Content marketing is the name of the game! It’s no more about push marketing but pull marketing. And the best way to pull people towards your business is by delivering value – thru content!
Content marketing is currently trending in the digital marketing sphere. Today, if you are dependent only on a single channel to monetize your skills and generate business, your ROI will take a hit.
Here’s a picture of my content marketing group in Mumbai that I mentor and guide on a weekly basis. A lot of them are now able to use content marketing to create massive results in their business.
Social media, search engines, emails, etc. are still a great way to bring profits.
However, today, you will have to do everything collectively through content to sustain in the business. Here’s why you need to give a serious thought about content marketing.
Why do I need a content marketing plan in the first place?
Since everything we consume online is a different form of content, so your brand should have a relevant and engaging content that sets it apart from the rest of the competitors.
Content marketing plan involves the steps to do research, create and distribute different types of content — blogs, videos, images, social media posts to generate increase and authority of your brand so the business can get more sales.
Through content marketing, you will get relevant traffic to your digital properties like websites, social media profiles, online stores, etc. So, you will get a continuous flow of traffic that could generate sales.
For example, one YouTube video is helping you bring constant traffic to your website. However, to generate more sales and better profits, as a business, you would aspire to get several channels through which you get constant attention of relevant people. Content marketing allows you to make this a reality.
1. Set Clear Objectives
Goals and objectives will set the path of your content marketing efforts and transform your digital activities around a specific goal.
To decide your goals, understand what do you want to achieve after all these activities are over. For example,
- Do You want more traffic on your website?
- Do you want more email subscribers?
- Do you want more social media followers?
- Do you want more sales of your products?
- Do you want people to download your eBook?
- Do you want people to look for you and hire you?
These could be the examples of objectives you can set to plan the content marketing plan that brings clear results. Based on your business goals, you can then decide how you are going to utilize your available resource into making those objectives reality.
2. Understand Buyer’s Journey
To simply put, the buyer’s journey is a user’s perspective or mindset while they visit your website. Generally, the buyer’s journey has a three stage.
- Awareness: In this stage, the user comes to know about your brand and the website either through a search engine, social media, email or a website banner. They are the first time visiting your website to find find the solution they are looking for. They would read your blogs, watch videos and leave.
- Considerations: In this stage, you have already gained the trust of your users. They know your website because you have given them desired solutions or information of your niche for a few times. Now, they take another step in understanding your brand and try will explore what you offer.
- Decision: In this stage, your conversions take place. After visiting and researching about your brand, the users finally decide if they should purchase your product, subscribe to your newsletter or take your online course — perform your desired conversion.
You can sketch the mindset shifts of an individual who knows nothing about your brand, starts to visit your website and eventually become your satisfied consumer.
Based on your niche, understand what would be the prospect’s expectation and how can you help them improve their lives by sharing your knowledge of the niche.
3. Do a Content Audit
An audit of your content will help you understand what do you have at the moment in your content bank that you can utilize or optimize. A content audit can set a clear picture of the existing quality of the content on various digital properties.
Like how many posts do your social media account have, how many blogs you have published, how many videos you have made and so on?
If you are working in-house for a company, you can ask previous employees or the managers about the content situation. After getting all the desired information, you need to check and understand if the quality of the existing content is good enough to start a content marketing campaign.
Because if you don’t do a content audit at all and start content production from scratch, then you might end up developing content files that were already there in your archive, but you had no idea. So, a content audit can save you from such a bizarre situation and give a reality check of your content.
After auditing, you can make an accurate and precise content plan and forward it to your team for development. Otherwise, start promoting existing content if the quality is up to the mark.
4. Generate Content Ideas
Your content ideas must meet the goals and objectives of your efforts. After knowing the buyer’s journey, you will get to know the step-by-step evolution of a visitor that becomes your customer.
Hence, you will see where your users are roaming on the Internet and how to grab their attention by providing them with the information they want.
Here are the different type of emotions that you can stir thru your content. Every emotion has a frequency. And the more you can evoke those emotions thru your content, the deeper you can connect with your audience.
Moreover, thanks to all the previous step, you can align your content ideas with the buyer’s journey by also keeping in mind the current archive of your content bank.
Through your content, you can connect, educate, inform or entertain your readers. There are several web resource you can try and get started with brainstorming content ideas.
