Content marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to drive more traffic to your website, attract more customers and even earn more revenue. Plenty of businesses and blogs rely on content marketing for their business’ entire marketing strategies. Content marketing is, at it’s core, a way to tell stories by creating valuable pieces of content which are related to your business and of interest to your potential customers.
Content Marketing can take many forms, for example you can write blog posts, create infographics, slideshows, podcasts, videos and so on. Anything that is relevant to your niche and your potential customers can be turned into a piece of content and shared online via your website and social media which has the potential to attract people to your brand.
A content marketing plan gives you a way to strategize the way you approach this side of marketing. It can help you stay more productive while ensuring you earn more revenue while doing and spending less. We’re going to talk more about what a content marketing plan is and how you can implement it in your business.
Let’s get started.
What is a Content Marketing Plan?
A content marketing plan provides a way for you to strategize the way you approach one of the most effective forms of marketing, as we explained earlier. Content marketing itself allows you to bring in more revenue for your business by drawing more attention to your products and affiliates.
Implementing a strategy gives you the potential to earn more revenue as it allows you to take a pool of data of things you know work (and suspect work) and apply it to the current workflow you already use for content creation.
How Do You Create a Content Marketing Plan?
Everything you do for your business should have a purpose. Content marketing is no different. Your content marketing plan needs to focus on achieving some sort of goal for your business, which means you should start out by determining what your content marketing goals are and what you want to accomplish with your content marketing strategy.
You should really hone in on defining your target audience and conducting research on them after that. Doing this will give you insight on what type(s) of content your audience prefers to consume and what issues they’re facing in your niche. This information will give you a solid foundation to base your ideas off of.
Your next order of business should be to create an editorial schedule using all of the information you’ve gathered along with other data, which we’ll get to in a bit. This is where your content marketing strategy transforms into a real plan you can implement and take action on, which means content creation and content promotion is up next.
All in all, here are the steps we suggest taking to create an effective content marketing plan:
- Define your goals.
- Define your target audience.
- Create an editorial schedule.
- Create content.
- Promote content.
Let’s dive a little deeper into each one of these topics.
Defining Your Content Marketing Goals
There are a number of different reasons to create content for your business. Generating more revenue is a popular choice for many, so we suggest starting there when defining the goals you want to accomplish with content marketing.
How do you want the content you create to generate more revenue for your business? Do you want to earn more through affiliate marketing? Do you want to sell more of your own products? Do you want to attract sponsors? Determining this information from the get go will allow you to breeze through the process of coming up with topic ideas and creating an editorial schedule.
There are also a number of non-monetary reasons to amp up your content marketing game. Maybe you simply want to gain a following and raise awareness for your brand. A blog, podcast, YouTube channel or other platform designed for content creation is a wonderful way to do that. It allows you to connect with your audience by creating content specifically for them, such as tutorials or reviews they request or even a knowledge base filled with helpful articles.
Take some time to define the goals you want to achieve with your content marketing plan, and continue onto the next step.
Defining Your Target Audience
You need to come up with numerous ideas for your blog well in advance in order to create an effective content marketing plan. This means you need to define your target audience and find out key details about them. This includes who they are and what problems they’re facing. Researching this information will give you loads of topic ideas, and it’ll give you peace of mind knowing the content you’re creating is about topics your audience is actually interested in.
There are a number of different places you can use to find out what problems members of your niche are having and what questions they’re asking. Try these:
- Ask Them Directly – Interacting with your audience is the most effective way to find out what they get up to in your niche and what their biggest problems are. Have one-on-one conversations with them, conduct surveys or send out a simple email asking them what they’re biggest struggle is at the moment. Study your comment section more carefully as well.
- Quora – This is a question and answer website. It’s a great place to find out information about nearly any topic or niche. It’s also a great way to see what questions people are asking that relates to your niche.
- Answer the Public – This is a simple website that shows you what people are searching for based on a particular keyword.
- Forums – Your audience likely hangs out at a few different places. This could mean Facebook Groups, but it can also mean forums from around the web. Whether you engage with other members of your niche here or simply read through responses in a discrete manner, you’ll likely come out of this phase with several topic ideas.
You should also try to figure out where your audience consumes content and what types of content they prefer to consume. It’d be easy for us to say, “blogging is the most effective form of content marketing and is where your efforts should be focused,” but it’s not that simple.
