8 Step Content Marketing Plan with Ka-Pow!

Adam Wallace

Content marketing is booming and for good reasons. Businesses are seeing the many benefits and incredible power of implementing a content marketing plan and are eager to jump on the train but many are unsure how to start or forget that content MARKETING is more than just content creation.

Some of the benefits driving businesses to invest in content include:

  • Wider reach – The average company that blogs generates 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links, and 434% more indexed pages (HubSpot).
  • Influence – Becoming an authority in your niche. Interesting content is one of the top 3 reasons people follow brands on social media. (Content+)
  • Fostering trust which in turn leads to increased revenue. 90% of consumers find custom content useful. (TMG Custom Media)
  • More conversions – Organic search leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound marketing leads have a 1.7% close rate. (Hubspot)
  • and the list goes on.

Google Trends also back up the rise in content marketing, just take a look at this search for the term “Content Marketing”:

This rapid increase in searches and headlines for the term “content marketing” is partly due to Google’s targeted algorithm updates at reducing web spam, Google even made a video with guidelines on what content will violate Google’s spam policies that they say “will help Google find, index, and rank your site” so take a moment to take a look and cross check against your content marketing plan.

The interest in content marketing is as old as marketing itself, it just wasn’t referred to as content marketing. Brochures, magazines and commercials are all forms of content. The internet however has enabled us to do all of it better, quicker, cheaper and far more targeted while delivering results we can actually measure especially if you set-up an effective content marketing plan.

So all that sounds great, but the facts are that producing enough content is one of the biggest challenges for marketers (Content Marketing Institute). That’s where this post is designed to help with an easy to follow 8 step content marketing plan designed to build your audience and your business.

1. Determine Your Content Marketing Goals

The type, platform and structure of your content is influenced by the goal driving it. For example, a “How to” video on YouTube & embedded on your website will attract eyeballs and help increase trust in you and your business than simply a blog on the same topic.

Do you want content to give customers that final push to purchase products or do you want to establish your brand as an expert in the field?

The goals behind specific content can be different from each other but here are 10 from Copyblogger that could help you set your focus.

  1. To build trust and rapport with your audience
  2. To attract new prospects to your marketing system
  3. To explore prospect pain (and then solve their problems)
  4. To illustrate benefits
  5. To overcome objections
  6. To paint the picture of life with your product
  7. To attract strategic partners
  8. To deepen loyalty with existing customers
  9. To develop new business ideas
  10. To build your reputation with search engines

Did we miss any? Let us know your favourite content marketing goals in the comments.

2. Know Your Audience

As with any marketing plan, knowing your audience is vital. The tone, look and topic of your content should be tailored to your target audience. Persona analysis is an essential part to identifying who you are creating content for as part of your content marketing plan.  This should include essentials like their age and lifestyle characteristics but also things like where they hang out and which brands or people influence them.

Here are a couple of templates to get you started:

Resist the temptation to satisfy everyone, this will only lead to bland content that in the end doesn’t wow anyone in particular. Write like you’re having a conversation with one specific person. You want people to either love it or hate it – vanilla is not going to increase your bottom line or your audience.

Your company is like no other company and you are sitting on a lifetime of unique value, so dig deep, tap into all your experience and knowledge! Incorporate it in your design, style and tone of voice. Don’t be afraid to use dialect or jargon if that’s something your audience shares. Be unique!

3. Find your content sweet spot of relevance

In order for content to get seen, liked, shared, and generate leads it needs to be relevant. It should find the middle ground between what your audience wants to see and what your company want to publish at the time it will have the most impact. There can be occasional posts that are just for the audience or just for the company’s benefit but in general, your content should aim for the sweet spot in the middle of the triangle of relevance (Convince & Convert).

4. Create A Content Calendar

This is where the rubber meets the road and is one of the MOST important steps – creating a content calendar to drive your content marketing plan. Also known as an editorial calendar, this planning tool will ensure your content stays fresh, relevant and is published in the right place at the right time!

What to keep in mind while creating your content calendar:

  1. What questions are you asked?
  2. Capturing Ideas – Using Google Alerts , Social Mention and Feedly
  3. How do people want to digest it? This could be written text, images, infographics, videos, podcasts etc.
  4. When is the best time to publish? Day, Date, Time
  5. How to make it relevant? Which platform is best?
  6. Seasonality and School Holidays

*Tip, people use the social media channels for white noise, entertain or educate them, don’t sell to them.

