which came out about a year ago, I talk about what I call the content marketing machine, and other folks have picked up on this concept as well, and I think that’s great. But essentially, how do we create this ongoing, super high-quality content marketing machine for your company?
And really, it’s three pillars that we’re talking about. It’s the content itself, clearly. It’s the design, how it looks, how it’s wrapped up. And it’s the usability and how easy it is to get around your site, how they navigate through. Is it easy to get to your social media profiles from your site or your blog? Is it easy to get to your mobile-friendly site from all the different channels? So, those three are really the pillars that make up your content marketing machine.
The considerations on these are what type of content you produce, and we covered that. How you put your content in front of your prospects and customers, as well as how they engage with it. Finally, how you are supporting that content. Clearly, you have to do more than produce the content. You have to support it and answer questions when people have questions. You’ve got to be there and be present and interact with them. On your blog, for example, if you’ve got comments coming through on a new blog post, you’ve got to be there in real time to actually communicate back to them and make it a real time experience.
And then there’s really three channels. There’s the content that makes up your site and blogs. There’s the content you use for lead generation, such as white papers and webinars, like the webinar today. Then third is the off-site content. Those tweets on Twitter, the decks on SlideShare, the status updates on Facebook and all that type of stuff. It’s really three channels, three considerations and three pillars that make up this total content marketing machine. So, taking all of this into consideration, knowing this is the end goal, how do we plan it?
The top five methods: Number one: Analyzing your current content. What have you got? What is out there right now, as we speak? On your site? On your blog? On your ebooks and white papers? Your webinar repository? What do you have, in terms of content, right now? Now, for some of you, you may just have your website, right? Maybe you didn’t start a blog. Maybe you don’t have a mobile-friendly website. Well, at least that’s a place to start, right? That’s a foundation you can build off of. So, number one, you’re taking inventory of all the content you currently have in place. Number two, you’re reviewing it for quality. Look at it objectively. Ask your customers to give you feedback. Talk to your employees and see what they think. Really get a lot of opinions of what people think of the quality of the content. Then review it for SEO. Using WordVision, Byron’s tool, is going to be great for that. You can really find out what’s going on here. Am I optimizing for my keywords? Don’t forget about SEO. People are talking about the death of SEO or it’s not as important as it used to be. I say “no,” it’s as important, if not more important than it was five years ago. And number four, analyzing the social marketing potential. So, you’ve got your profiles on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, but are you really doing much there? Are you pushing your content to those channels? Is that automated? Are you using tools to do that so when you produce that blog post, is it getting pushed out immediately into Facebook and Twitter? A lot of companies still aren’t there. Number five, rewrite and rework content to correct mistakes. If you’ve got 50 pages on your site and none of them are optimized or you’re not using meta data correctly, we need to start there and really rework that stuff so they’re becoming effective for you. Number six, brainstorming a list of additional content items you may need. I don’t care if you’re IBM, if you’re Apple, the Gap, Starbucks, whoever the company is, or you’re some small startup, there’s always additional content that you need to create. When you’re in the content business, you are now a publisher. And every week, every month, every quarter, every year, you’re going to have certain content things that you need to push out to produce and get developed.
So, what are those top 10 content items; a wish list, if you will, that you need to produce in the next 30 days? Get that list out there and really talk to your team. Understand what are the priorities, what are the customers telling us we need? What’s the competition doing? Are you looking at the competition or are you looking at the competitive blogs and seeing what they’re blogging about? So, once you have that list, it’ll be a great tool for you to use to create content ongoing. And this is a goal I like to mention during events that I do and webinars because it really is true. The goal of all this stuff, with the content planning, is you want to create content that’s going to be compelling to readers, actually get them engaged, right? Visible to the search engines, linkable to partners, shareable through social media and transferrable to mobile devices. Now, that’s a lot, right? We’re asking our content to do a lot for us. That last one is key, because transferrable to mobile devices; that’s one that probably 50 percent of companies right now still aren’t doing or aren’t doing correctly. So, if you don’t have that mobile-friendly website, you might want to start thinking about that right now, today. What’s the plan that you have in place to get that site that you have transferrable and readable through smartphones. Because, let’s face it, that’s a content channel too, and there’s going to be a great opportunity to get leads through the mobile devices, especially in this day and age where we see more people using their smartphones to search than their desktop PCs, right? So, that’s a key statistic and something that’s very relevant.
