Content marketing can feel a lot like digging for buried treasure. You need to have a map in hand or you’re going to end up missing the mark more often than not.
So, to truly achieve your goals, you need to map out your path to success by creating an effective content marketing plan. A well-built plan will lead the way in creating engaging content , distributing it to the right channels, and measuring its success.
Ready to start building your plan? You’ll need a map for that, too, and that’s where this quick guide comes in. Just follow the top nine steps to creating a content marketing plan to get started.
9 Steps to Creating a Content Marketing Plan
A great content marketing strategy helps you create the right content and deliver it where your customers spend their time online.
So, it’s well worth taking the time to build a winning plan for your brand . Here’s how to get it done.
1. Know Your Target Audience Well
Your content must speak to the needs, wants, and dreams of your customers to make the greatest impact. In order to do that, you have to know your target audience and know them well.
There are two ways to get to know your audience: buyer personas and jobs to be done.
With buyer personas, you create a picture of who your customers are by defining their:
- Likes and dislikes
- Shopping habits
- Key challenges
Jobs to be done gives additional customer insights by simply focusing on their reason for choosing to interact with your brand.
2. Do Benchmarking and Competitor Analysis
Before you can move forward in creating a plan, you need to know where you – and your competitors – currently stand.
With that info, you can decide how to do things better than ever before .
Start by reviewing your content performance . Look at how well your existing content resonates with your target audience, and then reflect on how you could do better. Are you ranking for any industry keywords? Could you rank higher?
After that, turn your attention to your top three competitors’ content marketing efforts.
For each one, ask:
- How in-depth does their content go on each topic?
- What keywords are they consistently ranking high for?
- Is their content generating shares on social media?
Then, simply use all that info to help shape your content marketing plan.
3. Research Industry Keywords
If you haven’t completed any keyword research for your brand, it’s definitely time to do so.
Keywords serve as beacons of light, guiding customers your way with every relevant search.
Your content needs to have relevant keywords in all the right places to aid in that journey.
In fact, every piece of content should have a main keyword all its own plus semantic keywords supporting it.
Or you can cut to the chase and hire a content strategist to handle the research for you.
4. Set the KPIs and Goals for Your Plan
Whether you’re vibing with your content or definitely not, your judgement is not a great measure of its overall success.
Instead, you must measure its performance using objective metrics, known as key performance indicators.
The most popular ones to use in the content marketing world include:
- Page views
- Time on page
- Pages per session
- Lead generation
- Conversion rates
- Cost per acquisition
- Return on investment
- Social media shares
- Mentions by influences
- Keyword ranking
The choice is yours on what metrics to monitor. Just make sure you pick a few from each level. Then, set goals, smash them out of the park , get new goals, and repeat.
5. Identify Your Ideal Content Types
There’s no one size fits all approach to creating content. Every brand has to decide what types of content will resonate best with its target audience.
You also need to vary your content to best hit the market at the awareness, consideration, and decision stages of the buyer’s journey.
Types of content to consider for each stage includes:
- Social media posts
- Landing pages
- Live videos
- Case studies
- Feature highlights
- Long-form articles
- Pricing pages
Don’t forget to help your customers enjoy their purchases to the fullest with tutorials, blog posts, and FAQ pages.
6. Find the Right Distribution Channels
Your content needs to land where your customers spend their time online . Otherwise, it’ll just float out across the internet landscape, unseen and ignored forevermore.
Your keywords will help lead customers to your content through search. But you need to go beyond that.
Plan to promote your content, loud and proud , on all the channels your customers like best.
To do that, you’ll need to know which social media platforms they favor. Plus, determine if they’re likely to engage with email newsletters, SMS correspondence, or even guest posts.
Then, create your content, publish it on your website, and promote it like wild.
Don’t hesitate to repeatedly promote each piece either. You never know when your customers will have time to click through and truly engage with your content, after all.
7. Build a Great Content Calendar
Your content calendar is where you put all the pieces of the puzzle together. With that move, you map out your path to success, making it easy to create and distribute the right pieces of content.
Begin with a monthly content calendar, so you can see what works best for your brand. After that, you can move onto creating quarterly calendars if you’d like.
Use a spreadsheet to plan out the content, including:
- Title and purpose
- Content type
- Main keyword
- Internal links
- Publication date
- Distribution channels
Once that’s done, you just have to write in the content publication dates on a calendar to finalize your plans.
8. Assign the Content Creation Tasks
With your content calendar leading the way, it’s time to assign your content creation tasks.
If you plan to write them all yourself, honestly reflect on whether you’ll be able to hit all the deadlines without a snag. If not, consider getting freelancer copywriting services .
You can then build out a whole team of copywriters to create your content, ensuring you publish on time every time.
With your copywriters’ strengths in mind, assign the work as needed. Then, update your spreadsheet to note who’s going to handle each piece.
9. Distribute Your Content on Time
As your completed content lands in your hands, it’s time to get it out into the world.
Take each piece and schedule it for publication on the listed date. Plan to publish early in the day to give the content time to resonate with your audience.
Set up your social media posts to publish soon after. And then, create and schedule the emails, newsletters, and the like to fully promote your content across all the desired channels.
After creating your content marketing plan, aim to revise your strategy once each quarter. Your continued efforts will allow you to dial in your approach to best meet your customers’ needs through the years.
How to Scale Your Marketing Plan
As you revise your content marketing plan, look to the stars and aim to scale up your approach.
Since you’re only one person, scaling up means delegating more responsibilities to skilled professionals.
Although that might seem like a big move, our team at WriterAccess makes it super easy.
You can start by having our talented freelancers create all your content, including blog posts, eBooks, landing pages, web pages, and email newsletters.
Then, look to us for help streamlining your workflows, optimizing your content strategy, and supporting your success every step of the way.
Ready to push your content marketing efforts to the next level? Just sign up for a 14-day trial of our services today.