Anyone can create content, but not everyone knows how to create content that drives $87 million in traffic value per year. We do.
The great fictional chef Auguste Gusteau from “Ratatouille” once said, “Anyone can cook,” and we feel a similar way about content.
Anyone can create great content, but not everyone has the recipe for replicating content success.
As a 120-person content marketing agency that’s driven $87 million in traffic value for clients, we’d like to share our secret ingredients for generating best-in-class content that produces measurable results.
Check out this essential marketer’s guide to learn about what content creation is, why it’s important, and how to do it. With a little sprinkle of SEO savvy and our streamlined content creation process, you’ll be cooking up content that rocks and ranks in no time.
What Is Content Creation?
Content creation is the process of pinpointing topics that are relevant to your target audience, developing a strategy to create content about these topics, actually producing the content, and making sure it gets seen.
The process doesn’t stop there, though — we believe that content creation also extends to measuring performance and making sure what you created stays fresh and up to date.
Why Is Content Creation Important?
Creating content is a cost-effective way of getting exposure to your target audience, attracting potential customers, and engaging returning ones. Each of these outcomes are essential for growing and improving your bottom line.
At Siege, content creation is our bread and butter — it’s what we use to help brands scale their growth online. Take, for example, the time we helped Casper grow their traffic value by $344,000 month over month.
Our team identified keywords that were relevant to their buyers’ journey such as “mattress,” “bed,” and “sleep,” and we built high-quality content around these terms to set them apart from competitors on Google.
The content we created became their top five most-trafficked blog posts, generated over 2,000 links, and resulted in a 280% increase in organic traffic to their blog.
Still not sold on why you should be creating content? Find the main benefits of content marketing below.
The benefits of good content:
- Attracts new customers
- Engages returning customers
- Boosts brand authority
- Builds trust with your target audience
- Educates consumers
- Drives traffic and conversions
- Creates an open channel of communication
- Functions as cost-effective marketing
- Relevant to every industry
- Offers a good return on investment
How To Create Content: A Simple 10-Step Process
As marketers, we love to map out and develop a plan for everything we do, and this holds true when it comes to creating content. Below, we share our recipe for content success by walking through the steps of our content creation process. In just 10 steps, you’ll learn how to make effective content and measure its success.
1. Set Goals for Your Content
Your first step in the content creation process is to determine what goals you want your content to achieve. Whether you need to increase organic traffic to your site or improve your domain authority, use your marketing goals to inform your process and strategy.
Remember to define clear goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound). Find a couple examples of SMART content goals below:
- “In six months, the content team will increase traffic to /blog by 20%.”
- “By next quarter, we will increase links to the blog by 15%.”
- “By 2023, we will improve our site’s domain rating by 1-2 points.”</li >
2. Develop a Content Strategy
Once you have clear goals, use them as a guideline to put together your content strategy. Your content strategy combines SEO and content marketing to identify the types of content that will bring the most value to your business.
To create an effective content strategy, you’ll need to consider the following:
- Your brand: Consider your company mission, brand voice, value propositions, and target audience when developing your content strategy.
- Your competitors: Look at what content is working well for your competitors (i.e., what topics they rank for) and improve on that strategy.
- Your market: Identify how much growth is possible and what topic ideas are the most relevant in your market.
3. Perform Keyword Research
Now that you have an idea of your content strategy, the next step is to dig into keyword research. Keyword research helps you understand how your target audience is searching for information that’s relevant to your brand, products, or services.
An efficient way to strategize keyword research is with a keyword opposition to benefit (KOB) analysis. KOB analysis involves gathering data on hundreds of topics in your vertical and using that data to identify and prioritize the topics you can quickly rank for at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
When you create content around topics identified in a KOB analysis, the following can happen:
- Your site ranks for more relevant topics over time
- Your domain authority increases
- You achieve a sizable ROI
Use our downloadable KOB analysis spreadsheet and watch the video below on our process to get started.
4. Choose the Right Content Format
After researching the keywords you’ll target, you’ll need to decide what content format is the best fit for relaying that information to relevant audiences. Keep in mind how your target audience prefers to consume content as well.
A pro tip is to take inspiration from what is already ranking on the SERPs.
Let’s use the query “what is content marketing” as an example. The ranking search results for this topic are mainly informational blog posts and guides about content marketing, so this tells you that your content should probably take on this form.
Every SERP is different, though, and it’s important to check them out before choosing a format. It’d be a shame to put valuable time and energy into a detailed long-form guide when all the top ranking results are videos.
Ultimately, picking the right format helps you stay competitive on the SERP.
