Every minute of every day there will be somebody on the internet searching for solutions to their business challenges. They're constantly searching, then reading relevant blogs and articles.
Their journey will always start with keywords related to their needs. Entering them usually results in them clicking the links on the first page of search results.
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're more than likely to stay behind your competition.
What's the Secret?
The secret of staying two 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 five steps. They are focused on developing topics that will engage, reach the correct audience and drive high-quality visitors to your industry blog.
1. Understand keyword variations
With your in-depth knowledge and understanding of your buyer's challenges and desires, the keyword brainstorming process should begin with making a list of the keywords you think your prospects will use.
You can focus on short and long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords would be 5 to 10-word phrases that usually ask a question. For example, if you don't know how to use Excel, you may type in "what's the quickest way to learn Microsoft Excel?". If the prospect just wants to find a guide to Excel, they could type in "guide to excel".
Understanding keywords and the buyer's journey
Your ideal buyers are very likely to search for both keyword variations, but it'll depend on what stage of the buyer's journey they're at. Why is this important to remember? You should walk for a moment in your ideal buyer's shoes.
The standard online search begins with broad keyword searches rather than with precise terms. At the later steps of the buyer's journey, buyer's narrow their search.
As soon as you find yourself gathering a greater understanding of keyword optimisation and diving into deeper waters, you'll 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 keywords.Both offer their benefits, short-tail keywords are more likely to deliver a conversion, but long-tail keywords enable you to provide better information, and as long as you keep the user on the page, you can send them to the next stage of the buyer's journey.
A content calendar is no use without a business blog! Here's why you should set one up...
2. Choose the 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? Make a list of priorities for your optimal keyword research process.
Also, you should decide whether or not you'll 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 offer a range of different benefits that can help you come up with the most engaging blog topics your target audience is looking to read.
Here's 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 content.
- Ahrefs - Ahrefs has a fantastic keyword tool that'll give metrics like how often the keyword is searched per month, and how many backlinks you'll need to rank on the top page.
- SEMrush - SEMrush offers fabulous insight into how your site is performing in terms of organic keywords. See what new keywords you have, plus any you've lost, improved or declined.
- Story Base - while there's 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 in-depth research into long tail keywords.
- Google Keyword Planner - This tool is very comprehensive and gives you detailed insights into the keywords and many variations you may want to target. plus, it's free!
FREE Content Calendar Template
Download our free content and keyword strategy template. Easily plan the next quarter of your strategy for a precise blogging plan.
3. Transform keywords into eye-catching headlines
Let’s assume you plan to publish at least one blog per week. This means you should prepare between 10 to 15 working headlines. Of course, your keywords should find a place in your blog headlines. This will improve your chances of appearing higher in search engines.
If we take the previous long-tail keyword example of 'Microsoft Excel guide', you could create a headline like '10 ways this excel guide will improve your productivity'. This is appealing due to the reason we use Excel to improve productivity, but some of us aren't sure how to use it. Target something people want to improve!
It's also a good idea to discuss working headlines with your team. Think twice, write once, in order to benefit multiple times from your blogs. A simple inbound marketing rule worth remembering.
Try this headline analyzer from Coschedule to see where you can improve.
4. Structure your content calendar on 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.
We see it too many times. Companies blog because a competitor has done it or they feel like the content on their website is to thin. But they never commit! Two 700-word blogs a year isn't enough.
You can structure your topics based on specific subjects, products and industry insights. Address the most crucial issues each month, have a plan but make sure you're flexible.
Without a content or blogging strategy, you'll never create a solid structure to the content you're developing, and readers will lose interest in your blog.
5. Evaluate your keyword strategy regularly
Just because you're posting 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. Your blogs need time, some don't rank at all, others may rank quickly. Some can take 6+ months to move up the rankings.
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'll 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 improve blogs, create a republishing strategy and schedule some time to make them better.
Keywords are important, but don't forget everything else!
While we're writing for robots (aka search engines) we have to remember that prospects want a human touch to any content that comes their way. If your content seems unnatural it'll put people off.
One thing that all writers and marketers have been guilty of at some point, is trying to stuff articles with keywords. If you've got 'buy building supplies' 50 times in your text, it gets repetitive!
Certain keywords can only be used once or twice as well due to how the text is structured. For example, 'how do I building supplies?' would be okay to use as a header, but you can't use it after that.
To find out how to improve your writing skills, take a look at our digital copywriting article!
Remember, you need to commit!
At the beginning, you'll 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 make it simpler and easier for you to drive quality organic traffic to your company blog. This is the key strategic advantage you have been searching for all this time!