Revive Your Content Marketing With Proper Planning
Content marketing is tricky; and, let’s face it, you will never have enough time to do all the things you need to market and brand your business. Even when you’ve finally worked through the bottomless list of to-dos, more tasks are added every time a new best practice hits the scene or Google changes its algorithm.
Therefore, your marketing department can become overwhelmed with producing quality content. It can bog down even the best and most organized teams. And one of the most frustrating aspects...for all that work, are you really seeing the results you hoped for?
How can your marketing department survive this madness? Well, along with releasing yourself from the shackles of believing that content marketing success is unattainable, too hard, or only reserved for big brands with even bigger budgets, the main reason why your content strategy can bottleneck is because proper planning is simply not there.
There are 4 key factors that a marketing department must adhere to when planning out content marketing:
1. Develop a "theme" for the coming months, quarters, or marketing periods:
Your initial step towards planning should be to develop “themes” for your business over time. “Themes” are used to:
Organize your marketing tactics
Create a boom around an industry-related market trend to drive business momentum
Reduce the number of questions at the beginning of your content development process and get your department on the same page
Identify appropriate topics in advance
As a result, this simplifies your efforts to reformat, repurpose, or recycle your key messages across multiple channels. Let’s say for example your ideal prospect is writing a book. The first quarterly “theme” would be “Choosing a book topic.” All posts in that quarter would consist of where book ideas come from, topic trends, does your topic make sense, etc. The following quarter, your theme may now be “Selecting a title” and all posts in this quarter will consist of title suggestions, keys to title success, and so forth.
2. Who are you targeting and what are their pain points?
I’m going to assume you are no stranger to inbound marketing. If this is the case, then you are probably aware the most crucial component of inbound marketing is developing buyer personas. Your buyer personas help you determine where your target audience gathers information to help them make a buying decision. I can’t stress it enough that in order to get the right visitors, leads and customers, you NEED to focus on your buyer personas’ pain points. What are they in need of? What do they have trouble doing? Defining this ahead of time will help you plan in advance the type of content these buyer personas deem valuable and beneficial.
3. What content would best "speak" to these people?
You want your content to be helpful to the people you are trying to convert into customers, right? Well, here’s a taste of our secret sauce: You want to morph your marketing department from one that talks at your customers to one that engages with them.
Every time you create a piece of content, keep one of your buyer personas in mind and write as if you were speaking to them. Where do these buyer personas prefer to consume content? Is it through blogs, eBooks, social media or whitepapers? Find the media channel where you can effectively reach who you're trying to target and then speak with them about a particular pain point.
4. What tone of voice should you use to address these people?
Ok, now you've developed a “theme”, defined who you are targeting and what channels you should use to best reach them. Now you need to choose the correct tone and voice. It’s important to plan ahead and find out the industry-related terms and jargon they prefer to use- this ensures you word your content authentically. Do they favor informal language or strictly professional? Use acronyms like they're going out of style? Simple, but crucial, things to keep in mind!
So why didn’t we give you tips on creating a detailed content strategy? In essence, planning your content as far ahead as possible is more important to your success than a detailed strategy. Proper planning is much more effective than an overwhelming strategy. Focus on your buyer personas, topics, style guides, ebook templates, etc. and the actual strategy practically creates itself. The ultimate outcome of your planning phase should basically be an outline of the strategy itself. From there, just fill in the blanks and assign tasks for execution.
Time and frequency is of the essence. Even missing one blog post can hurt your results in website visits, leads and SEO rankings. If you aren’t planning with a strong process in place, things are bound to fall through the cracks. So plan, post and then analyze those awesome marketing metrics you create as a reward for your hard work.
Have you ever read a survival handbook? (No, that's not a trick question!!) Getting through disasters boils down to having an action plan in place before the disaster occurs. Your weapons, food stockpiles and survival gear would be somewhat useless without a good plan of how to use them. Same falls true with your content marketing plan.
Successful content marketing doesn’t always involve mountains and novels of content, but it does need proper planning if you expect it to generate qualified visits, leads and sales. If you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s simply because it IS overwhelming! But follow our lead, and you will feel less stress trying to come up with this week’s blog topic!