5. Create SEO-optimized Content
With the right format in mind, it’s time to start creating. In content marketing, the goal is to create SEO-friendly content or content that satisfies both the user and Google.
As you start writing, prioritize answering the user’s search intent as quickly as possible, while also optimizing the post structure to signal the information’s value to Google.
Whether it’s a definition of a term or a step-by-step breakdown of a complex process, try to distill the information down into key takeaways that are easily scannable.
Below are some more tips for making SEO-friendly content:
- Use a simple post structure that relies on an H1, H2s, and H3s to create hierarchy in a post.
- Optimize your title and title tag for better CTR.
- Include a meta description that is 120-156 characters long and includes your target keyword and a call to action.
- Keep copy digestible with short paragraphs and concise sentences.
- Improve scannability by using bullet points or crawlable tables to summarize information.
6. Edit Your Content
Editing is an important step in the content creation process. In addition to catching typos or correcting grammar, copy editors make sure that your content aligns with your brand’s voice, tone, and preferred editorial style.
It’s essential that your content is representative of your brand because it functions as a direct line of communication from business to reader. If your copy is full of mistakes or doesn’t sound right, readers may be put off and stop engaging with your content.
Always take the time to edit your content before you publish it so that you can put your brand’s best foot forward. In the end, consistent brand messaging helps your business build trust with your audience and sets you apart from competitors.
7. Upload and Publish Your Content
Once your content is ready, the next step is to get it online where people can see it. You’ll do this by uploading it to your content management system (CMS), which is a software that hosts digital content in one place and helps you display it on the web.
Uploading and publishing your content is a relatively straightforward process, but there’s one more thing you should do to make sure your content has the best chance of ranking and that’s building your internal link structure.
It’s important to build your internal link structure by linking to similar content after you publish. The following graphic details some essential do’s and don’ts when it comes to internal linking.
8. Promote To Relevant Audiences
Promoting your content helps nudge others to view or share what you created. Social media and email marketing are a couple of ways to promote content to your target audience, but one strategy that we’re experts at is link building.
As a promotion strategy, link building helps your content rank more quickly and boosts your traffic and views. At Siege, we have experience generating over 5,000 links per month for our clients and have the process almost down to a science.
Try out the following effective link building strategies to promote your content:
- Broken link building: This is the process of finding broken links on resource pages and reaching out to the site to suggest your content as an alternative.
- Link reclamation: This involves reclaiming your lost or unlinked organic mentions by reaching out to websites and asking them to properly credit your site.
- Infographics/shareables: This strategy pitches a shareable asset, like an infographic or printable, along with an article as a value add to encourage sites to share.
9. Analyze Your Content’s Performance
Now that your content is created and (hopefully) being indexed by Google, it’s time to measure its performance. Using tools like Google Analytics or Search Console, you can analyze content performance to see if your strategy is working or if it needs a little help.
Depending on your goals, track the following performance metrics to measure your success and find areas for improvement.
- Organic traffic: This is the amount of unpaid traffic coming to your site from search engines. The majority of organic traffic is driven by content that ranks high on Google.
- Pageviews: This is the number of people who’ve viewed your content. Typically, there will be a number of views listed and a number for the amount of unique users that visited.
- Bounce rate: This is the percentage of users who leave, or “bounce,” from your site after only viewing one page. This metric offers insight into whether your content satisfied the user’s search intent or not.
- Conversion rate: This is the percentage of users who interact with a CTA and perform the desired action (e.g., a user fills out an email form to sign up for a newsletter).
- Time on page: This is the amount of time a user spends on a particular page and can tell you if users are staying long enough to read your content.
- Audience growth: This is the number of new leads or subscribers earned from your content.
10. Update Content Annually
The final step in our content process is to revisit your content and update it regularly. We’ve recently found that after making updates to posts on our own blog, our site’s organic traffic experienced a 52% lift.
You can replicate this growth for your business by updating your content at least once a year. If your content belongs to a niche industry or is on a highly competitive SERP, it’s beneficial to update it more frequently.
Updating your content improves its freshness distance, or the distance between the oldest post and most recent post on the SERP. A better freshness distance helps your content outrank older results on the SERP, and it gives your content a competitive timestamp that helps boost a piece’s CTR.
Not all content should be treated equally, though. Find some helpful signs for when to update or not update content below.
Signs to update content:
- The content is still relevant to your business
- The content is over a year old
- The content’s SERP has competitive timestamps
- The content is ranking at the bottom of page one or the top of page two on the SERP
- The search intent of the SERP has changed
Signs to leave content as is:
- The content is a survey or study that isn’t tied to search volume
- The content isn’t ranking or isn’t ranking well
- The content was published recently
Use this 10-step content creation process as a road map for creating killer content every time. Looking to build a team to own this process? Find out what valuable players you’ll need in the next section.
