BLACKSHIP ONE PRESENTS…
Our Content Marketing Plan For 210 Pieces of Content in 1 Month
Learn more about our content blitz, a content marketing plan designed to produce a high volume of content in a short period of time. In this case study we’ll show you how we produced 210 pieces of content in one month.
The Content Marketing Plan We Use To Scale Our Content Inventory Quickly
If you’ve searched for something like “how many blog posts should I write / month”, sure enough you’ve come across some ambiguous content saying something like “it depends”.
However, if you’re in the process of developing a content marketing plan for your blog, “it depends” isn’t a very helpful answer.
Luckily for you, at our content marketing agency, we need to set more concreate content production goals four clients. Therefore, in today’s blog post I want to give you a more definite answer in the hopes that it will help you with own own content marketing efforts.
We looked at the web properties that we either own or manage for clients, and we looked at their content inventory in relation to their search ranking and organic traffic. We noticed a direct correlation between the quantity of posts a website has and how well that site ranks in organic search.
However, content depth itself is not really to be credited for higher ranking sites. Although you can often draw a direct line between content depth and traffic, it’s mostly because having more high-end content gives you more opportunity to collect the necessary signals you need to send Google in order to be favorably ranked.
So what is this golden number?
We’ve found the golden number sits somewhere between 70-100 pieces of content. At this depth of content you’ll feel your website starting to gain traction pretty quickly.
In our experiences managing client websites at our content marketing agency, we notice some really nice traffic boosts after we produce 70 or more pieces of content. Once you pass this threshold it’s almost as if you trigger some “if statement” within Google’s algorithm and they start treating you more favorably.
The anatomy of a content blitz
At our content marketing agency we work with many different content growth strategies. We often work with clients who want to build up their content inventory fast. These clients know that new content requires time before it ranks in organic search. In fact, it needs quite a bit of time. Ahrefs recently did a study where they found that the average age of a website on the first page or organic search is, on average, over 3 years old.
In fact, they also found that only 5.7% of new pages will rank within the first year. This means that many businesses want to build their initial content inventory quickly so their content has the necessary time to “marinate” in organic search.
At Blackship.One, we call this process of producing a massive amount of content as quickly as possible a content blitz. Producing content quickly, allows us to get the content producing revenue for our clients much faster. We begin by positioning our bottom of the funnel content in organic search first, then we prop up those listings by investing heavily in link bait (often data posts, tools, calculators, definitive guides or original research). We do this because earning high quality backlinks from authoritative news sites and bloggers is essential, but it’s hard to do with BOFU content alone. Link baiting allows you to expedite the process.
However, producing content quickly can’t come at the expense of quality. We find that one writer can produce a maximum of 1 high-end piece of content per day, which means 1 writer can produce 20 pieces of content in one month if they produce one article / day during a regular work week.
If you have your writers work on weekends, you can increase this number to roughly 30 pieces of content / month. If you have 2 writers on your team, you can scale this to 60 pieces of content / month. You get the idea.
For our content marketing agency, most of our writers produce content for client sites. That said, as a content marketing agency, it’s only fitting that we practice what we preach and therefore we produce content for our own blog as well.
In our first month we produced 210 pieces of content. However, much if this content is repurposed content from 30 in-depth blog posts we created early on. We simply re-purpose 30 the content on 7 different channels.
We think of it like fishing. The more lines we have in the water, the more fish we’ll catch.
With one blog post we’ll do the following:
Publish on our blog
Publish on YouTube
Create an in-depth Twitter thread
Create an in-depth Facebook story
Create an in-depth LinkedIn story
Create a detailed story on a relevant sub-reddit
Create an Instagram story
This allows to to distribute the same content, framed differently for each channel.
We do this for 3 months
The way we like to approach content growth is by engaging in a content blitz campaign for 3 months. This allows us to produce a large volume of content (primarily bottom of the funnel (BOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU) and link bait content).
With this content in place, we surround the keywords we’re targeting and then we slowly start to add content a little higher up in the content funnel to help us strengthen our positions.
Generally speaking, at the end of a content blitz, we turn down production a notch. This isn’t to say that once the initial inventory is built, that their content marketing campaign is over. It just means that by producing a huge amount of content early on, we can then allow those pages the time to marinate and instead focus our energies less on production and more on awareness and distribution.
