Let’s guess… Everyone’s talking about implementing an efficient content creation process, yet you feel like you’re lagging behind.

You may have turned your hand to processes in the past, but low engagement has you wondering where you’re going wrong.

Conflicting content creation advice and outdated marketing tips leave you unsure how to increase awareness, engagement, and ultimately, conversions.

Here’s the thing: In 2020, successful content should follow a coherent, logical, and relevant topic-focused creation process.

Rushing out any old digital content simply won’t work.

This guide is here to give you a succinct rundown of the creation process you should be following. This will maximize your content marketing potential and better reach your audience in 2020.

Ready to start executing a content creation process in just 8 steps? Let’s begin.

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Step #1: Establish Your Brand Value Using Existing Clients

With nearly 60% of marketers claiming that content nurtures new customers, it seems sensible to find the value that you create as a brand.

To understand your brand value, you need to ascertain what customer problems you solve, how you solve them, and for who.

The best way to do this is to look at your existing customer base.

Ask yourself, why do customers choose you?

By understanding these factors, you can better target your marketing content to pinpoint lookalike audiences.

Lookalike audiences are target sectors that mimic our best buyers.

The 20:60:20 rule declares that we want to clone our top 20% of customers, automate the middle 60%, and ditch the bottom 20%.

If you know the problems you solve for whom and how, you can better identify who you should be gearing your content toward and which content type each audience is interested in consuming.

These avatars, created from existing customer traits, are often known as ‘buyer personas’.

These buyer personas help you to personify a character and imagine how you’d talk to them.

Something like this:

(Image Source)

If you’re struggling to understand how to create a buyer persona, try these steps:

  • Consider the demographics of your best buyer
  • Analyze your bestsellers and who buys these products
  • Monitor your social media and identify trending topics for these potential customer personas
  • Put out digital marketing surveys, polls, or feedback campaigns to ask customers their preferences
  • Ask for testimonials (these are useful for user-generated content production)
  • Use this free buyer persona template.

Step #2: Know Where and When Your Readers Consume Content

Knowing your customers’ day-to-day online and social media habits will equip you with a content idea map of where and when to find your target audience.

  • Take a content audit and ask yourself the following questions:
  • On which marketing platforms are my top buyers consuming content?
  • At what times are my key customers looking at content?
  • Can I identify the content type most popular with my customers?
  • Which of my existing content is most popular, where is this existing content present and what content format is this existing content?

You’ll find that customer behavior varies depending on the social media platform or digital marketing channel on which they receive content.

While customers open their emails most on Tuesdays at 1pm, Facebook posts are most often viewed at 11am and between 1 and 2pm.

Use customer patterns to guide the narrative and structure of your content creation process.

Step #3: Create Measurable Goals for Each Platform

Since marketers that set goals are a whopping 376% more likely to report their campaigns as successful, there’s huge value SMART goals for your marketing team.

‘SMART’ stands for specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-bound.

This means that your SMART goals need to be clear and attainable with the resources and manpower you have, measured over a specific time period.

By outlining specific, measurable goals, you can analyze which content tactics are working well, where they’re working, and for whom.

Not only does this reduce wasted time and resources on ineffective content production, but it also helps you reach your goals. 70% of marketers who use stringent organizational goal-setting methods reach their workflow targets every time.

Creating Measurable Content Goals: How to Set SMART Goals

When you create measurable content goals, you need key performance indicators that match with your buyer personas and the marketing platforms they use.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) measure the performance and success of each digital content campaign.

  • Common content-related KPIs include:
  • Number of Facebook followers
  • Number of email subscribers
  • Number of likes on Instagram
  • Bounce rate from a blog post

The idea of a SMART goal is to address a single KPI at any one time, over a dedicated time.

Let’s use an example to illustrate this.

Imagine that you have an online gardening supply store…

Your best client avatar is the hipster, farmer’s market, urban gardening type.

You call this persona ‘Henry’.

Henry mostly buys organic heritage vegetable seeds, which are the priciest product on your website.

He buys these seeds exclusively through promotional campaigns sent out in your email newsletter.

