A content marketing plan is one of the most cost-effective ways to help potential customers find your website. But that’s only half the battle. Once you get them there, you need to provide high-quality, relevant information that answers their questions and keeps them engaged.
What is Content Marketing?
It’s the behind-the-scenes script. A content marketing plan is a strategic approach for providing valuable, reader-friendly information to a targeted audience who’s expecting something from you. Generally, you’ll include at least a general timeline as well, such as “post to blog once a week” or “post 20 times to social per month.”
When you’re building your content marketing plan, make room for brainstorming topics to find fresh, compelling material that keeps people coming back to your website and spending more time on each visit.
With Google changing their algorithm to be more logical and content centered, this kind of plan is what every marketer and business owner should be focusing on as we adjust to the new requirements from the world’s largest search engine.
Why Implement a Content Marketing Plan?
Implementing a content marketing plan helps businesses:
It’s Time to Focus on Content.
Content is King. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. However, there’s some fine print to our creative king – it’s not about pumping out content that’s so dense with keywords you could cut it with a knife. It’s not even about posting random content.
It’s about recognizing, honoring, and respecting the Queen of organization and nurturing as well. The two must work together to run a prosperous realm (business).
Remember, people turn to Google for information. Google’s goal is to provide the freshest and most applicable answers to its users’ questions. If you publish relevant, accurate content, then Google will notice and award you with higher organic search engine results.
Also, keep in mind that high-quality and compelling content is more likely to be shared. Google will share your content to their contacts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other popular social networking platforms.
The 3 Things Every Content Marketing Plan Needs
You can’t get onto a stage without a microphone. Websites, blogs, social pages, industry directories, news outlets, and SEO tasks all play significant roles in broadcasting your content marketing plan. These will be your channels and tools of communication.
Once you have your list of tools and channels, add these next three pieces to your content marketing plan to get started. You don’t have to do everything all at once. Small steps are okay!
#1 Make a Calendar with Different Content Types
Everything is content, so consider the following types to include in your content marketing plan:
I’ll review how to write each one of these using simple formulas and tools in later posts.
For now, start with what you know. Pick one or two content types you can do. It’s a good idea to get a feel for the content projects before hiring out for them.
Regardless of the types you choose, the writing and design need to be thoughtful, relevant, free of errors, easy to read, helpful, and entertaining.
For content calendars, I use either Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or Google Calendar. For some clients, I’ve had to use all three. Keep yours simple. Use Google to your advantage to find free templates that’ll help you get the ball rolling.
#2 Perform Market & Audience Research
You won’t do very well developing targeted content for your customers if you don’t know who they are, what they want, and or they spend their time online. Identify your target audience by using data you already have, data from your competitors, or general research data.
Understanding your buyer should be a top priority before attempting to implement a content marketing plan.
In defining your audience, be sure to explain their problem or desire for which you have a solution. Make your offer clear, followed by the reason why you’re offering this product or service.
Clarify who your service is for, and be as specific as possible. For example, my primary audience is entrepreneurs and small businesses. That’s pretty broad, so I break that down further to marketing managers and those looking for some DIY support.
Mostly, the people I talk to have a product or service they can and are willing to sell online.
How am I doing?
Finally, research your competition. What types of content are they publishing and where? Are they running ads? SpyFu is a great tool that can help you with this part of the research.
#3 Use an SEO Plugin
I use WordPress, so all my plugin suggestions have been tested only on that platform. WordPress is the #1 CMS in the world and the fastest-growing. Note, I’m referring to wordpress.org not wordpress.com. The difference is between renting and owning your website.
SEO writing is the Golden Snitch of digital marketing. Catch it, and you’ll likely win the game. Search engine optimization is a core element to any successful content marketing plan. A plugin and online platforms can help make this process simpler and more efficient.
A few of my favorite WordPress SEO plugins include:
Getting started is always the hardest part. Your content marketing plan doesn’t need to be an enormous, exhaustive document. Just include the basics:
- Who’s the audience?
- What do they want?
- What do you offer?
- How will you sell it to them?
- How will you promote it to them?
Refer back to your plan regularly and adjust it as needed.
As always, if you get stuck, reach out! I have more than a decade of experience writing digital and traditional marketing and sales content. Together, we’ll find a way to communicate with your audience.