After the main inventory of content is created, a company can scale back their publishing campaign and publish content at a more reasonable speed (for example, 1 or 2 blog posts / week).
Why we focus heavily on video content early on
Previously, I mentioned that we’re producing 30 blog posts and 30 corresponding videos for each piece of content. We’re doing a split between text and video because traditionally text based content has been the biggest driver of our growth. However, due to an increasingly competitive search environment, it can take longer to have your blog posts rank.
That said, because fewer people are producing video content, we find it easier to rank our videos much faster than our long form blog content.
Similarly, we’ve also found that video, when embedded near the top of our long form blog content, dramatically improves a page’s engagement metric (lower bounce rate, deeper scroll depth, longer time on site etc.) which in turn sends a really positive signal to Google. For us and our clients, adding video to the top of our blog posts almost always results in much quicker organic rankings.
Therefore, for every piece of written content we’re creating, we’re going to be publishing a corresponding video tutorial that we’ll optimize for YouTube.
Now obviously, because we are just starting this process now, I can’t share the results with you yet, but we are publishing the results from this blitz over on our content marketing course page (which is free), so head over there if you’re curious to follow along.
That said, I’ve confident this works, because I’ve done this for 20 years.
The last site we applied this content marketing plan on scaled from 6000 to 168,000 organic page views in 6 months.
This isn’t our first time at the growth rodeo! Let me give you a more detailed breakdown of how we approach the organization and planning of a content blitz. In order to produce this much content this quickly, you need to be really well organized.
Let me share with you some of the processes we use at our content marketing agency to help us keep our sanity during a content blitz.
Good content marketing plans script out the month in advance
The goal of course isn’t to simply produce a lot of content for the sake of producing a lot of content. Our plan is to create content strategically, that will allow us to position ourselves for quick wins early on. However, in order to do this, we need to map out a content strategy.
For us it takes 2 – 3 days of intense content brainstorming. We use a modified version of the design sprint framework which is heavily influenced by both design thinking and agile workflows. This content ideation framework gives us the space we need to take risks, while at the same time making us accountable to results.
Using a modified version of the design sprint framework, we map out one month of content in advance.
After the month is complete, we conduct a debrief and retrospective where we analyze what worked and what didn’t. Because the process is influenced by the agile process, we can make the necessary modifications before jumping into month two. This helps us ensure that our content marketing campaign is more efficient with each passing month.
We’re mathematical in our approach to picking target keywords. We also have enough experience to know which keywords to target based on a website’s domain authority. It’s all about picking races where you actually stand a chance of getting on the podium. If you have a Honda, the last thing you want to do is sign up for an F1 race. There is nothing wrong with having a Honda, just make sure you’re racing against other Hondas.
Content marketing plans needs to be driven by processes
Similarly, we’ve also streamlined the entire content production process with a series of well organized SOPs (standard operating procedures) so everyone on the team knows exactly what needs done and when.
Knowing how long each steps takes, allows us to hit our content development targets without exception. The only reason we can produce content at such high volumes without sacrificing quality is because we have virtually no bottlenecks within our systems.
We’ve produced content for the last 20 years and as a content marketing agency, we need to have content production systems mastered.
Let me give you a really top level overview of how this works.
Use flowcharts to visualize your content production process
We use flow charts to help us visually see the steps that a piece of content must pass through before it gets complete.
If we zoom out to the highest level we have 3 primary system:
1. Content planning
2. Content production
3. Content distribution
However, each of these nodes have multiple levels of nested sub-nodes. Now I’m not going to show you the entire workflow, but let me give you the general overview.
Essentially, each person on our team will be responsible for intimately understanding the steps and SOPs contained within the nodes that are relevant to their specific jobs. For example, notice in our writing node, a writer can view the nested sub-nodes that make up the entire content writing process.
You can drill deeper into any of these nested nodes to see the detailed SOPs associated with each sub-node. This gives our content writers, strategists and managers a perfectly structured process that we’ve optimized to produce results for our clients. This ensures our entire team knows exactly what is expected of them, and our client’s can be sure to be delivered consisted results time and time again. We don’t want to deliver “hit or miss” results and we never want our client’s to be surprised by a deliverable.
As a content marketing agency this is important because not only does it keep our clients happy and help keep ourselves organized, but more importantly it helps us identify and fix bottlenecks within our systems. For example, notice that each nested node is given an efficiency score. An efficiency score of 100 means that we don’t need to look at this system at all. It runs on autopilot and our team knows exactly what is expected from them.
