Content marketing can help you increase your brand’s reach, lead generation, and sales. However, it is essential to have a well-documented content marketing plan to do so effectively. A recent study by CMI and MarketingProfs showed that 63% of businesses didn’t have documented content marketing strategies.
However, many businesses understand its importance, and that’s the reason why about 19% of them plan to have a documented content marketing strategy in the next year.
To help you figure out how to create a solid content marketing plan, I have with me, Julia McCoy. She’s the founder of Express Writers and is an educator at Content Strategy Courses. With over 8 years of experience in content marketing, she’s here to discuss everything that goes into creating high-quality content.
Here are the steps that go into creating the ultimate content marketing plan:
1. Decide on Your Goals
Before you start with your content marketing plan, you should set your goals. This will help make sure that you concentrate all of your efforts on reaching them. Along with your goals, you also need to figure out your target audience. These are the people who’ll be interested in your business. You can define it based on their demographics, locations, and interests.
To reach your goal, you’ll need to put all your efforts into reaching out to this group of people. It is also a great idea to come up with a mission statement which covers your goals, target audience, and the benefits you’ll offer them. You may also include the type of content you’ll use to help your target audience.
For example, CIO.com has mentioned their mission statement in the About Us section of their website. It covers everything that’s necessary.
Image via CIO
Based on your goals, you’ll also be able to gauge your performance. The goals allow you to set different key performance indicators (KPIs) that can help you track and analyze your success. These include traffic, number of leads, the revenue generated, etc.
2. Decide on the Type of Content
There’s a variety of content that you can come up with to promote your brand. Some of the most popular forms of content are blog posts, guest posts, images, videos, and infographics.
Blog posts are published on your own website and help you improve the SEO of your website. At the same time, if the blog posts are well-written and provide value to your readers, you may start attracting a lot of traffic too.
You can also come up with engaging videos and infographics that can be shared easily. This can help you get more backlinks and increase your website’s authority.
You can also take inspiration from other websites in your industry, which are performing well. By observing what’s working for them, you can figure out what sort of content you should come up with. Using tools such as BuzzSumo, you can see what works for the topics you want to write about.
You can further see where you wish to write guest posts. These websites should ideally be high-authority ones so that you can not only increase your reach but get quality backlinks. They can help you improve your SEO even further.
3. Come Up With An Editorial Plan
Once you’ve decided on the type of content you’re going to create; you need to create an editorial plan. In this, you need to plan your workflows and timelines.
You should also prioritize the actions that you’re going to take. List them in the order of decreasing priority. Through this method, you’ll be able to find those tasks that affect your performance the most.
Image via Shane Barker
After doing this, you can start looking for relevant topics. These should be the ones that can attract your target audience and keep them moving through your sales funnel. For this, you can use tools such as SEMrush and KWFinder. The latter can help you find long-tail keywords for which you can start ranking easily. You should also create a content calendar that elaborates what is going to be published when.
The content for each stage of the sales funnel will vary. The awareness stage requires content that informs the customers about your brand. Blog posts can work very well here.
In the consideration stage, you need to provide authoritative content to your audience. This may include whitepapers and case studies. The decision stage requires a more personal touch. Hence, emails work very well here.
4. Have a Content Distribution Plan
Once you have an editorial plan, you need to create a distribution plan for your content. High-quality content cannot get attention unless it is distributed well. There are three ways you can distribute your content: owned media, earned media, and paid media.
Owned media consists of your website, blog, and social media profiles. You entirely control this. Earned media includes the shares, mentions, reviews, and articles about you in external media. Lastly, the paid media is comprised of all of the advertising that you do, such as guest posts, PPC ads, display ads, and social media promotions.
Image via SEMrush
Having a well-thought-out distribution plan will help you get your content to your target audience with ease. This, in turn, will help you increase your readership and get you more potential leads and customers.
Identify the channels which can work the best for you and start using them to distribute your content.
5. Analyze and Optimize
Lastly, once you’ve started creating content and distributing it, you need to begin analyzing its performance. Check which content pieces are performing well and which ones aren’t. To determine this, you can use metrics like visitor count, bounce rate, likes, shares, organic traffic, backlinks, number of leads, revenue, and more.
Based on the performance, you can start optimizing your content to help you reach your final goals. Doing this can help you increase your reach, engagement, lead generation, and revenue.
Creating a content marketing plan can take a lot of effort and planning. Once you decide on your goals and zero-in on your target audience, you can start working towards achieving your goals. Having an editorial plan and a content distribution strategy are also important. Lastly, you need to analyze the performance of your content regularly to see how well it’s performing and optimize it.
What other things do you keep in mind while creating a content marketing plan? Let me know in the comments.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.