Content marketing is not a new way of marketing but there has been a recent increase in the need for businesses to build and increase their online presence.
Content marketing involves creating and distributing value-adding content to a target audience. This content does not openly promote a brand but it drives interest in the brand’s products or services.
Most marketers refer to content marketing as “the art of selling without selling”.
A content marketing strategy or plan focuses on the planning process, creation process, delivery, and managing of content.
In simple words, derived from The Collaboratory, a content marketing strategy is a plan on how to drive an online audience towards your brand by consistently delivering valuable content.
Without a strategy, it is difficult to know where you are going and to keep track of your progress.
Content marketing starts with understanding your target audience and knowing the type of content they need – content that is relevant to them.
Why is content marketing important?
According to HubSpot, content marketing is important simply because it answers your audience’s questions.
Through content marketing;
- You can increase your brand’s awareness
- You can connect and build trust with your customers and potential customers
- And, you can improve conversions and generate leads
How to create a content marketing plan.
Your content marketing plan is based on understanding your business goals, your ideal customer (target audience), and knowing the content they need (relevant content).
Define your purpose and goals
The first step is knowing what you want – what you are working towards by producing content.
Having the clarity of what you want to get from content marketing increases your chances of achieving your marketing goals.
You don’t have to go far while defining your goals. According to The Balance, you should align your content marketing plan with your business goals. Therefore, you can start by looking at your business goals. You can then come up with the goals you want to achieve through content marketing and support your business goals at the same time.
Aligning your content marketing plan with your business goals helps you come up with content that aligns with your brand’s image.
Your goal might be to increase your brand’s awareness or to even generate leads. Depending on where your business is at the moment, come up with goals that will help get your business/ brand to where you want it to be.
According to Lyfe Marketing, having these goals gives you a proper direction to your content and how it spreads across the social platforms.
Who do you want to interact with your content?
When it comes to content marketing, knowing who you want to interact with your content is very key.
Who is your target audience and what problem are you solving for them? Answering these two questions will be key in drafting your content plan.
Invest your time or even money as early as possible in researching your audience and understanding them. Know the content they prefer, websites they visit, and the social media channels they use.
To know your audience, you can use social media channels, conduct surveys, use competitive analysis, or have direct conversations and interactions with them.
Understanding your target audience will help you create the right content for the right people.
Come up with content ideas
From HubSpot, content that is engaging, consistent, and high-quality influences the audience’s decision-making process more than any other method.
An ideal content is that which either informs, inspires, persuades although non-promotional or educates.
Look for ways to come up with new, valuable and ideal content.
Coming up with content ideas is not easy especially when you have to be consistent. But, there are different ways that can make the process easier.
Use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. and see the conversations and questions people are having in your industry. You can create content around these questions and drive conversations.
An easy way is to brainstorm ideas with your team. By the end of the day, the fact that there are more than two heads, you will have different workable ideas.
Also, think of using your audience to get ideas and actually create content they are looking for.
You can look out for your competitors and see what they are doing in terms of content and see the gaps in their content. Take those gaps and make them better in your own perspective and see how your audience reacts to the content.
Focus on being unique
Uniqueness and originality are what will help you implement a winning marketing strategy.
There is so much content on the internet and in order to stand out, your content needs to offer real value and stand out from your competitors.
When your content stands out from your competitors, your target audience will notice you.
Focus on creating content that evokes readers’ emotions as research shows that this type of content has a higher chance of being read and shared. Also, content with a unique perspective such as a personal experience is more valuable.
As a business, look for the unique selling point in your content and regularly feed your audience with that.
Constantly work towards improving the quality of your content and making it unique.
Determine the content formats that work best for your brand
There are so many content formats you can use for content marketing but you need to determine the formats that work best for your brand.
Depending on your business type and your brand, some formats might be preferable compared to others. Also, consider the size of the audience you want to reach and choose the formats that can help reach that size.
You can choose to use; blog posts, infographics, videos, social media (Facebook stories, Instagram stories, Twitter, etc.).
At first, you can do a test run and experiment with all the formats you have chosen. With time, you will learn which one works best among those and which formats your audience prefers.
Determine where you will publish and promote your content
This is primarily where you can post your content. It can be your website, social media channels, etc.
In your plan, write the channels will you use to tell your story or distribute your content. These channels are basically determined by where your audience is.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, have criteria and objectives for each channel you are planning to use. You can draw tables showing each channel and its objective. Know how you will connect them to have cohesive brand conversations.
Determine how you will manage your content
Having a content plan and the content itself is not enough. You need to determine how you will manage your content.
How often will you publish in your channels? You will need to create a content calendar and this is highly influenced by your audience’s behavioral patterns especially the time they spend online. But, focus on being consistent.
Who will be creating the content? Will you use an in-house content creator, or hire a freelancer, etc.?
Also, consider coming up with a content production process to be followed by those involved in the process. This ensures common mistakes are noticed and corrected.
Decide whether you will need content managing tools or software to help you manage your content across your channels.
Content marketing is an effective technique to grow your business.
In HubSpot’s Not Another State of Marketing Report, almost 70% of businesses are actively investing in content marketing in 2020. As a business owner, consistently work towards creating a solid content marketing plan with your team and invest in it.
Don’t just have the plan down on paper as the plan will not work until you implement it. As you go, make whatever adjustments you need to make until you see results.
Be patient, stick to your strategy, and be consistent and as time goes by, you will start achieving your goals.