When it comes to creating your first online business, thinking of an idea for online niche is easy. Purchasing a domain name and installing WordPress is not that difficult. Even finding the products you’re going to sell or affiliate can be done in next to no time using Amazon, ClickBank or any other of the hundreds of affiliate providers.
But devising a content plan that will ensure targeted traffic is the thorn in most peoples’ side, and a sole reason why many people fail.
Generally speaking, most new online marketers have very little idea on how to create a content plan. Most will either end up wasting too much time writing content that nobody will ever see or get penalized by Google in the process.
In this article I will stop you from doing either and put you on a one way road to making $$$.
What is a content plan?
First let’s address content. Content is information you can see with your eyes or hear with your ears. This can be in the form of blog posts, web banners, podcasts, YouTube videos, info graphics, videos, reports, eBooks, images and anything else you see online.
A content plan is quite simply how you will achieve your businesses’ goals through using various types of content. Creating content can be used to generate leads, drive sales, provide information, help position your brand and a number of other things.
Depending on the nature of your site a content plan can be continuous, short-term or goal specific.
While all of the above are fine objectives of a content marketing plan, today I will show you how to tailor your content with the sole purpose of generating leads and making money.
The Fake Business You Can Steal
To use as an example for this article, I will be creating content based around a niche affiliate website that will promote weed whacker equipment from Amazon. My target market will be casual gardeners.
You will be able to follow the same template I use today for almost any other content plan that involves generating leads or driving sales. I have already gone through with what it takes to create a profitable niche affiliate website, this article will only be focusing on the content side of things.
Step 1 – Creating categories
For my gardening website the first thing I want to do is create some categories. These categories will be the body for each section of content. After doing some research on my competitors and products, I will be using the following categories:
- Battery powered
- Gas powered
- Corded electric
- Blog posts
Before I start creating content I think it’s super important to list categories. This allows me to segment my content plan into smaller chucks and these can be used as header menus on my site making it easier for prospects to navigate.
If you know anything about weed whackers you will know that most of them are fitted with a line or spool. I have decided to leave this category out because the ROI will be terrible. The average spool sells for around $8 on Amazon, my time would be better on creating content around the bigger sellers.
The first three categories are self explanatory I hope (they are all types of weed whackers). These will be detailed reviews on weed whackers that will compel the reader to purchase.
But what use would blog posts have?
Avoid Being Penalized By Google
One reason for having a blog post category is to avoid being penalized by Google. One of the first options newbie online marketers turn to is creating affiliate niche sites, the problem is too many people are doing it wrong – and Google is putting a stop to it.
Why are they taking action? Because their content sucks (they didn’t create a rock solid content plan you see). This is taken directly from Google’s Quality Guidelines:
“Google believes that pure, or “thin,” affiliate websites do not provide additional value for web users, especially if they are part of a program that distributes its content to several hundred affiliates. These sites generally appear to be cookie-cutter sites or templates with no original content. Because a search results page could return several of these sites, all with the same content, thin affiliates create a frustrating user experience.”
Source : Google
This is what happens to a lot of niche affiliate sites who have no idea how to structure content for their website. Google states that affiliate websites should only contain a small portion of affiliate links on their pages, really poor sites have them on every page.
The short-sighted approach many online marketers have is to write a bunch of reviews with a call-to-action redirecting them to Amazon, thinking that’s going to work.
Not in 2015 it’s not. You may have experienced the same for your websites.
The blog post category for my gardening site will be used as a lead magnet to attract prospects to my site. These articles will contain quality information with links pointing to my product review pages and not Amazon, ensuring we don’t get slapped as a ‘thin content’ site.
Step 2 – Find your keywords
So I have decided the goal of my content plan is to generate leads (blog content) and drive sales (product reviews), the next step is to source keywords. I will need to find keywords for the following:
- Product keywords
- Keywords relating to weed trimmers
Product keywords for weed whackers aren’t searched as much as you would think and receive very few searches per month.
This is because most weed whackers have complicated names like “GreenWorks 21212 4Amp 13-Inch Corded String Trimmer”, I mean who is going to type that into Google?
10 unique searches per month for the full name, and less than 140 for variations of the name. Maybe this product is rubbish and that’s why nobody is searching for it on Google?
In fact this weed whacker is one of the biggest sellers on Amazon. While using the best SEO tactics is important for every page I create, the product reviews articles themselves will not bring in enough traffic to make a decent chunk of money, not for this niche away.
