If you’ve been promoting company services for more than a day using content marketing, you know exactly how important a documented content plan is to success.
Planning maximizes the potential of your brand story. You get a clear understanding of the marketing strategy as a whole, increase your own efficiency and increase the return on investment in content marketing. A well-designed content plan provides a long-term advantage in competing for customer attention.
There’s a common problem in small businesses, most ongoing content projects don’t use planning in their marketing efforts. Content is published on the assumption that competitors are too. This approach is useless, it will not bring a positive result.
An effective content marketing strategy involves a lot of analysis, organizing the process and planning your actions. This approach can seem like a daunting task for inexperienced marketers. But that’s the only option if you want to see positive results from content marketing: traffic growth and converting visitors into buyers.
To avoid confusion, it is necessary to start the implementation of the content project with an editorial calendar, which at the very beginning has a minimum number of items.
Any publication must be based on clear and understandable promotional objectives. Without well-defined goals, content becomes a bit of white noise, not meeting the needs of your customers.
You’ll have to decide for yourself how often you post, what topics you cover, and what types of content are most relevant to your goals. Brainstorming is essential here.
It is recommended that the planning horizon at the initial stage be set within one calendar month. This will allow to estimate the number of costs and labor intensity of the work from the very beginning of the implementation of the strategy. As the project progresses, the schedule plan for a longer period will be implemented. Ideal option: the calendar is drawn up for one year with the possibility of quarterly changes.
The editorial calendar solves several important tasks:
- ensures that you are ready to control the implementation of your own content marketing strategy
- helps to follow market trends and take them into account in the practical implementation
- simplifies the process of generating new ideas and brainstorming
- ensures order in the organizational process
- allows you to timely and efficiently delegate part of the workload to a remote team (writer, designer, webmaster, etc.)
- accustoms the target audience to the regular consumption of information related to your business
As mentioned above, there is no point in jumping into promoting through content marketing without planning. This will lead to zero results and investments will be dissolved in the total volume of information flow.
Consider the basic steps of practical implementation of the content plan, which make it an effective tool for attracting new customers.
Like everything in content marketing, planning relies heavily on keyword research. The process of creating a content plan begins with scrolling queries relevant to the interests of the target audience. It is necessary to decide which keyword will determine the topic of the post and what type of content will be used for it.
Keyword lists can be excessively long. It is advisable to automate this process. There are several proven tools for this task, such as Key Collector. Grouping queries allows you to make the content plan more efficient.
One of the best ways to add a creative element to the content planning process is to use birthday and holiday designs. Depending on your industry, some dates may be more relevant to your brand than others. To come up with new content creation ideas, we recommend using the following helpful tips:
- pay attention to important events related to the common interests of your target audience
- take the opportunity to congratulate your visitors on common national holidays
- use the “This Day in History” technique, describe the historical events related to your business that occurred on this calendar day
- use the hashtag associated with the holiday event (almost all holidays have their own hashtags)
Time is a major shortage in content marketing. Establish a methodology to “listen” to the Internet space and take an interest in what your customers, employees and readers are talking about. This is the most effective way to understand what interests your target audience and how to beat the competition to get attention for your posts.
An effective content marketing strategy can include more than your own content. By developing cooperation with your consumers and establishing partnerships with other market players, you can obtain a great deal of information material for publications. Remember that the best ideas come to you in collaboration with those who are also looking for ways to better market their products.
The next step in preparing content is to understand the purpose and responsiveness of the external system as a whole. It is advisable to carry out an express audit of the publication created, and to answer the following questions:
- whether the publication will fall under the risk of applying filters or bans of the selected communication channel with the target audience
- if the publication meets the established quality criteria: SEO optimization, uniqueness, absence of spam, etc.
- whether any corrections or additions are needed before the content is published
- whether the type of content is consistent with the stated objectives and the chosen topic
- Is the posting time correct?
Although this point may seem superfluous, the possibility of strategy failure due to negligence in the whole process should not be allowed. The reaction of the external environment (search engine criteria, content policy of different social networks and forums, behavioral characteristics of the target audience) should be written in a separate document from your own editorial policy.
Now that you understand your target audience’s interests, have created an editorial calendar, and have plenty of ideas for generating useful content, creating a content plan becomes a simple and easy task.
Content marketing success relies on regularity and consistency. An editorial calendar is a plan for creating and publishing content. The content plan is the least regulated by the rules of organizational work. The purpose of its creation is to develop a strategy that includes not only the editorial calendar but also the choice of communication channels.
It is advisable not to put your eggs in one basket, but to spread marketing efforts over different communication channels with your target audience. The content matrix is best suited for the task of selecting the appropriate content type.
There are many paid tools like CoSchedule that can help you with this task. But you can also use a free content plan template that will do the job of a marketer well.
You can use HubSpot’s classic template or our version, which we’ve tweaked slightly based on our goals and objectives.
Creating a content marketing strategy is a time-consuming part of a marketer’s job. It takes a lot of time and resources to bring new ideas, the constant research of topics, the organization of the creative process and the evaluation of the result into a single action plan.