One thing I’ve learned in my 20+ years online is that things flow much more smoothly when you have a content marketing plan. There is always a lot to say and to share, and if you don’t have a plan, you can end up going down roads that you never intended to travel.
In order to create and develop your content marketing plan, there are some things you need to keep in mind if you want to get it right. Some of these are common sense, and some you’ll no doubt have heard before, but the all bear repeating. And yes, I made you a list!
Here are 12 tips to keep in mind when creating your content marketing plan:
Set goals – Before you produce one piece of content, you really do need to understand the purpose of it. Set different goals for each promotion and for your business overall to help you figure out what to publish and where.
Know and understand your KPIs – The key performance indicators that help determine if your actions produce the results you want need to be spelled out. For example, if you publish a sales page for your freebie, who is it for, and what data will you use to determine if it’s working or not? Be specific.
Know your audience – I’ve said it before, but it cannot be stated enough. Knowing your audience isn’t a one-time research opportunity. It’s ongoing. Keep in mind that audiences change slightly over time. You would not market today to the same demographics the way you would have if this was the 1950s or even the 1980s.
Understand your competition – How and when your competition does things is just as important as what you’re doing because it can help you identify gaps in coverage. This is the only way to make sure you stand out. Know them and find ways to differentiate yourself.
Know where you are and where you’re going – Studying where you are now in your goals is the best way to figure out how to get where you want to go. Use analytics to help you set the standard you want to achieve.
Choose the best channels for publishing your content – The act of creating your plans will help you figure out a lot of information like where you’re going to need content published. For example, your blog, your email, social media platforms where your audience hangs out, and maybe some industry sites where you can guest blog might work for you.
Free Traffic Shotgun* by Kevin Fahey is an excellent resource for helping you decide which channels you should be focusing your content marketing efforts on.
Know what types of content you should be publishing – When you create a plan to publish content, you’ll be able to choose the right messages to get your point across. It also helps identify areas you can repurpose content.
Create a content calendar – Once you have figured out what you’re going to do, don’t just have it in your head. Instead, create a content calendar so that you can follow a plan that gets a little done each day.
Take action to create and publish the content – Planning is great but at some point you have to actually start creating and publishing the content. As you move through your plan, note the results, and keep going.
Make time for advertising and promotion – Publishing isn’t enough today. You also need to actively market the content you’re going to create. Share it more than once via email, your blog, social media, and so forth.
Measure the results – Data is your friend. Use it. Use whatever analytics you have native in your email marketing software and on your website to determine if what you’re doing is working or not.
Rinse and repeat, with adjustments – Once you start implementing your plan, use the metrics to help you adjust your plans. Repeat what works. Let go of what doesn’t.
Content is a key component of every business these days. It doesn’t really matter whether it’s online or offline, or both, you need to have a content marketing plan. Think about all the places that you use content from sales pages to blog posts to email messages and social media. The more cohesive you can make your plan so that your message carries across all your platforms, the better your results will be.