Did you know that content marketing will cost you 62% less than conventional marketing but yields around 3 times as many leads?
Content strategy refers to the management of any form of media that you own and create. Be it videos, images, and blogs; a content marketing plan comprises all elements that can engage and convert users.
Every entrepreneur, brand, and business wants to have a successful content marketing plan.
But how do we get there?
Gone are the days when feeding your blog section with daily posts led to a better ranking. Today, you need a lot more than a website, a blog, and a social media page to keep your brand alive in the online world.
But let’s first take a look at why content marketing is so important.
What Is The Importance Of Creating A Good Content Marketing Strategy?
Create Brand Awareness
Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to build a loyal fan-base. When you reach out to new and targeted audiences, without spending a fortune on advertising, you successfully build more brand awareness.
Businesses are replacing traditional PR and advertising with online marketing as it does not cause any major dent in their budget. In this digital age, businesses can no longer rely on TV or print ads or word of mouth to find more buyers.
However, the same businesses can retarget their existing consumers through online advertising and market their products to new customers at a low cost. Data insights that you derive from your content marketing strategy help you create personalized offers for specific segments of your audience, thereby increasing conversion rates.
Grow Your Business
The more people know about your business, the more you are able to expand your operations. Lead generation is one of the best benefits you can accomplish from content marketing. When your business generates leads, your website and social media pages receive more attention. Since businesses always require new leads to generate revenue, content marketing opens new lines of communication for users who are searching for your particular products online.
A great way to grow your business is to offer free content in some form, such as an eBook for download. Users looking for ‘free advice’ will stumble upon your free eBook — exchange free resources for an email address to build your mailing or a blog subscription.
Establish Your Credibility
Both, search engines, and users are smart enough to differentiate between good content and fluff content. Your content will only make an impact if it offers any advice, tips, or insight to the users.
To have content marketing success you have to meet your customers where they are and give them what they want, not what you want to give them.
For that reason, informative content such as tutorials, reviews, and how-to articles provide a great chance to connect with your target audience and establish your credibility in your niche. If you add a new article on your website every week or day, you are sure to maintain a steady stream of traffic.
We can show you how much our organic search traffic has grown just from consistently posting blogs.
The green is organic search, which as you can see has steadily grown as we have continued to publish blog content. We have been writing around 1 to 2 blogs a week since some time around 2018.
You can see how much growth we have had, and you can do that too.
Now that you know why you need a content marketing strategy to propel your business in the right direction, here are ten of the most important steps for creating a killer content marketing plan.
How To Create A Content Marketing Plan In 10 Easy Steps
1. Set Your Goals
What’s a plan without a goal?
It is every business’ responsibility to set viable goals for creating different marketing campaigns such as content marketing. That’s because it is easy to lose focus when you have so much to do.
Here are a few factors that let you set your goals:
- Your target audience
- The type of content you need to reach your target audience
- The benefits your audience reaps from your content
- Your budget
Typically, here are some of the goals you can set:
- Brand awareness
- Revenue generation
- Getting more high-quality leads
- More traffic to your social media pages or website
- Making new connections or expanding your business network
- Establish your authority in your industry
- More social media engagement
2. Conduct Persona Research To Find Your Ideal Audiences
If you market to multiple buyer personas, you must ensure that you are marketing to each segment in the right way.
The key is getting to know your audiences before you even start planning your campaign.
Use surveys, insights, buying patterns, and intelligence tools to identify your buyer. You want to figure out what your potential consumers’ language and conversations around social media, forums, blogs, to figure the language and tone they use. Marketers also identify the influencers they follow in devising a solid content marketing methodology.
Brand monitoring tools let you assess your audience’s behaviors, and you create an accurate buyer persona. That’s important because you use the insights you gain to connect with your audience with the right copy and visuals at the right time.
For example, if you are a beverage company and you want to promote a new drink: a contemporary but affordable energy drink. If you are aware of a particular sport that your audience follows, you tie your product to an upcoming sporting event. That way, you can segment and isolate your audience to create customized content marketing campaigns.
Every platform has its own unique audience. You can use the following popular social media networks to create viral content marketing campaigns. The key is to post the right kind of content on the right social media page.
