Content marketing is much, much more than just sitting down in front of your computer and writing whatever you feel like. It’s also about a lot more than even just writing what you think other people might find interesting. True content marketing needs to be strategic and personalized based on your business’s specific goals.
In order to execute and maintain a successful content marketing strategy, an important first step will typically involve creating a framework to guide you. This framework will offer direction for what you should be writing, how you should be writing it, and why you should be writing it.
Creating a strong framework for your business’s content marketing is easier than you’d think, and in this post, we’ll take you step by step through the process.
What Is a Content Framework and Why Do I Need One?
A content marketing framework is a technical term that’s essentially referring to a structured, organized plan of the strategies you’re going to use to create content that will get you results. The what, why, who, and how questions are all involved here, as you determine what content to write for your audience and how to optimize it for the specific goals you want to accomplish.
A content framework will assess all the facets that you need to consider to make your marketing efforts a success, including the following:
- The specific, segmented audiences you want to connect with
- An understanding of said audience and what they need from your business
- A system approach to reaching users at a different stage of the funnel and nurturing them towards whatever a conversion looks like for you
Because the idea of “just blog for customers” is so oversaturated (and the market is, too), it’s essential to have a strong, well-planned framework to help you stay on target. The strategies will also help you focus on different tactics you can use to optimize for your goals, which is something that too many businesses overlook.
How to Create a Content Framework
We’re going to take you step by step through the process of creating a content framework for your business. During this process, we’re going to assume you know some of the basics of content marketing and what it can help accomplish. If you are a beginner or could use a brush-up, this post will give you the background info that you need, and we’ll link to more resources as we go.
1. Set Your Goals
This is going to be the first step for any marketing strategy. It’s essential to take a close look at what it is that you want to accomplish through content marketing. Popular choices include:
- Getting more traffic to your site
- Establishing the brand as thought leaders
- Generating leads, sales, or conversions
- Building relationships and trust with your target audience
Your goals will affect everything that follows next, so think over this carefully and write them down.
2. Turn Vague Goals into SMART Goals
I actually like to break step one and two into different steps, because I’ve found that it’s helpful to start by just saying what you want before you get too specific about the results, because you can then prioritize the goals you have and how much you want to accomplish.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. So an example of this might be:
- Increasing site traffic from 100 weekly visitors to 1,500 weekly visitors within six months by implementing new content marketing strategies.
- Establishing thought leadership and brand awareness within a year, which will be measured by at least 10 guest posts to other sites and 20 social media mentions per month.
- Driving at least 15 sales per month through the blog by the end of April, which will be tracked with clickable CTAs and Google Analytics.
Remember to be realistic so that your goals aren’t so overwhelming they feel impossible.
3. Research Your Audience
Understanding your audience is key because creating resources that your specific, niched audience finds valuable is going to be the only way you get real results.
A makeup company, for example, might have outstanding results when creating tutorials showing “easy contouring,” but they won’t drive sales from the average viewer if they have high-end vegan products and the mass-appeal of their posts isn’t funneling in their target audience.
Decide who your audience is and what they need from you. What is your audience niche looking for specifically, and is it different from what a more general audience needs? This will play a significant part in what you’re writing and even the writing style you use, so really take the time to dig deep here. If you aren’t sure where to get started, this resource is a good one.
4. Do Keyword Research
While you can do keyword research on an ongoing basis (and I recommend this), I’ve also found that it’s helpful to do it early on during initial framework creation stages, too. The reason why is that it will give you some valuable insight into what people are searching for and what their search intent is, so you can start to base the content around it.
Use the keyword research tool of your choice to start searching for phrases you think people would be interested in reading about. You can look for question-based keywords exclusively with some tools like SEMrush, which can help you really understand search intent and create content for people who need answers.
Create a list of the keywords that you want to target, and carry that over into step #5.
5. Consider The Funnel
This is perhaps the most overlooked part of content frameworks from too many businesses. They create content and may even optimize it well for certain actions, but they look at each post as a standalone entity. In reality, your blog overall should be approached as a useful tool to help capture users at different stage of the digital sales funnel, and push them further along it.
I recommend that all of my clients create content for all stages of the funnel and be conscious about who will be reading it, what their relationship with you may be, and what actions you can realistically optimize for at that point.
Someone coming to Big Leap by searching “what is content marketing” isn’t going to be at the same stage of the funnel, for example, as a subscriber who is reading about advanced posts discussing how to incorporate storytelling into content. That first client will need some nurturing and will benefit from a number of beginner resources, and they might be more interested in total marketing services instead of consultation or strategy development, which might be preferable for the latter.
Sort your keyword list by where you think it will fall in the funnel. Someone searching for “content marketing consulting” is at a higher stage of the sales funnel than “do businesses blog.” Some keywords will be best suited to bring people into the funnel, which can then be linked to other posts that push them towards lead sign-ups or conversions. It’s important to keep this in mind.
6. Create Optimization Strategies
Step 6 is where you’re going to take everything you’ve done so far and bring it all together, like tossing everything into a big pot to create something perfect. Your optimization strategies are going to dictate how exactly you execute your content marketing to accomplish the goals you’ve set.
Here are a few examples:
- Adding CTAs at the end of every post to subscribe to the blog, which generates leads and keeps traffic coming back to the site.
- Focusing on high-volume keywords to increase site traffic.
- Submitting guest posts to other sites to increase link building opportunities, which will drive traffic, boost domain authority, and increase visibility in the SERPs.
- Placing “Click to Tweet” CTAs in posts around sound-byte-style quotes to promote social sharing, brand awareness, and thought leadership.
Not every post will necessarily utilize all optimization strategies. Different audience niches or users in different stages of the funnel, for example, might be more receptive to certain actions than others.
Should a Content Framework Be Permanent?
Your content framework should be relatively ironclad because if you stray outside the lines, you won’t know whether your strategies are actually working because you aren’t actually implementing them reliably.
Remember, though, that a framework doesn’t have to stay ironclad forever. If you evaluate the strategy after three to six months and aren’t seeing any change in results, it’s time to take a step back and reassess your current strategies. It may also be important to alter or create a new framework as your business grows and your marketing objectives change.
A content framework will help you shape your content marketing campaigns, dictating what you’re writing for whom, why you’re doing so, and how you’re optimizing it. It tells you everything you need to know about what the plan of attack is and how exactly to execute it. This will help you to create organized, well-optimized posts that can actually help you accomplish your goals.
Need help creating or updating a killer content framework so you can wow your audience? We’ve got you covered. Learn more about what we can do for you here.
What do you think? How did you develop your content framework? Have you used frameworks to help you focus on your goals? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!