Creating a content strategy from scratch can be a daunting task. However, it doesn’t have to be overly complicated and often just getting started is the hardest part.
There are a number of tools available that help you through the content process. Here are some of our favorite tools to use as we develop content from ideation to creation.
Creating a valuable topic for your content piece is one of the most important parts of your content strategy. If there is no interest in what you are writing about, it will be hard for the piece to engage your audience. It will also drastically lower its ability to be found organically through search.
Google Webmaster Tools
GWT provides search query reports that show the specific search terms used to find your site. Within this search query report you can find the keywords, that keyword’s average position in the SERPs, and its click through rate.
By looking at keywords with a low click through rate, or low impressions, you can determine where gaps may exist for your site. For example, for a site we manage we can see the query “building a website from scratch”.
This query has had 1 impression and is ranked in 210th place. This topic aligns with the company’s product offerings, and a content resource could be written about it to fill the gap and drive new visits.
Another great way to come up with new ideas and broaden potential topics is by using Keyword Tool (www.keywordtool.io). This tool is a bit unlike other keyword tools in that it looks at providing new terms, rather than search volume data and popular terms. It comes up with a wider range of queries and does so by looking at Google’s related searches for a given term.
For example, if you manage the marketing for a hospital and want to educate potential patients, Keyword Tool provides some insight into how people are searching and what Google associates with certain phrases.
Typing hospital into the tool yields thousands of potential keywords, but one that stands out is hospital quality indicators. An article could be written around this query and the topic could be Quality Indicators to Look for When Picking a Hospital.
The final tool, BuzzSumo, is great for vetting ideas or gaining insight into what is popular and trending right now. You can plug in a topic and the data presented shows the most popular articles for that topic.
Popularity is based on the aggregate number of social shares, mentions, and links to that article.
Now that a topic is chosen, it is important to figure out where to store all of these great ideas. The easiest way that we’ve been able to store and share posts throughout our content team is setup our workflow is to use Google Drive.
Your files are stored in the cloud and can be accessed by most every device, as long as you have an internet connection. Documents can also be easily shared with other collaborators without having to email files back and forth. Another bonus to using the Google Drive service is the real-time editing capabilities, as discussed in the Writing Tools section.
With your infrastructure setup completed, it is time to write! Google Drive has a native word processing application within it called Google Docs. This platform has a lot of capability and the most valuable is real-time editing on the same document.
Whether you have on-site or off-site writers, being able to edit the same article at the same time pays dividends. In the past, a document would have to be emailed back and forth; over time, the current document could get lost or edits wouldn’t be saved properly. You also had to hope the receiver had the same word processing software as you.
Not so with Docs. Edit the same doc at the same time on a universal platform that can be used on any device. You’ll never have to click Save or press Ctrl-S again.
If you don’t have Google Docs and Drive, another great writing tool is Evernote. This application is typically used for short form notes, but with its capabilities and minimalistic writing layout, you can write distraction free.
Evernote also uses a notebook structure system. This allows you to create a specific notebook for each topic and the articles around that topic can be saved within it.
With the writing done and the articles published on your site, they can be distributed through your social channels.
To make this distribution easier, there are scheduling tools that allow you to pick your desired time to have your posts be delivered. This helps if your audience is more responsive during a certain time of the day or even a day of the week.
Buffer is one of numerous scheduling tools and provides an easy to use interface for setting scheduled posts up. It also provides some basic analytics that allow you to see how popular each post was.
If a post garnered a lot of attention, Buffer lets you put it back into your feed and reschedule it so that it can posted again. Beyond that, Buffer scheduling can be done in either one of two ways; the posts can be set to go out at the same time on specified days during the week, or it can be scheduled with an exact date and time.
Monitoring and Tracking
With Buffer providing share and social post data, Google Analytics will provide the actual traffic data. With Analytics you can see how many people are finding your content, whether it is directly, organically, or through a referral.
Over time you will also be able to track which posts received the most visits from the various channels and this will help you focus your content marketing efforts even further.
Most, if not all, of the tools we’ve highlighted above have free versions. This means your content strategy can get started quickly and easily. All you need to do is find the time to start!
Have any questions or getting stuck? Add your comment below or give us a shout.