Why Every Organization Needs a Content Plan: A Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Content Marketing Plan

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Whether it’s online marketing or outbound marketing, direct marketing or experience marketing, it’s all about your brand’s content and the messages you want to communicate. Remember that old saying, “Content is king?” In 2016, this reigns true more than ever and it means that having a content marketing plan is your ace!

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing refers to the development, management, and execution of your organization’s content. Content can (and should) include vocabulary, messaging, imagery and assets.

The purpose of content marketing for any organization is to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience which will ultimately result in profitable customer action. We all want to increase our business to make more money, right? That means we need to look for new ways to speak to our audience and get them to respond.

How to Get Started with Your Content Marketing Plan

Whether it’s financial plans, a marketing strategy or even a family vacation, creating a plan for just about anything can be overwhelming. But, we’re here to take the guesswork out of creating your content marketing plan! Below you will find the steps to fill out your content marketing plan.

Step 1. Understand what content is and why you need to invest.

Content is any information your organization creates that is of use to its target audience. Whether this is a blog, a video, an infographic, or a tip, all of this is considered your organization’s content, and it needs to be managed just like all other brand assets.

Content can be expensive to create on the first run, but—when managed well—recycling content will make your work more efficient and keep messaging more consistent. Also, when you integrate unique content with curated and recycled content, you get a nice mix of information from a variety of sources, rather than just from you.

Step 2. Know your audience.

In order to create content that will achieve positive results for your business, you have to know who you’re talking to! You certainly wouldn’t ask a customer at a fast food restaurant if they were interested in purchasing a filet mignon, right? While this is a rather obvious example, it still rings true for many.

Think of your ideal customer base. Create (a minimum of) three personas that will help you find the commonalities among them. Never created a persona? Simply write out all the traits of your ideal customer. Depending on your business this could include things like: name, age, profession, salary, single/married, male/female, number of children and their ages, number of pets, hobbies, shopping habits, eating habits, and maybe places they like to hang out.

When developing these personas, make sure to be more realistic about who should be purchasing your products and/or services. Having a better understanding of this group will only help you to be more in tune with their needs.

Step 3. Identify relevant content and where to showcase it.

After developing the personas, ask yourself what makes each person care about what you have to sell them, and what they want to know. Once you start to dig into each persona, you’ll see trends among them which will help you craft a more targeted message that will matter to them all.

In addition to your message, look for patterns in where your personas are consuming information. Are they on social media? Do they watch TV? Are they hanging out at the local watering hole? Wherever they are, that’s where your message needs to be.

In terms of engaging with your audience, think of it like a cocktail party. You don’t want to invade anyone’s space, just be cool and casual. At a party, you would introduce yourself—maybe with a short and funny story or some piece of relevant information that ties you to this new connection (“So, how do you know the host?) Work your brand into the conversation of your audience by participating and being their friend; their friend who just happens to have information they want about your offering.

Step 4. Create your strategy. It’s like creating a roadmap for talking with your customers.

Now that you know why you need content, who you’re providing the content to, what kind of content you will provide and where it’s going, it’s now time to put this information into a plan format!

Completing the Content Marketing Calendar

In an effort to drive home a particular message, you need to repeat your messaging loud and clear – nothing helps you achieve this better than a strategic content calendar.

As you build your calendar, you’ll want to  break your year into bite-sized chunks. Depending on your business plan, this might be quarters or months. Now choose more specific topics that support your overall message. From there you can plan specific content (infographics, whitepapers, blogs, social media campaigns and posts, contests, and more).

Having this plan spelled out (at least a couple months in advance) will help you to be more efficient with your time spent on marketing.

Need help building out your content marketing plan? Webolutions can help! Give us a call at 303-300-2640 or email us!

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