As you work through completing the editorial calendar see if you can answer these 20 Questions on How Your Buyers Consume Content which will help you decide on your publishing format and frequency.

When deciding on the publishing frequency (and budget) take note of the correlation between blog post frequency and customer acquisition as based on the 2012 State of Inbound Marketing from HubSpot. If you haven’t budgeted for content creation in your 2014 marketing plan perhaps now is the time!

No matter how informative, beautiful or original you’re content is, there are just certain types of content that are proven eyeball magnets. Here are the 6 most popular content types you should factor into your content marketing plan;

  1. How To’s, Guides & Tutorials
  2. Lists (“The Ten Best looking Australians in History” etc.)
  3. Infographics
  4. Funny Content (meme’s, satirical articles, ironic infographics, videos)
  5. Featuring Famous People (interviews with top names in industry, videos of celebrities)
  6. Case studies & Individual success stories

5.Give you content some visual Ka-Pow!

While you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, first impressions count and anyone that has run a headline split test can tell you the right headline gets more eyeballs.

Content can be of great quality, but if it looks terrible people won’t read it to find the nuggets, let alone share it with others. Make your content look ‘bright and shiny’ by incorporating;

  • pictures
  • video
  • audio
  • headings
  • bullet points
  • quotes
  • Q&A
  • coloured call out sections like the one you’re looking at now!
  • links to supporting content

6. Use Search Engine Optimisation

Now that you have all the tools to create quality content, it would be a shame if nobody could find your super informative and engaging blog post. Especially if this is due to a search engine not being able to associate it with your audiences search query. While the #1 goal of content creation is to engage your audience, search engine optimisation is pulling up a close second to ensure your content isn’t lost in the dark depths of the interweb.

Assuming your have woven your focus keywords through your content based on your editorial calendar, these keywords should naturally flow within the content.

To put your best foot forward, perform a quick check to match your focus keywords to each of these core on page elements:

  • A good URL that contains your keyword
  • Meta title
  • Meta description
  • Image alt tags
  • Heading 1
  • Target keywords and LSI keywords (related keywords) sprinkled throughout your content
  • Internal linking to other related posts

Moz have created a nice illustration of the perfectly optimised page:

7. Promote Your Content

While your audience may do a large part of the promotion for you through liking and sharing (if you do things well), you have to get your content off the ground first. Use newsletters, intranet and social media to make the audience aware of your new content, check out our top 11 tips for promoting your content or the quick content promotion visual guide below:

8. Measure Results

Results drive decisions, we know how important it is to see ROI and content marketing can do just that. Every piece of content can be tracked, measured and held accountable for the traffic it is driving to your business. These results should then be factored into your content marketing plan to ensure each topic idea is perfectly aligned with the sweet spot of relevance (refer to step 3).

Here are four areas you should be focused on to determine your ROI in line with your goals:

  1. Consumption metrics – like traffic, time on page etc
  2. Sharing metrics – how many Facebook shares, retweets etc
  3. Lead metrics – how many new enquires or downloads etc
  4. Sales metrics – what actual conversions resulted from this content

Content Marketing MetricsIf you’re not getting the results you expected with your content marketing plan, here are 20 Warning Signs That Your Content Sucks (ouch).

Transparent results and tangible deliverables are just a couple of the reason’s we not only LOVE content marketing but BELIEVE in its long-term benefits. Long gone are the days of risking the shortcut to ranking nirvana in Google by using “smoke and mirror” spammy link and blog network techniques.

Now it’s your turn

Quality, relevant content that is given a “thumbs up” by your audience means you have created something AUTHENTIC. It can’t be faked, it can’t be gamed and it can’t be cranked out by someone that doesn’t understand your business and your ideal customers.

It’s not a phase, Content Marketing Has Been Around For 17,000 Years and will continue to deliver results for you business for another 17,000.

Let us know what steps or tips you would add to this Content Marketing Plan in the comments below.

Adam Wallace

Before the Internet became a ‘thing’ Adam’s sported an HP Jornada PDA from the Bond movie “The World is Not Enough” (1999). It’s safe to say he didn’t have a girlfriend at the time.

After a decade in the electrical industry designing systems and managing projects he made the switch to digital marketing and found his passion.

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