With Search Engines increasingly rewarding high quality content over traditional SEO, having a solid content marketing plan is more important than ever. As we were crafting Blockspring’s own content strategy, we benefitted from a lot of valuable content about content (so meta) including these excellent planning and ideation tools from Hubspot, ideas on where to find residual content from Moz, and great product recommendations for everything from tracking systems to persona creation by BuiltVisible.
We’ve also seen some great spreadsheet-based tools for Content Marketing built using Blockspring. Here are some of our favorites, presented as convenient Blockspring Spreadsheet Templates for your use. Let's dive right into some examples!
“Skyscraper Analysis” and Content Ideation Spreadsheet
Step 1: Find link-worthy content
Step 2: Make something even better [this is the "Skyscraper"]
Step 3: Reach out to the right people
In our experience, it’s more difficult to find link-worthy content than we’d imagine, and the problem gets more complex if you don't come with a focus in mind (e.g. you can write about multiple topics). To help with this challenge, we modified the Skyscraper approach to focus more on testing hypotheses about where potential audience(s) and content that could drive growth overlapped.
We started with a long list of topics, and used this Skyscraper spreadsheet template to search each topic for the content with the highest number of backlinks and shares on social networks.
Then, we could compare content across topics to find our best opportunities - taking into account that some audiences are less active in sharing or linking to content in general than others. By contrast to the typical Skyscraper method where the focus is on contacting link-owners, we could also reach out to the people who shared content via social media.
Identifying Twitter Influencers
Influencer Marketing started to pick up a lot of buzz in the past year, and complements other Content Marketing methods nicely. As with the Skyscraper method, the idea is simple: find popular people that your target audience follows, and get them to recommend, comment upon, or use your product. We observed the power of this technique firsthand when Rand Fishkin tweeted about our homepage design earlier this year and we got a solid bump in web traffic.
Blockspring can help you identify the top Twitter influencers within a given topic area, using a Klout ranking to power the analysis. While the template is simple, it serves as a good base for more complex analysis, including the survey of related topics, estimating social reach, or quickly summarizing the sort of content being shared by these influencers. Once you’ve identified influencers, you can Tweet at them or try some of the other tools in the Blockspring arsenal, such as discovering influencer’s email addresses and other contact information.
Perform a Content Audit
Enough with the bird watching. Eventually, you'll release your fledgling content into the wild and see how it fares.
Now you can start taking stock in your Content Strategy, and making adjustments as necessary. A content audit is one great way to do this. It can help you identify which pieces of content are or aren’t performing well, and help you think about how to improve specific pieces along with your overall strategy.
By putting your blog’s homepage into this Content Audit template, we’ll crawl 50 of your blog posts, and retrieve the social share count for each article. We’ve also seen people connect data like this to their web analytics (such as Google Analytics) so they can look at what content is actually driving people to their site versus just getting passed around.
If you’re feeling less introspective, the content audit technique can be used for competitive research - put another blog’s homepage in and see how their content fared. Also, keep an eye out for power law relationships in content popularity (the top content usually performs much better than the long tail of articles, as in the 80/20 rule).
We hope the three templates we've show cased prove useful for your content marketing efforts. If you’ve got a favorite technique or workflow that we’ve missed or want to suggest some improvements, please get in touch. We’re also keen to learn about new APIs and services that we can add to Blockspring to make it even better for content marketing.