The 5-W’s and 1-H of SEO content marketing planning

Planning a SEO copywriting campaign doesn’t have to be rocket science.

In the frenzied initial stages of SEO content marketing, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in the big picture that you forget the important foundational details. It’s great when the powers-that-be get excited about all the new traffic their content marketing strategy will drive – or all the money they’ll make with improved copy. Yet at the same time, they forget important tidbits, such as “who’s going to write this awe-inspiring copy” and “how is the company going to pay for it?”

It’s fantastically fun to jump into the big-picture deep end – but just make sure that you address the how-to specifics, too.  Here are some questions to ask:

Who does the writing?  This is an incredibly important decision. During last year’s recession, many companies were hiring low-cost copywriters purely as a cost-cutting move. Although their intent was good (companies figured that more content would drive more traffic) the implementation left much to be desired. Today, businesses burned with the “cheap copy” mantra understand that bad copy hurts more than it helps (from both a search engine and a conversion perspective) – and they’re willing to invest more money in their digital assets. Whether you decide to keep your SEO copywriting in-house or outsource it, know that your writer needs to have some serious writing skills.

What pages need to be created (or rewritten) and When do they need to be uploaded? This is where your editorial calendar comes into play. Every month (or quarter, if you can plan that far ahead,) write down what pages need to be created (or rewritten,) who is doing the writing, the deadline, and the firm upload date. This kind of advance planning has two main advantages. One, it forces communication and accountability – in order to make a editorial calendar work, it means that all parties involved need to sign off on the deadlines and duties. The other advantage is that it makes your content marketing campaign much easier to plan. If you know you have a special promotion hitting the streets, you can build in time for content creation rather than waiting until the last moment. In short, editorial calendars help you get more done, faster. Really.

Where does the budget come from?  Good writing costs time, money or both. If you’re planning to keep your SEO copywriting in house, understand that the person doing the writing needs time to actually do the writing. Or if you’re outsourcing, make sure that you allocate a reasonable budget (and “reasonable” depends on your target audience, your brand and your particular SEO challenges.) Although you may be tempted to pay the cheapest price you can for content, really think about that move before you start hiring copywriters. You don’t have to pay $2,000 per page for copy, but you do want to hire someone who can show proven results. And those folks cost a little bit more. Consider hiring a Certified SEO Copywriter to ensure that your writer understands both conversion-driven copywriting and SEO – and can produce quality work.

Why don’t you look at new opportunities? Some companies get stuck in a rut, churning out the same type of copy month after month. Sure, articles and newsletters and press releases are great. But what about trying Twitter? Or starting a LinkedIn group? Or uploading video? Testing a new content marketing channel can breathe new life into your campaign – and often, connect you with new customers that you wouldn’t have obtained through your standard channels.

How will you know if it’s working? How are you measuring page success? Rankings? Conversions? A reduction in bounce rate? If you don’t have analytics set up on your Website, do it now. Right now. And for goodness sake, please allow your SEO copywriter to review the analytics (and if they don’t understand analytics, you may want to consider hiring another copywriter.)

It’s true that starting a new SEO content marketing campaign can feel overwhelming at first – especially if folks are too focused on the “big picture” and forget those pesky implementation details. But once you’ve mastered the “5-W’s and 1-H” of SEO copywriting, your planning will be a little bit easier – and the implementation won’t be quite as painful. Good luck!