Number two, and Byron touched on this earlier, the keyword research. This will always be important. It was important 10 years ago; it was important five years ago; it’s important today, because we have so much competition now. Everybody is on the SEO train. They’re all understanding they’ve got to do this stuff, and they’re all optimizing their sites and their blogs and everything they’re doing, so where do you start? Again, Byron covered some of these. Number one, what words are potential customers using to search for you? Do you know? Survey your customers, look at the reports, look at the tools; some of the tools that Byron mentioned earlier, measuring demand and competition. Really looking at the data from a granular level. Keyword Discovery and Word Tracker are two of the early tools and are still very powerful. There are a lot of keyword research tools out there, but look at these. You can get free trial subscriptions for 30 days on both of them, if not a couple others that are out there. Do that. It’s free, easy to do and something you can start today. Fourth, Google AdWords keyword tool, that’s a great resource. SEO Book has a keyword list generator. There’s a lot of places where you can do keyword research. Also, look at your site search box in your web server log files. What are people typing in that little search box on your website? That can be a great place to get some keyword information. Aligning keywords with the customer’s buying cycle is sort of keyword research, step two. So, we’ve got different types of customers, and we’ve got a buying cycle. How can we align our keywords with those types of buyers? So, for example, you see this long tail keyword chart on the slide and, on the left we have the general keyword of “camera,” and on the far right, we have the specific type of camera, so that’s the long tail keyword. So, if someone is searching for a Sony Digital Camera with those specs, chances are they’re ready to buy, because they’re very specific, they know what they want. So, if you’re optimizing for that specific long tail keyword, you might be able to get that buyer to buy from your site. So really think about the customer and how they’re buying and their behavior and aligning those keywords. This is a great way to plan your content, from an SEO perspective. Keyword density and stemming are still important. Look at that to make sure you’re using the right number of keywords in the blog post, for example, or your page. Make sure you’re using keywords in the meta data and the page content, both. Still, a lot of companies are not understanding the meta data for the pages and how you’ve got to use your title tag in a certain way, so definitely do that. Then optimizing for the long tail keyword, as we mentioned.
Next would be generating those content ideas. A lot of companies come to me and they say, “Gosh, we know we’ve got to do this content. We’ve got some ideas, but we’ve kind of come to a brick wall. We’ve got a list of 20 things, but we know there’s other stuff that we need to do.” I say, “Well, take a look at some of these resources.” Google Trends is a great place. Type in the keyword phrase or your industry and see what’s going on in your industry and see what you can tie into, in terms of news events or if there’s a new product or something in your industry you can really tap into and build some content around; maybe create an ebook series around. Google Insights for Search is great. Twitter Search, Technorati Charts, BlogPulse Trend Search, Compete.com, There’s a number of resources you can use—your customers. Ask your customers: “Hey, what do you think? What would you like to see from us? Would you be interested in maybe a webinar series on a certain product that we’re doing? Or maybe you want to know more about how to do something or build something. Maybe a series of YouTube videos.” So, there’s a lot of places where you can get content ideas. Bottom line is, once you have those ideas then, how are you going to prioritize them and start moving forward with development on those?
This could be the most important thing I’m going to say on the webinar this morning. Segmenting your content types and flow. This is a great matrix put together by First10 Smart Insights. I think this showed up a few months ago, and I love how this really delineates and segments content by a couple of different things here. Number one, on the top, you see awareness and purchase. On the left side, you see “emotional and rational,” and then in the middle here you see all the types of content, based on whether or not they’re entertaining, or they’re educating, or they’re inspiring or they’re convincing, and what is the goal of that content? What are you trying to accomplish? So, look at this graph. Really study this. And what I want you to do is overlay this chart with what you’re doing currently for your company or what you could be doing for your company, in terms of content. I mean, you’re going to pick up three or four ideas from this chart alone. I think what’s important and valuable about this chart is that a lot of people don’t think about content like this. They just think, “Okay, I’ve got to have content. I’ve got to connect with my customers. They’ve got to read something if they come to my blog.” But no, you take a step back and really look at this and see that you’re doing certain things; you’re trying to create certain actions from your customers and your prospects through that content. If you do it right, you can really capitalize on that and become super effective. Byron talked about the ROI of content earlier, and I thought that was fantastic. You don’t see that very much.
