One of the trickiest parts of content marketing is the need to plan your strategy ahead of time. For some companies, this means anywhere from six months to two years before the marketing is published. However, if you are trying to figure out how to market your small business, planning your content strategy thoroughly is a must.
While you can market in a scattershot fashion similar to a newspaper article, there is no way to know how well your advertising is working or tracking what happens when people see your ad. What content marketing gives you is a way to reach prospects when they are searching for your products or services, and a way to track their behavior. Because you can track their behavior, you can fine tune your marketing through A/B testing to reach exactly who you want to. With a laser-precision focus, you can get a much higher ROI from your marketing.
How Far Ahead to Your Plan Content Strategy
How do you know how far ahead to plan your content strategy? Basically, you need to figure out how long it will take to complete each step of your strategy, then backtrack and add up the total amount of time. Marketing generally starts for seasonal products anywhere from six weeks to three months ahead of time. For instance, most companies with Halloween products to sell start their marketing by July. This lead time gives the companies two months to prime the pump before the serious buying begins for Halloween. Every industry has a calendar cycle which may determine when to market to prospects. Therefore, start with that calendar to count backwards for planning time.
How to Plan Your Content Marketing
Inherent in your content marketing strategy are several steps that cannot be skipped. If you skip these steps, you will not get the ROI that you should.
- Collect data to determine target market
- Create target personas
- Plan marketing needed for your sales funnel
- Create the content
- Test the marketing plan
- Implement the full marketing plan
One of the most critical steps is testing your marketing. Testing can give you real feedback from actual prospects to see which content obtains the best results. Without testing, you are essentially just making assumptions.
The Premise of Content Marketing
Content marketing is based on the premise that most buyers spend their time researching products and services online, narrowing down their choices and may even select their vendor before they ever contact you. Therefore, you content is out there to help them make their decisions before they contact you or buy from you. It is a way for prospects to find you online before they are ready to buy, because by the time they are ready to buy, you may have already lost the customer.
Are you using content marketing to draw customers to your website? If you are not, you are missing a great opportunity. Here is a template to get you started.
Writer Bio: Paula A is a freelance writer available for projects at WriterAccess.