A content marketing plan is a guide that outlines your content strategy.
It includes your goals, the methods you will use to achieve them, and the metrics you will use to measure success. In other words, it is a road map that will take you from where you are now to where you want to be.
Creating a content marketing plan does not have to be difficult or time-consuming. The key is to start with the basics and then build from there.
In this blog post, I will walk you through the steps of creating a content marketing plan so you can start your content marketing journey today.
Step 1: Define Your Goals
The first step in creating a content marketing plan is to define your goals.
What do you want to achieve with your content? Do you want to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, or generate leads?
Once you have identified your goals, you can move on to step two.
Step 2: Identify Your Target Audience
As a content creator, it's important to know who your target audience is. After all, you can't create content that resonates with everyone - even the best content marketing plan will fail if you're targeting too broadly.
There will always be people who just aren't interested in what you have to say. That's why it's essential to zero in on the people who are actually going to care about your message and want to hear more from you. Fortunately, there are a few different ways to identify your target audience.
Determine what you want to say.
The first step in identifying your target audience is determining what you want to say. What is your purpose for creating content? What do you hope to achieve? Once you have a good understanding of your own goals, you can start to look for people who share those goals. For example, if you're a small business owner who wants to share tips for growing a business, your target audience is likely other small business owners or entrepreneurs.
Consider your existing base of fans or followers.
If you already have a base of fans or followers, consider them as part of your target audience. These people have already shown an interest in what you do, so they're more likely to be receptive to new content from you. Even if they're not exactly who you had in mind when starting out, they're still worth catering to.
Do some market research.
Once you have a general idea of the type of person you want to reach, it's time to do some market research.
This will help you better understand who your target audience is and what they're looking for. There are a number of ways to do market research, but some of the most common methods include surveys, interviews, and focus groups.
You'll also want to consider which products are already selling in your industry.
- What pain points are those products solving?
- Who's buying them?
- What topics does the marketing focus on, and how can you be different?
- What are the bestselling books, and what do their reviews say?
Get specific with your buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. Once you've created a buyer persona, you should have a better idea of your target audience and how to reach them.
Keep track of your analytics.
Finally, once you start cranking out content, it's important to keep track of your analytics so that you can see how well each piece performs with your target audience. This will give you valuable insights that you can use to adjust your content strategy moving forward.
By taking the time to identify their target audiences, content creators can ensure that they're making the most impactful content possible. There's no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to selecting a target audience, but by considering their goals, existing fans or followers, and analytics, content creators can get closer than ever before.
Step 3: Decide What Type of Content You Will Create
There are many different types of content that you can create, and the best way to decide what type of content is right for you is to consider your goals and target audience. Remember that your content marketing plan can (and should) include content pieces for multiple platforms that work well together.
For example, blog posts, an email marketing strategy, or infographics might be a good option if you're looking to increase brand awareness. However, ebooks or webinars might be a better option if your goal is to generate leads. Once you have decided on the type of content you will create, you can move on to step four.
Let's talk about blog content for a minute, as you'll want your content marketing plan to drive your audience to a place where you're in full control. On social media, you're subject to all those algorithms. But on your blog, you're in full control.
When it comes to business blogging, there are many different approaches you can take. You might opt for a news-based approach, sharing the latest industry news and developments with your readers.
Or you might focus on how-to guides and tutorials, helping your readers solve specific problems. Whatever approach you take, it's important to ensure that your content is helpful, informative, and engaging. With that in mind, let's take a look at three types of content that every business blog should have.
How-To Guides and Tutorials
How-to guides and tutorials are a great way to position yourself as an expert in your field and help your readers to solve specific problems. When writing a how-to guide or tutorial, it's important to be as clear and concise as possible. Be sure to include plenty of images and screenshots to help illustrate your points.
Industry News and Updates
Keeping your readers up-to-date with the latest industry news is a great way to position yourself as a thought leader in your field. When sharing industry news on your blog, be sure to include your own commentary and insights so that your readers can get a sense of your unique perspective.
Case studies are an excellent way to showcase the results you've achieved for your clients or customers. When writing a case study, be sure to focus on the problem that you were able to solve and the results that were achieved. Be sure to include quotes from happy customers to add an extra layer of authenticity.
Step 4: Create a Publishing Schedule
Consistency is key when it comes to creating successful content. That's why it's important to create a publishing schedule and stick to it. This doesn't mean that you need to publish new content every day - but it does mean that you must be consistent with your publishing frequency, or your content marketing plan will fail.
Why You Need a Content Publishing Schedule
If you're serious about creating great content, then you need to treat it like a job. That means setting regular hours and being disciplined about sticking to them. It also means having a plan for what you're going to write about—otherwise known as a content marketing plan.
Your content publishing schedule doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, the simpler, the better. The goal is just to have some sort of system in place so that you're not constantly trying to come up with new ideas on the fly. Trust me. It's a lot easier (and less stressful) to sit down and write when you know exactly what you need to write about.
How to Create a Content Publishing Schedule
Here are some simple steps to help you create a content publishing schedule that works for you:
1) Decide How Often You Want to Publish
The first step is to decide how often you want to publish new content. This will depend on your goals and your audience. If you're writing for your personal blog, then once or twice a week might be enough. But if you're running a business blog with multiple contributors, then daily or even multiple times per day could be necessary.
2) Choose Your Platforms
Not all platforms are created equal. Some are better for certain types of content than others. For example, if you're sharing long-form articles, then Medium or LinkedIn could be good options. But if you're sharing quick tips or updates, then Twitter or Instagram might make more sense.
If you want to dive deeper into Twitter, have a look at the interview I did with Yannick Veys, the co-founder, and CMO of Hypefury:
3) Pick Your Topics in Advance
One of the best ways to save time (and stress) is to pick your topics in advance. This way, when it comes time to sit down and write, you have to choose one from your list and get started. Try batch-brainstorming with friends or colleagues so that you can come up with several months' worth of ideas at once. I love using AI copywriting tools like Jasper.ai for this process. Once you have your list of topics, add them to your editorial calendar (more on this below).
4) Create an Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar is simply a tool that helps you keep track of your content ideas and publishing schedule. There are many different ways to create an editorial calendar; it depends on what works best for you and your team.
Google Calendar, Canva, Trello, and Asana are all popular options—just pick the one that's easiest for you to use and stick with it. You can also look into StriveCalendar, a plugin run by my friend Francisco Opazo.
Step 5: Promote Your Content
The final step in creating a successful content marketing plan is promoting your content once it's been published. You can promote your content in many different ways, including social media, email marketing, and paid advertising. Try out different methods and see what works best for your business.
And that's it! By following these simple steps, you can develop a successful content marketing plan to help achieve your business goals.
Now that you know how to build an audience through content marketing, you might want to learn how to monetize that audience through working with brands you love and already use. Here's a free 5-part email series to get you started!