Having a content marketing strategy for your business is crucial. Such a strategy will help your business with brand exposure, getting leads, and sales. But with so much information out there on content marketing, it can be daunting. To help you, our team has put together this helpful guide that shows you how to create a content marketing plan in 10 steps.
So, What is Content Marketing Anyway?
Content marketing is a form of marketing aimed at creating, publishing, and distributing content for targeted audiences online. It usually involves a combination of different content types like videos, blogs, and social media posts. Content marketing is everywhere these days as content has become a vital part of a business’s success. Companies are using content to drive brand awareness and to sell products and services. A business must be visible online to grow, stand out, and prosper. And content makes you visible.
Creating Your Content Marketing Plan Step by Step
Not all content marketing plans are created equally. Some are great, some are average, and some are just bad. We want to ensure you have a great content marketing plan that gets you a high ROI and sets you apart from your competition. Whether you already have such a plan in place or are just starting out, it’s always a good idea to learn as much as you can about content marketing. After all, as with any other marketing, it’s a moving target. You want to stay up-to-date, innovative, and engaging for your customers.
Step 1 – Know Your Purpose
This may sound cliché, but it’s essential to know your purpose—that is, what is your business’s overall mission behind your content plan? Do you want to get more leads and sales? Start conversations with consumers? Put your brand message out there? It could be all of these, which is fine, but you must approach it tactically and have a content strategy in place. This is where you must get crystal clear and set clear goals for your business and its growth and expansion. In this first step, you should also clarify your core values as a business, along with your overall vision and mission. These should come through your content.
Step 2- Know Your Audience
You might have the best content marketing plan in the world, but if you don’t know your audience or make the mistake of just targeting everyone and anyone, it’s pointless. Every type of content you produce must be created with a target audience in mind. Know your buyer persona. You must understand your audience inside out. You begin with understanding key points like age, gender, education level, and income. Then you dive deeper and understand their pain points, struggles, and establish how your products or services can solve their problems. Remember, consumers are always searching for solutions and are more likely to engage and buy from a brand they can identify with.
Step 3- Decide on Content Types
Once you know your audience, you must know what type of content they are looking for and respond to. For instance, if they are more interested in blog posts than in videos, focus your attention more on producing blog posts. Always think of what will give you the best ROI. You need to test out a few content types, especially in the beginning, to see what works and what doesn’t. These days you face no shortage of content, with the definition continually expanding to incorporate things like:
- White papers
- Case studies
- Email newsletters
- Social media posts
- And much more
Step 4- Choose the Right Platform
Many businesses take the shotgun approach (everything and anything) when choosing a platform to put content on. This is the worst thing you can do. Be strategic and place your content on the media that your customers are on. LinkedIn? Facebook? Twitter? Different customers look for online content in different places. So, you need a targeted approach. It’s a well-established fact that many B2B businesses do well with content on LinkedIn. Research your business. It can be tempting to be on every single platform as you want to spread your message far and wide. But it’s best to take a targeted approach and stick to a few platforms that your customers are on. Then look at repurposing content to further spread your brand message.
Step 5- Incorporate Keywords
We all know how important SEO and keywords are online. Every piece of content produced online must have proper keywords for ranking. That’s why you need to know what keywords your audience would use in their online searches to look for your products or services. Start with making a basic list of keywords, including any variations around your business. Get expert SEO services for more in-depth insights. Incorporate these keywords into the content you produce. This ensures an increase in organic traffic.
Step 6- Establish Brand Tone of Voice
All brands have a personality that their audience can recognize and identify with. Successful brands that stand the test of time inject their personality into every single piece of content they produce. Your brand tone of voice could be fun and quirky, playful, formal, casual, etc. What is your brand tone of voice? Start with your own personality and core values. Then look at your customers. What sort of brand tone of voice will they identify with? Which voice will they not identify with? It’s important to figure these out before you start producing content.
Step 7- Have a Consistent Content Schedule
Consistency is one of the keys to success in life. It’s how you build and sustain momentum. It’s no different with your content marketing plan. Customers want consistency with brands and are likely to go elsewhere (to your competitor) if you fail to give it to them. Implement a consistent content schedule. This ensures that your publishing content regularly and publishing on relevant platforms. Your content should be structured (not random) and ideally should be planned for: daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. If you’re not consistent, customers will forget you. Doing a LinkedIn post once a month isn’t going to get you far. Aim at least for 2-3 times a week. There are many great online tools to help you create your content schedule.
Step 8- Review and Revise Results
This is all about studying the data to track results. You can see what worked and what didn’t. Tools like Google Analytics help you do this. You’re able to see your click-through rates, bounce rates, website visitors, customer comments, etc. These provide you with invaluable data that you can put to good use in your content strategy. By reviewing the results, you’re able to revise and improve your strategy. You should be reviewing every few months. Sometimes, even more, depending on campaigns you’re running, time of year, trends taking place, etc. Never be lax with tracking results. It must be a common occurrence. Or else you run the risk of just putting out content that gets you no ROI.
Step 9 – Keep Innovating (Try New Things)
Many businesses run the risk of being stagnant by staying in their comfort zone. In an age of such rapid changes, you’ll get left behind. It’s a guarantee! So, you’ve got to keep constantly innovating by staying on top of trends and trying out new things. This could be new technologies, recent content trends, new platforms, etc. You could also reach out to your audience and ask what they like to see when it comes to content. Then just continue tracking results, refining, and reworking your strategy.
Step 10 – Competitor Analysis
Long before the digital age, businesses studied their competition to see what they were doing better, worse, or just the same as them. Often, they would send people undercover to spy on the competition. Now, times have changed, and we are still spying on the competition, but it’s all done digitally, thankfully. Along with checking out your competitor’s online presence, there is a host of digital tools that you can use to learn more in-depth information about your competition. Spying has been taken to a whole new level. Competitor analysis is invaluable for helping you plan out a content strategy when it comes to content.
By implementing these ten steps, you’ll have a highly practical and highly actionable content marketing plan that will yield results for your business. To find out more great content marketing advice, contact the experts at Content Callout.