One of the first steps in developing a content marketing strategy is to construct a content plan. This can be done in 5 simple steps: brainstorm, outline, organize your content, write your content, and finally, distribute it.
You will have a successful content marketing plan if you follow this method correctly!
First, let's define content marketing. According to MailChimp, content marketing is "the marketing approach of developing and distributing valuable free content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined audience—to drive profitable consumer action."
In other words, you are providing something of value for your customers with no intention of getting anything in return. This is where your content strategy comes into play: what will people read (your content), and how will you get them to read it?
Defining your audience is very important. It's not just about knowing who they are, but also understanding what their needs and expectations are so that you can meet or exceed them with the content marketing strategy. If we were talking in person, I would ask questions like:
- Who are they?
- What do you already know about them?
- Where do they hang out online (social networks, communities)?
These insights will aid in the development of your content strategy. It's also important to understand their needs and expectations so that the final product meets or exceeds their standards.
Content marketing strategy defined
A content marketing strategy is not an assignment, but a long-term program in which you invest time and resources. The content strategy requires planning to build up your brand's reputation online.
To be successful with the content marketing strategy, several tools can help us to measure our results: Google Analytics is one of them! With this tool, we can measure how our visitors look on the website and who they are, or we can track which sources send us more traffic (it's very important to know where your audience comes from).
We also use Google Search Console, a great tool for identifying any errors in search results of site pages. This tool is very useful to know how Google sees our website and what we can do together with the content writer to improve it.
Another great tool for identifying errors is Screaming Frog, a crawler that helps you identify all links and pages of your site (internal/external), checking if they are working correctly or not. It also analyzes meta-descriptions and meta-keywords (this is very important for SEO).
This software has a trial version, so we can use it to find out if there are any errors on our website. If you want to continue using the tool after the trial period, you need to purchase a license.
Why is content marketing strategy important?
The importance of a content marketing strategy is that it aids in the definition of the content that will be developed as well as the identification of your target audience.
A well-thought-out content marketing strategy facilitates a more organized workflow, making it easier to deliver high-quality content on time and within budget.
Siege Media, in an article, claimed that 56% of interviewed companies said they want to raise their content generation budgets; while 92% of marketers said that their company considers content to be a valuable asset.
As such, you need to develop a strong content marketing strategy as it defines the goals of your business in terms of content, the audiences you want to target, and how you will distribute your content. This means that a content marketing strategy can be a powerful tool to attract new customers, engage existing ones and boost your brand's credibility.
What is a content marketing workflow?
Your content marketing plan, which will help you define your content strategy, identify the best channels to disseminate that material, and calculate the resources required, is an important part of your content marketing approach.
However, just having a plan is not enough; it needs to be an effective one for it to bring results. And for a plan to be successful, you will need a workflow.
So, what is a content marketing workflow?
The complete process of developing, delivering, and promoting your content is examined in a content marketing workflow. It lays out all of the actions you'll need to do to make it a success. You can think of it as a project management tool but instead of managing software development projects, you are building your brand's content strategy.
5 Steps Workflow to a Successful Content Marketing Plan
Let's take these five steps and apply them: brainstorm, outline, organize your content, write your content, and finally, distribute it.
The content plan marketing plan starts with brainstorming. This is when you are figuring out what content to create and where it will be published. You must always keep your target audience in mind because this content must provide value to them, rather than simply advertise your product or service.
There are several tools you can use for this step, such as Asana, Espresso Mind Map, Infinity, Google Drive (for collaboration with others in your team or to share content ideas with clients/co-workers); and the old school pen and paper.
In brainstorming, you can also write down all possible topics on an excel spreadsheet or piece of paper along with some type of appropriate value attributed next to each topic like:
- content marketing
- digital marketing
- grow business online
Now, those three topics are just an example, and you should have a list of all the content on your website.
If you're stuck here, a content idea generator is your best friend. These tools can be extremely helpful to get the creative juices flowing!
Once you have selected some topics, begin organizing them into a list ordered by relevance and creating sub-headings for each topic, which could eventually become blog posts.
Doing so will help you see how many ideas/topics still need to be covered on top of everything else that needs to be completed before moving on to the next step.
Brainstorming is also where you'll want to look into the different ways of promoting your content.
The next step in your content marketing plan is the outline. The outline is where you'll figure out what type of content and format it will be.
After everything has been planned accordingly, take these ideas and outline each one as if you were writing an essay: main idea first followed by supporting facts (research).
There are also tools that you can use in creating your outlines, such as Zapier, Workflowy, and Frase, and Writer Zen.
Be sure not to lose any details during this process; otherwise, there's no point in outlining anything at all.
