The rules of marketing have changed dramatically since the birth of the Internet. Today’s consumers have more control over how they consume content and are choosier about what grabs their attention. That makes creating great content — and having the right plan to deliver it — crucial to marketing success.
As traditional advertising has declined, content marketing has exploded, largely because it takes an approach that is relevant for today’s consumers. By providing useful information to potential customers, it engages them on the platforms where they spend their time, whether that’s on social media, blogs or through video and podcasts.
While content marketing is a proven effective way of reaching customers, it requires a good strategy to make sure it’s being delivered properly. Think of it this way: Even if you have the best football team in the league, you’re not going to find success if you don’t have a great game plan. A good team knows what they’re going to do before they walk onto the field.
Content Marketing Statistics
A winning content marketing strategy is much the same. It requires careful planning, knowing how you’ll execute your plan and who is going to complete each task. It will be well thought-out before being implemented, but will have the flexibility to make changes if certain elements aren’t working.
And the rewards can be significant: According to a recent study by Kapost, content marketing generates three times more leads than paid searches per dollar spent, and it has added “soft benefits” such as happier clients, more engaged prospects and greater public trust.
The Content Marketing Institute reports that 62 percent of the most successful content marketers have a documented content marketing plan, compared to 16 percent of the least successful content marketers.
Even more compelling, says the CMI, is that 72 percent of marketers who saw greater success in the past year attribute a content plan as a major contributor to their improvement.
Five Steps to Creating A Great Content Marketing Plan
Of course, knowing you need a content marketing plan and being able to create one are two different matters entirely. Let’s look at five tips for developing your own great content marketing plan.
No. 1: Know What You Want to Accomplish
You can’t reach your goals if you don’t clearly define what they are. What are your business objectives, and how will you measure them? Are you trying to raise your brand profile, launch a new product or build web traffic?
Identifying what you want to accomplish with your content marketing strategy will help you focus. It’s quite possible that you have more than one business objective, but doing this exercise will help you prioritize what you want to achieve and determine which actions should come first.
No. 2: Develop Your Buyer Personas
Every business has a target audience, and knowing your audience completely is key to being able to reach them effectively. A buyer persona is a way to go beyond the surface demographics of your audience and create a fictional representation of your customers. Developing a buyer persona requires time and research; it’s based on both your current customer base and market research.
Doing this homework gives you insight into their motivations and thought processes — which makes it easier for you to target their specific needs.
No. 3: Plan Your Content
Once you know your buyer personas, you’ll have a better understanding of where they spend their time and what channels will be most effective for reaching them. That will also inform the type of content you create; it might be videos for YouTube, columns for LinkedIn or blog posts that drive traffic to your site.
Define topics of interest to your customers and then develop multiple pieces of content around those pillars that can be distributed across channels frequented by your audience.
No. 4: Make It Exceptional
There’s a lot of noise out there, and the best way to make your voice stand out is by creating exceptional content — every time. Consistently good content establishes you as an authority in your field and gives your brand credibility. The confidence of consumers is key in building the kind of trust that builds lasting relationships with customers. Give them something that’s worth their time, and they will gladly give you their time.
No. 5: Measure It and Manage It
Following the results of your content marketing actions will keep you on track and inform where you need to make changes. Measuring what works and what could do better gives you the power to be better. It lets you see where to put more effort and what isn’t as successful for you.
Like any investment, you want to follow its performance to make sure that what you’re getting out of it is worth what you’re putting into it.
The Power of a Plan
As a Dallas-based content and digital marketing agency, madison/miles media has seen first-hand the power of a great content marketing plan and how it can provide companies with explosive growth.
We’ve worked with organizations of all sizes to help them grow their audience and reach new customers — and reach their objectives in the process.
For example, working with the Health and Wellness Alliance for Children, we were able to increase their web traffic by 900 percent in just five months by deploying a customized content marketing plan. And, working with the U.S. Dermatology Partners, we used strategic content marketing to increase the company’s ROI from website appointments by an astounding 3,650 percent. Finally, working with Rainbow Muffler & Brake, we increased their monthly blog views from approximately 200 views per month to more than 5,000 views per month in the span of just four months.
Great things can come from having a great content marketing plan. Like most things in life, you’ll get out of your content marketing what you put into it, so the more time you spend creating a plan, the better the execution … and the better the results.