Everyone’s audience is different. What works for one business may not work for yours. For example, if your audience seems to prefer video content over written content, you’ll want to focus on creating a YouTube channel or video course. Knowing this information will let you know where to publish content as well as how to create it.
Let’s move on to the research phase.
This is where things start getting intense when it comes to creating a content marketing plan. There are a number of things you should research before you get into the swing of things. They include:
- Researching your competition.
- Running a content audit.
- Coming up with ideas.
Researching your competition isn’t a necessary step in the process, but it can provide a bit of a guide for you to use. Go through your competitors’ content, and look for the following information:
- What types of content do they produce?
- How often do they publish content?
- What’s their engagement like?
A good tool for researching content ideas and also delving into your competitor’s best performing content is ahrefs, you can enter a keyword and get content ideas along with monthly search volume and keyword difficulty, which means how difficult it would be to rank in the search engines for that term.
Semrush is another similar tool which you can use to dig into other website’s keywords, look at traffic and find out more keyword suggestions etc.
You should run a content audit after that to find out what’s already working on your own blog, podcast or YouTube channel. What you’re essentially doing is finding out what type of content your audience engages with the most regularly. You’re also looking for ways to optimize your blog, such as combining a few posts into mega guides or even ebooks and additional forms of content. This is known as “repurposing content,” which can be an effective way to produce “new” content without actually producing new content, if you catch our drift. It’s simply publishing the same content in a different way.
The next part of the process is coming up with topic ideas, but this part should be a breeze if you’ve researched your audience, your competition and your own content. You should have built a solid list of the problems your audience is facing as well as the questions they ask. You should also have a pretty good understanding of what’s already working for you.
Use all of the data you’ve collected to come up with a decent-sized list of ideas for the types of content your audience consumes (written, audio, video, etc.).
Creating an Editorial Schedule
This is where you need to pull everything together and create a schedule that works for your business rather than against it. This means you’re scheduling things with reasonable goals, and you’re scheduling them in order of priority.
Make sure you’ve sorted your topic ideas into different groups based on the type of content you think would work best for them. In other words, create different lists for your content, such as Written, Audio & Video or Blog Post, Ebook, Podcast Episode, YouTube Video, etc. Organize your topic ideas, and assign them to a list based on what you think would work best. You should also create several different types of content for each topic idea whenever possible. For example, we could expand on the topic of creating a content marketing plan by publishing a podcast episode on it or even a YouTube video.
There’s no set method to this. This is why we suggested conducting research beforehand so you have a deep working knowledge of how your audience works. This will allow you to prioritize the order in which you release content. You should also consider your resources as it can be difficult to publish content regularly consistently. It helps to consider the data that shows you what types of content your audience consumes most so you know what to focus on.
There are a number of different tools you can use to create an editorial schedule. They include the following:
The bottom three are WordPress plugins while the top two are project management applications. These tools come with built-in calendars that make it easy for you to keep track of your editorial schedule and overall content marketing plan in a visual manner.
How far in advance you plan things is entirely up to you. It’s best to plan out an entire quarter at the very least, but some businesses go as far as creating a content marketing plan that covers the entire year. Whatever you decide to do, make sure the schedule you come up with tackles the following:
- Prioritizes topics your audience needs and wants the most.
- Achieves the goals you defined earlier.
- Considers how productive you’re able to be in terms of content creation.
It’s not a simple process, but it can keep you ahead of the game.
That’s a somewhat brief overview of how to create a content marketing plan that helps you achieve your business goals. There’s a lot we didn’t cover, however. That includes outsourcing and promoting. We already know blogs and other platforms are most effective when you publish quality content on a consistent basis. You may want consider outsourcing because of this.
You can outsource anything you want, including:
- Written content for blog posts and ebooks.
- Graphic design for featured images, infographics and more.
- The technical side of producing video content.
- The technical side of producing a podcast.
- A host for video content.
- A host for your podcast.
You can easily include team management in your editorial schedule using the tools listed above. You can also use some of these tools to add promotions to your schedule, such as social media promotions. CoSchedule comes with a feature that allows you to schedule social media posts in advance.
No matter how you go about creating a content marketing plan, just be sure the plan you design has a positive impact on the goals you’ve set out for yourself.