Skye Sonnega is the senior SEO analyst and copywriter for Uproer, a performance driven SEO and SEM agency. Skye is a St. Olaf grad (Um Ya Ya!), and is new to the St. Paul, MN, area. In addition to being an SEO expert and writer, she has a cat named Ferguson and is an avid alpine skier and racer.
The goal of Skye’s presentation was to demonstrate how to “level up your content calendars with topics that speak to the masses, from an SEO perspective.”
The following is an overview of her presentation, as well as key takeaways. You can view the full event replay on the SMBMad Facebook page!
Creating an SEO Timeline
During her presentation, Skye talked about how she interacts with content as an SEO. In SEO, she is primarily creating blog content strategies and landing pages for client’s websites. Her timeline for creating a piece of content includes:
- Meeting with the client
- Sourcing topic ideas (the focus of this presentation)
- Conduct keyword research
- Build a funnel-based content strategy
Skye also talked about the benefits of topic sourcing, including her thoughts on creating “human-centered” content, nailing the brand voice, and creating a strong value proposition.
Creating a Customer Profile
Before embarking on topic research, Skye suggests first creating a customer profile to define and clarify your target audience. This step may require some research of its own to make sure you are creating a profile that is accurate (and not just what you think it is).
Topic Sourcing Tactics
Once your customer profile is in place, there are some solid topic sourcing strategies you can practice. The information gleaned through these strategies can be written about, expanded upon — and repurposed on multiple channels like your blog and social media, as well as working effectively as an email campaign.
- Use Reddit, a public online community that is a great tool for finding new content ideas.
- Google’s “People Also Ask” tool, which are questions pooled from actual human beings.
- Blog and social comments: if your blog post and/or social media posts have solid engagement, you can tap into the comments to source new topic ideas.
- Interviewing customer service and success teams, sales and marketing teams — and of course customers — is a great way to source relevant topics.
- Utilize company forums (like a public Slack forum) where actual customers are asking questions and sharing thoughts.
Creating Your Strategy — the Hub and Spoke Model
The hub and spoke model is an efficient and easy way to organize your content strategy.
Essentially, the hub is your main theme for ideas you want to use and expand upon. Think of them like big buckets.
The spokes are the subtopics within each of the hubs. Skye uses keywords to create her spokes, which is excellent because in a short amount of time she’s able to identify the search volume (how many people are actually making search queries) for a particular subtopic.
Once the hubs and spokes are in place, the next up is developing your spokes into topic ideas.
Here’s a link to Skye’s Hub & Spoke Template resource.
- Human-centered content is critical to successfully communicating with one’s audience. Skye refers to this as “empathetic content that speaks directly to your customers and their needs.”
- Reddit can help put you on the pulse of what actual people who fit your customer profile are talking about.
- Referring to the comments on your blog and social media can be an excellent way to source topics that you know are already important to your audience!
- Insightful questions to ask during an interview include:
- What issues are the customer(s) currently facing?
- What social/cultural/political trends is the customer following?
- What are we solving for the customer?
- How to find RELEVANT forums:
- Join Slack communities related to your product or service.
- Do a Google search based on your audience or topic.
- Follow Reddit threads.
- Keywords Everywhere is a low-cost, simple way to start doing keyword research as you work through this process.
Want to learn more?
Watch the full event replay.
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Thanks to SMBMad volunteer Joey Guido for writing this month’s event recap.