In fact, Henry buys more heritage seeds than any other product and than any other persona.

 Analysis of this persona suggests two main aims: nurture and convert existing leads like Henry, and entice new clients that are clones of Henry’s buying process.

This indicates two specific SMART goals:

  • In six months time, I’ll be converting at least 10 email subscribers per week to paying heritage seed customers.
  • In six months time, I’ll have 200 new subscribers signing up per month.

Here are a few more examples of measurable goals:

  • Increase lead generation via targeted SEO landing pages by 5% in three months.
  • Grow your blog traffic on a particular topic focus by 30% in six months
  • Convert 15% more sales through each social media influencer over the next year
  • Double up on referrals through LinkedIn campaigns in the next 12 months
  • Move your written content to Google’s front page on certain search terms within the next six months.
  • Reduce email unsubscribe rate by 10% in the next two weeks

Many tools like MailChimp, Clickfunnels, Facebook Pages, etc have back-end analytics dashboards to measure and provide feedback.

Step #4: Research Content Ideas

While you may think that giving your expert opinion is the way to win over the crowd, this isn’t always the case. Content authority comes from solving customer problems not complex wording.

Where a SEO-driven opinion content piece may have worked in the era of black-hat marketing, nowadays you need to know what your target audience wants.

Often dubbed ‘education-based content’, you should be researching the particular issues that are niche to your audience, and solving them for free with your content marketing strategy.

This will boost your E-A-T rating with Google.

Your E-A-T rating stands for Expertise, authority, and trust.

By establishing your expertise with an education-based content strategy that solves real-world problems, your brand authority becomes widely recognized and consumers begin to trust you.

The best way to go about this is to start with the problem and work backward.

Research your customers’ bottlenecks and deliver a pain-point-driven SEO strategy.

Previously marketers would research a bunch of keywords, organize them into the necessary volumes, and then try to plan a content strategy around these words.

A pain-point-driven SEO strategy invites you to:

  1. Understand your customers’ preference and desires first
  2. Find out your customer problems
  3. Strategize a topic-focused content strategy that solves those problems
  4. Find the keywords to optimize this content
A graph showing where you could choose a metric to compare revenues.
A graph showing where you could choose a metric to compare revenues.

How to Research Content Ideas: Do a SERP Analysis

If you’re trying to find out what problems your audience has, first try a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) analysis.

Taking the example of your garden supply store, when you do a SERP analysis on gardening tools, it’s clear that customers are having trouble choosing between brands.

It’s a good idea to produce guides to the various gardening tool brands you offer and their benefits and drawbacks.

How to Research Content Ideas: Find Out What People Are Asking

Find out what the public are asking their search engine about your particular niche, with content creation tools like Answer the Public that show popular questions being plugged into Google in real-time.

A great education-based content campaign to kick off your topic-focused content marketing strategy is to answer these popular questions.

Try to offer more answers, better sources, and more up-to-date data than competing blog posts.

How to Research Content Ideas: Try Keyword Analysis Tools

Research semantically-related keywords associated with your topic.

Have your marketing manager use tools like Keywordtool.io to find popular phrases and words that can be used to optimize your content and steer your campaign topics.

How to Research Content Ideas: Use SEO Title Generator Tools

Lastly, polish off the final idea with a click-worthy SEO-optimized title. Tools like SEOPressor’s Title Generator off super helpful title suggestions that improve click-rates.

Step #5: Schedule on Your Editorial Calendar

The digital content creation process not only refers to how you research, create, and distribute one content piece — it refers to your whole yearly content calendar.

For the purpose of continuity, campaigns should run on a fluid annual content calendar to demonstrate consistency — keeping you at the top of Google’s rankings.

A content calendar will help you organize your digital content creation, production, and distribution process and build regular brand awareness with each buyer persona.

All without bombarding your audience.

Take into account societal trends and seasonal influences to generate relevant, responsive content.

Since customers need around eight touch points before they convert or tail off, schedule your content calendar to reflect this.

Keep a frequent cadence over multiple channels — but don’t overload your audience.