You can use:
Instagram: for quotes, stories, and high-resolution photos
Facebook: for posting curated content, testimonials, and videos
Twitter: for sharing blog posts, news, and GIF’s
LinkedIn: for sharing company updates, product launches, jobs, and milestones
Pinterest: for sharing step-by-step tutorials and infographics
If you need more help with buyer personas check out our blog -- Understanding The Buyers Journey.
3. Identify Common Problems And Offer Solutions
Once you create your buyer persona, you can easily use analytics to identify some of their most common problems. When you know about your potential customers, you know what they are looking for, so you know when to use targeted content at the right time in the sales funnel to show it to them.
Consumers trust your information easily if they hear it from an influencer’s mouth.
That’s one of the reasons why brands partner with experts in their niche to add more credibility to their content. That way your consumers feel that they are making a more informed purchasing decision.
Once you figure out what their problem is and can solve it, you always want to make sure to create a new problem that you can also solve. This leaves the door open for more opportunity and for you to continue working with these people.
4. Figure Out What Types Of Content You Are Going To Create
To compete with the fierce competition, brands have to offer a mix of different forms of content to make sure they reach the maximum audience.
Here are a few tested forms of content that you must include in your content marketing strategy.
According to Forbes, websites with a blog have 434% more indexed pages than websites that do not have one.
Naturally, blogs improve a brand’s chances of landing on the first pages of prominent search engines. Moreover, business sites having blogs have 97% more inbound links that contribute to their search engine optimization efforts.
There is no denying that consumers prefer watching a product review or tutorial rather than read lengthy product descriptions.
That’s one of the reasons why most YouTube channels are earning huge profits through how-to and unboxing videos that offer a brief or detailed description of a product’s features.
Since users are always searching for the best product videos, add crisp and technically-sound videos to add a professional touch to your content marketing strategy.
If you thought Infographics offer little help, you are overlooking one of the best forms of shareable content.
Add aesthetically-pleasing graphics and the latest trivia or facts to create a stunning content marketing format that your social media users are likely to circulate within their networks.
Including case studies in your marketing plan means you need to handpick your best clients, buyers, or testimonials.
Case studies help businesses highlight special uses or applications of their products and services. This content can be in the form of videos, a single blog post, or a series of blog posts.
Focus on a specific keyword or keywords to create an eBook that offers long-form content.
Such content can address any topic and should be long enough to provide good value to your customers. Don’t confuse an eBook with a 5-page ad. Your eBook can revolve around any problem to offer solutions and tips.
Creating Content For Social Media
You can create interactive content such as animation, videos, games, audio, or even text to encourage conversation.
Another great way to add good content on social media is to create list-posts. This type of content has a certain number of points.
Here are a few ideas to let you create list-posts.
Why Posts: explainer articles (usually begin with why)
How-to Posts: tutorials, videos or content explaining features or uses of a product
What Posts: general information or new articles
5. Where Are You Are Going To Publish Your Content?
Now that you know what kind of content you need for connecting to your users, decide on the right social media platform. Let us take a brief look at each of these popular social media networks for publishing your content.
Facebook leads the market for millennials, followed by YouTube and Instagram. While Gen Z watches YouTube videos primarily for entertainment, they also like to play online games or influencers doing pranks.
Facebook is best popular for showcasing ‘curated content.’
In simple words, you can post high-quality content or your company’s recent blog posts on your page. Some brands also share the latest news and updates from industry partners. Video continues to dominate on this leading platform.
Creating an engaging and unique video makes sure you can reach more users. The network is best for just about any type of business.
Being extremely visual, the network is more popular among the younger generation.
You can post behind-the-scenes and product photos that deliver high engagement analytics. User-generated content is also high-performing on Instagram.
Such content includes reposted photos from influencers or your best customers. Make sure you take permission before reposting any content so you can tag the customer or influencer without offending anyone.
You don’t have to be too professional on Instagram. Some brands post graphics and motivational quotes to make sure their Instagram profile does not go stale. The platform is great for celebrities, influencers, beauty salons, and makeup products.
Since Twitter is a news-oriented platform, a large percentage of Twitter users tweet to share news and product launches, while remaining users login to check these updates.
You can share company updates on your Twitter channel and use the right hashtags to spread the word about your brand. Twitter is incredibly popular among news agencies, media groups, politicians, celebrities, and journalists.
While YouTube is all about videos, it is also important that you write great copy and catchy titles to make sure your fans view your videos.
