- What are the key components of a solid content strategy
- How to repackage your content
- What’s Kaleigh’s process for creating a good article
- How to measure your content’s success
Hello, Kaleigh. And welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me.
Yeah, this is super awesome. And I’m pretty sure the audience is going to love it, because we have a super interesting topic, which is content, content strategy, and you are the master of content here. So my first question to you would be what’s your process of creating a sound content strategy, and what, in your opinion, should marketers start may be thinking about when they are about to create their content strategy?
Yeah, so, unfortunately, I see a lot of marketing teams who have a sizable budget, but they don’t have a strategy. So I think getting a documented plan in place is definitely the first step, because without that, you’re almost throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks, and it’s just kind of ad hoc. There’s no real intention behind the things that are being created. Often, there’s a lot of disjointedness. So you have a lot of different writing voices and styles, and not a lot of clear objectives around what it is exactly you’re trying to accomplish.
I typically don’t help with the strategy piece myself. I have a person that I refer that work out to. But I will say that when people come back to me and they have the strategy piece in place for their content work, it’s very obvious what kind of a shift has happened. So they have a much clearer grasp of what their objectives are, what their goals are for the content that they’re investing in. They have much clearer writing briefs. So on the assignment basis, there’s a lot more detail around, okay, here’s what we’re trying to accomplish. Here’s who we’re writing for. Here’s what they are struggling with. Here are the questions we need to answer for them.
So it’s just a lot more detailed and defined as opposed to here’s a topic. Here’s the keyword that we’re hoping to tackle in this piece of content. Run with it. It’s just a lot more strategic. And so having that big picture vision for what you’re trying to do and what you’re working towards goal-wise, can be a make or break thing when it comes to content marketing. And unfortunately, so many people just skip this piece of the puzzle.
Right. I really love the idea of having a plan in place, and I do agree that definitely marketers should really think long-term, and have this big picture vision before they are creating their content strategy. Could you please elaborate a bit more on the plan itself? What are the content types that should be included in the strategy? What are the different parts of the plan you should pay attention to?
And also, how can these different content pieces support each other? So say if I’m hosting a podcast, and then I would love to also create some content on the blog, some more content about our product on the website, how can these different pieces of content support each other?
Yeah. So there are a few key components that I see in a really solid strategy. A big part of it is often customer research. So being really clear about who the audience is that you’re writing for, what they want to know about, what questions you can answer: what are the obstacles getting in the way of purchasing the product, or trying the product for the first time? So a lot of that is a matter of focus group work, or talking to existing customers one-on-one and getting answers to those questions. So there is a little bit of a research piece that’s involved with developing a really effective strategy.
Other things that I see are what you spoke to, about what are the different ways we’re going to package content? So it’s not just about blogs or email marketing. It’s often about how are we going to repackage the existing material we have and get as much mileage as possible out of those assets? So for example, say you have a podcast. The podcast is great, but only 37% of people like to listen to podcasts within your audience, just as an example, random number I’m throwing out. So you still have this wide demographic of your audience who maybe wants a different format.
So what I would say is that the strategy would suggest, okay, well, let’s turn this into a narrative-style blog post, that’s recapping all of the main topics covered within the podcast. And then let’s make a Twitter thread out of it, and let’s also create a graphic-based video for YouTube. So you’re basically accommodating all the different consumption preferences of your audience, through one core piece of content. And you’re just getting a lot more mileage out of repackaging into different formats or mediums or channels.
The other thing too, I think that is a huge part of a really strong content strategy is an editorial calendar. So what’s the publishing cadence? What’s the content mix, or are you doing a long-form post every Tuesday, and then maybe an email summary on Fridays? Just really getting consistency figured out, and establishing a manageable and realistic publishing schedule so that your audience knows they can consistently count on you putting out fresh, valuable material. I think that those are the big three things that stick out in my mind.
Right. And so you mentioned the content calendar. Could you please tell us more about that? So if you’re planning on maybe repackaging a certain piece of content or creating a new piece of content, how would you decide which piece of content and maybe what content form you’d like to work next? Because marketers are always limited with time, so you do obviously everything at once. So how would you prioritize these content productions? And maybe you could tell us more about the metrics you’re taking into consideration when making these decisions.
Sure. Yeah. I think a lot of companies will look to metrics, performance indicators, to figure out which pieces are worth repackaging. If you find that there’s one particular blog post that’s getting a ton of traffic, or you had a really popular podcast episode, those to me are clear indicators that they’re getting traction, they’re resonating, that would make for a viable play to repackage it and to represent it. Or even maybe it’s just a matter of updating it down the road. Giving it a slight refresh. Revisiting the topic, adding to it. Building on the existing SEO that you have.
So I think that there are some really just basic metrics you can look for, as far as what is our best content? What’s performing really well? Number one is social traction. So is it getting a lot of social shares? Are people talking about it? Are you getting clicks and traffic from places like Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn? And then the other thing is, as far as if you’re putting it in a newsletter or something like that when you look at the statistics on performance for the email, was there a particular article that stood out and got more clicks than the others? Is there one that you had a lot of follow-up questions about? Maybe people wrote back and replied to the email and said, “I want to know more about X.” And it’s related to a particular topic that you covered.
So a lot of it is involved with listening and just really being attentive to the questions that naturally arise when you share things. But sometimes, it’s a matter of diving into the data and figuring out, just performance-wise, what’s resonating.
Right. Now, let’s talk about diving into the data a bit more. Do you have any reports in place that you’re typically looking at, that are covering how your content is performing? And another question I had here was what are the data sources you are typically including in your reports? Because you mentioned that if you’re repurposing content, you can spread the word about it on social, include it in your email. Maybe you repurpose a podcast into a blog post. So in other words, where’s the data coming from? What metrics should you be looking at, and how often should you be looking at these reports?
