I know that more than a few of you tuning into this page are probably sick and tired of being told you have to write goals down in order to achieve them. It’s a mantra that’s been done to death by all the motivational “woo woo — get er done” crowd on YouTube and the like. I promise not to take too much of your time or get overly preachy with you today.
Around 40% or less of all online marketers are believed to have a firm content marketing plan locked down in written form. As detailed by Tony Robbins in this presentation, writing things down has been proven in countless research to increase the likelihood of plans and dreams becoming reality.
Key questions a content marketing plan should address:
- Why are we utilizing content marketing as a strategy?
- Who are we trying to reach with our content?
- What are we hoping to accomplish?
- How does this fit into our overall marketing strategy?
- How will we measure success?
One of the biggest reasons behind the effectiveness of putting a plan to paper (or in modern cases likely a Word document stored in the company’s cloud storage account of choice) is not because you want to execute that plan perfectly in a step-by-step manner. It’s actually just to give you a practical starting point — one you can review at key intervals along the way, and tweak as mind-changing data comes in.
Without a plan, key details of the original thought get lost or diluted, making it harder adapt as your brand presses forward with its content marketing agenda.
Here are some other key reasons documentation is so important:
- A detailed written plan is accessible always, and keeps all members of the content marketing team set on the same path.
- New marketing ideas and methods that come up can be contrasted against the original content plan, to determine whether the proposed initiative fits in with your content marketing goals.
- When ideas fail, your content marketing plan can help identify why a given campaign failed — whether following or not following the plan caused the problem — and help improve future campaigns.
Elements of a comprehensive content marketing plan:
- The overall goal: Why are you investing in content marketing and what’s the ideal end result when campaigns are successful? If there’s no goal, you’re just throwing crap ($$$) at a wall because everyone else is doing it.
- Target audience: Who is your target audience — Where do they hang out online — What kind of content are they consuming? You won’t be able to reach or nurture that demographic without first knowing who they are and what they want.
- The funnel: You need to inform, educate, entertain — then ask for a sale after trust has been built. Determine how your funnel will be set up — where it begins and ends (Eg., educational YouTube how-to, followed by a link to your blog, followed by a CTA for a trial of your product.)
- Creation plan & schedule: Now that we have a start and finish in mind for the funnel, ask yourself if you have a team already in place to make this vision a reality. Identify who can do what and how often. If you find holes, they’ll need to be filled by hiring someone or vetting outsourcers to find qualified help.
- Distribution: Social media is free to post on, but you’ll likely need a lot more help. Publishing articles as guest posts and the like requires you and your team have the wheels set in motion before publication day. Identify where the content needs to go, begin outreach to targeted blogs and influencers, and identify paid and unpaid methods of advertising you’ll use to get maximum views.
- Metrics: Marketing is nothing without monitoring metrics along the way. If you’re blasting Instagram and Snapchat with enticing photos of your product everyday and spending out the wazzo to promote those posts, you’d better start seeing profits tout de suite, or find a way to pivot in order to get the ROI you’re looking for. There are a lot of metric you’ll want to measure including engagement and overall leads/sales being generated.
I hope this post gave you some insights into the importance of documenting your content marketing plan and how to actually go about getting those ideas cemented down on paper. I’d like to leave you with this neat infographic I stumbled on showing almost 300 years of content marketing history:
Who knew such a modern concept had been in use for such a long time?
Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas down in the comments. Here’s to the upcoming year being better than the last!
Main Image Credit: Michael Williams/Flickr