Creating good quality and unique content for your audience has proven to be a worthy form of advertising. Since the invasion of the social media, internet marketing has taken a new twit and content marketing is seen as the champion. Not only is it becoming the more lovable by the target audience, it’s neither annoying nor offensive like other form of advertising. This explains why most businesses are trying to shape their content marketing skills to match the needs and desires of their audience.
It doesn’t matter whether you are just starting out with content marketing or you’ve been applying the same strategies for a while, your content marketing plan have to be better now more than ever.
This content marketing best practices guide will get you high on board to better face the rapidly growing competition in this system of marketing. In this article we'll show you why your business needs a content marketing plan and the exact steps you will need to take to create one.
The first step to taking the leg up on the competition is to create a solid, smart content marketing plan. If you're having trouble with your planning for the upcoming year or need some fresh content marketing ideas to include in your plan, keep on reading.
Note that a content marketing strategy or plan works as your guiding light when it comes to the planning, promotion, production, and measurement of content. Taking time out to create a good marketing strategy might seem like more work up-front, but over time it reduces your workload and makes your content more unique and effective.
Why Content Marketing?
Content marketing helps startups or businesses prepare and plan for reliable and cost-effective sources of website traffic and new leads.
This reliable source of website traffics and leads from your evergreen content provide you flexibility to experiment with other marketing strategies to generate revenue, such as social media marketing and sponsored content. While your content will not only help attract leads, it also will help educate your target prospects and generate awareness for your brand.
Creating a Content Marketing Strategy or Plan
1. Set your goal.
What's your aim for developing a content marketing plan? How do you decide what is worth creating and what you should pass on? Why do you want to produce content and create a content marketing plan? So what are you trying to accomplish? List down your goals before you start planning. This help to determining what's content marketing best practices for your strategy.
Every piece of content you create should serve a clear purpose for your marketing efforts. Here are some common content marketing objectives to consider:
- To Increase brand awareness
- To drive referral traffic and leads back to your website
- To increase signups
- To drive readers to a lead-generation landing page/form fill
Notice how none of these content marketing goals amount to Retweets, Likes, or Favorites. This is because, as with your social media goals, it’s absolutely necessary for your content marketing goals to align back to your broader business goals. This alignment causes you to think of content in terms of business metrics like traffic, leads, and sales. It also helps you prove the value of your content marketing efforts on a larger scale. This is extremely important when dealing with stakeholders who either aren’t exposed to the content marketing side, or who are skeptical of the content marketing values to your business.
While selecting your content marketing goals and objectives, ask yourself a very important question: How will I measure these goals? Every goal needs to be measurable. Whether it’s a dollar amount, a traffic number, or percentage, identify the numeric target of your goal and decide how you will track your progress. If you can’t figure out the content marketing best practices way to measure your goal, it is best you rethink it entirely.
One important fact you should look out for is setting realistic goals. Your goals and objectives should especially match your overall business vision. Don’t set goals that are too high for you to accomplished or too low that it hampered the smooth running of your business.
All goals you defined for your content marketing strategy most have a time frame for its accomplishment. Depending on your objectives, you may have short terms (last within few months to a year) and long terms goals (a year to several years).
Once you’ve decided on your goals, break down each one into the steps you’ll to take to achieve them. By doing so you make it possible for future content to aligned with your content marketing goals; it may actually inspire your content creators. If you knowing what a piece of content seeks to accomplish on a larger scale will spark an idea about what content to create or how to create it.
2. Establish the Target Audience
In order to develop a successful content marketing plan, you need to clearly define your content's target audience. Depending on the goals you establish, you will have to put together either an audience profile or specific target customers that will guide your content ideation and creation moving forward.
This is important for those who are new to marketing or just starting out. Thus knowing your target audience will guide you to produce more relevant and valuable content that they'll want to read and convert on.
Search as much detail about your target audience/customers as possible. Social listening will help you lay hands on their characteristics and interests, so that you can make sure your contents are unique. Answer these three important questions:
- What types of content do they share (tone, source, format, length)?
- Where online does my target audience spend most of their time (blogs, forums, social networks, etc.)?
- How can I best reach my target audience (advertising, search engines, organic social media,)?
If your content marketing goal focuses on leads or sales, you may want to create specific buyer personas (or adapt existing buyer personas with content in mind). This could involve profiling your customers to identify what they need, like and the specific types of content that will capture their attention.
