Launching a new content plan is one of our favorite processes. Not only does it give us a chance to write on a whiteboard (who doesn’t love that?), but it also allows our team the opportunity to step back, be strategic, and ensure we budget enough resources to communicate critical messages.
Any solid content marketing plan takes lots of advance planning and thought. Here are four steps to get you started.
Look at what’s already on your calendar
An easy starting point is events. Begin by filling in your business’ important upcoming events. Are you hosting any seminars? What about workshops where your staff is speaking? Other areas to consider are holidays or special happenings in the community. Consider industry events, such as conventions and awareness weeks, too.
Now work backward. How far in advance do you need to let people know about the event and how often should you remind them? Put all those dates and ideas in your plan
Real-life example: Codelicious, a cloud-based computer science curriculum, prioritizes Computer Science Education Week each December. They started with a webinar series for educators. From there, they developed blog and site content to support the webinar topics. Those blog posts and landing pages for the webinar get posted to social media and shared in email campaigns several weeks in advance to build interest and increase signups.
Provide value for your audience
Think about what kind of information your audience would find valuable during the time of year for which you’re planning. At this point, don’t think about what you want to sell. Instead, consider what your target market will be thinking about during that time and how your specific skill set could help.
Real-life example: You wouldn’t think that a blog from someone in auto maintenance would be something that could gain popularity. However, Jiffy Lube of Indiana has had great success featuring season-specific content on their blog. During the springtime, they publish blogs about potential Spring Break Road Trips. Over the winter holidays, they provide details on holiday light displays around the area. Everyone loves the majesty of beautiful lights, and Jiffy Lube was happy to provide road trip information in order to drive traffic to their website (leading to potential coupon downloads or sign-ups for their email campaigns).
Weave in key messages
Evaluate which key messages and campaign themes you want to weave throughout your content. Is positioning yourself as an authority in your industry critical? Write a thought leadership piece or a case study on your work with a customer. Do you want to demonstrate authenticity? Be sure to include plenty of behind-the-scenes type of photos or videos.
Real-life example: BoxScore, a SaaS feedback tool that gathers real-time assessments on customer interactions, wanted to showcase the importance of providing exceptional customer service in a way that didn’t come across as overly self-promotional. They accomplished this by interviewing business leaders across several industries about their own customer service strategies. The result was a blog post that featured quotes from each business leader (and drove traffic to their website) as well as multiple social media posts with which each of the respective businesses could interact.
Remember your network
Finally, don’t forget to work-in enough time to engage with others. Can you give a shout out to a vendor? How about spotlighting something special about a client or referral partner? Marketing, and social media especially, works best when you use your platform to build up other people, causes, and brands in addition to your own personal objectives.
Real-life example: Eleven Fifty Academy is a nonprofit coding and cybersecurity bootcamp dedicated to bridging the tech talent gap in Indiana. Highlighting former graduates and the businesses where they’ve launched their new careers has been a successful way to shine the spotlight on others while also generating engagement from the community.
Digital marketing is fluid and constantly changing from day-to-day. If you plan in advance, you’re more likely to create content that helps you achieve your long-term goals. It’s also less likely that a critical topic will slip through the cracks when something urgent comes along.
For more information about aligning your content to your business objectives, download our FREE workbook, “How to Align Your Content to Your Business Objectives.”
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