How to Build your First Content Marketing Plan for your Business
“It’s not the best content that wins, it’s the best-promoted content.”
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant content. And to attract retain a clearly defined audience and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective by the minute; as a forward-thinking marketer and there has to be a better way. First of all, pitching for your products or services, you are providing truly good and effective content.
As marketing has moved away from the banner-advertising and as consumers have developed an eagerness for companies. A new player has stepped into the marketing game: content marketing. Now a buzzword in all digital marketing campaigns has arrived. Content marketing offers a way to tell your story in a brand value-adding manner through blogs, social media, and more. Truly effective content marketing uses a genuine voice to tell creative stories that inspire consumer trust.
If you’re looking to promote your brand or business online, you can’t afford to ignore the power of content marketing. And in just a few steps, you can quickly establish a content marketing plan to guide your marketing efforts. And can help you to establish a creative, invaluable, and unique online presence.
1. Find Your Audience
First of all, start blasting your content into the virtual world, you need to consider who you want to target. Even more, the audience should include your primary customer base, but you should also think about ways to reach new consumers through content. Dream big: What does your ideal audience look like? Where do they spend time online?
2. Learn Audience Patterns
Once you’ve determined who you want to target, the next step is finding out where – and how – they spend their time. By learning more about their patterns and interests, you’ll be better able to make a strong impact. Explore social media networks where your target audience is active, and ensure you have active profiles on those sites. Fill your content with SEO-rich keywords that target your exact audience base. Make sure that any SEO tactics you employ are organic – both search engines and consumers are becoming more difficult to fool.
3. Set Goals for Content
What are the aims of your content marketing plan? Do you want to increase your customer base by 20%? Attract a younger demographic? Build your social media followers? If you spend some time now articulating your aims, you’ll have a much better sense of what kind of content you should focus on. And, the more concrete your goals are, the easier it will be to act on them.
4. Define Content
Now that you have a target audience and clear goals, make sure that all of your content aims to check those boxes and yield positive results. You want to meet the needs of your audience while also producing content that has integrity and will build your brand’s profile and reputation. Your content should also help define the “voice” of your brand, be it professional, off-the-cuff, quirky, etc.
5. Set a Content Schedule
A strong editorial calendar will make it much easier for you to manage your content marketing plan on a day-to-day level. You should aim to map out your content 6 to 12 months in advance (leaving room for flexibility, of course!). Think about how to time-peg your content to important company events, such as sales or product launches. In addition, map out major holidays and think about how your content might capitalize on these. You’ll also want to build in room for evergreen content, which is more shareable and has a longer shelf-life.
6. Start Writing!
You’re ready! Now get to work. Bonus tip: once you’ve created your killer content, we’ve collected some great ideas for distribution in our posts on increasing website traffic and tips for blog marketing.
Tips to boost your Content Marketing
1. Update that Blog
Blogging demands lots of energy. You have to choose a topic, outline a post, create a magnetic headline, and actually write the post. If your blog hasn’t seen any activity in the last few weeks, it’s time to update it. Stale blogs fade into extinction quickly.
Maybe you don’t have time to write new content. If you hire professional writers, you can benefit from their expertise and research skills. Plus, you don’t have to do the heavy lifting.
2. Use mixed Media
Adding front infographics and interactive web pages to Instagram stories and Facebook Live means you don’t have to rely exclusively on text for your digital content marketing strategy. In fact, you shouldn’t. Xerox’s research showed that colored graphics made people 80 percent more likely to read a piece of content.
You don’t have to use video, audio, images, and infographics in every piece you write, but use these tools when they’re right for the topic.
Try creating microsites as well. These small sections of your website offer information on one specific topic. Infographics and interactive graphics work particularly well for this purpose: They draw in visitors and keep them engaged, which means they stay on the page longer.
3. Educate your Audience
People love to learn. We live in a do-it-yourself universe, and the Internet revolves around educational content. That’s why companies continue to churn out blog posts, white papers, and articles as part of their content marketing strategies.
However, articles aren’t the only way to teach. Everyone learns differently, so why should you create the same content for each of your potential customers?
4. Conduct A/B Testing
When you want to know whether a piece of content resonates with your readers, use A/B testing.
For instance, you might write two versions of an email marketing campaign, then divide your list in half. The first group gets one email campaign and the other receives the second.
You can measure open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates this way. You’ll learn which emails do best in terms of return-on-investment so you can tailor your strategy to replicate those results.
5. Establish your Content Guide
People have become increasingly perceptive, especially when it comes to brand awareness. Your customers can tell when your messaging conflicts with your professed values, goals, beliefs, and style. That’s why style guides prove essential for keeping up your content marketing game.
A style guide covers several factors related to your company and brand:
- Tone of voice
- Linking preferences
- Spelling and grammar specifics
- Logo styling and colors
- Font preferences
- Overall goals (e.g. to encourage, entertain, or educate)
- Image preferences
6. Optimize your Content
SEO optimization isn’t dead, despite what you might have heard. Just like other aspects of digital content marketing, SEO continues to evolve, and it remains relevant.
Instead of stuffing your content with keywords, use long-tail keywords sparingly. Choose specific actionable keywords that enjoy low competition and high search volume. They’re harder to find but more valuable for your content. However, don’t forget that people trump search engines. Write for your audience—not for Google.