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Part 2: You Have the Content Marketing Plan. Now, Start Writing!

In the first part of this article, we analysed the steps you need to take before actually diving directly into the writing process.

Here’s a short recap of what we discussed then:

  • Create buyer persona profiles
  • Put together a keyword plan
  • Create an editorial calendar

So, you have buyer personas and an editorial calendar with topics and keywords assigned to each topic. Great! Open the documents as separate tabs in your browser, make yourself a big cup of coffee and start writing. Remember: you’re not you now…you’re the buyer persona. Write exclusively for them!

Follow a red thread and structure the information around H tags

Your article should flow similar to a story. This will not only make it easy to read by your audience but also easier to crawl by Google bots, helping you rank better in search results.

The best way to ensure a red thread and a clear structure is to create an article plan or sketch before writing the bulks of text. Your plan should revolve around the main topics covered in the article which will also serve as header tags (H tags). What’s important to keep in mind when referring to H tags is that readers should have a clear idea of what your article is about only by reading the headings, which also help them skim through the text and extract essential information much quicker.

Let me put this more clearly for you:

H1 – article title

    H2 – article subtitle

       H3 – paragraph title

          H4 – paragraph title

             H5 – paragraph title

Therefore, when you first write your article plan, it’s useful to come up with the H tags and then proceed to write whole paragraphs around those ideas.

Optimise for your readers and Google will also love you

What does this mean? That Google bots mimic human behaviour and they are very hard to trick. That’s why it’s best to really focus on your audience, make the article as easy to read as possible in terms of structure, don’t make it annoying by using the keyword 20 times throughout the text and stay away from long, complex sentences and never-ending paragraphs.

The keyword

Use this simple scheme when you’re not sure where to place your keyword:

1x article title

1x article subtitle

2-3x content

1x meta description

The keyword should appear 2 to maximum 3 times in an article that has about 700-750 words (except H1 and H2). In total, the number of times you used the keyword shouldn’t surpass 5-6 (including H1 and H2).

Apart from the content itself, Moz advises content marketers to also use the keyword as follows:

1x in image alt text

1x in URL

1x in subheader(s)

1x in image names (the image file name itself)

The meta description

This is what appears in Google search below the link of the search result. Meta descriptions’ end goal is to convince and persuade the searcher to click through to your website.

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Meta descriptions should also contain the focus keyword and not be more than 156 characters long in order not to be truncated.

HubSpot provides five key tips for writing effective meta descriptions:

  • Use action verbs
  • Highlight a solution or benefit
  • Keep it below 155 characters
  • Don’t stuff it with keywords to deceive readers
  • Make it as specific as possible so that the target audience knows exactly what to expect

Links

Don’t forget to add 2-3 internal links in your article. These are links that lead to other pieces of content on your blog. Internal linking is important because it’s one of the few methods site owners can use to tell Google (and visitors) that a particular page of content is important.

Besides internal links, you should also be adding external or outbound links. These are links that point to some other domain from your site. When you link out to related domains, it not only helps the search engine to understand your niche but also helps to increase the trust and quality of your site which plays a vital role in your blog’s SEO.

If you don’t want users to navigate away from your website when clicking on outbound links, you should set them to open in different tabs.

The title

What makes audiences click on a link you shared on social media? The title! Never underestimate the power that well-chosen titles have. In order to come up with the best title option, we usually brainstorm around 15 titles for the same article, run them through CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer, pick the best 2 options and run A/B tests to determine which one’s the winner.
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Remember that the title MUST contain the article’s main keyword!

Post like an expert and analyse the results

What is the best posting frequency?

Are you posting too much or too little? To answer, take a look at what experiments have revealed about the best posting frequency:

  • Twitter: 15 tweets a day
  • Facebook: 1 post a day, 2 posts if you have more than 10,000 fans
  • Google : 2 posts every weekday
  • LinkedIn: 4 posts a week scheduled on weekdays
  • Pinterest: 9 Pins a day

Use a CTA

If you want your audience to take action after stumbling upon your article after posting it on social media, add a well-written and designed call-to-action.

Perfect your CTA by:

  • using extra graphic elements to make it more eye-catching
  • using action words
  • using bold colours
  • explaining the value of the offer in a concise and clear manner
  • making sure that what you are offering is obvious

Measure the success of your article on social media

While closely monitoring your social media activity, you can use every channel’s analytics feature which can help you with evaluating your content’s efficacy. Use this information to understand what your Buyer Personas want to read about and create a spreadsheet with all that information. This will be of great help when you’ll be brainstorming your next editorial calendar.

If you want to know:

  • Which social media platforms referrals come from
  • What type social media content attracts the most user activity

you need to create separate (custom) tracking URLs for each article/ landing page.

Once you create a custom URL, identify where this URL will be posted by creating tracking tags and including them at the end of each landing page URL. A very basic “source only” tracking tag looks something like this:

/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook

The source definition at the end of the tag will vary depending on which platform you post your URL on. Defining the source of your URL helps your analytics tool attribute referrals to the correct social platforms.

Tracking these URLs against the goals you’ve laid out for your brand in the beginning, will help you measure success on a detailed level.

Writing an article like a content marketing pro is more about learning than inspiration. It’s a step-by-step process from idea to content piece and then to end results. Being a highly skilled writer is, of course, great but it oftentimes isn’t enough. In the beginning, chances are you’ll think that if inspiration comes your way, everyone will love your article. And this brings me to what is probably the most important lesson I’ve learned in the past 5 years: if you absolutely love your latest blog post, it doesn’t mean that your audience won’t hate it. Who are you writing for?

Any content marketing tips, tricks, best practices or advice that you’d like to share with us? Please drop us a line in the comments section below.