What are you trying to do with your content marketing plan? If you are clear on your goals, then you are ready to actually begin. And that beginning is in the design of a content marketing strategy with a well-organized plan and very specific steps that you will follow, to ensure that you are:
- Meeting the needs and desires of your target audience;
- Spreading that content in all of the most appropriate places;
- Measuring the effectiveness of that content;
- Re-purposing the content that has proved to be most successful.
You Don’t Have to Re-Invent What Already Exists
- Your first step is to do some research. There are some great sources of information for designing the content strategy that will show you the best and most effective practices for creating and spreading it.
- Your second step is to figure out what works in this whole content marketing world, because it is changing rapidly and what worked even 2 years ago no longer does. Read what the experts have to say about the latest strategies, including:
- Finding the right tools for automating the spread, for CRM, and for locating maybe 20 keyword phrases that will be the backbone for metatags, descriptions, titles, and subheadings;
- Recognizing that content marketing is a long-term strategy, not a “get rich quick” scheme. Take the advice on developing relationships, reciprocal activities with related ventures, increasing channels, creating targeted emails that actually get read, and re-purposing content;
- Using great headlines, visuals, and really engaging content that entertains, inspires, provides insights or solves problems;
- Being consistent, creative, and simple in language and style;
- Finding the right analytics tools to determine visitor movements/activity on your site and everywhere your content is published, as well as getting the real figures on conversion rates.
Committing to this kind of research and study will help you avoid the common content marketing mistakes that many are still making.
Putting Your Content Marketing Plan into a Workable Visual – Get a Diagram
You can’t have a plan without a model for the implementation of that plan. And that model needs to include all of the sequential steps that you will take every time you decide on new content themes, creation, promotion, and evaluation. Where do you get a model? Again, don’t re-invent what has already been created. Content plan diagramming has been the work of many successful entrepreneurs before you, and a simple Google search will reveal hundreds of models for virtually every type of organizational structure – a single entrepreneur/owner, a partnership, a small staff, or a larger organization with many involved “players.” If you are new at this, start with something simple, such as this:
This diagram gives you a great sequential step-by-step process for your content plan.
- Beginning at the top, obviously, is the work that you must do to define your target market and to “listen” to what they are discussing, to what questions or issues they have, to what kinds of information they want. You do this in a number of ways, by checking out all conversations on social media, by reviewing blogs and forums related to your product or service, by searching through your competitors’ sites, blogs, and social media extensions, and by just asking your current customers.
- From the information you have gathered, you are ready to develop the themes and topics for your content. Suppose, for example, that you own a business that features furniture and home décor. You discover that large topics of discussion include durability, new fabrics and textures, and colors. You now have three themes for your content, and your topics will come from those themes.
- You are now ready to create your content, and this, of course, is the “meat” of the matter. How creative, entertaining, inspirational, and informational can you be? Mastering content creation does not just happen. It is the result of great writing skills and creativity. Many newbies in this business of content creation take tutorials, and this is a good start. They are free and all over the web, so avail yourself of what the experts can offer. You’ll see many content marketing samples that have successfully gained huge audiences, learn how to write titles, how to engage your reader from the first sentence, and how to use all types of media. Building a brand and a following always begins with great content!
- Content promotion is the next step in your process. How will you spread your content everywhere possible? Go back to the discussion of all of the tools you can and should use that were listed earlier. If you cannot afford to hire or contract with a professional marketer, you can still do this on your own if you commit to the research, the practice, and the continued learning that must occur to promote content through all channels, venues, and devices. You have to continue to add to your toolkit here so that your promotion techniques get results.
- Measure and evaluate the effectiveness of your content. Who is reading what and where? How many shares are you getting for the type of content you have promoted? Where are people lingering? Where are people dis-engaging? What surveys, polls, or offers have brought the most results? You cannot know where to go next if you don’t use the proven analytics tools to gather critical data!
- Repurpose: This is both fun and somewhat easy to do. Once you have determined what content has been the most popular, what else can you do with that same content? Can you create an infographic? Can you create a video? How about an e-book combining all of the most popular content that you give away for free if a visitor will agree to share some of your other content? There are all kinds of possibilities for re-purposing, but you have to stay on top of this because new ideas are forever flowing!
About the author
Rick Riddle is passionate about the self-development process and wants to share his experience with more people via his articles. He believes that self-sufficiency and discipline lead to great results. Follow him on Twitter.