A Step-by-Step Guide to a Content Marketing Plan
If you’ve ever read our blog, you’re well aware that we’re huge fans of content marketing. While organizations across the globe are embracing this aspect of inbound marketing, though, many others still feel iffy when it comes to adopting these tactics. First of all, “content” is a loaded term. Is it just text copy, or does it encompass videos, infographics, webinars, ebooks, social networking, and more? Which of these is right for your business? How can you be sure that your content will be well-received by your target audience? And where the heck are you supposed to begin?
Before you panic, take a deep breath and stay with us. Yes, there are many things to consider when adopting a content marketing strategy, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be a monumental task. By breaking the process up into manageable steps, you can successfully implement and maintain your content marketing methodology.
Step 1: Get to know your audience
Any content that you develop should be designed to cater to your prospective customer’s desires, interests, and needs. Taking the time to get to know what drives your target audience, then, is a crucial step in content marketing. Spend a bit of time considering the type or types of people most likely to be in need of the goods or services that you have to offer. Consider his or her demographics, lifestyle, spending limitations, pain points, etc. Put yourself in your buyer’s shoes and consider what data you would type into a search engine and which results would pique your interest. This will create a solid baseline upon which you can build your content.
Step 2: Stop talking about yourself
No one likes to listen to someone who constantly talks about himself or herself. The same goes for content marketing! Whether you’re writing blog posts or shooting video tutorials, just say no to constant self-referencing. The more you talk about your specific brand, the more your audience will feel that they are being advertised to, as opposed to engaged with. This is the exact opposite of inbound, content-related marketing and will take you right back to square one.
Step 3: Know what types of content work for your audience
It’s not enough to know what drives your audience and how to appeal to them; you also need to know where they’re looking for content and which types of content they engage with most. Women, for example, frequent social media platforms like Pinterest, while millennials are broadcasting their lives across platforms like Instagram, Periscope, and SnapChat. In addition to knowing what appeals to your audience, it’s wise to also consider the type of content your products or services lend themselves to. Would a video demonstration build consumer interest? Or perhaps a webinar demonstrating your expertise would do the trick. Know where your strengths lay and what works for your business. By posting ideas and subjects inherently relevant to you (the business owner), you demonstrate your humanity to your online influence.
Step 4: Consider Sharing
There’s no shame in sharing or re-posting relevant content from other sources — so long as it’s done so with permission, cited, and actually pertains to your audience’s needs and interests. Although we wouldn’t recommend that you do this all the time, it can be a great way to save time once a week, can attract new readers from other sources, and may even result in your content being shared elsewhere in reciprocation.
Step 5: Monitor the results
It’s important that you have a plan for measuring the results of your marketing efforts on a regular basis. With a good metrics tool, you can decipher which of your posts appealed most to the masses, and which may have been duds. This will allow you to focus your efforts on what’s actually working and helping you acheive your business goals.