Yeah, so most of the reporting and data diving is done by the internal team that I’m working with. So since I’m a freelance writer and not so much a content strategist, oftentimes, it’s just information that’s being relayed to me. I can tell you though, that in my personal writing and podcasting work, the data that I look at is coming from a source like Google Analytics. Or I use Squarespace for my website, so I’ll look at the built-in Squarespace analytics. I will look at social statistics that are tied into my personal Twitter account, to see what the top Tweets are and what’s getting the most link clicks, what’s getting the highest engagement rates.
So a lot of the time, it is built-in reporting based on the platform that I’m using. And so I know that for the internal content teams that are getting really deep into the data, they use a lot more advanced tools. And they just pass on that expertise to me, based on what their internal goals are. But on a really basic level, for an independent creator like me, sometimes just using the data that you have on hand is a good jumping-off point. And you can run with what you find there.
Can you also maybe add a couple of points about the data you’re getting from the teams if somebody is commissioning an article? So what are the metrics you would love to see, and what is all the information about the customer you would like to maybe get in addition to this one? So what are the questions that you typically ask the teams that are asking you to write blog posts? Are there some critical pieces of information that you would like to know? If so, what are these?
Yeah, so the customer personas are a big one. I really want to know who their target demographic is, who their ideal customer is. And usually, that, as I said, comes in the form of customer personas. For me, the data that I love to get from internal teams, as far as performance indicators, are things like how many clicks did this blog post get in a 30-day window? So what’s the traffic looking like? What’s the social traction looking like? So how many social shares across platforms? What’s the engagement rate across social platforms?
I think traffic is usually the biggest success indicator when it comes to blog content because not everybody is going for lead gen when it comes to blog content. Sometimes it’s more educational, it’s more SEO-oriented. So keyword ranking is another metric. If there’s a particular term or phrase that we’ve been working on targeting in a piece, I want to know how we’re performing on that. Where are we coming up in organic rankings? What number are we sitting at, and the results? How’s that evolving over time?
Not every team will share those metrics with a freelance writer. But I feel like the teams that do and the teams that I work with on a long-term basis, that really adds a lot to our engagement of working together on a long-term basis. It makes me more of a partner, and it helps me really have a good indicator of what’s working versus what’s not. And so we can leverage that and build on it, moving forward in our working relationship.
Right. And I really like the partner approach here, because I definitely think that it’s key to the success of the team if you’re working together and share a common goal. One thing I was also super curious about was keyword research. So after you’ve received a brief, together with a perfect customer persona from the team, how do you do the keyword research? So what’s your process of coming up with a good outline of the blog posts, based on keywords? And maybe you could also share what data you’re looking at, and what tools you’re using for the keyword research.
Yeah, every team I work with is a little bit different. I would say about 90% of them though, have an SEO person in-house, who’s doing a lot of the heavy lifting for that work. And it’ll just be built into the brief that I’m provided when I sit down to write. So they’re doing a lot of the technical SEO pieces and then I’m just executing.
But I will say, one of the tips that I have found really effective is if I’m given a keyword or a keyword phrase to target within a specific piece, what I will do is I will go into Google and just type a question related to that, into Google. And see what the People Also Asked questions are, that naturally come up with that. And I’ll use those as guidance for the headings within the piece that I write. So that’s a just easy way to really help boost that SEO work that you’re doing in content writing, is to address those commonly asked questions within the piece that you’re doing.
Also, very effective to have a frequently asked questions section within a blog post, especially if it’s a really long-form piece, where you’re taking a deep dive on a specific topic or keyword. I know that people on the teams that I work with use a wide variety of tools, that includes everything from Moz to Sumo. I mean, there are all kinds of things that they use, and it just varies on what their goals and preferences are as far as tools go.
But like I said, it’s different for everyone. And most of the time when that work is done, it’s handed off to me, which is great. And it makes things a lot more smooth when it comes to the workflow side of things. But I’m really just executing on an SEO expert’s guidance.
That makes total sense. Another thing I would also like to know, you mentioned there are some best practices you were using. But what are the typical mistakes marketers run into when it comes to keyword research, and maybe putting together their first draft for the blog post?
I think a lot of times people want to just really hammer on a keyword. And so they’ll stuff it into the blog. It’ll be very unnatural. It’ll be very obvious that they are working on targeting a specific keyword or keyword phrase, and it just doesn’t read naturally or organically. And so that’s a problem.
I think the other mistakes I see are maybe just being too general, so staying on the surface level with things. I feel like going deeper into a topic, really getting into the details and providing contextual examples, providing quotes from experts on the topic. So not just writing about the term itself, but really adding a lot of value to the conversation around that topic, is what writers should be striving for when executing an SEO-oriented content piece.
Thank you so much, Kaleigh, for joining us today. Where can the audience learn more about you if they’d like to? And maybe you could also mention the new service you’re working on.
Yeah, so I am on Twitter. My username there is @kaleighf. My website is kaleighmoore.com. The new service that I’m working on is related to this conversation we’ve had today. It’s called contentremixed.com. And what we do is we take podcast or audio recordings, and turn them into narrative-style blog posts. So again, it’s a play at repackaging existing content. We have writers who don’t just do show notes and do word-for-word transcripts, but rather turn it into a readable, enjoyable article with a little bit of a narrative spin on what was covered in the podcast. So that’s something new, just early stages with that, but excited to get it out there.
That sounds fantastic. And again, thank you, Kaleigh, so much for joining me on the show today.
Yeah. Thank you.
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