What is a content marketing plan?
A content marketing plan is necessary for everyone who wants to achieve real success with content marketing. In this plan you not only describe which goals you want to achieve, but also how you want to realise these goals and what exactly is needed to do this. Think of the different channels you want to address, the people you are going to need and the target group you are trying to reach. It is a good idea to write a content marketing plan yourself first and only then to put it to a content marketer. Based on your information, he or she can tell you what it will take to achieve all your goals and whether they are realistic enough at all.
Also remember that content marketing goes much further than many other forms of marketing. If the content is not in order, all other forms of marketing will also be unsuccessful. Therefore, think carefully about which information is applicable to your company, when it will be shared, via which channel and for which audience it is exactly suitable.
By thinking about how they want to fill in the content of their company and at what moments (and for whom) it should be published, it doesn't just stay in the head. Plans are made to actually make it happen. How can you let a marketer know what your goals are if it is only hidden in your head? You'll spend a little extra time and effort creating a strategic content marketing plan, but realise that it will have huge benefits in the long run.
But how do you make a strategic content marketing plan? Using the steps below, you can put your own plan together in no time.
Step 1: Take a close look at the company
- Before you can get started, it is important to take a good look at the company. There are a few important questions to ask yourself:
- What is the purpose of your company?
- What is the current position of the company in Google?
- What marketing activities are currently taking place? Who is performing them?
- Who is your target group?
- What is relevant information from the target group?
- How well do you know the target group? Are they satisfied at the moment? Would they benefit from other content?
- How much marketing budget is there at the moment? Can more budget be freed up?
Step 2: Formulating objectives
Once you have a better understanding of the company's ups and downs, it is time to formulate the goals. That sounds simple. After all, most entrepreneurs can shake a large number of goals out of their sleeve. However, working out these goals is a completely different story. Moreover, it must also be realistic and it is not always possible to tackle or achieve all the goals at once. That is why it is good to set priorities first. How do you want to shape your content marketing strategy? What is important in order to achieve the goals you have set? And how are you going to reach your target group? Possible goals could be:
- Generating more leads
- Strengthening the loyalty of your target group. How do you ensure that people not only use products and services, but also return on a regular basis?
- Improving customer satisfaction
- Launching an entirely new product or service
First, list all the possible goals and pick the ones that have the highest priority. Stick to these goals and only move on to new goals when the first goals have been achieved or are running smoothly. Communicate these objectives also to external parties. This way, content marketers know which channels they can address and what the ultimate goal is. This makes it clear to everyone what they have to work towards.
Step 3: Get to know the target group
In content marketing, it is of vital importance to position yourself with the target group, not against it. To achieve this, it is wise to know a lot more about the target group. What do the people look like who might use your products and/or services? Are they other entrepreneurs? Are they women? Are they men? Young people? Try to describe the target group as specifically as possible. Does your company focus on women, for example? Then also consider which women fit in with the target group. Are they young women? Are they women between 30 and 50? Or are they older women? Women with children? Career women? Women with a high level of education? And so on. You can learn a lot from your current customers. They give you insight into the total target group.
It is not at all crazy to talk to your current customers. This can also be done through various forms of content marketing. Think for example of sending a survey. Or opt for a more playful method by putting together a quiz.
With a survey you can ask questions that help you better understand your target group. What do your current customers think of the content that is currently being delivered? Do they have ideas on how to improve it? Are they satisfied with the way they can communicate with your company?
A quiz is good for finding out more about the knowledge of the target group. Their interests and the way they use different forms of media. By asking in-depth questions and finding out information strategically, you can make your content marketing plan a lot more personal and effective.
Step 4: What makes me jealous when I look at the competition?
A critical entrepreneur is a good entrepreneur. Without being truly critical of your own abilities, there is never any room for improvement. Even in the largest company, improvement is necessary. If one sticks to the same marketing strategy for years, this will eventually mean being overtaken by the competition. Therefore, it is important not only to look at one's own company, but also to keep a close eye on the competition. Learn from their mistakes as well as their successes.
Be as honest as possible. What content do you find really interesting? What makes you jealous when you look at the competition? What channels are they using exactly? Do they choose to use social media? And which channel do they use the most? Do they write a lot of blogs? Or maybe even some videos? Which things, as far as you can tell, are successful? And which things differ from your marketing plan?
By understanding the success of major competitors, you can dramatically improve your own content marketing plan.
Step 5: Discover what makes your company unique
No two businesses are the same. A good example is the huge amount of clothing shops. There is plenty to find, yet there are some companies that have become hugely successful within a short period of time. Even smaller names. Often because they have a unique story to tell. For example, the reason why they were founded, the target group they appeal to or the materials they use.
When drawing up a content marketing plan, think about the story of your company. What makes your company successful? What makes your company unique? What reason would you give when asked why they should choose your company and not the competition? Use these answers in spreading interesting and valuable content.
Step 6: Creating quality content
Only making a content marketing plan is of course not enough. It must also be developed in the right way. And this is where it often goes wrong. Just delivering content is not the key to success. It is about the content of the content. But what exactly should good content consist of?
Marketers often use the so-called TRUTH principle. In order to create qualitative content, it is important to know more about this. What does the TRUTH principle stand for exactly? This is a donkey bridge that you can use to determine whether the content that you deliver will actually be effective enough. You make use of the following characteristics:
- Teach: You create content in which you can really teach the target group something. You provide information about the features and history of your products, explain how they should approach certain things or interpret a specific service. In short: interesting content that really helps the target group.
- Reputable: Show that you have done research. Don't write down 'facts' if they are not scientifically underpinned. Therefore you should also include links to academic sources or studies to substantiate the relevance of your content.
- Unique: Try to provide as much unique content as possible. Of course, given facts can be similar to content from competitors, but try to leave it at that. Describe things in your own words and try to come up with unique topics. Give your unique and own perspective on important topics relevant to your business.
- Tension: Stay critical when creating content. Don't take other opinions at face value, but give your unique perspective and leave room for discussion. It is not a bad thing if people think differently about what you write or create. Don't try to avoid debates, but show that as a company you also find it important to enter into discussions together.
- Human connection: Remember that you are not only writing for people, but also about people. Therefore, don't forget that you are talking to people. How would you communicate in real life? Why should that be any different when you are delivering content? Try to keep the tone of your content human, to be polite and to leave room for the interpretation of others. This way you create a bond of trust and a better image for the company.
Using the above characteristics of quality content, you can check your content every time. Do not think too lightly about this. Even after a lot of content has been delivered, it is important to keep doing checks. Even if the company's content marketing is actually very successful. Back to the Basics is sometimes exactly what you need to remain successful and be even more successful.
Step 7: Define your strategy and make a content calendar
Now that you know what good content should look like and how you can achieve this, it's time to make a good planning and outline your strategy. Never start creating content without a clear strategy. So go back to your current goals and think about how you can tackle them. And who you can involve in this. Think about copywriters and so on.
Do you find it difficult to determine the right strategy or do you simply not succeed in developing a good content marketing plan? Then call in the help of a content marketeer. He or she will not only help you draw up realistic objectives, but will also tell you how to realise them.
Is it clear how you want to achieve your goals? Then also make a content calendar. This way you know exactly where and when content will be shown to the public. This not only gives you something to hold on to, but also ensures that external parties know where they need to work.