How To Build Your Own Content Marketing Plan
Marketing as we know it is a changing form and evolving right in front of us. All of us remember a time when displaying our brand on a billboard facing the busiest road in the city was considered a successful marketing stunt. After all, a huge number of people would get a glimpse of the board and make your marketing plan a success.
However, Bob Dylan’s eternally relevant, “The times they are a changing”, stands true for marketing as well. Social media and online marketing is slowly replacing the more traditional forms of marketing and with good intent. No matter what industry you work in, social media and content marketing is a necessity. So how to go about creating your own content marketing plan? What are the basics, and why is it so important to have a content marketing plan in the first place? Let’s go over these questions and find out how a build a strong content marketing plan.
Why Content Marketing?
Content marketing is one of the best ways to stay connected to your customers and keep them engaged. It helps in closing deals with customers and clients like no other marketing technique can. You can provide them expertise and knowledge about your product that traditional marketing can never deliver. However, content marketing not only helps deliver the right information to your customers, it also helps build a following on your website by increasing the traffic. As you provide more information to your customers through blogs and forums, you increase the likelihood of persuading your readers to visit your website and make informed purchases from your business and brand.
As we approach the mid of 2015, the internet experiences a hike in the use of content marketing by more business and individuals to increase sales and significance on the web. It helps business improve their visibility as well through SEO and creates brand awareness.
All these reasons and a lot more is why most businesses choose to focus heavily on creating a brilliant content marketing plan. And now that we have determined why a content marketing plan is so important, let’ move to the more important aspect of the article:
How to Build Your Own Content Marketing Plan:
There are 6 fairly easy steps leading to a strong content marketing plan, and here’s a glimpse at those steps:
1. Set SMART marketing goals.
2. Determine your target audience.
3. Determine the content you will use that aligns with your business image.
4. Have an execution plan.
5. Promote your content.
6. Keep refining your content.
Yes, it is this simple to have a content marketing plan in your firm grasp. Let’s go over each in slight detail to help you understand each point.
Set SMART Marketing Goals
You are not the only thing that should be smart about your business. Your content marketing plan must be SMART as well, although we are not talking about the looks. SMART in marketing terminology means, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time based. In short, your marketing scheme should not be a victim of identity crisis. You must make sure that your planning should be in accordance with your business vision and goals. This also means creating new content on a regular basis.
Your plan must specify what you aim to achieve through your marketing strategy or you face the risk of running into a brick wall. “Have a huge number of followers on our Facebook page” is an unspecified goal. So ensure your goals are specific and not firing bullets in the air and hoping to land on the target.
Once you have specified your needs, however, make certain that your goals are measurable. An example of a measurable goal is the number of people you aim to have subscribed to your newsfeed by the end of 6 months. The goals, according to the SMART philosophy should also be attainable. If you plan to have a million Facebook fans within a week, you are most likely to fail in that regard. Relevance is also another aspect that you must keep in mind while building your content marketing plan. Every content you post on the web must be relevant and in harmony with your business. Your content should lead people to your website instead warding them away.
Lastly, your content marketing scheme should be time-based, that is, you should have a clear idea when you will be able to achieve all your targets and goals. Without a fixed time to achieve the goals in mind, management of your marketing plan is pointless. Hence, your content marketing plan must be SMART. Be creative where your marketing is concerned.
Determine Your Target Audience
A successful marketing plan involves targeting the right audience. Without the right audience, you are bound to fail in getting your message across. As a marketer, it is crucial to know and understand your audience, without which your plans will not be as effective as you want them to be. Therefore, make an audience profile and get down to the core of the people who may or already like your product. Focusing on a specific group of people reaps a better result than aiming your guns at everyone you feel is likely to buy from you.
Gathering details about your target audience can be easy if you can answer a few questions about your audience:
· What platform does my target audience use the most? Are they more active on social media websites or blogs?
· What medium is best to reach my target audience?
· What content is the best and most effective for them?
Answer these 3 simple questions and you will be able to reach your target audience with flair. You will have a clear picture of your intended customers, which will help you serve them better and help them make a better decision about the product or service they intend to buy. Once you have determined where your target audience can mostly be found, you can exploit your resources and feed them content with relevance and ease. It will also help you communicate appropriately since you will know which medium is the best to reach out to your customers. So, for example, your target audience is mostly young people, you can use Facebook and Twitter to share your content. On the other hand, if your intended audience consists of business executives and managers you will likely contact them through emails and professional mediums such asLinkedIn.