Weed whackers is a very targeted niche and is why there aren’t many searches per month for these products. That doesn’t mean the niche is unprofitable, far from it as you will see later.
If you follow this content plan but opt to affiliate products such as the Kindle Fire, Apple iPad or Xbox One, sure they receive tens of thousands of searches, but the chances you will rank for them is going to be very slim.
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)
With each review I will focus on finding latent semantic indexing keywords (LSI keywords). LSI is a technique used by search engines to identity how relevant content actually is. LSI works by reading content to find matching keywords or phrases that relate to the main keyword in the article.
For example, Apple could be the fruit or technology brand, for search engines it used to be quite difficult to differentiate between the two. Today they use LSI keywords to see if the article contains words like fruit, food and healthy or technology iPhone, and iTunes to decide how relevant it is to the searcher’s needs.
How to find the LSI keywords for the GreenWorks 21212 trimmer and other products? Google of course.
Google has returned us with three different keywords that I can use to better improve my SEO efforts for my product review page. The words review, replacement spool and manual are all LSI words I will be using in my copy to get the most out of searches.
If you want to take it one step further you can use tools such as Ultimate Keyword Hunter to find more detailed LSI keywords.
Keywords Relating To Weed Whackers
It’s with these keywords I will be driving the majority of traffic to my site to make money. These keywords will be used for the purpose of generating leads.
I simply entered “weed whackers” into Google AdWords and here were the results:
From that one keyword I have been given a further 5 similar keywords that yield 18,600 searches on Google each month between them. These words return large enough numbers to make my website a profitable venture while not being too difficult to rank for.
I am actually a gardening fanatic and I know that weed whackers are also referred to as weed trimmers and weed eaters.
Now I’ve found several more keywords there that are certainly worth targeting. A common philosophy advised with creating any online niche website is to write about something you’re passionate about, if I wasn’t aware of gardening I may not have known of all the keyword potential possible.
You can also hire someone to do the keyword research yourself if you’re no good, but in all honestly it’s not difficult.
Step 3- How To Write Content
I am not going to mention too much about SEO as I have already given a detailed explanation of best SEO practices in my SEO guide. Instead, I will focus on what type of message you need to give to your prospects to maximize conversions.
How To Write Product Reviews
What is the objective of my product reviews? To get the visitor to purchase.
To maximize my conversion rates I need to write a copy that is half direct response copywriting and half honest and sincere.
Direct response copywriting is a style of writing that drives the reader to make the intended action. While this is my ultimate goal, giving gardeners a hard sell on buying a weed whacker is probably not going to bring optimal results.
We are not selling insurance or going door to door.
There is a saying in the marketing world which is to “Sell the idea not the features.”There is a saying in the marketing world which is to “Sell the idea not the features.” Click To Tweet
This means that people want to know how a product can improve their lifestyle rather than the features or the company that made it.
When someone purchases a fat loss supplement, do the ads have a detailed breakdown of every vitamin inside or do they focus on how they can it can make them look sexy, feel better and become more confident?
The point is this: it’s okay to mention the features of a product but make sure the focus of the product review is how it can make their life better. For example, it can clean an entire yard of weeds in 10 minutes, they can use it one handed and it doesn’t need regular maintenance are all examples of good direct response copywriting for selling weed whackers.
These are great incentives to buy that plays on their subconscious mind greater then telling them who made the motor or what material the handle is. This is how the direct response style of any product reviews need to read.
Here’s the tricky bit, as a review site I need to be honest else my site will be dead in the water. People are experienced on the Internet after years of conditioning via pop up ads, email marketing and adverts coming at them from all direction. So I need to come across as honest if I want to drive sales.
While using all the direct response techniques in my copy I still need to try and remain impartial and honest.
One way to achieve this is having a pros and cons section, this works great on all product reviews – but be sure to over sell the pros and undersell the cons. For example, for a battery powered weed whacker I may write something like this:
“One thing I didn’t like was the short battery life. While it only lasted one hour (which was enough time to do both my front and back yard) I had to put in on charge after I finished to ensure it would be ready to use again in 3 weeks”.
I addressed a negative part of the product but upsold it by mentioning that while it’s a con, I still managed to do everything I needed. Simple statements like this will really drive prospects to buy.
