Always wanted to know how to outdo your competitors and create better content marketing articles than them? Here is a step-by-step guide based on an example, which accompanies you on your way through the article creation process and provides helpful tips.
Remember: You can always visit our category ‘ online marketing ‘ for more articles.
Rule No. 1: Focus on the user and the target group, not on search engines or links!
If you see content marketing as a means to an end to get links or to please Google, you don’t really need to start. This is of course a bit exaggerated, but it is essentially true. Before you give the go-ahead for content creation, think about what interests the people who should come to your website. If you are unsure, just ask your website visitors! Or ask people, friends, acquaintances, etc., who are not from the SEO industry, which content they would find good on your site!
Of course, it is the goal of all website operators to generate traffic with content and possibly also links and good rankings in the search engines. But it shouldn’t be your only content driver, especially at the beginning. Take a look at my examples of online shops that are doing well.
Rule No. 2: Know your target group!
Knowing your target group is essential. Your content marketing will only reach your users if it appeals to them. The target group of online shops usually includes several target persons who differ in certain characteristics. One speaks of so-called personas, also buyer personas or user personas.
Buyer personas are prototypes for a specific user group or target group. A persona is a fictional representation of a typical customer, based on real data, with all their socio-demographic characteristics, needs, challenges, behavioral patterns, their online buying behavior, etc. How to find the right persona:
- What are the socio-demographic characteristics of the persona?
- What position does the persona have in working life and what could a typical working day for the persona look like?
- What personal and / or professional goals does the persona have?
- What are your personal and / or professional challenges?
- Is the persona internet savvy and also make purchase decisions online?
- Does the persona use social networks and which ones?
- Does the persona use the Internet for research purposes, e.g. information about products in which they are interested, etc.?
- What drove you to make this decision on the day of the purchase decision?
- What would convince you to buy the product or service?
- Was the purchase decision made alone, or was someone else involved?
Let’s stick with the rebel example mentioned above. The target group is estimated to be predominantly female, both single and married, 25-45 years old, fashion-conscious high-income earners, brand lovers, but also price-oriented and with an awareness of sustainability.
In this case, your target audience would be people who
- like to dress fashionably and value their appearance.
- like to move to events.
- take care of their cloakroom as well as their apartment.
- deal with the topic of fashion, fashion designers and personalities in their free time.
- are interested in the effects of fashion and clothing.
- have a large (walk-in) closet.
- Value longevity and sustainability.
- Think ahead and want to make sure that investments are worthwhile.
- Put emphasis on certain education and manners.
- are interested in art and social issues.
- want to act as role models.
- but also have role models in art, fashion, literature, etc.
Of course, not every trait applies to every persona. It doesn’t just buy “a persona” from you. A lot more completely different people buy from you, but they have certain things in common. So your goal is to find the common denominator, but also to cover niche topics that only interest a part of your target group.
Rule # 3: Write Articles for the Target Audience: What Are the Pain Points?
After you have got to know the characteristics of your target group, you can start brainstorming your topics. Think about which solutions you can offer your target group for any problems (pain points). Ideally, you start with a topic that has not yet been answered by your competitors and other websites. In this way, you create added value for your readers and an advantage for you.
My tip on how to do it:
- In the first step, define one or more main topics: If we stick to the example of Rebelle, the big topic would of course be worth knowing about fashion.
- In the second step, you derive further sub-topics:
- Styling tips
- Personalities in the fashion industry
- (Seasonal) trends
- Fashion classics
- Fashion as an investment
- Sustainability in the fast-moving fashion industry and much more
- Now we have some important keywords that are very likely to be relevant keywords.
- Now you should collect important questions on the topic. The Hypersuggest.com tool helps you to find relevant W-questions. Or you use Google Suggest. You can read about how you go about this in my article on content marketing strategy.
- In turn, you collect the questions and keywords and check which search results Google gives you. You go through this step by step and take notes. Collect important sources, expert opinions and studies – depending on how many relevant hits there are, it can be from Top 10 to Top 50 or more that you have to search through.
- Now filter out the most relevant points for your users. As mentioned above, best are the questions or topics that have not yet been covered. A good side effect: you get to know your competitors better and you can compare what you can do better.
- If you have the opportunity, ask your customers or friends who fit into the scheme of your target group.
- Pick a topic to start with. It is important that you first deal with a problem and answer it comprehensively. Otherwise it can happen that you get lost in the depths of the topic.