But really, at the end of the day, if you’re trying to convince the C-Suite to get on the content marketing program for your company, you want to show the ROI, and something like this can really lead you down that path. So, how do you do this, right? You’ve got to organize the list you have into the content types. So you’ve got that list. Let’s say you’ve got 50 items on that content list now. Okay, so overlay that list into this matrix and find out where it fits in and then you’ve got to schedule it. We’re going to get to that on the next slide, but really understand the strength and weaknesses of each content type. If you’re looking at a celebrity endorsement that’s in the “inspire and purchase” category, that’s very very different than a guide or infograph in the lower level quadrant. So, each content type really has its strengths, so really maximize that based on what you’re trying to accomplish for your company.
So, let me know if you have any feedback on this or any questions. I’d love to hear it. People love this matrix every time I show it, and I just think it’s fantastic. Definitely some good stuff there.
Last, you want to create your content plan. You’ve got your list of content that you need to do; you’ve prioritized it on the matrix, you understand what you’re trying to do and accomplish with that content. Now you’ve got to schedule it and calendarize it. You’ve got to put together a plan. If you’re a publisher at a magazine, you’re doing this every day, every week, and that’s really what you are. We’ve talked about how you are now a publisher. If you are doing content, you are now a publisher. I don’t care if you’re a B2B or a B2C or you’re a retailer on a street corner. Whatever the case; if you’ve embraced content, and you’ve decided it’s going to work for you and you really want to start doing something about content marketing then you’ve got to have a plan. You’ve got to put some planning around it. So structure it using these key elements. This is a great little planner I found on Zazzle. There’s a number of tools out there, but I think the important thing is to keep it simple and make sure you’re touching this every day, every week; that you’re looking at this all the time and really planning it strategically, because you want to ensure you achieve the right flow. Flow is important. What are you doing when? And why are you doing it? I think a good rule of thumb is a combination of smaller pieces and high-impact pieces to get them working in unison. So, you’re not always going to be doing high level white paper series. You’re going to be some smaller stuff and some entertaining pieces, in addition to the educational and more thought-provoking type pieces. Then you want to segment it with the normal calendar, with months and weeks and days. Let’s face it, there are certain things you’ll have to do every week. There are certain things for you to do just monthly, maybe a monthly report to your customers. And there are certain things you’ll just do yearly, like an annual report for your company. And then there are those things you’ll do every day like blogging, like social media. So, at that point then you’ve got to consider what comes next. What are we planning six months from now? A year from now? I think one trap companies get into is a kind of a fly by the seat of your pants type of “what are we going to produce next week?” kind of thing and there’s really no planning around it. So, if you get something like this in place and start being dedicated about it and really educating your team about it internally and building some kind of metrics around it, you’re going to see some serious ROI come from your content activities.
