(Updated: 8 February 2023)
Let’s say you’ve started a business or perhaps have an established brand in place, your company has designated social media profiles and you already have a website to represent your company in the digital marketing space. Now what?
This is where content marketing comes in. Having a well crafted content marketing strategy can help boost your online presence, but when implemented correctly, can also maximize your ROI and ensure your content is being seen by your target audience.
However, creating a content marketing plan or strategy goes beyond just slapping content onto your website and social media throughout the month. It requires forethought such as; what are you going to post that’s relevant to your target audience? How often are you going to post? Is the content tied to specific business goals and objectives? How do you want your brand presented?
These questions play a vital role when considering how to set up a content marketing strategy. In this article, we’ll learn more about what a content marketing plan is and how to create your own content strategy.
What is a content marketing plan?
A content marketing plan is your guide to successfully grow your business, by focusing on the who, what, when, where, why, and how aspect of your content. When creating a good content marketing plan, you should be able to answer these key questions:
- Who is your company’s target audience?
- What kind of content will engage with your target audience?
- When do you want to engage with your audience through content marketing?
- Where are you going to distribute your content?
- Why should your target audience care about your content?
- How will you position your business in the market?
Beyond these questions, content marketing will help you establish a strong identity and unique strategy for your brand. That is why it is essential to make sure that your content is consistent with your brand identity. There needs to be a constant theme that runs across all of your brand messages, topics, and content.
How to plan your content marketing topics
Having lots of content at your disposal may seem like a great start, however it’s not enough. Your content must add value to your brand and should engage with your target audience. This means creating content with a purpose, your content should be relevant to your customers plight, be insightful with regards to industry trends, and helpful by addressing concerns they may have.
Having quality content will help your business build strong relationships with your audience, making your audience more likely to engage with your brand, which in turn leads to increased conversions.
Here are a few steps on how to do it:
Now that we understand the importance of quality content, we need to start thinking of topics that will be relevant, insightful, and helpful. We can do this in a number of ways, but one method is by analysing your current target audiences’ behaviour and what questions they may be asking, for example:
- What problems are they currently experiencing with a similar product or service?
- What external factors have increased or decreased their need for a product or service?
- What questions or issues will my content help resolve?
- How will my content be insightful to my target audience on a product or service?
Once you have your list of questions, write down potential topics you think will best answer these questions. You can then narrow down the list by value and volume.
Scoring value & volume
You have your shortened topic list, now it’s time to determine which of these topics will be most valuable to your target audience. You can do this by scoring your content by value and volume:
- Value: How will the content benefit your business?
- Volume: Will your content reach a wide target audience?
You will need to gather more information and supporting data related to your topics in order to properly determine if people are interested in these topics and how to better use topics to your advantage. You can use platforms such as Google Trends, Google Analytics, Social Media Analytics, and Search Console. These platforms can show how the topic performs and how many people are searching for it which can give you clearer insight into whether or not it’s worth diving into.
Organise the information and refine it
Now it’s time to organize the supporting information and your topics onto a spreadsheet. You should order your topics in a way that forms a theme, these could be category, genre, or level or importance based. You will then be able to further establish which topics are targeted and therefore worth keeping.
Once you’ve organized your information, it’s time to ask yourself the following questions:
- Which of these topics best relate to your marketing strategy?
- Are you looking to drive a certain action from your target audience?
- Are you looking to re-target and up-sell existing customers?
With these in mind, you will be able to refine your article topics and really piece together a strategic content marketing plan.
Develop a style
We’re almost there! Once you know what your target audience needs and values, you can look at what your content style will be and what way you will present that information to them.
What tone do you want associated with your brand messaging?
- Funny: Adding humor to your content and brand messaging.
- Respectful: Keeping the tone professional across the board.
- Short: Why mince words when you can get right to the point.
- Casual: Taking a more leisurely approach to your brand messaging.
- Serious: Being direct and to the point when it comes to your product or service.
- Elaborate: Adding descriptive and creative words to make it interesting.
- Formal: Making sure your target audience knows you don’t mess around with your content.
How will you present your information to your target audience?
- Custom illustrations
- Q & A sessions
- How-to articles
- Product updates
- Industry news
- Case studies
- Surveys and much more.
Ultimately, this process does take time and should not be rushed, because you will have a strong list of topics, the right tone, and style to support your business goals and marketing efforts. This process will also provide you with enough content to use over a period of time without bombarding your readers with irrelevant content.
How often do you have to post or blog?
With your content marketing plan almost ready, you need to take that last step which is figuring out how often you should post and when to post. Unfortunately, there is no set answer, some company’s may find posting or blogging 2 or 3 times a week works well for them, but others may find that’s too much.
Here are some things to consider when choosing your posting schedule:
- Daily posting or blogging:
Some content marketers may find posting daily keeps your brand in front of your target audience which may potentially increase the odds of customers viewing your posts or visiting your website. There are also potential SEO benefits as Google will see regular updates to your website and may boost your rankings in SERPS. However, there are also downsides, posting regularly may irritate your target audience and your carefully planned brand messaging may end up being overlooked as it’s constant bombardment of information.
- Weekly posting or blogging:
Some content marketers may find posting once or twice a week better for spreading useful and relevant information to your target audience without overwhelming them. This in turn allows customers to pay closer attention to what’s being said as it gives them certain levels of information at a given time, thus driving customer engagement and potentially increasing your ROI.
Here are some tips you should consider when you’ve chosen your posting schedule:
- Daily posting or blogging:
- Always keep your posts short and to the point
- Plan ahead so you don’t end up posting sub-standard content that appears rushed
- Vary your post types using a combination of image oriented posts, articles, hard sells, shared links to relevant and credible sources, videos etc.
- Weekly posting or blogging:
- Vary your post types based off popular topics on your social media such as creating articles on a specific topic then using content from that article to do videos, presentations, infographics etc.
- Experiment with longer and shorter posts over time.
- Try incorporating “evergreen” content into your schedule to ensure relevancy throughout the years.
Effective content marketing is no easy task, but with enough time and effort, you can develop the perfect content marketing plan that will keep your readers both entertained and informed.
Need help? Cognite marketing provides tailored and targeted content marketing plan based on your needs and will be developed and executed, leaving you with more time to manage your day-to-day responsibilities.