A question we are often asked by potential prospects and clients looking for content creation is:
“How do you run your content strategy process?”
Given that content plays such a vital role in the Inbound Marketing world – and many businesses come to us for help with content creation and strategy – we thought it would be helpful to explain our process to you.
Hope you enjoy it!
1. Buyer personas and topic areas
To help clients create prospect-orientated content, we focus on creating and/or refining their buyer personas.
These buyer personas will enable us to understand the client’s target audience and guide the content strategy process. The workshop involves:
Interviewing the client to understand their target audience
Identifying the business challenges – or pain points – of the client’s target buyers
Summarising the main objectives of the client’s target audience
Understanding the characteristics of the client’s target buyers
Agreeing on the job title, qualifications and the industry of each target buyer
Understanding what questions the target buyer actually asks the client’s sales team during the sales process (this can then help in the creation of sales content)
Mapping out how the client’s target buyers might go about purchasing a product or service – including the triggers that make them start in the first place
If you’re here and have no idea of what a buyer persona is, no problem. Just read our blog here to find out everything you need to know.
If the client needs more detailed personas, we’ll ask them to do some further research into their current customers. This will help us to avoid making assumptions about the client’s target audience. Once the buyer personas are finalised, we’ll share them with the client for review.
Having created the buyer personas, we then work to understand the client’s main topic areas. These topic areas are based on the client’s service provision. For example, cyber security managed service provider (MSP) might have the following topic areas:
We then link the main topic areas to the client’s services, run a content audit and brainstorm new ideas.
2. Content audit and brainstorm
Before creating new topic ideas, the next step in our content strategy process is to see what content assets are already available on the client’s website.
During our audits, we often find that clients have a repository of content but only at some stages of the buyer journey.
For example, a client with a lot of Awareness-stage content will usually have a lot of website traffic but very few conversions. Whilst a client with only lots of Decision-stage content will struggle to generate new website visitors in the first place.
Doing a content audit will allow us to identify these issues and gaps. If we know where the gaps are in the buyer journey, we can create new content to fill those gaps and improve the customer experience.
After identifying the gaps, we work together with the client to brainstorm new ideas. These ideas are based on the pain points and challenges of buyer personas and parts of the buyer journey where there are gaps.
3. Keyword research
An integral part of content creation is keyword research. Though search engines have evolved and are increasingly concerned with search intent rather than singular keywords, keywords still matter.
We’ll put together a detailed list of long-tail keyword terms, based on the client’s topic areas, and content ideas for blogs. After, we share the list with the client for their review and approval. These keywords can then be used to expedite the production of synopses.
4. Synopsis production
The next step is to produce short synopses for the agreed topics with points for expansion. The number of topics produced on a monthly basis can be agreed upon with the client beforehand or managed on an ongoing basis.
These synopses are what we would consider being “chicken tests” – in other words, the first draft of notes that requires minimal time and effort to produce and ensures that we are both on the same page. The fundamental benefit of producing a chicken test synopsis is that if the client thinks it needs tweaking or editing before creating the complete piece, it can be easily rectified.
Using this approach, we can quickly understand what the client wants to say, and the client plays an active role in the content strategy process.
Once the client has signed off on the synopsis, we arrange an interview to discuss the details of the synopsis and extract the client’s expertise. This will ensure that the content is of high-quality, educational and relevant to specific buyer personas.
5. Client interview
At this point, the client can share their knowledge and expertise without reserve to help guide the content strategy and creation process.
Our writers will interview the client (they usually get a grilling) to find out everything there is to know about the topic in question. It’s incredibly important for us to really understand the client’s product and customers to create content that resonates.
As this is the last real opportunity for major input and/or feedback before drafting the blog, it’s absolutely essential that the client comes to these interviews prepared, i.e. having read the synopsis.
6. Blog drafting and sign off
Towards the end of the interview, we will agree with the client on an expected delivery date for the blogs unless outlined in our initial programme plan. This might be weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
Using the information provided in the interview and research around the topic, our writers will put together a high-quality blog piece that is search engine optimised and includes links to other parts of the client’s website, helping to move readers through the buyer journey.
The blog will be fed back into the client’s marketing team for review, at which point they can raise questions, make edits or include comments on what they like, dislike or feel needs changing.
Once approved – and depending on the level of support we are providing – we can publish the blog on the client’s behalf or leave it with them to manage.
This is a summary of our content strategy workshop and process from end to end. There are nuances involved at every stage but that will ultimately depend on the level of support the client needs.
Our content creation services range from simple but high-quality blogs to market research reports and white papers. No matter your content requirements, we can help you to create content that resonates with your target audience and consistently generates leads.