Byron wanted me to cover the top five mistakes I see, as well, and I think I’m not going to spend too much time on these, but I did want to mention them. So, the first mistake is using only marketers to produce your content. I’ve talked about it a lot over the past couple of years in my speaking engagements—and Byron mentioned it earlier—that there are a lot of agencies out there, traditional agencies especially that have been around maybe 10 or 20 or 30 years, who are still kind of producing the TV ads, the billboards and the radio spots, and a lot of that stuff some companies still need it, and it’s important, but a lot of that stuff is selling. Selling, selling, selling, advertising, advertising, advertising, but not really in the vein of inbound or content marketing; producing that valuable—or added value—content. So, you don’t want to just use marketers to produce your content or your agency. You want to lean on customers—maybe get some customers to some reviews, some testimonials. You want to lean on subject matter experts and thought leaders in your industry and maybe doing interviews with those thought leaders for your blog, for example. So, be careful on that, which leads us into mistake number two, which is to stay away from that “corporate speak” and hawking of your product and services. That’s so 10 years ago, and you still see tons of companies doing it. I mean, how many emails do we get a day saying, “Hey, buy our stuff” or “Please check out this new product we’ve got and we have a discount on it.” But people are so sick of being sold to over and over again, so take a step back and really stop doing that. Again, it’s about the content and connecting with your prospects through that content. So third, putting quantity before quality is another mistake. A lot of companies know they’ve got to have a blog, so they start producing all this blog content, but it’s kind of like “me too” content. It looks like everything else out there. It’s not really that interesting or engaging. That’s a mistake. It’s all about quality. If you can only produce five blog posts in the next 30 days, but they’re all great quality posts, that’s fantastic. That’s what you want to want to shoot for. The fourth mistake is not optimizing for search, the SEO component we talked about earlier. You have to stay on that. You have to understand what’s going on with the search engines. Still very important, so make sure you look at that. And then the fifth mistake is not setting goals. We talked about that with the content calendar and the matrix. What’s your long term goal here? What are you trying to accomplish with that ebook or that blog or the webinar? Whatever you’re doing. What’s the ROI on that? So really setting goals, looking back and reviewing; asking “Did we accomplish what we set out to do here or did we just produce a lot of content that really didn’t do anything for us?” So, these are all the top five mistakes I would say. But having said that, most of the companies we do business with are only just doing a couple of these. It’s very rare that a company is making all five mistakes, but it’s something you need to keep in mind, for sure.
Now, the rest of my deck goes through a lot of areas of my book like “Ensuring Content Impact” on this slide. I want you to look at this later. We’re going to obviously make the slides available to everybody on the call today, but we don’t have a lot of time to go through all this stuff. “Content Hooks” is important as well. Your “Publishing Schedule,” and there are distribution steps you want to follow as well. So, again, there’s a lot of great stuff here. I encourage you to look at this later when you have some time. Obviously my book is out there. Feel free to take a look at it: Content is Currency. It has done very well, and I’m very thankful that a lot of companies have gotten a lot of benefit out of it, and I do speak around the country on these topics as well. If you want to get a hold of me, feel free to. I think Byron will make this information available as well. But it’s been great being with you. I hope this was interesting and informative for you. At this point, I think I’m going to give it back to Byron.
Byron: Great, super job, Jon. We had some comments. People really love the matrix that was put together by First 10 Smart Insight, so thank you so much. And your top five mistakes; I think you nailed it there as well. Just a great job with your presentation. Thank you so much.
Jon: You’ve got it.
Byron: So, yeah, hopefully everybody can see this. Before I field a few questions, which interestingly enough were very much related to some agencies on the line that were asking “Is this available for an enterprise-level version?” and “I have 30 clients. I have 50 clients I’d like to put in this. Is this available?” The answer is “yes” to all of those. As a matter of fact, I’m showing you the enterprise feature right here. You can sign up with an enterprise version of this and have master control over all of these subdomain names and get as many customers as you wanted to, running on their own separate version of WordVision. Then they could log in themselves and only see their information. You can also get writers to log in, and I’ll show you that in a second where it comes to user setup. I’m just going to give you like a five minute, very quick demo. The beauty is—this product has been around for about four years now, but we basically completely revamped it. It was built initially when we were a full-service agency to let more our in-house agency people go into this technology and do all the work for customers. But we wanted to flip that around, and we’re now sort of out-servicing agencies and giving them a gateway access to our pool of screened professional writers, and now we’re giving them a tool that says, “Hey, let’s find a bridge for writers and customers and let you manage all this on your own,” so you can set it up really quickly. You can add in your competition just by popping in their domain name. I mentioned all that. The user function is great. You can have just a writer lock in, which has limited ability to screw up your keywords, and you can add people and take them off. The keyword grouping tool I mentioned a little bit; you can create a new keyword group if you want and go into some uncategorized keywords. Drag and drop those keywords into a particular category. You can open up the keywords and see the keywords that are in there. You can quickly see the score we’re recommending for those keywords or the total number of assets created for all the keywords that are, again, pulling from the integration with WordPress, Facebook and Twitter, and all the fun stuff that you’re connected with. So, you can mess with your keyword groups, bottom line. And look at them, study them and kind of see what’s going on. You can also dive into each of the keywords individually by going in and doing a data search. Let me look up “blog,” for example. Let me look at total assets created. I can look at blog posts. So, you can dive in and actually see the details for each individual keyword. You can see the Google position, the pay-per-click price, the search volume, what keyword group it’s in, you can see all the content assets that use that group, you can see a keyword cloud, you can see if any plans use that keyword, you can see some historic data, you can see some competitive history, so we’re really giving you some pretty good vision, no pun intended, into each of the keywords that you’ve loaded into WordVision. We won’t dwell on that too much, but some good vision there.
