To really be successful at content marketing, you need to start with a solid foundation that paves the way for a campaign that will bring results. A good foundation will also make your work easier down the road, as most strategic decisions will already be made and you won’t need to constantly rethink your approach.
Envision the Outcome
Like most good plans, a content marketing plan starts with goals. Before you even start brainstorming creative ideas, envision what you want your content marketing to do for you. You may have more than one goal, and that’s okay. Content marketing can help you do anything from increase brand awareness to drive traffic to your site and boost online sales. Write your goals down so they become more concrete and you can reference them later.
Identify Key Players
Now, identify who will help you accomplish those goals. You likely already target more than one market through your marketing or sales plans, and chances are that one or more of those audiences will also be your target market for content marketing.
To be successful, the key players you choose should be people that have the power to help you reach your goals. For example, if your goal is to increase sales, the key players would be people who need your product or even current customers who may make more purchases.
Craft your Overriding and Supportive Messages
To activate your key players, and reach your goals, you need to tell them something. Your messages should inspire people to do something and ideally support your goals. Without messaging, your content won’t be very successful and your content marketing plan won’t bring many results.
Each campaign, which will likely align with one or two goals, should have an overriding message and several supportive messages you will use throughout your content. Taking the goal to increase sales, your overriding message may be “Our high-quality products can’t be beat.” Then, your supportive messages may highlight things like product features, competitive pricing and things you offer that others don’t.
Choose your Content Types
Not all content brings the same results. Blog posts, infographics, videos, pictures, reports, ebooks, downloads and other types of content all have their strengths and weaknesses and can help you accomplish different things.
Consider your goals and markets and decide which kinds of content will help you get your message across and be the most appealing to your key players. In most cases you will use more than one type of content.
Compile your Plan of Action
All of these items should be organised together into a plan of action that details the foundation you are creating. It should include your goals, key players, messages and content types. It should also outline things like deadlines and special considerations to take into account.
As you start creating content, each piece should fit into your plan of action. It should target the right market and include strong calls to action that encompass your messages. This kind of foundation will ensure your content will be cohesive and that each piece is supportive of your goals, working together to bring the best results.