Content Marketing Strategy - How To Get Started

Content strategy & TV shows surprisingly have a lot in common.

  • They take a lot of time and resources to produce
  • They have to be quality or the audience will leave
  • When done right it, they can be very profitable

So how do TV producers know if a brand new show will be a hit? Is it all luck?

Well, when Netflix was trying to decide what their first original series should be they looked at the main parts of the show, which are the content, director, and the main actor.

Netflix researched their user database and found that the British House of Cards show, director David Fincher, and actor Kevin Spacey all had very high ratings. Combining all three into one show made the American version of House of Cards a promising show that turned out to be a huge success!

House of Cards Success Strategy (Source)

Similar to the success of House of Cards, in order to develop a content strategy you need to find the main parts of a campaign which are:

  • What is the correct topic?
  • What websites and authors cover the topic the most?
  • What content has gotten the most engagement?

Content Creation Sweet Spot


How to Find the Sweet Spot

The best tool I’ve found to discover the most popular content on any topic is called Buzzsumo. In my experience starting with short broad terms like SEO, Cyber Security, or Car Insurance get the best results.

If you are not familiar with Buzzsumo, it is a tool that shows the content with the most shares and influencers around the topic searched.  For this post, I’ll be using cyber security as the example.

Buzzsumo Dashboard

Export to CSV

Buzzsumo is great for finding opportunities but not at analyzing trends and opportunities. In order to do this, I immediately export all the results to a CSV so I can start manipulating the data in Excel.

Buzzsumo Excel Export

If you want to become awesome at Excel, check out my friend Annie Cushings blog – her tutorials have helped me greatly improve my excel skills.

3 Ways To Know What Content To Create That People Will Love


1) Find Trends with a Word Cloud

Grab all the titles from the spreadsheet and drop them into a word cloud to quickly find trends in what words authors are using most to cover a topic. If it is a small batch of terms, I like using TagCrowd because it shows how often the word is used.  For larger data sets, I use Jason Davies tool, which makes the words bigger the more often they are used.

You can see in the image below that articles around cyber security tend to be positioned around hacking, business, and government.

Find topic trends in Buzzsumo with a word cloud

2) Find Trends in Publication Dates

When you export from Buzzsumo it gives you the most shared articles on a topic over the last 12 months. If you take the publication dates and chart them by month you can see if the topic has some seasonality.

Be sure to check out peaks to see if it is something seasonal (holidays, the Super Bowl, winter etc) OR just a hot topic that happened and will not repeat every year such as when Sony got hacked, when there are political elections, or when a famous celebrity passes away.

If you are able to find a seasonal trend around your topic you will know which months are best to publish your content in order to get the best response.

Cyber Security Monthly Coverage

3) Find Which Sites Cover the Topic Most

Out of all the tips this is the one I find most important! You’ll see what I mean.

Go to your spreadsheet and add 2 new columns:

1) Root Domain Column We want to see what the main website for each of the articles is. This alone is not very helpful, but just wait. The great thing about this formula is that it works in Excel or Gdocs.

Formula To Use – =LEFT([@url],SEARCH(“/”,[@url],9))

2) Times Covered Now that we know what the root domain is, we can count how many times that domain covers the topic! We can see if a website talks about Cyber Security 1x a year or 50x’s! The more they cover the subject the more likely they will want to be pitched on it.

Formula To Use – CountIF 

Now as you look at your data you can see what articles get the most shares and who covers the topic most often! As you can see from the screen shot below had the most social shares, but only covers the topic of cyber security once. In contrast gets a lot of social shares and covered the topic over 200 times in the last year!

This information is extremely helpful in knowing what topics to cover and how to pitch editors.

What websites cover the subject

Want More Content Marketing Tips?

If you are serious about content marketing I still have a few more tips up my sleeve!  Click below to download the rest of my tips on content marketing.

Download The 7 Ways to Find What Content to Create That Your Audience Will Love

What’s Hardest Part Of Content Marketing For You?

I want to make sure that I’m helping my readers with what they are struggling with. Let me know what the hardest part of content marketing in the comments and if I get enough of the same question I’ll be sure to blog about it soon.

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