However, if a sub-node is at 80%, this means this node has not been perfected yet. Our writers might still have questions about a process or might make small mistakes during content development. When mistakes pop up, we first identify which node the mistakes fall under and then we try to better design that node (usually by fixing the SOPs within it). This ensures that the same mistakes don’t happen twice.
Essentially, an efficiency score shows us how well we’ve optimized an internal process. Since we’re visual thinkers, we also color code everything so we can quickly see when a process is not fully optimized. Red represents nodes were we have fires burning, orange nodes require improvement, and green nodes are near perfectly optimized.
For demonstration purposes, I’m showing you a sample workflow with some processes which are not fully optimized.
Within any complex system, you’ll often have inefficiencies or fires that need to be put out. You need structured processes like this in place, because when dealing with complex systems, it’s often hard to identify the root cause of a problem. Or, if you have multiple fires burning at the same time it’s easy to feel confused and overwhelmed. With a system like this in place, it’s easy to both identify the problem and deal with it quickly.
These systems are the main reason why it’s possible for us to create 210 pieces of content / month. Over the years we’ve systematized every single detail and created every SOP imaginable to ensure the entire content process from idea conceptualization through to content distribution is 100% streamlined and optimized.
Building these internal systems has taken us years. But now that they are built, they are fairly easy to manage. Today, we’re not really putting out fires any longer, we’re mostly just focused on optimizing our content production and content marketing systems.
So that’s an overview of how we use our content production framework to help us avoid bottlenecks in the content production process by identifying inefficiencies. Now, let’s talk about time blocking content.
Time blocking & content production
Let’s zoom in and take a closer look at another feature of our content production nodes. Notice, each node also has an estimated time attached to it. We always time how long it takes each person on our team to complete a certain task. When we first started our content marketing agency, we we maniacal about timing every little detail. We would also time different people doing the same task and we’d always ask what we could do on our end to make them cross the finish line quicker. While this process of timing and refining slowed us down at fist, once we got the system optimized, it would save us a huge amount of time.
Timing everything helps us determine the average time it takes to complete the tasks with any given sub-node. It also allows us to put up guardrails on a processes and helps us justify the time we force our team to complete a task within.
At our content marketing agency, we treat every project as if it were our own and therefore we give a generous amount of time to our team in order to produce exceptional work. However, over the years, we’ve learnt how long each tasks takes to complete (within a range of course). Therefore, we don’t allow our writers to set their own speed. We’ve tested thousands of writers over the years and we know how long each task takes to complete. By giving writers clearly defined time limits, each writers is forced to work within a time block and produce exceptional work within that time.
Now it’s time to distribute the content
Up until this point we’ve talked about how we plan our content strategy using a modified version of the design sprint (which you can learn more about by watching the video on our homepage).
We’ve also talked about how we use nested nodes and detailed SOPs during content production to keep us organized and on track.
However, once the content is produced, it needs to enter into the third stage of the process, which is distribution.
Here, you’ll see an entirely different set of sub-nodes for our content distribution process. Content distribution is particularly important for younger domains with lower DA (domain authority). This is because Google has a domain authority bias, so you’ll need to work extra hard to overcome that bias by producing exceptional content that is capable of earning links.
The way you’ll often earn these links is by creating the right type of content and then distributing that content on the right channels at the right times.
There is a bit of luck involved in this process, but we’ve managed to systemetize it the best we can. In fact, we’ve written an entire blog post on the processes involved with content distribution and we’ve even designed a free template you can download which includes over 50 channels where you can distribute your content online for free.
Content planning conclusion
I’ve hope you’ve enjoyed this article on content marketing planning. And remember, if you’re looking for a content marketing agency to help you scale your website, reach out to us today for a free no pressure 30 minute consultation. We’re a friendly and approachable team and we’d be happy to talk about where we see hidden content growth opportunities for your company.
Thank you for stopping by today.
We Help You Grow Through Content
Blackship.one is a content marketing agency that helps hi-tech brands grow through the use of our organic growth playbook. We help with content planning, strategy, writing, publishing and SEO optimization. If you want to learn more about how we scaled a recent project to over 160,000 organic page views / month in 6 months, watch the video to the right. 🤝