Once you have a content outline, it's time to make sure that this content is going according to plan, or else there will be some major issues later on down the road.
The next step in your content marketing plan is to organize. This means organizing your content marketing workflow. You'll want a system that clearly defines what you need to do and when, so there is no confusion later on down the road. It's also important not to forget anything during this process.
While many people will tell you that planning is overrated, it's essential for successful content creation. Without a plan, you could spend more time creating content that isn't as effective or efficient.
Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the "creating" and forget about editing (or even spellchecking) your writing as well as making sure your formatting is done correctly. This only makes things harder down the road when people start reading it and you need to fix your content.
After all, you’re not just here to write blog posts and hope they rank on search engines. You want people who are interested in what you have to say or offer as an organization (or ourselves) is genuinely connecting with your content and sharing it because of how valuable it truly is.
So now, as part of organizing your content marketing plan, you need to make sure you of these two things:
Setting Up Your Editorial Calendar
What is an editorial calendar? An editorial calendar or a content calendar, at its most basic level, helps you plan out your content for the upcoming months or even weeks in advance by assigning topics that are relevant to what you do or what you want to talk about.
Once your editorial calendar is set up, it's time to start writing!
So now the next step becomes allocating resources for curating content and creating original content.
Allocating Resources for Curating Content/Creating Original Content
The best way to organize this is to make a list of the content you want to create, and then start thinking about how much time each piece will take.
For example: If you’re putting together an e-book or creating another type of digital resource that requires more in-depth research/content curation, it's going to require you to spend more than one day to complete.
If you’re creating a blog post, it will take less time to complete than the e-book example above.
Next, you'll want to estimate how much of your schedule each piece deserves based on its relative value/length versus an average item in that category of content (eBook vs Blog Post). Then, you will also need to estimate how much time you can dedicate to content creation and curation.
Finally, add up the total estimated hours for each item and divide by five (the number of workdays in a week). This will give you an average daily output for your plan. If this is different from what your current schedule looks like, then it's time to make some changes.
If you can’t devote an hour a day to content development (or whatever quantity your project requires), it’s time to delegate some of your present responsibilities or outsource more of your work. This will help you ensure that everything gets done without adding to your stress level.
Writing content has become one of the most important assets for content marketers.
This is when you use your outline and content calendar that you have organized and choose the best content to create. Content calendars will help with this process!
In writing content, make sure to understand your audience. This is a content marketing strategy that can help you create content for the right people.
The content is also seen as a king, which has been proven by Google's algorithm updates that favor websites with regularly updated content on certain topics. Once this information has been collected, it's time to develop ideas on what content you need to write about these topics.
You may already have some idea in mind, but if not, go back and review those keywords again or even conduct further research into the topic until something comes along.
Writing content is a process. It does not happen overnight and takes time, which is why it's important to be organized when writing content for your business or brand.
To get the most out of generating quality content that will captivate readers, you should always have a plan. This can be accomplished by conducting research and acquiring information on your audience. It also assists you in determining which themes are most relevant to your target audience.
In the end, having a strong foundation for your brand and knowing what pieces are going live when helps complete these articles.
Once the content is created, it should be properly distributed and promoted so that your target audience can know when they can find new information online and your content gain organic search engine rankings and get discovered by people who are looking for what your company is offering.
You also need to decide which content distribution networks are the best fit for your content to distribute your content. There are several different choices, and it can be overwhelming at first.
Once you have decided where to distribute, set up an account with each, depending on what content is distributed.
It is important to note that you need to create content that Google deems valuable. This means that users will find your content useful because they see higher search rankings in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) should always play a role in online content marketing. That's because, without this factor, no one will ever find what you have written about, which means they won't buy anything from your site either.
You should also include social share buttons on your content. This is because people are more likely to share something that they want others to see with their friends and family, rather than an advertisement for a company or product. In this way, your content can get shared among people who don't know about your business but have found value in what was written. So they share it further through social media channels or email friends, etc.
Having different types of content available for various audiences would help even more so create an editorial calendar that highlights when certain posts are supposed to go live online!
Finally, when all else fails, and content isn't being seen as profitable enough to keep up with expenses that come along with maintaining an online business (such as web hosting costs or hiring more employees to help manage things like social media accounts), at least there is still analytics data backing up everything said above.
This 5 Step Workflow to a Successful Content Plan is a guide that you can use to create your content marketing strategy, and it's one that you can use to ensure content is being seen by the right people, at the right times.
Including a content marketing strategy plan in your company’s overall marketing objectives for the future is important. This way, instead of getting lost in the daily hustle of blogging or social media management, you can make sure that all of your content creation efforts are assisting you in reaching those bigger-picture milestones.