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Implementing content marketing can be a game changer for your business. However, diving in headfirst and hoping for the best is not really the best approach, isn’t it? In fact, you need a content marketing plan if you want to ensure your campaigns’ success.
It can be a bit overwhelming to pinpoint where to focus your efforts when you’re just starting out, but content marketing for business doesn’t have to be a challenge. That’s why, in this post, I’m going to walk you through everything you need to know to understand content marketing and plan your strategy.
Ready to begin?
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A content marketing plan is the blueprint detailing the business goals and tactics necessary to create, promote and distribute valuable and relevant content that will attract and engage a specific audience.
There are several types of assets that can be created as part of your content plan, but the choice will ultimately depend on your industry, audience preferences, and, of course, your marketing goals. Some of the most common content formats you can leverage in your plan include:
Just like you wouldn’t visit a new country without checking a map first, you shouldn’t implement new strategies without a plan. But if you need better reasons, here’s why you need a content plan:
You can determine the necessary budget and timelines, and identify the best tools to create, distribute, and promote your content. This way, it’s easier to allocate your resources effectively.
To begin content creation, you’ll have to define and thoroughly understand your target audience. By doing this, you’ll be able to create content that resonates with them and engage them.
With a content marketing plan, you can better organize and schedule your content production in order to ensure consistency and maintain a high standard of quality.
You can keep track of the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will allow you to determine the success of your efforts and make data-driven decisions.
A plan will help you get everyone involved in your content marketing team aligned with the overall strategy by clarifying roles, responsibilities, and workflows.
To set your content plan up for success, you first need to determine the who, why, what, when, where, and how of your content. Let me show you how:
The key to an effective content marketing campaign is to create relevant and valuable content, but to do that, you need to first understand the people that will be consuming it. So, you need to collect data regarding their demographics, pain points, preferences, and needs.
How? There are several options: interviewing clients, looking through your contacts database to find patterns, or using form fields that capture key information on your website. Any information you can find will guide your content creation process and help you refine your pieces.
You might think this is obvious and maybe even pointless, but defining your goals is the foundation of a successful content marketing plan. So, it’s important that you take the time to ask yourself exactly what you want to achieve with your content efforts.
Do you want to boost brand awareness, drive website traffic, educate your audience, or increase sales? Maybe all of the above? Well, think about that and make a list of all your goals. Then, organize them by priority to better decide where to focus your resources first.
Once your goals are clear, you can now select the type of content that will help you achieve them more easily. Most businesses start with blog posts or social media content, but you might want to explore other formats depending on what you want to achieve.
For example, case studies and e-books are great for generating qualified leads, whereas videos and infographics are wonderful tools to increase brand awareness and engagement.
Other than your aims, you should also consider your budget, team skills, and timelines to narrow your focus and create both an effective and efficient content marketing campaign. Then, brainstorm some ideas!
As I’ve mentioned before, consistency is quite important when it comes to developing a successful content marketing plan. But do you know why’s that so? First and foremost because it helps you plan and execute your distribution strategies more easily. Moreover, it also allows you to meet audience expectations and, thus, build trust and credibility.
However, I know you might have a lot on your plate already, so instead of manually keeping track of publishing dates, you could use a content calendar. You’ll find many options online that will help you plan, organize, and schedule your content plan to ensure timely delivery of content.
Towards the end of your content marketing plan, you’ll have to decide which platforms you’ll publish your content on. Here’s another stage where audience research will come in handy, as it’ll help find the best content channels. Does your target audience often hang out on Facebook? Then that’s where your content will be most likely to achieve its potential.
However, if you already have an established presence and engaged audience on a specific platform, then that’s the best place to start.
How do you know whether your content plan is working? Easy, by tracking metrics. Alright, that’s not actually easy, but it isn’t that difficult either.
When you’re first starting, you can choose KPIs like traffic, engagement, reach, time on page, lead generation, and conversion rates to determine your content’s performance. Depending on the type of content your producing, you’ll either need social media analytics tools, Google Analytics, or other analytics tools.
However, it’s not enough to simply collect the data —you have to analyze it and understand it as well. That way, you’ll be able to identify your content’s strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.
Leveraging content marketing is not as challenging as it sounds, as long as you have a solid content marketing plan in place. With a detailed roadmap, it’s much easier to reach your destination without running into costly issues. Yes, it might take some time and effort, but the results are well worth it, in my opinion.
Hopefully, the information in this post will serve as a good starting point for your content marketing campaign. If you already have your business goals clear, all that’s left for you now is to research your audience and find the perfect content type and distribution channel for them.