5 Easy Steps to Create a Strategic Content Marketing Plan
To make your marketing truly unique, create content yourself. Studies show that content marketing builds trusting relationships with current and potential clients. In fact, nearly 80% of consumers will trust your brand more if you create customized content. Creating a content marketing plan will give you the tools to keep your content strategy on track and build your clients’ trust.
Here are 5 steps to creating a strategic content marketing plan:
1. Set goals. What is the purpose of your content? You should set goals based on your answer to that questions, and those goals should be realistic and measurable. For example, rather than say you’d like to maintain a relationship with your customers through email, set a goal to have 100 new email sign-ups by the end of the year by improving the quality of your newsletter. Your content should support your overall business goals, especially if you practice inbound marketing, which is focused on content creation. To learn more about your content’s role in inbound marketing, download our Inbound Marketing eBook.
2. Know what you’re selling and to whom. You know what products and services your business
offers, but do you know who you’re selling them to? Determining your target audience can help you create content to sell your product or service to them. This step will take some research – first, you must create profiles of your ideal buyers, known as customer personas. To get you started, we’ve created a Customer Persona Checklist.
If you’re a visual learner, we’ve created a basic customer persona template you can use.
3. Know your competition. There is more content available to your prospects than they can possibly consume. Some of this content comes from your competitors and can actually guide your own content creation. By researching competitors’ content, you learn what is already being offered to your prospects and what you can do differently to stand out.
Whenever Pulse takes on a new client, we ask them to name their competitors so that we can research them to inform our strategies. We’ve included this question on our creative briefs, as seen below.
4. Take inventory. Most likely, you have already created content that could serve as a guide for future content. Conducting a content audit can help you to identify what you already have and what you need. Be sure to include everything you’ve ever created, no matter how old it is. For each piece, ask yourself what topic is being covered, what type of material it is (video, article, etc.), where it is located, how it can be accessed, and its value to your audience based on your buyer personas. Then, determine what content you need to create and what materials you have that you should update based on your assessment.
5. Get organized. If you’re creating content in-house, an editorial calendar can keep your content marketing on track. This calendar outlines what is being created, who is creating it, when it will be published, and how it will be promoted. To help you get organized, we’ve created an Editorial Calendar Checklist. As you can see below, the Pulse Blog uses an editorial calendar to plan content.
Once you’ve determined what kinds of content you need to create, you need to decide who will create this content and in how much time. The size of your team factors into this, especially if your business is small. If you realize you do not have the time or staff members necessary to meet your needs, it may be beneficial to hire another person or marketing agency to handle content creation. Pulse offers a variety of content marketing services, including content writing, social media marketing, and even video production. Best of all, your first consultation is free.