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If you’re using content marketing activities, then a decent strategy will deliver the best results. But how would you go about creating a content plan? Well, in today’s video, I want to discuss this and run through seven points on how you can actually achieve that.
So to start with, what are your goals? It’s important for your business to think about what you want to achieve from content marketing. Is the aim to drive traffic, conversions, leads? Or it might be something as simple as encouraging email or newsletter signups. Whatever it is, think about your goals, think about what the primary purpose of content marketing is, and in doing so, you can align your titles and your plan with these goals. That’s the key thing of point one; consider your goals.
Number two, think about what your competitors are doing. It’s important to place your business within the hierarchy of the industry or market that you work within. So, no doubt, there will be companies above you, companies below you. But it’s important to think about what kind of content marketing activities they are engaging in and what seems to be working in your industry. So spend time researching, having a look online, basically looking at your competitors and seeing what kind of things they’re doing to attract people and draw people in through content marketing.
Third of all, what activities have you used yourself? So obviously, if you’re new to content marketing, you’ve probably never done anything with it before. But if you’ve done something previously, you might have a blog, for example, that you used to maintain, but it’s not regularly up to date anymore. So you might want to start trying to boost the blog even further.
Alternatively, you might be looking at things like video promotion or PR opportunities, things like that. So again, just as it’s important to look at what your competitors are doing, it’s also important to think about what you’ve done in the past and what has worked well. In this instance, Google Analytics can be a really good tool because you can sign in, take a look at which product pages or which blog post pages have worked well, and then this will give you the basis and the foundations to put those ideas and those themes into new content marketing plans. So, again, think about what activities you’ve used in the past and what activities you would like to use moving forwards.
Number four on the list, consider audience perspective. Now I’ve put this in here because I think, [for] any business, small, medium or large, I think it’s very important for you to take yourself out of the mindset of someone that works for that company and try and visit your site with fresh eyes if you can. I know this can be a little bit tricky because, obviously, you’ve worked within the industry for a long time. But if you can, take a step back, put yourself in your customer’s shoes, go to your website and take a look and see what it is that content marketing could do for your site.
So if you’re a customer visiting your website for the first time, what is it that you would want to see? Are you delivering your message clearly? Because, obviously, content marketing can consist of copywriting as well. So there might be pages or videos, product videos that you could introduce to show what it is you’re selling and the key themes of your business. So I always think it’s important to take a step back, look at your site as if you’re the customer, and see if you’re providing them with the information they need, and where you’re not, these are some of the areas that you might want to tighten up.
Fifth on the list, which channels will you use? So obviously, once you’ve had a think about some of these areas, it’s equally as important to have in mind where this content is going to go once you create it. So it might be the case that you want a range of on page stuff and off page stuff, on page being things like blog posts, off page being things like guest posts and PR opportunities.
But within number five as well, which channels will you use refers to whether you will be promoting the content on social properties and things like that. How you’re going to tie it in with your strategy, because obviously it’s not just coming up with titles and a plan. You also need to think about what you’re going to do with that content once it has been created and where it’s going to go. I think at this point, in stage five, it’s important to once again link back to stage one. So wherever it’s going to be promoted, how is that going to align with your goals in step one? So “which channels will you use” is also worth considering.
Point number six, once you’ve done all these five here, you’re ready to start creating your titles. This is obviously giving you the foundations for what you need to then begin creating your titles. So what I would say for point six is it’s worth, where you can, getting in a room with a couple of your colleagues or whoever is involved with the project you’re taking on, sit down, have a good brainstorming session, and basically work out a whole host of titles. They can be based on seasonality, news based topics that are up and coming, awards that you’ve won recently [etc]. Any ideas that you can bounce off each other it’s a lot easier to create those ideas, as it is in any creative environment, in a room with other people because you can bounce ideas off of them.
So get together, have a good brainstorming session, think about the types of things that you want to write about, and then create the titles, but create them so they’re optimised. What this essentially means is that you’ve got keywords that you want to focus on and can draw in those keywords within your titles. So yeah, point six, create optimised titles. This point, obviously, you can take as long as you need to on that stage to get that done. Obviously, with thorough planning, you’re going to have a thorough strategy. So it is worth investing that time to come up with a solid and sustainable content marketing plan.
Finally, once you’re done with creating the titles, you might have a long list of, say, 40 titles. It may be longer, depending on what sort of industry you work in and, obviously again, the goals that you want to achieve to get to that stage. Map out your titles. You might want to put all your titles in an Excel document, and then, from there, you can basically say on month one we want to do X, Y, and Z. Month two, we want to do these three or four titles. Just so that it enables you to map out the whole process of the content for the whole plan that you’ve got in place.
You might have a three month content plan / six months / it could even be a year. But it’s much easier to have it visualised within an Excel table so that you know in month three or month seven, wherever, you know what you got coming up as opposed to just having a list of titles that you tick off. Then this will be a lot easier as well when it comes to actually creating it and placing it on those channels and promoting it once it’s complete.
So that’s pretty much it. They are the seven steps to start with. Good luck when you come to creating your own content plans.
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