Authority Site Overhaul Case Study #3: Creating a Framework for Content Production
If you haven’t been following along with the case study, here are all posts in order:
(Password for all posts is NoHatDigital)
Firstly – we know we mentioned last week we’d be going over product validation in this week’s update. We’re actually still working on that, so instead, this week we’ll be going over how we structure our content creation process – and we’ll be giving you access to all our template documents so you can use the same model if you wish.
Our content strategy for LearnU is one part of the Pareto Portfolio approach. Over the next couple of months, we’ll be performing KW research, looking for some not-so-competitive keywords, and trying to rank for them.
As mentioned previously, our goal is to create content that will monetize through Adsense with a minimum 500% annual ROI. Each piece of content costs us $20, so that means on average we expect to make $100/yr per article. At a $25 average RPM, and approximately 1.5 pageviews per visitor, this means each piece of content needs to generate an average of 222 unique visitors per month. This is the main thrust of this approach.
The strategy also involves seeing if we can produce any viral content, as well as creating linkbait/linkbuilding content – but the majority of the new content that you see on LearnU will be in an attempt to rank. I think we mentioned we’ll split these forms of content 70:15:15.
To begin with, we’re definitely focused on trying to scale up creation of content that’s targeted at uncompetitive KWs. In fact, if you’ve visited LearnU recently, you may have noticed a few new articles.
- How to Concentrate on Studying: 15 Tips to Learn How to Stay Focused while Studying
- How to Become a Radiologist
- How to Outline a Textbook: How to Take Notes from Textbook Effectively
- How to Become a Hedge Fund Manager
Pay particular attention to ‘How to Become a Radiologist‘ – this article has been updated based on the KW research and content creation guides linked to in this article. We will soon be updating the rest of the articles to follow this model.
As you’ve probably noticed, these new articles fall into two broad themes.
- KWs related to Studying
- KWs relating to Careers
We’re interested in KWs related to Studying because we want to build college-age audience of the site to the point where it becomes interesting to think about pursuing the monetization overhaul we discussed last week.
We’re interested in Career related keywords because they tend to have higher than normal CPCs, and because there are an extremely large number of careers to write about.
Here’s an example – the search term How to Become an Underwater Welder has 140 search volume and a CPC of $6.00. This surprises me because most people have never heard of Underwater Welding at all (present company included).
That being said, Career related KWs are typically also dominated by a few sites, so we’re going to post a few of these and see how they rank, and then re-evaluate.
The Importance of Good SOPs
The first thing we did when deciding on a content strategy for LearnU was to create SOPs. SOP stands for Standard Operating Procedure, and they are absolutely essential if you want to scale your business – and this is doubly true if you want to be able to rely on VAs and outsourcing rather than employees.
Having good, clear, thorough SOPs can raise the standard of work that you get – because it’s basically a step-by-step guide so that you can get stuff done in exactly the way that you want/require. In the long run, having SOPs as a part of your business will also save you time – rather than rewriting a set of instructions for a writer or a VA for the 20th time, you send them the SOP.
That’s why it’s important to put a little effort into your SOP creation – if you do a good job the first time, you can keep using it over and over (at least until the process itself becomes invalid).
If you do a bad job on your SOP, you’ll find yourself rewriting instructions or correcting work from your freelancers constantly – because you didn’t provide them clear instructions of what you expect.
Our KW Research and Content Creation Process
So – since I went on a diatribe about the importance of SOPs, here’s ours:
These two documents explain:
- Exactly how we come up with initial KW ideas
- How we find lower competition KWs to target
- How we filter out unprofitable KWs
- The idea of focusing on KW concepts rather than exact match KWs
- Why we group and prioritize our KW targets for each piece of content
- How we create content outlines for outsourcing
- How we manage our content creators
- How we go about finding writers
I highly recommend you check out both of these SOPs – they’re pretty in depth resources that should help you understand how we think about producing content that Google will love.
Now that you’ve read over (or at least skimmed over) those SOPs, here’s our strategy for the next month:
30 Day Plan
Over the next month, we plan to produce 30 pieces of content – most of these articles will be outsourced. We have one writer on staff, and we’re currently in the process of auditioning a few new writers to see if any of them are suitable. We used some of the tips/guidelines that we suggested in the Content Creation SOP for finding writers, so you can refer to that to get an idea of what we did.
While we continue to produce content, we’ll also be keeping a close eye on how all the new content is doing – that means carefully watching the pages in Google Analytics, as well as Webmaster Tools.
We do this because it’s one of the areas where we can really apply the 80/20 principle.
Google Analytics allows us to see how much traffic the page is getting from search engines. This will mostly be long-tail. If we see a page is doing well we can promote it more (internal links, links from contributor sites, etc.).
WebmasterTools shows us how well we’re ranking on the slightly higher traffic primary keywords. As an example, say we post two articles targeting two equally competitive KWs today. A month later, Article #1 is ranking 11th in the SERPs, Article #2 is ranking 45th.
With just a little additional work (internal links, maybe a single guest/contributor post), that article will probably land on the first page, which means that it will start generating revenue. It would probably take at least twice the amount of work to try and get Article #2 to the front page.
Spotting Patterns in SERP Results
By keeping an eye on which new articles manage to rank and which don’t, we can spot patterns in what Google is looking for with regards to content in a specific niche.
For example, with career related KWs – does Google prefer posts with an embedded video, or a table of information? Does our content do better when we have more breadth of information or more depth of information? For these type of KWs, does google like number-heavy content or text-heavy content?
While we won’t have hard answers to these questions (correlation does not equal causation), it at least gives us a hunch that we can act on. With enough new content, you can probably start to really suss out what Google is looking for on a page that serves content in a specific niche.
Well, that’s pretty much it for this week. We were planning to provide more specific examples of new content, but because the product validation update was delayed till next week, the new content that we planned hasn’t been produced yet. Stay tuned to LearnU to see the results of our content creation process in real time instead!
In any case, the most important takeaways are as follows:
- Use SOPs for anything that you want to outsource in your business
- You can use our SOPs if you’re doing KW Research or working on Content Creation
- Once you’ve posted your new content, you should monitor it to see how it’s doing
- Once you have a few rankings winners among your new content, you can work on getting those to the front page – this is the fastest way to boost ROI on your time
- If the KWs you’re targeting are in a similar area, try to notice patterns in the content that’s doing well versus the content that’s not