Content marketing has never been bigger. Everyone from global enterprise-size organizations to small local shops is using content as a marketing tool. It’s because it works – both for brand traction as well as SEO optimization.
But this rush to get content out quickly has resulted in a deluge of content – not all of it of great quality, and also not all of it actually relevant. When it’s all about getting the latest blog post out before your competitor does, it’s easy to forget that it’s not just about what you can (or want to) write about, it’s about what you should write about.
Instead of immediately hitting pen to paper, and then cramming your keywords into your latest masterpiece, we recommend a different approach.
Step 1: Dive Deep into Keyword Research
What should you be focusing on? What are your current rankings telling you? Pick some keyword phrases that may be both gaps as well as opportunities. By sprinkling your editorial calendar with both reaches as well as sure things, you’ll better your odds of a winning play.
Step 2: Plan a Connection
Time to write? Not quite yet. Think about those phrases, and then brainstorm about how you can make a connection between those phrases and a relevant topic. What are some topics that could drive that keyword phrase, and why are those topics relevant right now? Go deep here – don’t stop at the first topic that comes to mind. Push yourself to make the connections.
Step 3: Connect Your Audience
When creating content, never forget your audience. This is especially critical in SEO content writing when you are considering how keyword phrases will impact the content. In some cases, it is easy to spot content that had keywords added in after a draft was written. The keywords jump out, almost in a Mad Libs style.
But when you put your intended audience front and center, and have a clear understanding of their relationship to both your SEO keywords and to the topic of your blog post, your content flows easily and naturally.
Step 4: Deliver Content with a Purpose
Think about your keywords as you write, but don’t force your keywords into your work. If you’ve picked the right topic, and made the right connections, the keywords should naturally appear within your copy.
Step 5: Reap Rewards
At the end of the writing exercise, you’ll have strong content to show for it. You will have created posts that are meaningful to your audience, and that are rich in natural-sounding SEO keywords that the search engines want.
Content with a purpose is hard to ignore. Give your readers and search engines what they’re looking for, and you’ll be positioned to take the advantage.