A content marketing plan can help you create content that consumers want and marketing they can’t ignore. But what does a content marketing plan look like? What should it contain? How do you put your plan into action?
If you’ve come up against questions like these, you may be ready to create your first content marketing plan and to learn why it’s your most valuable business asset.
Really? A Content Marketing Plan Is Your Most Valuable Business Asset?
Absolutely. Think about what marketing looks like now. If you own a business, run a non-profit, or work with any other type of organization: how do you reach people to tell them about your organization? Do you take out a radio ad? Maybe. Do you take out a TV ad? Possibly.
More than likely you’re doing one or more of the following, however:
- Maintaining a website
- Social media
- An e-mail newsletter
- Paid online advertising like Facebook Ads and Google AdWords
All of these types of marketing rely on one thing above all others: content. If you can’t develop compelling, useful content for people online, then you can’t effectively market your organization. Period.
Okay, But I’m Not Sure I Understand What Content Marketing Really Is
At the same time, you may be thinking that you’re not entirely sure how content marketing is different from traditional marketing. In that case, you should check out this handy-dandy post by the guy who coined the term, Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute. As Joe explains it:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
And if you need even more info, check out our guide to the entire content marketing process:
What Should Go Into Your Content Marketing Plan
When you’re ready to create your content marketing plan, you need to think about the following things:
- Goals: What are you trying to accomplish? How will you know when you’ve reached accomplished it? What metrics will you measure to know you’ve accomplished it?
- Audiences: Who are you trying to reach? What are you trying to get them to do (i.e. sign up for a newsletter, learn more about a product, make a purchase, etc.)?
- Channels: Which platforms will you employ in your content marketing efforts?
- Workflow: How much time and resources are you willing to devote to your content marketing efforts? Is it just you? Are there other people who can help? What is sustainable? What can you do every week, without fail?
It really pays to sit down and figure out a road map for yourself that can you can come back to as you do your content marketing. Such a plan will keep you on track, give you something to strive for, and provide a document you can share within your organization.
What Skills Will I Need?
This is a question we get from a lot of clients. In order to be effective at content marketing, you probably need at least a basic knowledge of the following skills:
- Content writing
- Website management
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
Essentially, you need to be able to write effective content and you need to be able to write it in a way that is optimized for the channels you’re publishing it to, including search engines, social media platforms, and email platforms. If this list seems daunting to you, start with what you know and learn the rest as you go.
Start Small to Grow Big
Once you have a basic plan for your content marketing, start small. Figure out what you can do every week. It’s better to be consistent in your efforts then to do a lot sometimes and very little other times. Once you have some initial success, you can expand your plan to include additional goals, audiences, and channels. The point is to do what is best for your organization without exhausting yourself or creating unrealistic goals that you can never meet.