Google Trends is a platform by Google that analyses top searched queries on Google across different geographical locations. In this tool, you can search for the popularity of any topic based on a specific geographic area.
You can type the keywords your niche and see which are the content recently published and check the graph of popularity of that topic on the selected region.
Alltop aggregates news for you and lets you know which topics are trending at a given time. Alltop has dozens of categories that you can check by clicking them and skimming the content listed on the page.
If you wish to read each content individually, you can click on the title that interests you. By just scanning the titles of your niche, you get tons of exciting ideas which you can use for your content marketing activities.
BuzzSumo is arguably one of the most popular tools that curate popular and viral content on the internet based on the number of social shares the content has received on various platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Links, etc.
It also shows the overall top trending content and tells you what users are most interested in. You can also search keywords of your niche to check top performing content of your industry.
Blog topics play a crucial role. They must be tempting, so people could not resist themselves but click on them. You need to give three nouns to the Hubspot’s blog topic generator, and the tool’s algorithm will provide you with five relevant titles. If you refresh, you will get another five titles. This way, you can generate a stream of relevant blog topic titles for your blog.
5. Discover Right Content Format
There are a variety of content formats you can choose as a part of content marketing activities. These different forms of content can help you create a unique experience for your users. Based on the type of information you want to convey and the type of action you want them to perform, you can choose the format of the content.
Here are the content formats:
- Videos: Videos have the 40x higher chances of getting shared on social media compared to other forms of content. Through videos, you can get your storytelling abilities to a whole new paradigm.
- Images: A relevant picture is worth a thousand words, they say. If you can find and include a picture in your blogs, website, etc. you could effectively communicate your messages to the readers.
- eBooks: eBooks can help you get the email address of the prospects, and in return, you can educate them through your eBooks. This way, you can emerge as an authority and also build your email list.
- Blogs: This article itself is a blog post. If regular and quality blogs are published on a website, it can generate a spike in your traffic, leads, and sales. You will have to keep posting high-quality blogs to expect the results.
- Infographics: Infographics can improve your representations skills. Even though blogs work well, but if you use numerical and statistics to a blog, it will be boring to read. However, infographics can give you the chance to represent your study more creative way.
- Case Studies: The case study is a smart way to educate people through their own experience. You can show testimonials and proof of the results you achieved in your industry through the case study.
- Podcasts and Webinars: These two tools are emerging to be the mainstream content formats in the digital landscape. You can organize meeting, conferences, and lectures through webinars and podcasts to educate and attract more prospects.
These formats can help you get your message across the audience properly. Based on your current availability of resources and requirements, you can choose the formats.
6. Promote Your Content
Don’t expect your content to be found by the ideal prospects automatically. You cannot just sit there and assume that visitors would start coming to your website just because you have published great content.
You will have to methodically promote your content to the relevant audience so that they would visit your digital properties and perform your desired actions. Content marketing is incomplete if you don’t advertise your content smartly. There is much hard work still required just after creating and publishing content online.
Several tools help you advertise your content. Here is a list of those channels.
- Search engine optimization
- Search engine ads
- Display Ads
- Social media ads
- Social media posts
- Email marketing
Irrespective of whatever medium you choose, you will require an additional skill set or a team of marketers to leverage multiple channels to get comparatively faster results. Research, plan and execute your content on these platforms to ensure maximum positive results.
7. Manage Your Content
Keep a log of your posts and keep track of everything you had shared online so that you can check and analyze your previous activities and know how they performed when you had published.
If you have managed your content, you could also run a quick audit by just going to your content management tool. For website and blogs, there are several platforms you can use to manage your website. Wordpress is the most renowned content management system. (Source)
Developing a robust content marketing plan for your business demands experience and practice. That does not mean you should not attempt to make a plan. Every champion was once a beginner who refused to give up, they say.
Once you develop your content marketing plan, you will get results that might give you some key insights. If you wish to change some aspects of your plans to secure maximum profits, you must be open-minded to so.
Be prepared to make immediate changes and edits in your execution as per the situations. If you are operating yourself with a conservative mindset, you will suffer.
Do let us know your views in the comments about the content marketing plan. What key areas you double check to get a robust strategy that gives maximum ROI for your marketing efforts.