How do you decide what to write about? Does your blog have a content plan? Do your social media posts have a structure and relationship to your blog posts or other marketing programs? If your answer to any of these questions is “no”, you are likely missing opportunities to expand your marketing reach, strengthen other promotions and activities, and encourage your audience to connect with your website, your blog and other content you produce. Effective social media marketing strategies require a powerful content plan.
Whether you have an established audience or are trying to build and attract an audience, people who read your posts will be more likely to respond to your calls to action if there is a clear connection between compelling and helpful content. and the action you want them to take. take. Additionally, your loyal audience is more likely to share your content with others if you are cohesive in your content across multiple platforms and formats.
Many small and medium business owners find it easy to accept these statements in principle. Following a plan day in and day out becomes difficult for many. Yet whether they find it easy or difficult to follow a content plan, many people (marketers, business owners, social media managers) struggle to design a content plan that extends beyond blog or blog and major content pieces, such as white papers, reports, case studies, e-books, etc.
The best way to leverage and optimize powerful content is to create and follow a comprehensive and consistent content plan. An added benefit of a comprehensive content plan is that you can work from the start to create shorter pieces of content that you can refine in light of audience feedback and eventually combine into larger content formats. That’s not to say you can’t deviate from the plan to generate more interest by discussing a trending topic or current issue. However, if the majority of your content follows a comprehensive plan, each piece of content can support, strengthen, and extend the reach of all other content pieces.
You could develop your content plan this way.
1. Define your audience and the needs of your audience (or target audience) that might lead them to offer you products or services that help them solve a problem or meet a need. Your domain will usually be quite broad and could cover several audience needs or issues. Let’s call it “the main subject”.
2. Divide the “main topic” into smaller topics. There will likely be many smaller topics within the main topic. You can define them as needs or problems that you strive to address with various products and/or services. You can define them in terms of the questions customers ask when gathering information before a purchase. There may also be related topics that come up in conversations with customers and prospects.
3. You could simply ask your audience what type of content they would like you to provide. What worries them? What problems can you help them solve? What can you help them do better? How can you make their life easier?
4. Analyze audience response to your existing content. Use your analytics apps and any other tools at your disposal to determine
a) What is your most popular content?
b) Who reads this content?
c) Why are these audience members attracted to this type of content (topic, style, platform)?
d) Why is this topic interesting?
e) How does this help your readers?
5. Make a chart of the topics you have identified. Indicate on the chart who will read the content on the topic,
Romeo, the little black dog, plans a content strategy
where they are likely to read it and what they expect from your content. Then expand your chart into a grid with each topic, audience segment, and audience need identified for each potential piece of content. Then, using the other axis of the grid, list the communication platforms, formats, etc. that you use (or plan to use) to communicate with your audience (e-book, blog, case study, LinkedIn post, Facebook post, etc.).
6. Identify and fill in any gaps in topics, platforms, formats, etc. Make sure you’ve included all topics, messages, calls to action, and opportunities to communicate with your target audience.
7. Have you included communication materials other than text? Otherwise, go back and add columns to your grid for video, audio, images, PowerPoint presentations, webinar recordings, slideshows, and more. Add SEO and indicate who will write each piece of content.
8. Fill in all the spaces in the grid. Decide how you will communicate with your audience on each topic. Consider all options. Will you start with major content (e-book, white paper, etc.) or a range of shorter content (social media comments, for example)? What types of content will you use to drive traffic to each piece of content? What platforms should you use to promote your best themed posts? Get all connections and calls to action in grid spaces.
9. Store the grill out of sight for at least 24 hours. After this time away, review the entire grid carefully. Review connections, messages, and formats. Have you organized everything to have maximum impact? Finally, add a calendar.
10. Start implementing your content plan. The plan will provide topics and calls to action for each post on each platform. Follow your plan for at least 30 days. Then analyze the effectiveness of what you have done. Refine the plan accordingly. Implement again.
This ten-step approach to developing and following a comprehensive content plan will unify your blog, major content pieces, and social media posts for maximum impact. This will expand the reach of your blog and the marketing of key content pieces. This will create the visibility you need to attract new people to your audience – people who are interested in the help and information you can provide, and who are potential customers for your business.
Social media marketing strategically organized around a powerful content plan will be effective. The reason so much social media marketing falls short of expectations is that it’s disjointed, inconsistent, and even contradictory. Try the ten steps we use to create our content grids. You can accelerate your social media marketing strategy with a powerful content plan.