In the last post on content marketing, we discussed writing thematic content to build up your library of content and engage with your prospects and customers.
Today, we’re going to work out how to plan the ultimate theme – a content series – that explores one particular topic in depth over a number of blog posts, articles, emails or e-books. (There are, of course, many other methods of delivery too!)
1. Pick your topic
Good news; your audience of prospects has already told you what your topic should be. If you aren’t sure, go back to our first post: What type of content do your prospects want to read? and work your way through all the posts up to today.
Go on, I’ll wait.
Now that you’ve done that, you should know why the greatest topic for a content marketing series is your audience’s ‘one thing’ – their burning pain that keeps them up at night.
By exploring their ‘pain’ in depth and providing solutions to that pain, you will be gaining many opportunities to attract new leads, convert prospects to customers and retain your best clients (not to mention all the content you’ll get added to the search engines…).
We’ve done a few of these series now; each one concentrating on an area of interest to our audiences:
- Web copywriting dissected – covers all aspects of how to be a good web copywriter
- Ask an SEO copywriter – our series on SEO and copywriting techniques
- Email copywriting – in-depth writing advice for email campaigns
- How to use content marketing… – the series you’re reading; all about how to start your own content marketing programme to build traffic, grow authority in your niche and (ultimately) increase sales
2. Break it down (to an outline)
Now that you’ve chosen your topic, you need to plan how to explain it all to your audience.
I approach this by breaking down the topic into its constituent parts, aiming for the smallest conceptual level for each sub-topic.
If you’re writing a content series on managing financial assets, you might have a topic on ISAs. Ask yourself if that sub-topic can be broken down any further, say into Cash ISAs and Stocks and Shares ISAs?
This topic list will be your master outline for your content marketing series.
3. Start writing outlines for each piece
Planning and preparation here are keys to your sanity while you’re creating your content.
Writing an proper outline for each topic and sub-topic also benefits your readers because you are able to plan the correct amount of separation between topics, but with the right amount of consistency and repetition to keep the key concepts top of mind.
Think of these individual outlines as your guidance notes so that when you come back to writing series part 11, you’ll remember (or at least have notes on) what you were going to say.
4. Create your content marketing writing schedule
We wrote about this before in Planning your content marketing lifecycle. To create your stellar series, you need to take the time to create it properly and that means actually scheduling in the time to make it happen.
Oh..and once you’ve set your schedule, please stick to it. 😉
5. Don’t forget what’s happening the in the world
It’s easy to get stuck into your series, so try not to forget to update your prospects and clients with information that from the ‘here and now.’ This could be news about your niche, commentary on recent events or development, even your own wins and updates.
Plan on ‘stuff’ happening while you’re producing your series and revisit that timeline and calendar. Shoot for what is realistic to deliver.
Our next post in the series will discuss monetising your content.