Many business owners know the importance of a business plan and marketing plan, but figuring out how to succeed with content marketing presents a challenge because it is relatively new in the world of business planning. In order to succeed with content marketing, effective strategy measures and consistent scheduling of the content must be established. By carefully following expert tips and taking the needed time, you can carry out a successful content marketing plan.
Without further ado, here are the 15 features of a successful content marketing plan:
1. It clearly defines your brand and mission.
Define who you are and what it is you want to accomplish. Andy Crestodina makes a great point in describing a mission statement specific to content promotion as “what we’ll be publishing, who it’s for and why they’ll care.” This is what ought to be established and clearly written on the plan. How will you set yourself apart? What can you add to the niche’ and what will you do that isn’t already being done?
2. The plan has a well-researched outline of the target market and audience, their needs, and what value you can bring them.
The level of research for defining your target market will depend on what you’re doing and how competitive the industry is. However, it will be easier if you have been in business long enough to get an idea of who you’re working with. Inc. provides some great tips for defining your target market by taking a look at your current customer base, checking out your competition, analyzing your product or service, choosing specific demographics, considering the psychographics, and finally evaluating your decision.
3. It articulates clear, reachable, and methodical goals for the campaign and for each piece of content.
Having proposed goals for your overall marketing campaign is important, but Neil Patel emphasizes the importance of setting a goal for each piece of content in this article by determining whether you want to increase sales, nurture leads, generate leads, promote brand awareness, engage your audience, upsell or cross-sell, increase customer loyalty, or create customer advocates. Having precise goals like these is extremely important to later measure what’s working and to increase success.
4. Content mediums are established in an organized manner.
There are so many types of content that you can produce. Choosing what’s most suitable for your brand and for the sake of value to your audience is the tricky decision. Each content medium has advantages and by weighing out what’s going to provide the best results based on your market, you can come up with the perfect types of content. For the ultimate list of content mediums, check out 101 Different Types of Digital Content.
5. A great content marketing plan emphasizes carefully selected channels through which to execute the content.
Deciding where to distribute your content is another section that will need to be worked out. Common examples of channels include a website, blog, e-mail, social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube. However, social media networks aren’t the only channels available to utilize. Pitching to authority sites in your niche’ is another great way to provide value to their audience, but it puts your name out there. Google Plus offers a way for you to share content and business directories like Merchant Circle also offer businesses the opportunity to share blog posts. Setting up a profile on Medium and Quora can help you establish yourself as an authority in your niche’ and gain followers. Tom Whatley provides some great tips in 15 Content Distribution Channels to Boost Traffic, elaborating more ways to use various channels.
6. A thorough study of your brand’s competition and how you can do better.
How will you improve upon and at the same time, set yourself apart from your competition? What value can you offer your audience that your competition is not offering? Ellie Mirman emphasizes three strong points in How to Do a Competitive Content Marketing Analysis:
- “Take inventory of your competitors’ content.
- Evaluate content quantity and quality.
- Tag and analyze content topics.”
7. Prepared content will focus on quality over quantity.
It might seem that developing a lot of content is the priority. However, this is not necessarily true. Creating continuous content consistently is great, but focusing on quantity should not be the idea. John Boitnott of Inc. provides an excellent reason to focus more on quality in Why You Should Take More Time to Produce Less Content: results! Great content will be read and shared more often. You’ll establish yourself as an expert in the industry more successfully.
8. A prepared budget is in place.
Establishing how much you can afford to spend depends on the size of your company, what channels you’ll be using to distribute content, and whether you have qualified staff to manage the campaign. If you don’t have staff that can manage the campaign, can you hire new staff, pay for training current staff, or will you outsource the work? You’ll also need to calculate the cost of social media automation, SEO, success measurement software tools. This infographic is an excellent source for figuring out a spending budget.
9. Topics to cover are carefully selected and prepared.
Choosing topics creatively and carefully will get your off to a good start. Over time, you’ll see which topics prove to be most beneficial. MOZ provides an amazing write-up on content ideation that provides some fresh inspiration for picking great topics.
10. Topics are compartmentalized and assigned to specific mediums and channels.
While this portion of the plan goes along with choosing topics, it’s an important step for a successful campaign. Simply choosing topics to cover won’t address the need to assign how it will be shared and distributed. Choosing the best content type for each topic will put you ahead of the game and makes scheduling much more manageable.
11. A system in place to share content on social media platforms.
Once content is created, how will you distribute all of it across social media platforms? If the task does not seem too daunting and you can share manually, then your system is simple. However, if this promotional method is something that will be easily forgotten, social media distribution tools are amazing!
12. A content marketing editorial calendar to organize and schedule your plan is in place.
Editorial calendars are the perfect solution to figuring how and when to publish content. There are many free and paid tools for scheduling your content. You can also create your own calendar any way you like as you would any other calendar.
13. The content duties are delegated to specific people.
It’s essential to hire the most qualified staff for not only publishing content, but choosing who will do the underlying research, strategize, monitor the progress, and manage social media. Ensuring the duties from start to finish is delegated appropriately is crucial to smooth management of the campaign.
14. The plan will express definitive ways to measure your content marketing campaign’s success.
Measuring the progress and success of a content campaign can be measured by watching traffic on your website, blog, social media, analyzing the share rate across all channels, and checking conversion rates. This contains some great advice for simplifying this portion of a marketing plan.
15. A specific timeline for how often to revisit the marketing plan to study the results and schedule out fresh content.
Taking into consideration the editorial calendar, you can choose to revisit the plan when the time comes for fresh content, as this will allow you to also review what content has proven successful and provide you with an opportunity to make adjustments to the plan. At a minimum, the plan should be revisited every year.