Every minute of every day there will be somebody on the internet searching for answers and solutions to their specific personal and business challenges. They're constantly searching and reading relevant blogs and articles. We all know that their journey will almost definitely start with keywords related to their needs and clicking the links on the first page of search results and social media posts.
What does this mean from a business perspective? Well, if you fail to create and deliver relevant industry content, targeting your existing and ideal customers questions, you are more than likely to stay behind your competition. So, the secret of staying 2-steps ahead of your competition with inbound marketing is to plan your content. You need a blog calendar that will help you coordinate your content creation activities. More importantly, your content calendar needs to reflect the right keywords your potential customers are searching online.
Developing a content calendar does not have to be a painstaking process if you stick to these 5 steps. They are focused on developing topics that will engage, reach the correct audience and drive high quality visitors to your industry blog.
1st Step – Target “long-tail” keywords from the very beginning.
With your in-depth knowledge and understanding of your companies products and services, the 'keyword' brainstorming process should begin with making a list of the most useful long-tail keywords. What’s the best way to identify the long-tail keywords? Well, focus on descriptive 4 to 5 words long keywords that are relevant for your products or services.
For example, if your company is a manufacturer of 'plastic drums', you need to research what are the most used 'long-tail' keyword descriptions used for this type of product.
Keywords such as 'food grade plastic drums' and 'food grade plastic drums and barrels' will more than likely match the specific search queries of your customers.
Your ideal buyers are very likely to search these long-tail keywords, rather than the so-called 'head-match' keywords, like 'plastic drums', which only include a pair of the most important words. Why is this important to remember? You should walk for a moment in your ideal buyers' shoes. The standard online search begins with broad keyword searches rather than with precise terms. At the later steps of your research process, you can narrow your search, but not at the beginning. As soon as you find yourself gathering a greater understanding of keyword optimisation and diving into deeper waters, you will realise how difficult it is to position a new piece of content on the first page of google with the most wanted and widely used 'head-match' keywords. This is the main reason you have greater opportunity of promotion with the long-tail keywords.
2nd Step – Choose your right keyword tool.
Once you've created your list of keywords, you need to start using a keyword tool, to build out your keyword list and subject matter.
When it comes to researching and developing a quality keyword list, you have quite a few options regarding the available tools you can use. You should pick one that is the simplest and most effective for you to use on a daily basis. How? It’s a good starting point to make a list of priorities for your optimal keyword research process. In addition, you should decide whether or not you will use a free keyword research tool or the one you have to pay a license on a monthly or a yearly basis.
The keyword tool of your choice should provide you with the following:
- A list of all related and relevant keywords associated with your initial search term;
- A list of related questions and phrases you can use for creating the most effective blog topics;
- The search volume associated with the keywords of your choice (usually on a monthly basis);
These keyword tools feed on the long-tailed keywords you have generated in the first step of your content calendar building process. The goal of this step is to come up with the most engaging blog topics that your target audience is looking to read.
Here is a list of the most popular keyword tools:
- Answer the public - An excellent tool to see what questions and keyword searches potential customers are using across google and bing, which allows you to create targeted blog subject matter.
- Story Base - Whilst there is a free option with this tool, the professional license gives you all the options you need to get some fantastic blogging ideas around the keywords and topics of your industry.
- Keyword.io - A great tool for doing indepth research into long tail keywords you could use in your blog articles.
- Google Keyword Planner - As a tool this is the one we look to after we have used all the ones above, to make sure we are targeting the correct keywords. Obviously this tool os very comprehensive and gives you detailed insights in to the keywords and many variations you may want to target.
3rd Step – Transform keywords into eye-catching headlines.
Let’s assume that you plan to publish at least one blog per week. This means that you should prepare between 10 and 15 working headlines. Of course, your long-tail keywords should find a place in your blog headlines. This way, you can significantly contribute to your blog’s overall online visibility.
If we take the previous long-tail keyword example of 'food grade plastic drums', you could create a headline like '10 Essential design features of food grade plastic drums'. This would help target the buyers that need to understand the features of storing or disposing of food in plastic drums.
It is also a good idea to discuss your working headlines with your team. Think twice, write once, in order to benefit multiple times from your blogs. A simple inbound marketing rule definitely worth remembering.
4th Step – Structure your content calendar based on the publishing frequency.
How many times do you plan to publish a new blog in a week or a month? If you want to deliver a new blog every week, then you need at least a dozen quality topics.
Why? It’s a simple math. You need to cover a quarter. Planning your blogs in advance and developing a full blog publishing calendar is proven to be far more productive and engaging with your audience. We see to many times, manufacturing companies blog because a competitor has done or they feel like the content on their website is to thin.
You can structure your topics based on specific subjects, products and industry insights that you want to address each month or quarter, and that will answer your existing and ideal customers questions.
Without a content or blogging strategy, you will never create a solid structure to the content you're developing, and ultimately readers will lose interest in your blog.
5th Step – Evaluate your keyword strategy regularly.
Once you've regularly posted blogs in the first quarter of your content strategy, this does not mean the articles are complete. This means that you need to evaluate your keyword strategy from time to time. You need to adapt to the dynamic online environment your blogs interact with your target audience in.
Some blogs can be more effective in bringing you excellent organic search results, while others can be a perfect match for your social media channels. Based on your keyword strategy evaluation results, you will be able to use the most suitable keywords for the right purpose. Your content calendar, including your keywords, will have to develop, expand and adapt every quarter.
Analyse where the traffic is coming from for each blog post and how successful you feel they have been. If you see an opportunity to increase blog's around successful 'long-tail' keywords, plan this into your next quarter.
All of these should lead to a successful and an effective content marketing campaign.
At the beginning, you will have to accept the fact that a keyword-based calendar for your content can be quite demanding. Yet, rest assured that your investment of time and effort will pay itself of more than once in the long run. These five proven steps can certainly make it simpler and easier for you to drive quality organic traffic to your company blog and through your inbound marketing, lead generation funnel. This is the key strategic advantage, you have been searching for all of this time.