The Content Marketing Process

This is the 7-step process I use to create content, drive traffic, and get first page rankings:

Content Marketing Process

Note: This process is a combination of information from other traffic generation experts and what I've learned through applying that info. I've taken this info, applied it to mine/my client's sites, and used this process to get repeated results. I hope it can do the same for you.

Here's a breakdown of each step:

Step 1. Find Proven Content

Instead of coming up with random content ideas, you want to choose topics that are already proven to do well. In other words, they’re proven to get social shares, backlinks, and rank well in search engines.


I like to use a tool called BuzzSumo to help me find topics that are proven to get social shares. To find linkable topics, simply install the MozBar Chrome/Firefox extension, do a Google search for your shareable topic, and look at how many backlinks those articles are getting.


If they've got a good amount of links, you've found a topic that's both shareable and linkable.

Now you need to decide which search term you want to rank for.

Step 2. Keyword Research

You should base every piece of content (that you're trying to rank) around one keyword. Here are the guidelines I typically follow:

  • It has over 300 monthly searches
  • It's a medium or long-tail keyword (usually 2-4 words long)
  • It's a keyword related to my site, products, and/or my services

My absolute favorite free tool is the Google Keyword Planner from Google Adwords. Simply sign up and access the planner. Then, choose the "Search for new keyword and ad group ideas" option.

keyword planner 1

It will bring you to this page:

keyword planner 2

Enter your keyword in the "Your product or service" section and click "Get Ideas."

Head over to the "Keyword ideas" tab, scroll down to the second section, and find a keyword that fits the criteria above.

keyword planner 3
keyword planner 4

Step 3. Competitive Analysis

competive analysis

In this step, you're going to analyze the content already ranking for that keyword. This will help you determine whether you can outrank what's there or whether that keyword is too competitive.

You want to look at:

  • The depth of the content
  • The quantity and quality of the backlinks they have
  • How good their on-page SEO is (Step 5)

If you think you can create better content than what's ranking and it isn't too competitive, move on to Step 4.

Step 4. Content Creation

Now it's time to figure out how to make your content better than what's ranking - and create it.

content creation

To make your content better, focus on these metrics:

  • Length
  • Depth of detail
  • User experience
  • Design
  • Overall quality of the content

The more value you provide with your content, the easier it will be to get social shares and backlinks.

Step 5. On-Page SEO

On-page SEO tells Google what your content is about. This is how you let search engines know which keyword you want to rank for.

Many people make the mistake of over-optimizing their content. This actually hurts your chances of ranking.

Don't stuff your keyword everywhere. Just make sure it's in your title, URL, the first 100 words, and one sub-heading. Then sprinkle it a few times in your content.

Step 6. Content Promotion

Now it's time to promote your content and drive traffic. This step is first and foremost about getting eyeballs on your content and social shares.

content promotion

Reach out to influencers to share your content. Post it in online communities like Reddit. Leverage LinkedIn groups and Google+ communities.

Promote your content like your website depends on it (because it does).

Step 7. Link Building

You've driven traffic, but most of this traffic comes in a short burst and then dies off.

This step is all about ranking your content in search engines to reap long-term, sustainable traffic that you don't have to maintain anymore.

For this, you need to build a solid backlink profile.

Link building has changed a lot over the years. Spammy, low-quality links don't cut it anymore.

Top-notch links will rank your content and help you drive traffic. Luckily for you, you already created a piece of content that's:

  • Proven to get backlinks
  • More valuable than the rest of the content out there on that topic

This makes link building much easier for you than it is for your competitors. The name of the game is finding link prospects where your content adds value to the page. In other words, it makes the page better.

link building

I like to use a resource called Drop My Link to help me find these premium link building opportunities.

To Recap...

To recap, here is the content marketing process that takes you from content creation, to driving traffic, to ranking in search engines:

  • Find content that's proven to be 1) shareable and 2) linkable.
  • Conduct keyword research and choose one keyword you want your content to rank for. 
  • Competitive analysis: Analyze the content already ranking on page one. If you can beat it, move on to the next step.
  • Figure out how to make your piece of content better than what's ranking - then create it.
  • Incorporate on-page SEO factors to tell Google what keyword you want to rank for.
  • Promote your content to drive traffic and get social shares.
  • Find link building opportunities and reach out.

Bonus step:

  • Rinse and repeat

After you've gone through this process, simply rinse and repeat for your next piece of content. This will grow your traffic exponentially as you continue to create content that gets shared on social media and ranks in search engines.

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Thanks for reading, and let me know if you need anything.

- Michael

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