Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to get traffic to your website.
But trying to come up with new content ideas can be super intimidating. [Trust me! After over five years of blogging here at Jeffalytics, I know how frustrating things can be.]
So how do you find a way to consistently create new content without getting stuck?
You need a content creation strategy!
In today's behind the scenes video, I am sharing our content creation process for the 90 day challenge.
This video walks you through the simple strategy we used to come up with 90 new topics for our videos and blog posts.
In the rest of this post, I will break down our content creation strategy step-by-step. Not only that, but you can download our content planning spreadsheet as a free resource at the end of this post.
If you've ever been stuck trying to plan and schedule new content for your business or personal blog…
You can follow this process and use our content planning spreadsheet to get unstuck!
The 90 day challenge content creation strategy
At Jeffalytics, we receive 5-10 questions from our course students each week. While many of these questions are looking for specific answers to specific use-cases, there are others that cover general topics that might interest all our subscribers. So there is a large backlog of potential ideas for articles.
Once the ideas are logged, we run the content ideas through three phases of evaluation. This filtering process helps us make sure we are only choosing the best topics.
Here's a break down of the 90 day challenge content creation strategy.
1. User driven
When we committed to our 90 day challenge my copywriter asked me:
“Jeff, how the hell do we come up with 90 days worth of topics?”
My answer: “Use the forums!”
The majority of our topics come from questions students asked in our course forums.
We dug through 100s of questions in our Analytics and PPC Course forums. We found the most interesting or common questions. Then we saved those questions as possible topics for our content.
Here's an example of a question from our Analytics Course forum. This is a great question, and a common question about Google Analytics sessions.
You can use the Q&A strategy too.
Don't have an online course? No problem.
You can use just about any public Q&A forum to find topics that people are asking about. You can use Quora, reddit, and Facebook groups to find popular questions in your niche.
Still stumped? Check out Answer the Public.
2. Data Driven
Next, we look at search volume for our targeted topics. We want to create content around topics that we know our readers will be interested in. So, we look for topics with keywords that are already getting search traffic.
We also want to make sure we have a chance to gain some of the existing search traffic. So, we focus on topic-related keywords that have moderate competition. We trend away from search terms that are dominated by 100's of high authority blog posts.
Here's what the keyword research told us about our Google Analytics Sessions question.
What angle will we take on the article we write?
Next, we look at the other content that is already getting high search rankings for the topics we have selected.
After looking at the existing content for the topics we want to write about, we ask ourselves:
– Can we provide a better answer than the existing content?
– Or can we provide a unique answer?
If the answer is “yes” to either of these questions, we move the topic into our content plan.
3. Passion Driven
Do we love it?
Recording detailed videos, and writing big blog posts takes a lot of work.
We want to make sure we are passionate about every topic we have in our plan. After all, if you don't enjoy what you're working on, what's the point!!
What will our email subscribers think?
If we are inspired by a topic, we ask ourselves “will our email subscribers like this topic?”
If the answer to that question is “yes,” then that topic makes the cut.
Thinking about your email subscribers before search traffic is important. Your email subscribers are usually the first people to see your posts. You need their traffic, shares, and interaction to help your content gain traction.
If your email list isn't into your topic, it's going to be hard to get others to find that content.
The topics that make it through all three phases of our evaluation process get added to our content plan.
90 day content strategy template
We created our original 90 day content plan in a simple Google Sheets workbook. The workbook includes three types of Sheets.
The first Sheet is linked to our forum questions and assigns each questions a keyword.
The second Sheet serves as our content schedule. This Sheet assigns each topic a due date. And it helps us organize our topics into categories.
The third kind of Sheet includes the keyword and competitive research for our topics. Creating a research Sheet for each topic helps us keep this data visible while we are working.
Get our content template
Mapping out our content strategy in a spreadsheet helps us see how much work we have ahead of us. This simple mapping process also saves us from overloading our project management tool. After most of our content plan is in place, we move all our content ideas into Asana, and turn them into projects.
Hopefully, using our content plan will help you work through your own content creation process.
So, that's our current content creation strategy for the 90 day challenge. Nothing fancy, but something we can use for years to come!
Just do It!
Now you might be thinking that this content plan took a long time to finish. It did and it didn't. We completed the original phase of planning in one week. And then we made tweaks for several weeks after that to get to our final form.
The hardest part was committing to publishing every day for 90 days.
Once we committed to the 90 day challenge, we knew we had to develop a process for scheduling future articles. We didn't want our daily videos to devolve into “what I had for breakfast” or “That funny trick my friend's dog did the other day.”
I started Jeffalytics in 2012 with a mission to develop real-world marketing resources and case studies from the trenches of digital. I haven't always achieved that mission, but the 90 day challenge is getting us back on track.
We are creating content that provides real answers, real value, and shares real experiences.
Answers to real questions and problems that digital marketers face!
Not all these topics will be winners. We predict around 10% of them will become successful.
But I know that our readers and viewers appreciate the amount of work we've put into our craft.
What do you think?
We feel confident this content creation strategy will help us achieve our goals. But there is always room for improvement.
How do you come up with ideas for your content marketing?
Leave a comment below with your with go-to source of new content ideas!