How to Create a Content Marketing Plan and Be Successful

Part 1 of 4: What to do the first 3 weeks to prepare

how to create a content marketing planLet us start out by saying that content marketing is a long-term strategy that takes commitment and discipline.  It is not a strategy that works overnight or even in the first six months, but when it does finally kick in, the benefits are immeasurable.

Now that that is out in the open, let’s get started…

Vertical Measures, a digital marketing agency that helps other clients and agencies broaden their content marketing strategies, does an excellent job of teaching us how to get your content marketing campaign off the ground.  They recommend accomplishing one major task per week for 12 weeks in order to get the ball rolling.  This article will run in a four part series, breaking the down the 12 week program over four posts.

Let’s take a look at the first three weeks…

Week one: prep

Get your leadership team on board with this initiative. They suggest you leverage knowledge from places like Hubspot and HowToConvinceYourBoss.com to get the information you need.

According to Hubspot, companies that blog 15 times per month get 5 times more traffic than those that don’t.  They also say that content marking costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates 3 times more leads.  These are the types of numbers that your boss is DEFINITLY interested in.  These are the types of numbers that make the decision to move forward and fast with content marketing easy.

But these aren’t the only things you should be researching and preparing to present to your boss.  You also need to be considering budget, how the new strategy will be implemented and information on what your competition is doing.  These are all tools that can be used when questions are asked and objections are made. Let those on your team know that you want to use their knowledge about the industry and share it on your company’s website.  Once you have done this, share your content marketing strategy, plan, timeline and ask for everyone’s support.

Week two: goals

You need to establish content marketing goals.  What is it you are looking to achieve? On the business end, what are the hard numbers you are looking for – sales, revenue, leads?  On the audience side of things – what do you want your prospects to learn, why choose you?

Once these goals are determined and set, it is time to bring the two together.  Once this is done your content goals should fall somewhere in the middle.  A goal should follow a guideline similar to this:

  • For our business to increase ______, we will produce content that ______, so our customers can achieve ________.
  • We will produce content that ________, so our customers will ________ when they find/read our content. This will help our website drive _____.

In order to achieve this, we suggest that you schedule follow-up meetings with those in charge of decision making, talk to your customers to get a better understanding of their wants and needs as well as gather analytics and year-end reports so that you can set realistic targets.

Week three: team

Time to assemble a team and dole out responsibilities.  Based on all of the planning meetings you have had, you need to put together a content team.  These are people who are in the know and have a firm grasp of your company and the products it sells.  These people should come from a wide swath from within.  This not only encourages company buy-in, but also sets you up for diverse content that is given to you frequently.  No one is asked to do more or less.  All contribute to the effort, lightening the load all around.

Once these individuals have been chosen, let them know what you expect of them.  Give them guidelines to follow and what roles they will play.  It can be anything from submitting content ideas and writing questions down that they receive from customers as possible content ides, to writing outlines for potential blog posts or other formats.

During this week create a list of content kings and queens from each department, identify a backup member for each team. Set a monthly or bi-monthly meeting schedule with these folks to check in and see what they have.  Set expectations around a governance process – who will approve content, when are drafts due as well as what style will be used?

 

Our next blog post will discuss weeks four, five and six.  Focusing on auditing your current content, documenting your new content strategy and how to create topic ideas to fuel your content strategy.

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