Content marketing is hugely important and forms the foundations of other marketing activity; it’s the basis of much inbound marketing and the backbone of SEO. By creating engaging content, you're helping put your brand in prime position to attract and convert potential customers.
Despite this, in 2016, only 37% of UK marketers had a documented content marketing strategy or plan.
It’s vital to have a content marketing strategy in order to ensure your efforts are focussed, trackable and driving results. Ultimately, your content strategy is the part of your wider marketing plan that relates to the management and creation of content and media whether that’s written, visual, or downloadable.
So how do you create a content marketing plan that works?
The goals and objectives for your business should be established before you start pulling together your content marketing plan. This will help you to understand what’s working well and what isn’t later down the line. You’ll be able to monitor the impact of your content marketing strategy and delivery against your objectives, KPIs, budgets, and highlight where improvements can be made.
Content marketing needs a sustained effort to generate the best results, but if it’s clear that certain elements aren’t working as well as you thought, it’s important to find out why. In these instances, figure out what the problems or hold-ups might be and see what changes can be made to improve the effectiveness of your content marketing.
Know your audience
In order to create a content marketing plan that works, you need to know your audience and you need to know them well. Research your ideal customers - find out what they’re searching for, what problems or issues they have, and what language and keywords they’re likely to use.
You may find you have a number of different audience groups - or buyer personas - and you’ll have to bear this in mind when planning and creating content to ensure it’s tailored to your audiences. Not all of your content will be relevant and of interest to all of your potential customers, but in these cases it should appeal specifically to a segment of your audience you’ve identified.
Knowing your audience will also help you identify where your content should be distributed by helping you understand where your ideal customers hang out on and offline - and the channels which are most likely to reach them so you can focus your efforts in these areas.
Looking at trends will help you see what kinds of content are popular and therefore guide certain elements of your content marketing plan. However, it won’t aid your brand in standing out from the crowd or the competition. Bear trends in mind, but be sure to add your own unique touch to your content - that will add value and engage your customers.
For instance, video is an increasingly popular marketing method (for good reasons) so try to think about how your business can use video in a new or interesting way that reflects your brand and its products or services.
Stick to a schedule
You can’t do it all at once, no matter how hard you try. Content marketing and content creation is a massive process - depending on the number of audience groups you have, the stage of the buyer’s journey and the types of content you’ll be creating and distribution channels. To create content that takes all of this into consideration won’t be a small task.
When creating your marketing plan, set sensible time frames against deliverables and ensure you know where input it needed from other team members. To help you plan your content, you might want to focus on one audience group at a time, or prioritise content that engages people who are in the later stages of the buyer's journey (helping you focus on converting and closing customers you already have first, rather than attracting new ones).
Once you have your plan in place - try to stick to it. That’s not to say certain elements aren’t flexible (of course if something isn’t working don’t carry on doing it) but to see results you should ensure resource is committed to ensure your content marketing plan is being met.
If you need support for creating a content marketing plan that works - or generating great content that drives business - talk to our experts.