EF Staff

January 11, 2016

Sharing engaging and relevant content with your audience is critical if you want to build a loyal following for your business. Providing fresh content is how you attract new readers and is what you use to entice them to take action. And in theory it sounds easy. Write something smart or interesting, and share it.

If only it were that easy.

Unfortunately, there is a lot more that goes into content marketing than just the creation of blogs and posts. Joe and I have an entire process that we follow to ensure we stay organized, productive, and keep releasing top-notch content.

If you don’t already have one, it’s not too late to pull together your own content marketing process. Having a basic framework to follow will make your content marketing efforts much more successful.

I wanted to share with you the exact steps we use to publish content in our company. Feel free to steal and use as your own!

Our 7-Step Content Marketing Process

Step One: Determine your ideal customer avatar

You could write a million blog posts, but if you aren’t actually targeting the content to a particular audience, you probably won’t see many conversions.

Your ideal customer avatar refers to the exact person you want to sell to. It is a name within a specific demographic, someone who holds the characteristics you want your customers to possess. It is not an actual person, but rather a composite, and without this avatar, your content marketing will be generic and ineffective.

To identify your ideal customer avatar, you have to dig deep and be very specific about what you are envisioning. To help you identify yours, answer the following:

  • Male or female?
  • What age or age range? (don’t be broad here…niche down!)
  • Where are they from?
  • What kind of job/career do they have?
  • What is their educational background or experience?
  • Do they have a family, spouse, or children?
  • How much money do they make each year?
  • What are their interests?
  • What are their values and morals?
  • How are they emotionally?
  • What is their name?

The more tuned in and focused you can get, the easier it will be to craft content around them.

We went as far as naming our customer avatars—check out our website buyer profiles here.

Step Two: Determine pain points and interests

In order for your business to become successful, it needs to offer a solution to the customer’s perceived problem.

Content marketing requires a bit of word manipulation. You want to identify your customer’s pain points or interests, narrow down the perceived problem, and then swoop in with a solution, so this is definitely something you want to keep in mind when brainstorming content to share.

The better you understand the problem and the bigger it is, the more your customers will trust your solution to fixing it.

Which brings me to…

Step Three: Brainstorm content ideas

So you’ve identified your customer’s pain points and interests—now what?

Now you need to brainstorm ways to present these points in a unique way that will grab readers’ attention.

There is an overwhelming amount of recycled material available on the internet, so if you want to stand out, you need to find a way to approach topics from a new angle.

When brainstorming, don’t limit yourself to just safe topics. Controversy isn’t always a bad thing, so keep your mind open when jotting down potential content ideas.
We also like to revisit some of our past content to see what has worked and browse social media for trending topics. Whatever it takes to get those wheels turning.

Step Four: Add your content topics to Trello

We love Trello. Trello is a visual project management tool that allows us to see, with ease, where each new article is at in the creation/editing process.

We have a “board” for topics that we want to write, another for when writing is currently in progress, one for editing and revisions, and then boards for final reviews, graphics and optimizations, and scheduling. We also have a “Black Hole of Despair” board, but we do our best to not let any of the topics end up there!

eftrello2

Trello allows you to set due dates, chat with other team members, and assign “cards” to specific people.

And it’s free…which is always a bonus. We’re working on another post about our editorial process, and how we use Trello to manage it so that you can replicate it for yourself!

Step Five: Write the article

Step five is all about getting creative, putting pen to paper (fingers to keyboard is more accurate!), and actually writing the article.

When we’re writing articles, we don’t focus only on word count. Rather, we prefer to offer as much quality as possible, whether that means delivering it in 1000 words or 5000.

We do, however, like to ensure that our posts have structure, which typically includes a solid introduction, well thought out supporting paragraphs, a conclusion of sorts, and then, of course, some form of a call to action (CTA).

CTAs are really important because if someone has made it to your website and read an entire post, then they are just clamoring for what they should do next. Here you can invite them to engage with the post by leaving their comments, sharing the post, checking out other articles, purchasing a product you spoke about—anything to take action. Just make sure your CTA is relevant to that post.

Step Six: Edit your article

Spelling and grammar mistakes are bound to happen, and sometimes we write things that don’t translate that well to others. As a business owner you want to put the most polished image of your business out there. This is why we have a professional editing team on board.

Our editing team combs through each article, identifies spelling and grammatical errors, smooths out rough paragraphs, and makes suggestions when areas of the article lack relevance or references.

Their editing is invaluable to our process!

Step Seven: Final approval and scheduling

The final step in our process involves making final approvals on all articles and scheduling them out. This is our chance to take one last look at the content before sharing it with our readers.

Once it is scheduled for release, we can now work on the social marketing aspect of it all—but that could be a whole other article in itself!

Following a pre-planned content marketing process takes the guesswork out of creating new material. It gives you structure and ensures each piece is held to the same high standard.

How do you think a content marketing process could help your business improve its content game? What process are you currently using?


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