If you’re struggling to create your own content creation calendar, use this free template.

Step #6: Produce High-quality Educational Content

The idea of your overall content marketing strategy is to create a topic-focused library of resources that solves niche problems.

Educational value like this establishes expertise and authority, fostering consumer trust. However, to ensure your content is engaging, you’ll need a true multimedia experience.

Try:

  • Landing pages
  • Email campaigns
  • Social media campaigns
  • Blogs and other written content
  • Use cases
  • User-generated content
  • Live video streams
  • Educational videos
  • Podcasts
  • Voice-activated content
  • Augmented reality and virtual reality
  • Graphic design, illustrations, and other visual content
  • Photo-rich content

Remember that each content piece, whether written, audio, or video, should be supported with a choir of complementary content to promote these campaigns across multiple platforms.

Take B2B technical copywriting firm, Espirian. Founder, John Espirian, appears on mountains of podcasts. A catalog of SEO-driven written content, visual content, and social media posts support each.

Alternatively, check out Venngage who turned blog posts into infographics, resulting in a 400% boost in web traffic.

Repurpose your written content into other formats (and vice versa) to squeeze more traffic from your content creation efforts.

Consider Hiring a Content Creator

While that may be cost-effective to wear many marketing hats to begin with, it’s wise to consider hiring affordable marketing professionals as you scale.

A 2018 survey showed that firms that could afford editors report ‘strong results’ with their content campaigns, showing the importance of hiring an expert to refine your content creation process.

The content creation process may involve hiring:

  • Content strategist
  • Content writer
  • Content writing editor
  • Graphic designer
  • Video designer
  • Video editor
  • Podcast writer
  • Audio editor
  • Social media managers
  • Marketing manager

Free Content Creation Tools

Content creation tools help to spruce up your written content. Here are a few of the top free content creation tools in 2020:

Sample report from Hemingway.
Sample report from Hemingway.

(Image Source: 1 + 2)

Content Creation Process Step #7: Execute and Automate Your Content

Continuity is key to success.

To really optimize your content visibility, post regularly using content automation software.

In the marketing industry, a quarter of marketers are focusing their automation efforts toward automating content delivery.

This is because content automation tools save an outrageous amount of time.

This is a sample automation tool from MailChimp.
This is a sample automation tool from MailChimp.

(Image Source)

Try these:

  • Hootsuite – social media automation
  • Mailchimp – email campaign creation and automation
  • Hubspot – full content production and automation suite
  • Automizey – email marketing automation software
This is where you could export content from Google Doc to WordPress via Wordable.
This is where you could export content from Google Doc to WordPress via Wordable.
  • Wordable – Google Doc to WordPress Content Management System
  • Pipefy – Content and task organization platform
  • Airtable – Content management and scheduling system
  • Asana – Content task management system
This is Trello's user interface.
This is Trello’s user interface.

(Image Source)

  • Trello – Content team collaboration and workflow management tools

Step #8: Create Data-driven Content

As your content campaign unfolds, you can start to see the response from your audience.

Use the backend analytics of your website, blogging software, and social media platforms to harvest data relating to how well you met your predetermined SMART goals.

From here, you can tweak future campaigns to reflect customer behaviors and preferences highlighted by your content marketing metrics.

Understand that your content creation process works by building on top of itself.

You won’t see results immediately, but you should start to see the tide turn within a few months.

This is a sample graph from Ahrefs showing the age of pages ranking in Google.
This is a sample graph from Ahrefs showing the age of pages ranking in Google.

(Image Source)

In fact, research shows that of the best ranking content, 88% is over a year old. So be patient and keep working at it!

8 Steps to Launch…

The content creation process doesn’t have to be difficult.

With careful strategic planning and SMART goal-setting, you develop a content campaign post that educates, engages, and entertains your target audiences while meeting KPIs.

Remember that the key lies in creating value by solving customer problems with multimedia educational content across multiple platforms.

Don’t forget to use a content calendar to strategize, content automation tools to schedule your posts, and back-end analytics to improve your future content.

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