The Pagely Content Marketing Process Part One: Organization, Ideation and Research
In theory, maintaining a corporate blog seems like it would be a straightforward proposition. To the uninitiated, writing and publishing a few posts per month does not seem out of reach. It’s not as easy as it looks though. If you’re struggling to create, publish and promote content on a consistent basis, it’s likely because you lack a structured content marketing process.
Our Content Marketing Process Explained
The motivation behind the desire to produce content is often spurred by success stories of companies like Groove, WPCurve, and Zapier. All three of which have created blogs that are responsible for driving an incredible amount of traffic and new business.
Creating content is a time-consuming process, but it’s only half the battle. Behind every successful content marketing campaign is an editorial and management process that often goes unseen. It’s this unseen process that’s responsible for either the success or failure of your campaign.
We thought it would be helpful to share the content and editorial process that we use here at Pagely. As with any process, it’s continually evolving and what works for us may or may not work for you. But if you’re struggling to improve any one particular aspect of your content marketing — be it research, writing, editorial or promotion — we think you may be able to extract some value from our process and apply it to your efforts.
We’ll be dividing this topic into a series of three posts that fall into to following categories:
- Organization, Ideation & Research
- Writing & Optimizing for SEO
- Publishing, Promotion & Analyzing
Organizing Our Content Calendar
There are a wide variety of tools available to help you manage your content marketing efforts. Google Drive, TeamWork, Asana, and Trello are four popular tools that come to mind.
One of the most important aspects of managing any successful process is to maintain simplicity. At Pagely, we find Trello works extremely well for managing our content marketing workflow. It’s easy to use, requires little or no ramp-up when bringing new people on board, and it’s inexpensive (or even free).
If you’re familiar with Trello you’ll know that everything is separated into a hierarchy that consists of Boards, Lists, and Cards. We maintain a single Board called the Pagely Editorial Hub. Here, each member of our content team has access to our entire pipeline. The content marketing process is overseen, primarily, by one person. Having everything flow through an editor (who also happens to be the director of sales and marketing) allows for control and consistency.
Our Trello board contains lists that are separated into the different stages of our workflow. These include the following:
- Guest posters to be invited
- Guest posts on other blogs
- Proposed topics
- Approved topics
- Assigned / Researching / Writing
- Ready for review
- SEO’d and images ready
- Added to Authority Labs
Each List or Category is self-explanatory and cards can be moved through the appropriate workflow as needed.
We maintain a fairly liberal ideation policy here at Pagely. As long as a proposed topics fit with our overall objective of serving our customers and, of course, generating leads, it’s fair game.
Writers are free to propose topics of their own and can do so by simply adding a card to the proposed topics list. Most if the time we ask for a brief outline or summary that touches on the main points to be covered. This helps to ensure that the end result is in-line with our objectives and expectations. It also helps the writer to stay on track and not head down an unforeseen rabbit hole.
Topics are often generated as a result of a the writer’s personal expertise (we do a lot of this with our guest posts). Alternatively, we also maintain a list of search queries taken directly from our Google Analytics account. While the queries don’t produce great article titles, they give a good indication of the search terms that are generating impressions and leave room for improving click-through rates.
Sean Tierney, who is responsible for managing the editorial process can also create and assign topics as needed. One of the areas we’ve put an increased focus on over the past few months is inviting guests posts from customers or relevant industry experts.
Researching & Submitting Post Ideas
Once a topic is posted on the proposed list it’s reviewed by the editor and one of three things happens:
- The topic is approved as is.
- Further clarification or more detail is requested.
- The topic is rejected.
Researching posts is usually the responsibility of the writer although there is often some editorial input — either in the form of keyword research or points that need to be included.
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In most situations we select topics based on what our readers will find useful. We then look for keywords that can be integrated into the article in a way that makes sense. We think this results in articles that are more educational and helpful, instead of being written simply for SEO purposes. Neil Patel makes a strong case (and counter) for this approach in his post on combining SEO with content marketing.
Once the details of the post are hammered out, it’s assigned a due date and shifted over to the Assigned-Researching-Writing list. From there, it’s up to the writer to produce an initial draft.
Coming up Next
What we’ve covered today provides an accurate summary of how we handle our organization, ideation and research phases here at Pagely.
In our next post, we’ll go into more detail about the actual process we encourage our writers to follow when creating content. We’ll also talk about how we optimize our posts for SEO and track our keyword results using Authority Labs.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about our content marketing process, or would like to share some of your own, please add your comments below.