Let’s take a brief look at the subject of “fashion as an investment” as an example. One of the target group’s pain points is when it is worth spending a lot of money on second-hand fashion. The first relevant question would be:
- Which fashion piece is best for investment? Let’s assume the answer is bag, and further questions arise like:
- Which bag is it worth investing in?
- Does that also apply to second hand handbags?
- Can I resell the bag for a profit?
- Does it depend on the color?
- When does an impairment occur?
- And much more
The Rebelle Journal has recognized this and has created an investment guide that answers all the important questions.
Rule No. 4: Don’t produce text deserts!
As soon as your topic is ready, you can almost start creating the text. Before you start writing, I recommend that you create a concept in which you roughly structure the structure and content of your text. You can often see in advance how text-heavy and extensive your article will be and can plan accordingly:
- Can you imagine 10 or 20 bags that are worth investing in?
- Which and how much key data will you deal with (name, description, serial number, new price, savings, increase in value over a certain period of time and much more)?
- Which questions should be answered?
- What additional information, tips, fun facts do you want to include?
- Do you want to emphasize your opinion as an expert opinion?
This gives you an idea of what your text will look like. With our bag topic, it stands to reason that the X bags with the greatest potential are shown. That could be drawn up as a ranking list or according to your favorites or according to the alphabet or, or.
It is important that you focus on the interests of the user here. It is therefore best to proceed in ascending or descending order according to price or increase in value. This approach makes it possible to create clear sections of text so that there is no wasted text. Lists, subheadings and absolutely matching images also ensure a relaxed text structure.
Rule No. 5: No good articles without feedback!
Here, too, I am exaggerating something. And yet the statement is essentially true. If you’ve been tinkering with a topic for hours or days, you quickly lose sight of the essentials – which is completely normal. Do you repeat yourself in the course of the text? Did you forget an aspect? Is something not understandable for the outsider? Do images and text really go together? Do you lose the thread or do you pull it through to the end? Would it be better to create a graphic for it? Did you name all the important sources?
Therefore, you absolutely need a person (or a team) who listens to your ideas, reads the article and critically questions the concept or text and gives feedback.
Rule No. 6: Invest time, effort and diligence!
No price without diligence – this is especially true in content marketing. Anyone who thinks that a quick text is enough to spit is definitely on the wrong track. Your users will notice immediately whether you have thought about it and made an effort to create added value for users with your content. So invest time and diligence in writing good content. In the article, what does good content marketing cost you will get a rough idea of the time behind the creation of content marketing content.
Rule # 7: Don’t Expect Miracles!
I can’t mention it enough: content marketing is NOT a classic sales channel and takes time. If your only goal is to make a lot of money very quickly, content marketing is not the channel for you. The question is then whether a long-term online shop is the right solution for you at all.
If your goals are based on increasing brand awareness, generating more long-tail traffic, receiving more stable rankings in the long term and, above all, customer loyalty, then get started right away!
What you should know about content marketing:
- The output won’t hit like a bomb right away. It is likely that some articles will be less popular, others will be better received.
- You can only be successful if you permanently produce content relevant to your target group.
- Doesn’t it work right away? Do not give up! Go on.
I know it can often be very difficult to just get started despite the instructions, rules and tips. Examples always help best. Find your four to five favorite online shops and see what you particularly like there.
Here are a few more examples that can serve as inspiration:
- In Springlane Magazine you will find tips and tricks about baking and cooking,
- Recipe tips and instructions for handling food, cooking techniques, product knowledge, wine knowledge and much more.
- There is certainly still room for improvement in terms of structure and navigation. Nonetheless, Connox Magazine lets interested design enthusiasts and users look literally behind the scenes in the home stories of employees with the category ‘Behind the Scenes’ and thus makes Connox more personal and approachable.
- In addition, furnishing styles are presented and the reader is given inspiration on how furniture can be combined.
- The guide advises the user on questions that may arise before, during and after the purchase, such as care tips for marble.
- The most important questions that can arise when buying a bike are answered in detail in the XXL consultation.
- In addition to plain text, there are also videos and tables for a quick overview.
- The blog is about topics that interest cycling fans or amateur cyclists, such as what types of riders are there in the Tour de France?
- The blog is about tips & tricks, e.g. how to pack bags to save space and how to best style the bags .
- Relevant (purchase) advisors are linked from the footer under Services, e.g. on the subject of leather care and suitcase advisors .
I hope my 7 rules will help you to take the first steps. If you need help, please contact me anytime !