Your videos should not only entertainment and information; they should also retarget the traffic to your official website. YouTube is a great platform for all types of businesses, entrepreneurs, self-taught artists, and small corporations.
6. Find A Project Management System To Streamline Your Content Marketing Plan
To streamline everything and manage your tasks effectively, marketers must invest in a hi-tech project management system.
There are various tools and software that handle most of your manual work. Automating routine tasks not only reduces time but also ensure a consistent implementation of your content marketing strategy.
All these tools help content marketers visualize the workflow for streamlining their content production processes. As you create a task on a project management tool, you can define the stages of your work process and know who is working on each task.
Here are a few of the most popular content management tools:
Trello: web-based software to caters to the needs of multiple professionals. You can set deadlines, monitor ongoing projects, and review completed tasks.
ProofHub: Managers, writers, and even clients can collaborate together to achieve goals without any hassle.
Buffer: guarantees convenient social media scheduling
Sprout Social: great for team-based social media management
Sendible: an incredible tool for lead generation
Iconosquare: manages Instagram business accounts
Hootsuite: manages analytics, scheduling, and monitoring tasks
MavSocial: for adding images to your posts
Tailwind: manages Pinterest accounts
MeetEdgar: automates your posts
7. Assign Roles & Tasks So You Can Reach Your Goals
Depending on the number of people you outsource or hire in-house, you can choose who is going to lead your content management strategy.
If you have an in-house team, you can choose or hire a professional to work as Head of Online Content Management.
If you are outsourcing most of your work, you can choose any key digital marketing professional from your in-house team to collaborate with your outsourcing partner.
Ideally, you need a team of professionals, including:
- Social media manager
- Content writer
- Graphic designer
- Video producer
If you have an in-house content management team, make sure you categorize your workforce into the following categories.
Digital: this group focuses on podcast scripts, writing blogs, e-book production, and other forms of content.
PR and communications: this group focuses on delivering sales material, managing email-marketing and communication, press releases, and traditional PR collateral.
Visual: the department focuses on creating the visuals, images, GIF’s, graphs, and pictures that you need to make your content stand out.
8. Brainstorm Content Ideas And Get To Work
Now that you know you need a hard-hitting content marketing plan and the people who can come up with a successful campaign, encourage your teams to brainstorm unique ideas.
Don’t copy your rivals or repeat your content unless you are adding something new to an old blog post, video, or tutorial.
Most content marketers spend hours on the web and look for inspiration. There’s no harm in doing that, but do yourself a favor and build up a swipe file.
It could be as simple as creating a folder on your desktop to using an app such as Pocket. This collection represents your favorite campaigns and fragments of content that you would love to use for your future campaigns.
9. Publish/Manage Your Content Marketing Plan
Before you officially publish or run your content marketing campaign, performing a/b testing is a simple way to monitor progress through the conventional trial and error method.
What is an A/B Test?
An A/B lets you create two or more different versions of a content piece, such as a landing page, an ad, or an email. You modify the call to action, text, colors, images, buttons, and virtually anything that have an impact on user experience.
However, plenty of research goes before designing each option. Building versions by keeping in mind your buyer persona can help you conduct an accurate test.
Publishing your Content on Each Platform
You must know when you should publish your content on your different channels. Lack of planning can lead to devastating and irreversible damage. It is also important to create a content calendar so you always know what and when to post your content.
Small companies can benefit from Google Calendar to mark the dates for each piece of content. However, you will need a more sophisticated system if you are publishing a large amount of content on multiple channels.
You should also be spending money promoting your new pieces of content everyday.
10. Use The R3MAT Method In Your Content Strategy
A good content marketing strategy has a great chance of converting more users if you show the right message to the right audience at the right time.
This philosophy is known as the R3MAT method.
Here is what it means:
M: right message
A: right audience
T: right time
Content marketing is a long-term process, and creating high-quality content is essential to build your brand’s awareness and converting more users so you never run out of business.
Producing high-quality content will consistently build warm audiences for your business or brand so you never run out of new people and customers. If no one knows about your business or is aware that you exist then you can’t make money.
A business must know how to create a content marketing plan that guarantees more exposure and more customers.
If you are having a hard time devising a content marketing strategy that bridges the gap between your brand and your consumers, follow our guide to creating a content marketing strategy that sells and converts.