Marketers Crave a System Supporting the Strategic Process
Advice straight from the horse’s mouth: here’s what Google itself recommends for developing a Google-friendly site:
“Give visitors the information they’re looking for. Provide high-quality content on your pages…This is the single most important thing to do…Think about the words users would type to find your pages and include those words on your site.”– Google on Google. Steps to a Google-friendly Site
Your Goal? Develop content that comprehensively addresses what your audience wants to know, based on how they are searching…
By doing so, not only will your content be optimally discoverable in search, but your content will be engaging and on-point to your audience’s needs.
So how do you ‘give visitors the information they’re looking for’? First, develop your audience’s database of intentions. Then, optimize and create new content developed expressly around the way people are searching.
Target Keyword Lists vs. a Database of Intentions
Target Keyword List: a list of target keywords strung together with some basic information such as monthly search volume and average cost per click.
Database of Intentions: A comprehensive amalgamation of all the possible keyword phrases your target audience routinely searches for, structured with a wealth of attributes and information allowing marketers to slice, dice, discern and organize an audience’s wants, desires, and intentions.
Building an audience’s database of intentions provides marketers access into their headspace. Marketers can discern what’s important on a nominative and relative basis. Developing a database of intentions is the key first step towards developing a clear, data-driven strategic content plan of action.
Audience Key is uniquely designed to support the strategic content process end-to-end
Rather than just a data and reporting tool, with Audience Key marketers turn data into actionable strategy, ensure strategy translates into production, and subsequently provides sophisticated reporting on the outcome.
What Sits Between Data & Reporting? Strategy.
Lots of tools and sources provide upfront SEO data… several platforms and tools provide measurement and reporting. Strategy sits squarely in the middle of this- it’s the process of turning data into action that leads to measurable results. Our findings show marketers still largely resort to spreadsheets for this crucial middle process. Reliance on spreadsheets presents all kinds of challenges around collaboration, version control, and high touch data upkeep and management.
Both strategy development and strategy implementation sit between data and reporting, yet no system heretofore existed to support the strategic process at its core. Some notable callouts:
- There’s a lack of standardization around the strategic process of content marketing & SEO
- 60% of business doing content marketing self report not having a documented plan according to the Content Marketing Institute
- Plans that do exist are commonly documented in siloed spreadsheets – meaning strategic planning is not infused and overtly present throughout the stages of implementation
- Measurement tools and platforms report on results of overall performance, but fail to report on the effectiveness of the specific strategy invoked
Our Manifesto on Strategy for Content & SEO
The team behind Audience Key has experienced intimately the disconnected process between data and result reporting. Years of consulting on strategic content marketing and SEO programs led to the development of a very well thought out standardized process. We iteratively developed an AMAZING spreadsheet that mashed in all kinds of data integrations and spit out reports that were kinda sorta cool…but left everything far from ideal. Strategists spent more time managing and organizing data then being strategically focused. The data and results were not easily consumable to program stakeholders. Something needed to change…
Audience Key is the system designed to support the end-to-end strategic process. Built by a team that keenly understands the SEO and content marketing process, we empathize with all the pain points marketers still face today.
The Strategic Process: 5 Components of the Content Marketing Framework
The strategic process can be summed up in five distinct phases:
Create the database of intentions of your audience. Identify the (tens of) thousands of relevant ways your target audience routinely searches: the questions they ask, the information they seek at all stages of the customer journey. Baseline your coverage level vs. key competitors. Identify relative strengths and weaknesses, coverage gaps, and quantify and forecast opportunities.
Strategy & Planning
Every important keyword phrase should be supported by one specific page (existing or future planned). Extensively map keywords to pages and identify page types (product/service, category, editorial, resource, location, etc.). This is an iterative process. A clear site taxonomy and prioritization roadmap will emerge and crystallize.
Optimize existing pages and create new pages based on mapping decisions. Content formed around intentionally addressing questions and information seeking will connect powerfully and on point with your target audience. Page level content briefs clearly define each page’s mission and display the page’s strategy front and center to content producers. This process allows strategic vision to translate into effective implementation.
Track the progression of outcomes over time against your own baseline as well as relative gains vs competitors. A well organized keyword database with attributes applied to keywords, page types, personas, and SERP types will facilitate highly flexible slicing and dicing of reporting data to gain key insights at a multitude of granularity levels.
Optimization in a dynamically competitive environment is a never ending process. Measurement over time yields an updated baseline against which to further optimize content, revamp mapping strategies, support continuing content planning, and augment internal and inbound linking.
A Cacophony of Tools and Systems
Because no system has supported the end-to-end strategic process, marketers end up determining their own unique melange of tools and systems to get the job done. Spreadsheets invariably end up in the middle of the process. Point based tools for data such as keyword information, rank tracking and backlink analysis sit on the front and backside of the strategic process. Collaboration software such as Google Docs and project management systems support collaboration, but don’t effectively keep the underlying strategic vision front and center in the process. Various SEO platforms bring levels of integration between upfront data and latter stage reporting, but these systems are devoid of supporting the key middle stages.
Here is a matrix of the common solution sets content marketers draw from in order to facilitate their end-to-end solutions. Audience Key is not designed to replace the need for specific upfront data tools. Rather, the system supports synthesizing and leveraging this data into actualization, and subsequently into measurement and reporting.
* = Secondary Priority
So, Why Audience Key?
The system is essentially a suite of native software solutions that work inter-connectedly. Audience Key is not revolutionary – it’s evolutionary. It solves for the missing pieces and connects everything end-to-end to provide clarity, efficiency, and effectiveness.
The next big step in content marketing evolution is here and ready. If any of the following questions or concerns resonate, we invite you to connect and learn more about the solutions and support our strategy platform delivers.
- What’s the potential opportunity value in front of us?
- What should we write about, why, and in what priority?
- Is our strategy on point?
- How effective have our efforts been?
- Is our strategy translating into our production?
- What are our competitors doing that we aren’t?
- What gaps do we have vs. our competitors?
- Can our organization be more streamlined and efficient in our processes?
- How can we get out of spreadsheet and data integration hell?
- Too many tools! Everything is disconnected. Help!
- There’s a lot of great data, but it’s overwhelming. How do we make it actionable?
- I’m having trouble quantifying our opportunities and lobbying for buy-in and support.