Before you start creating contents, you’ll like to answer the following questions:
Are they directors, or just regular employees? Do they work at a small business, or large enterprise? Are they on social media, or it’s only possible to reach them through email? What are their goals? Does your content offer insight that might help them achieve their goals? What about removing their pain points?
If you have been implementing content marketing, you’re target audience may have changed. Thus, you may want to target a new group of people or expand your current target market. You may want to keep the same target audience. Hence revisiting your audience parameters through conducting market research each year is vital to growing your audience.
3. Content Management System.
Have a content management system in place where you can manage your content. Few important parts of content management include content idea, publication, schedule, creation, and analytics.
There are many platforms that help to synchronise plan, creation, schedule, publish, and measure your results all in one place. Examples include HubSpo software, WordPress and CoSchedule.
4. Carryout a Content Audit.
Most new entrepreneurs start out with blog post, but if you want to venture out and try producing other contents, consider which ones you want to make. For example, if you've been doing weekly blog posts for the past year, creating an eBook that brings all your blog posts into one ultimate guide would be a one way to offer information in a different format. Further down we'll take you through several different types of contents you can leverage.
If you've been using the power of content marketing in your business for a while, you have to review your content marketing efforts and the results from it in the last year. Identify what you can do differently in the upcoming year(s) and set new goals to achieve them. Here is a great chance to align your team's goals with that of the rest of your organization.
5. Content Marketing Ideas
It's time to start coming up with great content marketing ideas for your next content project. Below are some platforms to get started with:
- HubSpot's Website Grader: This is a great tool to use when you want to determine you stand with your marketing. Website Grader grades a vital area of your marketing and sends you a detailed report to help you optimize and improve each area ranging from blogging to social media marketing. This tool can also help you to make your website more SEO-friendly and discover new content marketing ideas.
- What to Write: Get your mind focus with what to Write's unique content idea generator. This tool is a series of questions that will help kick start your brainstorming. It’s good at generating several content marketing ideas for you after you've completed the questions, so you can use those content marketing ideas in your content marketing plan.
- Buzzsumo: This leverage social media shares to determine if a piece of content is popular and well-liked, so this information will help you see which content marketing ideas will do well.
- Content Forest: This offers free tools, like KeywordKiwi and ContentIdeator which help you find popular content from your competitors, effective keywords to use in your content, and great content marketing ideas all in one spot.
6. Types of Contents you want to Create
There are a good number of options for content you can create. Below are some of the most popular content formats marketers are creating, tools and templates you can get started.
Blog posts are written mainly to attract target audiences and visitors to a website. If you haven't already noticed, you're currently reading a blog post. Blog posts live on a websites and should be published regularly in order to attract new visitors. Blog posts should have valuable content for your audience that makes them inclined to share posts on social media and across other websites.
These organizes visualize data in a more compelling way than words alone. These are great content formats to leverage if you're trying to share bulk data in a way that is clear and easy to understand.
These are lead generation tools that potential customers can download after submitting a lead form with their contact information. EBooks are generally longer, more in-depth, and published less frequently compared to blog posts. After reading a blog post (like this one), customers or visitors might want more content from an eBook and submit their contact information to get more valuable information. The business producing the eBook in return has a new lead for the sales team to contact.
These are a highly engaging content medium that are shareable across social media platforms and websites. This requires a bigger investment of time and resources compared to writing content, but as visual marketing grows in popularity, it's worth experimenting.
These formats generate leads for you while providing tremendous value to your audience. When you provide your audience with this platform it saves them time and help them succeed. This will make them more likely to keep engaging with your content in the future.
This helps audiences find your brand if they don't have time or interest in reading content every day. The number of podcast audiences is growing. If you have interesting people to interview or conversations to host, you should consider podcasting as a content format to experiment with.
7. Publish and Manage your Contents
The marketing plan should go beyond the types of content you'll create. It should also cover how you'll organize your content. Leverage the help of an editorial calendar; this put you on the right track to publishing a well-balanced and diverse content library on your website. Then, create a social media calendar so you can promote and manage your content on other sites.
Many of the content marketing ideas you think of will be evergreen. They're just as relevant several months from now as they are today. That said, you shouldn't give-off on timely topics. While timely topics may not be the bulk of your calendar, they can generate spikes of traffic.
What you just read is a lot of information, but this work is just beginning. It takes time, organization, and creativity to grow a successful content marketing strategy. Beginning from building the foundation of your content marketing plan to leveraging tools to better manage your content, setting up your strategy for the year won't be a problem if you follow the steps and explore the resources here.