So you think you have your content all planned out, do ya? You’ve got a super-massive document that you look upon with pride, listing ideas galore for your upcoming content. Well, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But that’s not a content plan.
Don’t get me wrong. You’ve got great intention and no doubt some awesome ideas. But building a content plan needs to be done right to make it work for your business. It needs to be based on consumer behaviour and data.
But what is a content plan? In short, a content plan is a calendar of all your content. It includes what topics you will cover and when those blogs will be published.
The behavioural aspect is what changes your content plan from an ad-hoc when-I-fancy-it blog, into a consumer-behaviour based action plan that’ll organise your socks off and drive your engagement through the roof.
You can read more about what a data-driven content plan is in another blog post here. Or if you’re ready to get building, read on and I’ll tell you exactly what you need to do.
Start creating your content plan with keyword research
The first step in building your awesome behavioural content plan is researching what your audience is looking for.
You might be saying “oh I know my consumers, I’ve done that already”.
Yes, you probably do know your consumers. You know their demographics, their likes and dislikes. Plus you probably know a couple of their key problems and how you can solve them. But let’s go deeper than that. You want to know:
- What questions are your audience asking?
- How are they asking these questions?
- What answers are they looking for?
And this is where keyword research comes in.
Start looking up some topics that you want to cover using a keyword research tool. Try to focus on what you believe your consumers are interested in. Make sure to look at both short-tail keywords and long-tail keywords.
Psst: By the way, our favourite keyword tool is Mangools, but there are lots of options out there!
Make a list of all of them. You'll want to add their monthly search volume and their competitor rating too. We'd suggest popping all this into a nice organised spreadsheet (who doesn't love a spreadsheet?!).
In fact, why not download our Content Plan template which will save you some time. Plus we know it's a structure that works - we use it ourselves, for all our clients and our Marketing Automation Academy members!
Get your free Content Plan template!
When conducting your research make sure to check out the recommended similar keywords and jot down any that are relevant.
These can be really insightful for ideas you haven’t even considered! And will give you a good insight into what specific questions your consumers are asking.
Example of keyword research
Let’s say you have a clothing company that sells socks for mountaineers. You might think everyone is searching for “best mountaineering socks”. But actually, your audience are searching “What are the best socks for mountaineering?”.
It’s pretty much the same question and the same consumer problem that you want to solve. But these queries are worded differently, with slightly different keywords - “mountaineering socks” vs “socks for mountaineering”.
While relatable, these keywords could have highly varying competition and search volume. Therefore, your choice of these could really impact your ranking.
Why do you need to know exactly how your consumers are researching their problems and solutions to them?
Because of Google. The almighty "god" of search engines. It's the most popular in the world holding just over 70% of search engine market share.
Keyword research is mega important for great SEO and ranking well on Google. And great SEO is mega important when it comes to planning and creating content.
How does all this awesome SEO stuff work anyway?
Let's get techy for a moment - we're nerds, we love the tech!
Little spider bots crawl the web 24/7 through links; links connecting web pages and websites together.
These spiders are looking mostly at content, headings, and links. So you should be thinking a lot about how you use these on your website and social media etc.
As it passes through a website it saves an HTML version of the site in a database - known as the Index. This index is jam-packed with internet content from all over the world. It's massive, and it is updated every time a spider bot passes through with new information.
The spider visits your site depending on how often you change the content, or how high you are ranking/how important Google thinks your site is.
Each search engine uses an algorithm to rank your website / webpage. Taking data from index, the algorithm calculates whether your data will be useful for the searcher. This is then how Google displays content on the SERP (search engine results page).
What does the algorithm look at?
- Site speed / performance
- Security of a site (HTTPS)
- Links (internal & external)
Do you want to learn the nitty-gritty about SEO to really make your content sing, and stand a much higher chance of it being seen? We'd recommend having a little look at Yoast.
Yoast is an awesome SEO tool - you might even use it as a plugin on your CMS. We do with WordPress. Even if you don't, you can access Yoast's awesome academy, as well as a bunch of educational blogs.
They'll really help you get up to scratch 🙂
Build a list of keyword-based questions for your content plan
You now have a fabulous list of keywords your consumers are searching for. How do you implement these into valuable content? By turning them into questions.
Remember we chatted about people asking questions in different ways? Good. These questions can help you cover different keywords. But there are multiple styles of questions that can be asked around one individual keyword, too. Stay with me here…
Let’s use the mountaineering example again. A consumer can ask about “socks for mountaineering” using various types of questions. So you can use that one keyword to create multiple pieces of content, such as:
- How to choose the best socks for mountaineering
- What are the best socks for mountaineering?
- Review: Are X the best socks for mountaineering?
- Top 10 socks for mountaineering
- Everything you need to know about choosing socks for mountaineering
Catch my drift?
These are all aimed at the same keyword. But the content is slightly different, to suit a range of consumer queries.
Covering all these different styles of search queries will get you in front of a wider audience. Get creative and think outside of the box, but don’t lose sight of your consumers, their problems and your keywords.
Create your plan of action
Only now, after all that intensive, mind-blowing research, are you finally ready to collate your new-found-intelligence into a beautiful dated calendar document.
Get rid of that old, thrown-together calendar you’ve been using up till now. You’re replacing it with a shiny, new, data-driven behavioural content plan!
Be sure to schedule publishing dates, due dates (yes, these should be different to allow for any unexpected delays) and keep track of the published links for quick reference.
Go wild, and add pretty colours - green-lighting the ones you’ve published, and red-warning any overdue content! Add the dates to your calendar of choice so you can keep on top of things, and you might even want to block out writing time on the run-up to the due dates.
Now you have a step-by-step guide to build a behavioural content plan for your business!
Remember, we've got an awesome ready to go template. It's delivered in a spreadsheet format that's easy to use and will keep you super organised. Download yours by clicking the link below.
Get your free Content Plan template!
Need an extra helping hand with content plans?
We have covered this topic in detail in our Marketing Automation Academy.
You'll be able to access heaps of information, video tutorials, templates and blueprints. Join challenges, learn from experts and other businesses. It's an awesome community to be a part of and costs less than a monthly phone contract!
Find out more about the academy, the benefits and how to sign up in our blog: Everything you need to know about the Marketing Automation Academy. Or you can hit the button below to go to our academy page.