People are more likely to buy from a website who’s opinion they value and trust, they are also more likely to come back. I am sure you have come across sites before that only mention the positives and fail to mention the negatives.
This has become the norm with websites that affiliate hotel deals, everything is painted as being great and awesome making you question whether they are being honest or are just looking for a quick sale.
This kind of writing style is not easy and if your budget allows it may be worth hiring a freelancer.
How To Write Blog Posts
What is the objective of my blog posts? To get generate leads.
Blog posts will be where the bulk of my traffic will be coming from, as made clear from the keyword research.
Note: To avoid being slapped as a thin content site by Google I will make sure my blog posts don’t contain any affiliate URL links. They will only contain internal page links redirecting readers to my product reviews that contain the affiliate links.
Now let’s take a keyword above and create a highly informative, engaging and organic blog post around it. Ryboi weed eater receives 5,400 unique Google searches each month – this will be a great start.
I could write an information piece on Ryboi weed eater but would my audience care? Probably not. They are most likely looking for information on which model is best to buy based on their needs.
A better idea would be “Top 5 Best Ryboi weed eaters.”
This article will list the best Ryboi products (products I have reviewed on my site) and would include internal links to each product review page. I will then do the same for “Echo weed eaters” which get 8,100 searches, best “Electric weed eaters” and so on.
The end result of your content plan will look something like this:
I apologize for the picture (I’m not great at art) but you should now have a clear understanding of the importance of separating your product review pages and blog posts.
Thanks to my keyword research I will use the generic search term gardeners enter into Google as a landing page. The landing page will be full of informative content that will answer every question the lead may have.
If they are a qualified prospect they will click one of the several links in the article which will redirect them to a product review, from here my product review copy is optimized with direct response copywriting to ensure I maximize conversions.
Monitoring and tracking
The only way to know if a content plan is successful or not is to monitor it. In my simple system above we can use Google Analytics to track how long each person spends on each blog post.
If they are leaving within 10 seconds then there is either a problem with how I drive traffic or my content is rubbish. Either way, this will help me identity which blog copies are working and which aren’t.
Having blog posts and product reviews also allow to effectively measure how optimized each product review is.
People who are searching for gas weed eaters may click on a link that takes them to a product review and buy. However, people who are re-directed from cheap weed eaters may land on the same product review but have a much lower conversion rate.
This type of information lets me tweak my blog posts to mix and match products that will drive the greatest amount of sales.
It’s a little bit more work but the only way to devise a content plan that kills is to test it.
This method was created by the founder of Backlinko.com Brian Dean, and is a great method to apply to every piece of content you create.
Let’s be real for moment, whether you’re creating a content plan around online marketing, home loans, health supplements or even weed whackers, someone somewhere has probably already written about it.
For newer websites it can become very difficult to outrank older articles as they hold the power of having more back-links over you and aged domains.
So what can we do? Use the skyscraper technique.
In a nutshell it works like this: you search for content around the keyword you’re going to write an article on, and find the following:
- Which sites rank on the first page
- How long their content is in words
- How many high quality images, videos and other multimedia they are using
- Read what the comments are saying (more importantly, what questions are they asking that the article failed to address).
Once you have gathered all the information, you then use this research as a base to write your own content and make it more awesome.
You do this by being more thorough by addressing areas of interest in more detail that other articles failed to do. You also make your content more up-to-date, as there’s a good chance the article that’s currently at number #1 is at least 6-12 months old.
Finally make it look more appealing by using high quality images, videos and other forms of multimedia when appropriate.
How many times have you read an article and was wowed because of the awesome imagery? This type of content is more shareable too.
Creating a content plan is not all that difficult once you understand what your end goal is. The more complex your business idea is the more deeper your funnels are going to be. In today’s example it was a simple two-step system but the funnels can be longer than that.
You can jump on oDesk or Elance and see online marketers post writing jobs for as little as $0.50 per 100 words but they would be better off nothing bothering. You cannot get away with writing lousy content if you want to make serious money online.
While the Internet marketing space is increasing at a rapid rate, there is still money to be made in thousands of different niches and platforms – if you create killer content.
The only thing that has changed is that weak or poorly planned content will not only fail, but be punished by the likes of Google.Poorly planned content will not only fail, but be punished by the likes of Google. Click To Tweet
You now have the tools to create your own content plan and you can even steal my example!