Here’s the content planner, and this is what we hope people will actually use, so when you log into it, you can quickly add a new item and you open this up, and here you go. So, if this is going to be a blog post, I can pop in the title, some instructions that would maybe later be used for the writer to ascertain what you want. I can drag keywords into this particular asset and tell the writer, “Here’s the keywords and the additional keywords.” I could assign this to a writer. I could put the status as whether this is an idea or this is in production. I can add it to the editorial calendar if I wanted to and hit “okay.” I can either save this plan or export this plan very quickly. I can go in and look at saved plans and get a feel for different plans that have already been created in the past. Here’s our February blog post queued up. So I think everybody gets a feel for it. We want to make it easy to plan content. We want to give you the vision to see the keywords you need to use to optimize that content, and that’s basically what this tool wants to be used for. We of course have an editorial calendar. When you set up your API integrations, which are as easy as putting in your user name and your password for WordPress and the link to your blog, it will go in and suck out all your past blog posts, and it tells you whether it’s a Facebook post or a Twitter post, or here’s a WordPress post that actually brings in the image that was used that tells you what keywords you used and when it was published. Just really simple, really easy to use. That’s what we hope we’ve accomplished with our UX here. But the performance is probably why a lot of agencies were starting to get a little bit excited. We want to show the impact of the content that you’re publishing. So here you’re seeing “How much content did I publish?” 150 total assets were published in this case, and that, by the way, includes for the month of December, blog posts, tweets, Facebook posts, so it’s totaling and aggregating everything to give you that particular data there. It’s then monitoring your traffic every month, pulled in from Google Analytics then it’s looking at your improved listing positions as an aggregate with this particular chart. Next, you can see that it’s showing you everything that you published in the last 30 days, the top visited traffic, the most improved keyword, so it’s giving you some cool stuff, and this is the master report that we think agencies in particular will want to white label, just banging this out into pdf form to give a snapshot with your logo on it, so that’s what we’re working on right now, is to just make that fast and easy to get out. But more importantly, a writer can go in and see how the site is performing. Let me show you some other performance things—I showed you a few, so we’ll open it up to any questions anybody has. The competition part is fun as well. I showed you this. Here’s the wins and losses. I think I have Jon in here. Wait, I’m not battling with you, Jon, so lucky you. Jon and I are in different businesses. Jon is doing full-service agency work, and I’m doing more of the do-it-yourself marketplace model with Writer Access. But we’re doing some upgrades on that to add more service.
So, keyword groups are fun as well. This is sort of market share analysis. I showed you that, but it’s cool. You can dive into each of the market shares and see how you’re doing. Position history is cool. I showed you that chart. This is all live data, so you can dig in and look at more details on a particular keyword and how much content you’ve published on that keyword. Here are some position trends, more live data. Here are some traffic trends pulled in from Google Analytics. You can quickly find your top traffic performers and see how many content assets you’ve published under those traffic performers. So, there you have it. That’s sort of a quick view. Hopefully, we’ve really stripped this down. We think this would be a great tool for an assigned writer for this particular domain to go to and dig in here and propose some ideas that they want for upcoming content next month and then let the client change that from an idea to an in-production and boom, let’s send it over and get it done. That’s where we’re headed with this, and we think it’s a great bridge between the writers over at Writer Access and the customers that are desperately wanting to use this tool.
