Content is still king when it comes to creating a killer marketing campaign. On average, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing, while generating three times as many leads. That’s why your content needs a well-thought out plan in order to maximise its already high potential.
How does the planning work? Below, we’ll explain how to perfect a content marketing plan for 2020, with seven steps including how to set your targets, delegate tasks, and measure your success.
Ready, Set, Goals
For any plan to be successful, you need to set achievable, measurable targets to help you stay on track. Setting goals and KPIs (key performance indicators) is like planning a realistic destination of your journey, allowing you to plan the most effective routes there.
You can have monetary-based goals which may include improving revenue, generating more sales, or driving more traffic to your website. On the other hand, you can have authority-related targets like shifting public perceptions of your brand, creating more social engagement, or becoming an industry leader.
Once you’ve settled on your goals, you need to establish some KPIs to ensure that you can easily measure your success. Some typical content marketing KPIs include things like gaining X new subscribers, hitting a specific revenue target, improving your ranking on search engines by X, or receiving X invitations to collaborate by influencers.
Analyze Your Audience
How can you make sure your content doesn’t fall on deaf ears? You need to research your audience and create tailored content that they will respond to. Just think, you won’t get very far by using slang to engage with your 40yr+ audience.
You can use a number of tools like Google Analytics, or the built-in social media analytics features to find out who’s reading, liking, and sharing your content. These tools can provide information like age, gender, and location, but also other insightful data like cultural interests, spending history, and spoken languages.
Requesting customer feedback should help give you an understanding of what your audience is looking for from your industry, and then you should run some test social adverts to gauge the user engagement.
Choose Your Content Type and Channels
Now you understand who your main followers, customers, and online visitors are, you need to think about which types of content they’ll engage with.
Again, you can use tools like Google Analytics to see which channels or content types your audience has been sharing from your brand, whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or LinkedIN.
It’s important to pick the right channel in order to get the best responses – there’s no point running snapchat campaigns to reach your 40yr+ audience that loves Facebook, is there? In terms of content types, you should prioritise whichever your audience loves whether it’s videos, quizzes, vlogs, podcasts, infographics, or emails.
Regardless of which content type you choose to deliver, we would always recommend using a blog as part of your content marketing plan. Not only are blogs brilliant for sharing information, they’re superb SEO tools for SEO – websites with blogs have on average over 400% more indexed pages than those without.
Review Resources and Delegate Tasks
Now you have your journey, destination, and most effective routes planned out, it’s time to decide on who’s driving, and which vehicle you need. In other words, you need to decide which tools or resources you might need, who’s creating content, and who is managing the overarching plan.
Of course, no two businesses are truly the same. But to give you an idea of how the delegation could work, the CMO would develop and approve strategies, a content manager would oversee the calendar, while individual creatives – like writers or graphic designers – would craft the content.
This framework may not suit your business, but there are other options out there. For example, if you own a small business and don’t have the resources in-house to create a content marketing strategy, you can hire freelance specialists to help out, or you can use a digital marketing agency who can draft, design, and deliver a whole content plan for you, letting you focus on other tasks in the business.
Craft a Content Calendar
As we all know, failing to prepare is preparing to fail, and creating a content calendar is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid a KPI-related defeat. After all, they’re the who, what, and when of your content marketing plan.
Think of your well-planned content calendar as fuel-efficient driving – it will ensure that you reach your target on time, while utilising the perfect amount of resources. But how do you actually create one?
You have a few options. If you’re strapped for time, then a quick Google search will show you a wide selection of content calendar templates. If your content plan is reasonably light, then you can use Google Calendar to schedule and assign tasks, and if you want total control over your calendar, then you can use a number of tools like Trello, Evernote, or CoSchedule.
Lastly, if you hire a digital marketing agency, then you don’t need to worry about any planning on your end.
Create the Content
This step may seem quite self explanatory, but there are some key things to consider when it comes to pouring those creative juices. You’ve spent so much hard work on planning your strategy, so why stop now? To make things easier, we’ve got three tips to help you create some killer content.
Firstly, do some research to see which types of content are becoming saturated online, find out whether there is a gap in the content market, and evaluate how your content will benefit your readers. This can be done by simply Google searching your industry and taking note of what comes up.
Secondly, stick to your brand’s guidelines and tone of voice. Consistency is key with content, as it helps to build brand trust and enforces your identity within the industry.
Lastly, supercharge your content with SEO strategies to make sure your work gets found by as many people as possible. Use tools like SEMrush to research popular search terms, and Google Analytics to review how your content is performing in terms of ranking on search engines.
Once a piece of content is ready – send it out and spread the word! If you run a newsletter, remember to direct your audience to your shiny, new content, and encourage users to share, share, share, whenever you deem necessary.
Measure Your Results
It’s results day. Nervous much? Well with such a well-thought out content marketing plan, you shouldn’t be!
It’s time to revisit those KPIs to see how your content has performed against its targets. Use our old friend Google Analytics to view things like CTR (click through rate), revenue per page, and the total number of sessions per page.
Sign up to Hootsuite or Buzzsumo to analyse your content’s performance on social media, and use SEMrush to assess how your content is ranking on search engines. Of course, there are many analytics tools out there, but these are the most popular on the market.
In a perfect business world, we’d all hit our KPIs every single time. But it’s not always like that – sometimes a campaign will fall short, and that’s when you need to assess where, how, and why it happened in order to overcome that hurdle with your next campaign.
However, if you follow these steps, guidelines and tips, then you should find your content marketing plans in 2020 to be smooth, seamless, and successful journeys.