Solidify Your Content Team
We believe that anyone is capable of making great content, even if you’re just a one-person show. Having a dedicated content team, though, means that you can scale this process for bigger and better results.
Although we’re an agency of 120 team members, we actually produce the most growth for our clients in teams of four to six people.
Working in smaller teams allows us to execute our content creation process efficiently and produce high-quality content without getting bogged down by too many cooks in the kitchen.
Learn a little more about the essential players you should have on your content team below.
- Content Marketing Manager: The content marketing manager role is responsible for overseeing and executing content strategy, as well as training and managing content marketing specialists to create content and achieve KPIs.
- Content Marketing Specialist: In this role, content marketing specialists are mainly tasked with executing content creation and promotion to meet specific marketing KPIs.
- Copy Editor: Editors are responsible for reviewing content and ensuring that all copy is on-brand and free of errors. They’ll also edit pieces for comprehension and clarity.
- Graphic Designer: Graphic designers create the visual components of your content. They’re an essential part of the content team because they bring copy to life through images or infographics and help communicate your brand visually.
- SEO Analyst: This person is responsible for analyzing, identifying, and implementing search engine optimization efforts on a website. They help diagnose problems, inform strategy, and achieve KPIs.
- UX or Web Designer: This person is in charge of designing the web layout of content and optimizing it for user experience. They design content to be more accessible to users.
- Videographer: The videographer is responsible for recording live video or small-scale video productions.
Common Content Creation Examples
With a reliable content team, you’ll be ready to produce any type of content marketing that you need to hit your goals. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at the following popular content examples.
Blog posts are one of the most common content formats on the web and are essential for any brand that wants a presence on the internet. They’re a copy-focused content format that’s good at satisfying the search intent of a variety of query types, whether it’s informational or more commercial in nature.
The following are the main benefits of blogs:
- Improve a website’s SEO by optimizing content to rank for specific keywords
- Entice other sites to link to your content
Another popular type of content marketing is infographics. Infographics are featured across the web as a supplement to a blog post or as a standalone piece of content. This content format is effective because it visually explains a topic or creates a narrative through images.
One of the major reasons infographics are beneficial is because they are an excellent link building tool. Many websites are happy to share quality infographics that are helpful for their audiences, and as a result, credit the original source with a link.
If you’re ready to tackle your first infographic, try out the tips below to make it the most shareable.
Tips for creating shareable infographics:
- Aim to tell a story with your layout and images.
- Keep your copy clear and concise.
- Use a metaphor or theme to explain a topic.
Video is quickly becoming one of the most important types of content marketing to date. As a content format, it’s incredibly useful for explaining concepts or products, demonstrating thought leadership, or just providing entertainment.
With many SERPs becoming dominated by video, if you’re not creating this type of content, your business will get left in the dust. Here are some important statistics that prove why you should be creating video content below.
- The amount of online videos people watch has nearly doubled since 2018. (Wyzowl)
- 87% of video marketers report that video offers a positive return on investment. (Wyzowl)
- A majority of marketers use video to increase brand awareness and earn new sales. (Wave.video)
Interactives are a type of content that users can manually interact with, and typically come in the form of calculators, quizzes, generators, or other tools. They’re especially useful for engaging your audience and helping your content stand out on the SERP.
Creating interactive content is time and resource intensive, but when done right, it comes with some big rewards.
Benefits of creating quality interactive content include:
- Interactives are often high converters — they engage users and this makes it easier for them to perform the desired action.
- Interactives are difficult to replicate — not every content team can create something like a financial calculator or personality quiz. Creating a complex interactive with good user experience will set you apart from competitors.
- Interactives are strong passive link generators — they’re often helpful tools that others naturally want to link back to as a resource.
Helpful Content Marketing Tools
Just like a chef has trusty tools and appliances to help them make exquisite culinary creations, content marketers use a variety of tools to make content gold.
Whether you need something to inform your strategy, catch your passive voice, or offer free stock photos, there’s a variety of content tools out there for you.
Check out some of our favorite content marketing tools that are staples on our team’s desktop or bookmarks bar.
Content strategy tools:
Content design tools:
Content creation tools:
How To Achieve Long-Term Success
We believe that great content can come from anywhere or anyone. With that being said, a proven content creation process can mean the difference between a one-off content win and real long-term content success.
Take the secret sauce that is our content creation process and infuse it with your own spice to make it work best for you.
Want to know more about what we’re cooking at Siege? Take a peek at some of our awesome case studies and client work.