We’ve all heard about the importance of content marketing. It helps connect with your key demographic, establish new leads and really push your business to the next level. However, despite understanding the importance of content marketing, most companies don’t have an established plan in place. In fact, according to a survey conducted by New Rainmaker, 47 percent of small businesses do not have a content marketing plan, and another five percent are not sure (and let’s face it, if the company isn’t sure if it has a content marketing plan, it means it doesn’t have a content marketing plan). With over half of companies wandering aimlessly through the content marketing desert, it exposes the business to critical mistakes and reduces its outreach potential. That is why one of the biggest problems for any content marketing plan is not actually having a content marketing plan.
You Need More Than Just a Plan
Content marketing is so much more than just creating the occasional blog post or taking out advertising space on Facebook. With so many avenues to travel down you need an established plan. One that you can document and work with. Having a documented plan provides you with two benefits. First, it increases your outreach. And second, it gives you analytical data to sift through. Often times the data is more important than the outreach. With this information you can go off of what’s working, what isn’t, and fine tune the marketing plan accordingly.
However, far too many companies that do have a content marketing plan are still shooting in the dark. That is because, according to Stratabeat, nearly half of all businesses that have a content marketing plan say they have a plan but it is not documented. That’s like having a mental road map for a cross-country road trip. Chances are along the way you will double-back and make a few wrong turns and yet not remember the mistakes you made along the way.
Performing content marketing is important but everything needs to be documented. One of the most valuable assets you have as a business is data, and without a documented plan you won’t have the kind of data you need to make corrections. Having a plan is necessary, but it needs to be written out.
Keep Everyone on the Same Page
Having a clearly defined, documented, content marketing plan keeps everyone on the same page. There are a number of offices and departments heavily reliant on the information generated by the success (or failure) of a content marketing campaign. The advertising department needs to know what kind of sales are being generated by specific information while the sales department needs to know what’s going into the generated content. If there is no plan and a business just throws material at the wall to see what sticks, it will leave everyone hanging and reduce the impact and overall productivity of the entire company.
Creating a Content Marketing Strategy
According to Hubspot, there are several key steps in creating a grounded content marketing strategy. This is a strategy that the entire company knows and will be able to follow, keeping everyone on the same page and aimed in the same direction.
First, you need defined goals. What do you want the content marketing campaign to do for your business? Do you want it to generate leads? Grow your social influence? Increase sales? Identifying a goal before you start any content marketing plan is critical. Otherwise there’s no way to measure success, and if there’s no way to measure success, how do you know if a content marketing plan is even working?
Of course, you already know who your target audience is. With this information you can pinpoint the best ways to connect with them. After all, if you’re selling to senior citizens you probably don’t want to be advertising on Instagram or Snapchat, and yet if you’re selling to hip college aged kids, blog posts on LinkedIn probably won’t do you much good either. So only use marketing platforms your demographic actually uses.
As you put out content geared towards your target audience you need to continually audit the analytical data. This way, you’ll know how each blog post, each video, and each social media update is performing, especially when compared to other blog posts, videos, and social media. You’ll then need to adjust accordingly. This way you’ll always have an idea of what needs to be updated and changed for the highest level of success.
It’s In the Plan
Content marketing is very much a learning experience. However, the only way you can learn from it, grow from it, and continually evolve your marketing approach, is to have an established content marketing plan. So if you’re ready to take your content marketing serious, now is the time to act.
Greyson F has been writing online content for over eight years and has extensive experience writing in a variety of formats. These formats range from travel reviews and how-to instructional essays to professional journals and academic papers. Major publications such as USA Today, Yahoo!, IBM, Google and others have all produced his work.
Additionally, Greyson works as an online video producer and travel photographer. He has worked extensively with the New York Times as well as had video work appear on ESPN and NBC Universal. His travel photography is regularly features by Yahoo!