Well, frankly, I’m not a very big fan of planning – it’s the execution that should always be the priority. But, when you’re marketing a business, you need to understand that a definitive Content Marketing Plan will help you fetch the desired leads and track them consistently. Having said that, you need to ensure that you have a quick plan in place so that you can focus on telling your story and luring your audience. That’s the key – be agile with your planning and be focussed on executing the right marketing messages. This way you will surely hit the nail on the head and get your audience to love your brand.
Ready to learn the 10 step approach to creating a kick-ass Content Marketing Plan? Here we go:
10 Easy Steps to For Your Awesome Content Marketing Plan
Step #1 – Get Your Objectives Right
Content Marketing Plan is no shooting in the dark business. It’s about knowing what you want. It’s essential to understand why you are doing each piece of content. Let’s take some objectives:
- Spread awareness about your products and services
- Build an online brand
- Create a community of fans and followers
- Get more leads for your business
- Improve your sales
Once you have these broad objectives in place you need to know your numbers. Let’s suppose you wish to create a business blog and get more subscribers and eventually more leads and conversions from it. Now, You need to know the number of subscribers you wish to add every month. The next step is to understand how many of these would actually convert into real customers. This way you can create monthly goals for each of your Content Marketing activities.
Step #2 Be Your Audience
Remember, you don’t just need to understand who your audience is, you need to actually get inside their shoes and feel how they feel. You’ve got to know them deep enough to create content that they will cherish for years to come. Your audience could be a Housewife from a tier two city in India spending half her day In taking care of the family and the rest of it divided between television, Whatsapp groups, and YouTube. You need to detail out everything about her lifestyle to able to create content for her and make sure it reaches her. This is one example – and you could create your own user persona depending on the products and services you are selling. Delve deep and understand what stories would help your audience and entertain them at the same time. Take a look at this example of a user persona:
Step # 3 Spy on Your Competition
Before you plan your content, know the stories your competing businesses are telling. Understand what’s working for them. Make sure your strategy and messages are unique. Learn from them and craft stories that define your brand values. Can you differentiate your brand with humor or do you wish to build trust by showcasing your case studies? How can you develop a Content Marketing Plan that’s remarkable? How can you break the clutter and stand out? Answer these questions at this stage and you are sorted.
Step # 4 Know Your Channels
There are numerous channels you can post your content on. Every channel has its own charm and audience. For example, if you are a B2B software application, you need to make sure you are creating insightful articles for your blog and then promoting them on channels like LinkedIn and Quora. Now, for these channels, you need do equally informative captions and summary content before your post your blog post link there.
On the other hand, if you are a fashion brand, you need to have a content calendar that focuses more on channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Irrespective of whether you are a B2B or a B2C business, you can create a profile on all channels but make sure your focus remains on channels that are relevant to your business.
Step # 5 Play with A Variety of Content Types
While you are developing a Content Marketing Plan you need know just how many content types will your plan include. You can choose the ones that suite your business the most. Let’s say you have a restaurant and you wish to focus on Instagram and Facebook. Now, you can choose the number of posts you will add to these channels on a daily basis.
Let’s refine further.
You can decide if these posts will be image based, GIF-based or video-based or live streaming posts. If you wish to go with all these types of posts then you can decide on the number of each for the month. You can also decide if you wish to have one or say two interactive content campaigns (Eg. contest, quiz, or Q and A) on these channels. Similarly, if you have a B2B business you can decide on the content types accordingly. You can read this post on more about the Types of Content Marketing and how to choose the right one for your business.
Step # 6 Hack Online Queries
Content planning requires you to understand the problems that your audience is facing. Create a list of keywords that are prominent in your niche. These keywords will work as a guiding factor for your plan. You need to make sure you have keywords and content aligned for each of the stages of the buyer’s journey:
This way you will be able to create content for all types of prospects and existing customers. Have a set of keywords to target every month according to their average searches and competition and create your content plan accordingly.
Step #7 Ideas and More Ideas
The next step is to start brainstorming the exact topics and ideas around which you will produce your content piece. Make sure each piece inspires your audience to come back for more. Your content ideas should create path-breaking experiences for your audience. Think of monthly themes/campaigns around which your content pieces would revolve.
Step #8 Put Everything on a Calendar
Once you have all the ideas in place, create a calendar of all the content piece you will do. Your Content Marketing calendar is at the heart of your Content Marketing Plan. Once this frozen, your team knows what to create, when to posts, and where to post. The calendar would include the exact dates on when a content piece would go live and on which platform. It will include a daily, weekly and a monthly schedule so you what all activity is happening in the month. You can start with the month and then create a quarterly, half yearly and even an yearly calendar to ensure you are thoroughly planned. You can also download the free editorial calendar template from Hubspot and use it for your business.
Step # 9 Promote Your Content Effectively
You need to have a definitive content promotion strategy to ensure your pieces reach your target audience effectively. You should ensure that your content is optimized for search engines – that’s a big priority. Next you need to list down all the channels that you will use for promoting your content. For content pieces like ebooks and whitepapers, you can even run paid ads to collect leads for your business. The same is true for interactive content formats like contests and quizzes. Include your paid campaign budget in your plan and along with the campaign goals.
Step # 10 Tracking Mechanism
While you have your monthly goals in place, you need to have a tracking mechanism for ensuring that your Content Marketing efforts are working for you. Make sure you have a reporting format to track your goals. Create an excel sheet and add all your goals for each of the content channels. Now, you need to add the views, fans, subscribers, potentials in front of each channel so you know which activities and channels are working for you. Make sure you are tracking the results for down to each campaign and content piece/post so you know what’s working and what’s not. Use the analysis to revise your content ideas and calendar, and improve upon the outcomes.
Over to You
Make sure you are flexible while implementing your Content Marketing Plan. Don’t follow it blindly and be open to hack the latest trends in your industry. If there is a news piece that’s trending and you can leverage from then do create an interesting story/campaign around and it promote it heavily. It will surely give your better results. Keep a track of the new channels, promotional techniques, and the latest Trends in Content Marketing to stay ahead of your game. A Content Marketing Plan is your foundation to successfully achieving your Content Marketing goals. Make sure each of your content ideas adds value, educate and engage your audience.
If you are looking to learn more about Content Marketing, you can enroll for our certified digital marketing course.