All writers experience ‘writers block’ from time to time… it just happens. And, when it happens it’s always a good idea to go back to the basics in order to get the creative juices flowing. What follows are five steps that should get you back on the right track with lots of content creation ideas for months to come.
Step 1 – Build your Buyer Persona
A Buyer Persona is a fictional representations of your ideal customer, based on real data, customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations and concerns.
Visualize a detailed picture of your target market (Buyer Persona) in order to create content for them… Who are they? Where do you find them? Where can you reach out to them? What types of information do they need? Where do they hang out? What kind of content do they prefer?
A good place to start – research your existing client/prospect base. These days, in the age of Web 2.0, it is fairly simple to research your client/prospect. All you have to do is Google a name and if your client or prospect has done on anything on the internet, you will have access to what they are all about.
Actually you may have several different types of buyers/prospects, so write up a detailed description of each type of buyer/prospect ; job title or role, industry, company info, demographics… you may even give them a name. For example:
Joe Realtor, age 55, specializes in selling homes to first time home buyers in the California Central Valley. Joe realizes that he needs to establish an online presence in order to get more leads, his current website is just not doing that job and he doesn’t know how to make it happen.
After you have taken the time to write these profiles take some time to write down the 10 most common questions these people are likely to ask you. Think in terms of the problems they face, what type of information they might typically search for, what do they really need most, and what trends influence their business or personal success.
Step 2. Analyze the path that your prospects take on the journey to becoming a client.
Analyze the search terms that drive prospects to your website, how long they stayed at the site, what content they viewed while they were there and what forms did they fill out.
Known as ‘lead intelligence’ this information will help you make better decisions when identifying the characteristics of your focus market and types of content you need to create to nurture your new prospects. For example:
Joe Realtor’s may land on an article at your site using the keyword – how to drive traffic to a website. While he is at your site he reads an article on How to Leverage Social Media for Business, and opts-in for an eBook on How to Market your Business on Facebook.
Based on that activity you learn that your prospect’s persona is mainly interested in how to drive traffic to his website, and how to market using social media.
- Next develop a Buyer Profile – what does your typical Buyer do while online?
- Do they read blog articles?
- Do they hang out at Twitter, Facebook, or other Social Networks?
- What search terms do they use?
- Do they read their email?
- What types of content do they consume online… Educational, Trends, Videos, Podcasts?
- Which of your products/services do they spend the most time researching?
The more details you are able to include in your Buyers Profile, the easier it will be to create content for your target market and where to promote that content.
Step 3. Audit your existing content
Now that you have constructed your Buyers Persona, and Buyers Profile, you have a better understanding of your audience. Now is a good time to audit your existing content looking for holes to fill with new content.
First, make a list of all the content you have at your site, along with the forms that the content takes; blog articles, videos, reports, case studies, webinars, etc. Create a spreadsheet that lists all of the content by date created, title, keyword (or tag), type, Buyer Persona, as well as the number of times visitors have landed on that page, and number of times visitors have exited from that page.
Study this spreadsheet looking for patterns – Are there certain topics you are creating a lot of content about, maybe some topics you have created very little content about. Maybe you have completely ignored one type of Buyer Persona while spending a lot of time creating content for another. Which topic generate the best results, i.e. conversion rates, clicks on products/services, and SALES.
Based on the information you have gleaned from the spreadsheet, start plugging in the holes… the missing information that your Persona is searching for. Depending on the audit results, you should be able to identify a list of future topics for blog articles, webinars and eBooks. You might also identify great pieces of content that can be re-purposed into other formats (i.e. videos, eBooks, Podcasts, etc.) to reach even more Buyers.
Identify your Buyers Cycle – What are the key stages that a prospect goes through before becoming a customer?
- Awareness – the prospect gets acquainted with your brand or realizes they have a need for your product/service.
- Research/Education – the prospect identifies the problem and researches potential solutions including your product/service.
- Comparison/Validation – the prospect examines the options and begins narrowing the list of vendors.
- Purchase – the prospect decides from whom to buy.
Step 4. Map your Content
Step 5. Create an Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar lays out when and where you are going to share your new content. It’s kind of like a roadmap for content creation, showing you what kind of content to create, what topics to cover, which Buyer Personas to target and often to publish the best support your inbound marketing strategy.
Create a spreadsheet or set up a calendar to schedule your content creation plans. Plan at least 3 months in advance… better yet it might be beneficial to plan your content for a whole year in advance.
Based on how much traffic, leads and clients you are trying to generate each month, decide when, where and what type of content you need to create to accomplish your goals. Fill in the dates on your calendar or spreadsheet with details about this content you are going to create. For each date list the topic, the title and the targeted Buyer Persona. The goal is to create a good mix of content types, topics and personas to make sure you’re covering all of your segmented personas.
Note the keywords (or tags), the stage in the buying cycle, the call-to-action, or other inbound marketing goals that each piece of content must address.
Make note of important dates or external events that are good hooks for specific topics or types of content. For instance… coming up on New Years you may want to create content that is a review of the year, or talks about upcoming trends for the New Year.
Look for opportunities to repurpose content. For instance… take a look at a webinar presentation, you may find several blog articles in there that enable you to share details or data from the complete presentation.