Let me see if there are any questions that popped in. Hopefully I answered some of those agency questions that popped in.
Question 1: I work for a global company. Can you address how to approach content in multiple non-English languages? Jon, do you want to take that question?
Jon: Wow, great question. I’ve never had that question asked before. I would say, first, start with the obvious with English language content. Get the English content right. Get the content planning and content marketing correct and in place there. Then, once you have that, you want to talk to your customers and make sure they’re getting value out of it. Once you have that process in place with your English content, then I’d think it’s just a question of transferring that to two or three other languages, whatever those languages might be—maybe Spanish and German or Chinese and French—once you get the process down for the English content and process down then you can simply transfer it over to the other languages. Having said that, you want to make sure that the cultural differences and any language differences that need to be applied to that content are in place, and I would work with a local speaker or local copywriter in that country to make sure that all the copy is correct—in language and culturally—before push it out. Now, as far as the differences in content marketing in other places, such as Asia and Europe, I honestly don’t know. I think it’s still in its relative infancy here in the U.S., so I’m not sure what the impact is in other parts of the world, but that’s a very interesting question. But start there and once you get it in English and you have a good feel for the process; then it’s just taking it to the next language.
Byron: Great answer. By the way, there was a whole interesting webinar that I ran on local SERP tracking, which is in my opinion the next big wave, but of course also international SERP tracking and tracking listing positions. There are a lot of tools out there that do offer multi-country tracking of Google listing positions, but Jon has it right. Content marketing works the same way. Chances are likely if you can simply translate what—well, first of all the first question on international is “Where is the home base for the company?” Jon and I probably both assumed—rightfully so—that this was a U.S.-based company with markets in other countries, so that’s the big footnote on that. I would suggest that whatever the host and native country is, is where you should build your content marketing strategy. If it’s not a U.S.-based company, I would build it in whatever country it’s based in with your marketing teams in that country with their ear to the ground much closer to the customers’ wants and needs. That’s an excellent question. Great job, Jon.
Question 2: Does WordVision solution integrate with Salesforce campaigns?
Byron: Not currently but you can upload both your keywords and your strategies in your campaigns into WordVision, whatever campaigns you’re running. One of the reasons we really wanted to build WordVision in a way that didn’t necessarily tie us to any individual SERP tracker or platform, so we made it very easy to just upload data. I’ll show you an example of that since we’re right here. If I go to account setup and I go to keywords then I go to “upload keywords in the data,” so you choose a file. You could load in an Excel spreadsheet with keyword phrase, keyword group, search volume and pay-per-click price. I believe you can do the same now with loading up campaigns from any other platform. We can look at the Salesforce integration. We actually subscribe to Salesforce ourselves, and we do a bunch of integration ourselves with our CRM. Send me a question if that’s a high need for somebody who has that concern, and we’ll take a look. We do integrations here all the time with various platforms at Writer Access so we can have a look. And I think I answered most of the questions. Keep any other questions you have coming in, everybody, but there were at least four or five people that wanted to know “We have 35 customers. Do you have an agency plan cost?” Yes. “Is there bulk pricing for multiple websites?” “Is there an enterprise version account where I can manage hundreds of clients?” Yes, yes, yes to all of those questions. We have options for interactive agencies. Of course, somebody had a dental appointment and asked if they could get a recording of this, and the answer is yes as well. Those are the questions that have come at us so far. That’s it so far. If anybody has any other questions, send them in. Otherwise, we’re right at the two o’clock mark, which is perfect and a good time to end this, so Jon, great having you on the presentation today. I want to thank you.
Jon: Thank you very much, Byron. It was a lot of fun.
Byron: Right on. So, until next month, everyone. I hope your journey throughout the content planning world was significantly enhanced with great advice from Jon. Hopefully you might give WordVision a try and see if it meets your needs. If not, let us know and we’ll try to make it work. But until next month, everybody, thanks for tuning in. We’re signing out.