Social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are amazing tools to reach out to your audience. These websites and other platforms can also help you immensely in understanding your target market and create content relevant and helpful to them.
Determine The Content You Will Use Aligns With Your Business Image
Establishing your goals and determining the target market for your content marketing strategy is just the tip of the iceberg. Hence, once you have determined the right target and set yourself SMART goals, you need to create powerful content that aligns with the direction of your business or company.
It is important to keep in mind that your content is the most important part of your entire planning, and therefore should be the subject of intense focus out of every part of the plan. You can create content through numerous ways, however, despite whatever medium you choose, there should be no compromise on quality. Many businesses make the mistake of going through a lot of effort to determine the right target market and planning extensively, but fail on delivering something worthwhile. It does not matter if your content reaches a million people, if it’s not up to the standard, it won’t have a positive impact on your business.
Your content should be in alignment with your business’ vision. Going off track with your promotion and information is fine only in case it steers the readers back to your business. Therefore, make sure your blog posts, videos, and social media content do not deliver a message that deviates from the point.
Have An Execution Plan
This part of your plan will ensure you are going in the right direction with your content marketing plan. You have everything at hand to ensure your target audience receives the message you are trying to deliver and you have made certain of the fact that your content is the best. However, your execution plan will be guiding principal through which you execute the entire plan.
This part of the plan will help you decide when and how you start delivering the content. For example, you have your audience ready, you have the content at hand, but posting them on your social media page at any time is not a good idea. The execution plan will help you decide the best time to post a video or a Facebook post that will generate the most buzz. You will create a schedule based on your research on the most effective times to post your content on different platforms. Execution on different channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other platform cannot be the same since every other website has a different formula to success.
Your execution plan will also include the details regarding the responsibilities you must assign to the person who carries the execution of your entire plan. There should not be a conflict between your team members about what and when to post. Conflicts usually occur when there is ambiguity in the team and something that should be eliminated through creating an execution plan. The entire team must be in synchronized and on the same page to ensure success of the content marketing plan.
Promote Your Content
Here is to ‘stating the obvious’. Content promotion is a no-brainer, but the reason why you would find the same advice on every page relating to content marketing is something that will make you feel its importance; most marketers forget to promote their content after they release it into the wild, cutting its relevance in half in the process.
Content promotion is not what most people understand it to be. While most believe posting their blog’s content to a Facebook page is promoting it, it is only a tiny part of the process. It is your job to make sure your content does not lose traction after a few days, which usually is the case when someone posts it something on Twitter and expect it to become a trending topic all by itself. Your content needs your due diligence and the more time your give to the promotion of your content, the higher its reach will be. Do not limit your posts and videos and go beyond what you feel is the standard. Discover new ways to reach to your audience and keep informing your customers about your products or services until you feel they no longer have any relevance and is not needed anymore.
Use social media, email marketing, SEO optimization to reach the most people that includes your target audience to multiply your content’s effectiveness. Test out new ways and do not hold back on any method because they are too costly. In the end, they will benefit your business. One of the greatest tools available at your finger tips is google analytics. You will find a truck load of information about how visitors are interacting with your website and social media platforms.
Keep Refining Your Content
Great, you have definitely created an amazing content marketing plan that will bring genuine success for your business. However, there is one last step to ensure your content stands on top of the pile and people can learn to single you out of the pile. The secret to achieving this goal lies in refining your content.
Content refining refers to polishing your business through creating the best content possible. You can achieve this by making your content measurable. Measurable goals and targets help you determine the efficiency of your posts and blogs. Every feedback you receive is a helping hand that will lead to better content from your end and quality consumption on the consumer’s end. You can easily conclude the results of posts by the response it receives, and post the same type of content if it delivers according to your planning. Similarly, you can avoid the posts that do not generate enough buzz and are not as effective.
Refining your content is crucial in gaining popularity and relevance in the long run, since people stay loyal to businesses that churn out the best consumer posts and content. Make sure not only the content is worthy, but how the content is promoted is kept in check as well. Keep analyzing the success of your planning and plan your future posts and articles accordingly.
You have the arsenal in your pocket now. All the important information regarding building your content marketing plan has been laid in front of you and it’s your turn to take advantage of the information and turn your business into a success wagon. So go ahead, and put time and hard work into it and it will surely benefit your business beyond your expectations!
Have you created a Content Marketing Strategy? If so what can you tell us about how and what it is you do?
Get Free Updates