Everything you do for your business should include a plan. Without a plan, you have no path. You won’t know what to do, when to do it, and why you’re doing what you’re doing. You won’t go far with your marketing that way. To achieve your content marketing goals, you need a content marketing strategy. The following steps will help you create an effective plan.
First Step: Know Your Audience
You need to research your consumers. As you’re researching, seek the answers to these questions to get some basic demographic information:
- Are your consumers mostly male or female?
- How old is your audience?
- What do your consumers like to do?
- Where do they spend most of their time online?
- What questions do they have about your products and services?
- How can you help them?
Find out as much as possible about your audience through your research. You can do this by following your consumers on social media and then paying attention to what they post and share. You can also visit websites they are likely to visit to find out what they like to learn about and where they enjoy shopping online. The more information you can gather, the more you can provide in content.
Second Step: Create a Funnel
Content feeds the funnel and what comes out are targeted consumers interested in your products and services. In this step, you’ll come up with topics your consumers want from content. You will then devise a plan of what you’ll do with the content once it is published. Here’s an example of a plan you might want to use.
- Publish content on the blog.
- Once published, take blog’s URL, post it on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ with an engaging introduction. (tip: it’s important to test and measure as much as you can – use bitly.com to track your links)
- Use an image to post on Pinterest with engaging description and include keywords.
- Reach out to influencers to let them know you have a new blog post that they may want to share with their followers.
- Create an email newsletter with the week’s newest content and send to email list.
- Announce on social media you have just sent out your newest email newsletter and invite people to join the list.
- Check on how well the blog post is performing. How did it rank on search engines? How many clicks did it get on social media? How many likes, comments and shares did it receive? How many people clicked on it in the email newsletter?
- Make notes about how well it did and then move on to the next blog post.
You may want to add more to your content marketing strategy or scale it down a bit depending on the amount of time you have each day. Just keep in mind that the more you invest in your content marketing, the more effective and beneficial it is to your business.
Third Step: Create an Editorial Calendar
You have your content marketing strategy. The only thing left to do is plan out the content you’ll publish on your blog. This will make writing and publishing it much easier because you won’t have to waste time thinking about what you’re going to write each day. The more information you put down on your editorial calendar the better. Have a title, keywords, and reference links available. You can even write a description for each blog post, so you can remember what you want to write about when you came up with the idea.
There are many editorial calendar available for free online. Hubspot teaches you how to create a content calendar on Google. They also have a free Excel template you can use. Try them both to figure out which one you like best. Using services like Buffer will save you a lot of time and thereby money. This is done by taking a large chunk of time to get as much of your content completed and organized as possible (you will be more efficient doing it this way rather than creating content each day). Then your content is released on a schedule that you determine so you don’t have to manually post or publish content every day.
Put Your Content Marketing Strategy into Action
Once you have your plan, you are ready to put it into action. You’ll likely realize that it’s much easier than what you’ve tried to do in the past. That’s why plans are so great. You can simply follow it, and not feel as though you are going in many different directions. Start creating your content marketing strategy today!
What’s your content marketing strategy? What tools or techniques do you use to publish your content? Let us know in the comments below!