How to Create Your Content Marketing Plan
HOW TO CREATE YOUR CONTENT MARKETING PLAN
Content marketing is a key strategy to promote the success of any business. The ability to reach customers and seize market share will easily make or break a company, whether it’s a mom-and-pop store or a Fortune 500 firm.
However, not all marketing campaigns are made equal, and the best content marketing campaigns have an even better marketing plan behind them.
This article will discuss the ins and outs of creating such a plan for your business.
1. Determine your goals with an executive summary.
Before you begin your content marketing plan, you should consider what your marketing goals are. Maybe you want to increase your website traffic and brand awareness or grow your social media presence.
Whatever your goals may be, compile them into an executive summary so that you and your team have a standard point of reference for what you’re trying to achieve.
The goals listed in this executive summary should be kept specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely, or in other words SMART.
For example, one of your goals may be that by the end of this year, your team will reach 500 trial signups every month. Or it may be to reach 1000 likes on the company’s Twitter or Facebook posts every month. Or you may simply want to grow your sales by 5% by the end of the quarter.
Regardless, you should reference past Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), to help lay out these goals and keep them SMART.
As this rundown by Qlik explains, KPIs are quantifiable measures of performance for a specific objective over time. These can include the number of new customers targeted each month, return on investment for a particular revenue stream, or monthly average transit costs, for example.
KPIs differ from metrics in that metrics only measure the success of your regular business activities, such as the number of web page click throughs or the amount of times your free e-book has been downloaded.
Simply put, metrics will let you know if your strategies are working or not. KPIs will help you figure out why those strategies are or are not working and help you make informed decisions on how to improve them in the future.
2. Identify your target audience.
Once you’ve laid out your SMART marketing goals in your executive summary, you need to determine who your target market is.
What demographic are you trying to reach? This should be informed both by your specific SMART goals, and whatever product or services you are looking to advertise.
If your company specializes in creating quick and easy to prepare meals that can be made at home, then you might target ordinary 9 to 5 workers with limited time who’ll value convenience, for example.
Your target demographic is the single strongest factor in how you’ll need to construct your content marketing plan.
The tone and theming of the narrative you weave into your marketing campaigns need to resonate with your audience, and you should favor whatever marketing mediums your demographic frequents (more of which will be discussed below).
3. Develop the broad strokes of your campaign.
Now that you’ve identified your target audience, it’s time to develop the strategy of your content marketing plan.
What do you want your customers to do when they engage with your content marketing campaign?
What is the narrative you want to tell across your campaign?
How are you going to tailor that narrative to encourage them towards your desired course of action?
While answering these questions, it can be tempting to default to focusing on your brand as the centerpiece. It’s only intuitive to tout your own strengths and accomplishments when trying to advertise, after all.
This, however, is a mistake that is more likely to alienate your customers than engage them. As a previous post on this blog explains in detail, your marketing campaigns are most effective when you make them more about your customers and less about you.
Specifically, marketing campaigns are most effective when you focus on acknowledging your customer’s pain points, building empathy with them over those pain points, and then offering a solution in the form of your product or service.
Showing the outcome of a solution through past customer testimonials also goes a long way to convincing those who may still be on the fence.
Embracing the principles of content marketing is an excellent way to stay on track. If you are still curious at this point, check out this blog’s previous posts exploring what exactly content marketing is and how you can more effectively leverage it for your business.
4. Figure out your channels.
As discussed above, the channels (mediums) in which you coordinate your content marketing campaigns are worthy of careful consideration in light of the target audience you have identified.
The channels you focus on will need to change in accordance with the ones your target demographic engages with the most.
While you can certainly make educated guesses about which channels these will be, it’s always best to confirm your hunches with hard data before you commit resources to a given channel. Your options for content types include:
Some of the above, such as social media and emails, can serve as universal options. Due to their ubiquity, practically everyone engages with them to some extent.
5. Optimize your content marketing schedule.
The final step to constructing your content marketing plan is to create a marketing calendar to coordinate your campaigns.
These calendars are typically designed on a quarterly or yearly basis, and outline all of the content that needs to be created and disseminated during that period.
As you progress through your content marketing plan, the calendar will serve as a reference point for where you are and what needs to be done next.
There are many different varieties of content marketing calendars that can fit the specific focus of your campaigns, as this article from Wrike explores in detail.
No matter what type of calendar you use, ensure that it is able to be synced, is easy to use, and has customizable calendar views, google calendar integration, and filterable categories.
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