Content Marketing Plan: 7 Steps To Creating A Workable One
Updated: Sep 10, 2019
Content marketing works best if you work systematically and combine that with creativity. Often, however, there is no time to make detailed plans and you go from job to
project. That is a shame and it can be done differently.
In 7 steps you can create a workable content marketing plan for yourself or your department for the coming year:
1. Determine your content marketing goals
Your company or organization has formulated goals for the coming year or for a longer term. Now it is important to derive content marketing objectives from this. Often you can distinguish three types of objectives for an annual plan:
1. Goals aimed at fame
For example, familiarity with the company, a new location or a new activity.
2. Objectives focused on leads
For example, you want more newsletter subscribers or more people who download something so that you can subsequently use them with a follow-up offer.
3. Goals focused on sales and maintenance
Sales targets must be established. Existing customers must make different or repeat purchases or new customers must be tempted into that crucial first purchase.
If the aim is to obtain publicity, it is often good to focus activities on:
Improved findability of the website
Campaigns on social media, specifically aimed at identified target groups
Content that promotes the new offering well and that is attractive to share
If you want more leads, then it is important to:
Think about how you can show an reliability and authority: with which content do you convince others that you are the best party?
Identify where you can best sow that content. Via your own site, social media or perhaps via channels and platforms of others?
Take actions to recruit more subscribers for your newsletter
2. What was good to do and where do you stand?
Individual actions depend largely on where you are now. What resources are already there and are clearly bearing fruit? Which means still disappoint? Agree to your content marketing plan. Continue everything that works and steadily expand.
Take a look at disappointing results. Was that due to the formulated solution or how it was used? Can you remedy something? You keep it clear by doing this in three steps:
1. Make a top 3 or top 5 of the actions that worked and see what they had in common. There is the gold for the coming period.
2. Make a top 3 or top 5 of the actions that yielded less than expected. Decide what you will not do or do differently in the coming year.
3. See what worked for your competitors in the past year. What can you learn from this? Do not just copy anything but create your own adaptation that fits your business characteristics and you will see that there is something unique that works for you.
3. What was nice to do?
This is often forgotten: success in content marketing stands or falls with the inspiration and the desire to persevere from the person who executes it. Or what worked for you and / or your colleagues? What did you get energy from during and after the execution? For one person that is the interaction on social media. The other person prefers to work on new content in the background. Use the talents and preferences as they exist in your company and you have an engine that keeps your content marketing going throughout the year.
Does that mean that you can ignore everything that is not nice? Unfortunately not. If it works (see the previous point) but nobody will be happy with the implementation, you should see if you can outsource that. Or maybe you can change something in the internal process, making it less tough and burdensome.
4. Choose your content form
It is a big pitfall to write articles because they are low-threshold to make. Not everyone can write equally well and it is a misunderstanding that many blog articles on your website always improve your findability in Google. Often it only leads to more average content.
Let your content forms be determined by your goals instead. Do you want more awareness? So you should also take a look at videos, quizzes and competitions on social media. Do
you want people to see your company as an expert and share the relevant content and link to it? Enter the depth with 'longcopy' content of at least 2000 words.
5. Choose your subjects
What should your content be about? It is a point of discussion in many companies. Many are inclined to write about themselves, but unfortunately, that does not interest anyone. Unless ... the entrepreneur who is the face of the company shares what concerns him / her and does it in a personal way. People love that. Stories that illuminate the 'why' behind a company and business operations are beautiful content, if authentic.
But otherwise the subjects should revolve around your customer. What is it about? What bothers him and what does he laugh at? What can you solve, what feeling do you want to
strengthen? The answer can be found in conversations with customers and potential customers, on social media, on the phone and in emails.
6. Test your subjects
It is wise to test your subjects: how do you see it? Check keyword volumes in Google, look at successful content from competitors and whether your subjects are in line with what they are doing or perhaps tackling different ones... Look in trade and consumer magazines and blogs what the 'hot' topics are for your customers next year. Will there be times in the coming year when you can hook up with your subjects? In short, look and compare, but at least test your ideas before you continue with your content marketing plan and actually plan actions.
7. Make a schedule
Keep your planning as simple as possible. Before you know, making a content planning already absorbs so much energy in January that you are almost done with it. No complicated Excel sheets and calendars that are equipped with a variety of functionalities. Make it manageable by choosing 12 main topics of which you choose 1 for each month.
You can point out a number of subtopics for each main subject and choose content forms. The size of the total number of answers depends on the capacity you have and the ambition of your objectives.
Work well in the first quarter and let the following quarters rest on the main lines. You automatically notice how detailed your planning should be and what does / does not work, so that you can fill in the next quarters with more ease.
Then you mainly work on the content promotion in your calendar: how is each part promoted? Which resources do you put in and how often? Where can you build bridges between the subjects later in the year and also bring older content to the attention again?
Finally: take control yourself or put the control in a central place. At a small company you can do that as an entrepreneur or your right hand man. Or invest it with a person who does all communication. Outsourcing the control to a content marketing agency can also be a solution. They have routine and it often takes less time, so that more time remains for other businesses within the company. The daily business for example (ah, detail ...).
Your content marketing plan is ready ...
Almost ... By planning in detail each quarter, but not all quarters for the whole year, you give yourself more flexibility and the opportunity to use experiences from practice to do better in a next quarter. But then you have to take the time every quarter to actually evaluate and adjust the planning for the next quarter. If you also include that in your plan, you can work in a structured way.