If you were going on a trip – somewhere you’ve never been – would you just jump in the car and go? Okay, nowadays it’s much easier since you have a phone and GPS. However, back in the day you would probably consult a map and research hotel, restaurant, and things to do before you went. And would you say that your trip would be more successful if you did some legwork beforehand?
Most people agree that it’s good to have a plan. A plan can help identify goals and the necessary steps to get you from point A to point B. It also helps you determine the best way to execute tactics based on solid, well-conceived information.
When it comes to marketing your business, you may think all you need to do is post on Facebook and maybe write a few blogs. However, proper planning is really important. Here’s why you need a content marketing plan:
Understand your customers
In order to share content, the first thing you need to do is determine who your target audience is.
- Beyond gender, age, and location, what characteristics are unique to your customers?
- What are their goals?
- What challenges are they facing that your business can solve?
Oftentimes companies have a broad customer base and may need to hone in on the people they are really trying to reach. For example, we’re working with a career coach. She could talk to anyone looking for a job, but she’s decided to focus on recent college grads because she’s see that audience as a unique opportunity for her business and has had success with those customers recently.
Clarify your brand voice
It’s important to write down your promise or purpose to your customers as well as the personality of your brand. How should you speak to your target audience? Is your voice personable and friendly or corporate and professional? Once you have established your communication style and tone, you can consistently communicate your message to your interested audience, and they will have a clear sense of who you are and your promise to them.
Provide the right content
By understanding your audience and the challenges they’re facing, you will be able to develop content that fills their needs and establishes you as a trusted resource and thought leader. Not only do you want to provide content specifically about your type of business but also information that your audience will be interested that relates to your product or service.
As an example, we’re currently working with a national organization whose audience is seeking information about a particular pain condition. Our goal is to not only provide content about this condition, but all types of related content that might be important to this audience like, living a healthy lifestyle, telling loved ones how pain affects them, and trying alternative therapies. And ultimately, this organization wants their audience to become paying members of their group – opening folks up to even more value-added information.
Deliver through the right channels with the right frequency
So, once you know what to say you’ll need to determine the optimal media and delivery tools for your audience. If your audience is women in their 40s, then Facebook and Pinterest are probably good social media options. We recommend regular blogs for all of our clients as way to share fresh, value-added content and drive traffic to their website. There are many ways to deliver content so take time to determine the best ways for your audience.
You’ll also need to determine how often your audience wants to hear from you – frequent communication is fine as long as it’s relevant. If you are providing the content yourself, be realistic about how much time it takes to create ongoing content (it may make more sense to hire a professional to assist you).
Work from an editorial calendar
The last step is to take the guess work out of what you are going to say and set up a schedule. Once you know who you’re talking to, how you want to talk to them, where you’ll reach them, and what topics interest them, a detailed calendar provides topics, channels, and responsibilities for each week.
The ultimate goal of a comprehensive plan is to nurture your target all the way from awareness to the point of purchasing from you. When we create a content marketing plan for our clients, we take a multi-prong approach to accomplish all of the above and more. It takes time and considerable thought, but the road map it provides for our clients is invaluable!
So, are you ready to create a content marketing plan for your business? Yes? Then we’re ready to help you make it happen.