8 Steps to creating a Successful Content Marketing Plan
With over 1.7 billion websites on the internet, how could you make yours stand out from the masses?
Content marketing is a very effective way to attract your audience by answering their biggest questions and it has been proven to be one of the best marketing strategies when it comes to increasing traffic to your website.
In this article, we are listing 8 starter tips as they will give you a foundation to develop a successful content marketing strategy.
1. Create a Content Marketing Strategy
A content marketing strategy is a plan to map out the journey from A to Z.
It lays out the content marketing goals and a clear strategy on how to accomplish them step by step.
One advantage of having a documented plan is to have a clear picture of which topics have already been posted to avoid repetition.
This allows marketers to connect published article topics with new ideas, which bring new visitors to the old article.
The goal of developing a content marketing strategy is to create a long-term scheme for attracting visitors to your website.
A great content marketing strategy can lay the foundation for a successful and sustainable stream of new visitors who could become customers.
2. Focus on your Audience
Your target audience should be the most important focus when creating your content marketing strategy.
Content marketing is all about creating value for your online visitors to attract them to your website and eventually transform them into new clients.
Producing content for your audience instead of merely describing the characteristics of your products is crucial to gain trust from new visitors.
It is important to research your audience to get to know their most pressing problems and questions.
A successful content marketing campaign aims to provide answers to these questions in order to help your online visitors solve their problems.
Focus on questions and issues that are related to your business.
This will allow your visitors to connect with your company's content and bring them when facing other similar needs in the future.
Knowing the most popular search terms in your industry will allow you to provide the right answers that your target audience is seeking.
Read our guide: Content Marketing Strategy: How to Stand Out from the Crowd.
3. Research your Competitors
The next step is conducting research on your competitors.
Looking at the highest performing companies in your industry can give you valuable insights into how they achieved success.
It is easier to replicate someone’s path to success than to try out a new way.
However, this doesn’t mean copying other people’s work is acceptable. Their work should only be your point of reference or inspiration.
Use your creativity and imagination to come up with new viewpoints, ideas or to induce your own personality into the mix.
Using Google is a good way to find out what wording your competition uses to address their audience in advertisements, meta-descriptions, and headlines.
Their social media accounts are also a great place to find similar companies in your industry.
In summary, you should ask yourself these questions when analyzing the market:
How do similar companies address their target audience?
Which tools do they use?
What keywords are they focussing on?
4. Go after the Right Keywords
Use your knowledge about who your target audience and your competitors are and find the most appropriate keywords to connect them back to your company.
Your keywords should be a mix of popular terms which have a high search volume per month on Google and niche keywords with a more specific audience and therefore less popular on Google.
On the one hand, choosing terms with a high search volume will bring in the necessary number of website visitors to gain awareness within the target audience.
These popular keywords will drive a higher number of website traffic.
However, those visitors are less likely to become your clients because their search intentions tend to focus on understanding the terms and not acquiring the services.
As an example, let’s imagine you have a bicycle repair shop you want to promote.
By choosing to focus on the keyword “bicycle”, people who just want to look up a bicycle shop nearby, a simple definition of a bicycle or events related to bicycles are going to pop up on your search results page.
On the other hand, focusing on specific keywords will attract people who are looking for something similar to what you offer.
Therefore, those people are more likely to become your customers.
Going back to the bicycle shop example, let's imagine that you decide to include the keyword “repairing a bicycle” for your content marketing strategy.
In this case, people with the intention to repair their bicycle will come to your website and will have a higher chance of taking your services into consideration.
5. Analyze the Data Behind your Results
Data is key to provide evidence for your content marketing efforts.
Being able to explain to a client the successes and improvement points of your content marketing results is only possible with factual data.
Digital marketing is more reliant than ever before on data. Clients want to clearly see how you can help them reach their goals.
At the same time when a campaign didn’t perform as expected, the first thing you should do is analyze the data on which you have based that campaign and optimize it with new terms.
Nowadays, technology enables new ways to measure the success of content marketing campaigns. Before it was rather abstract and vague to measure those performances.
There are many free tools online that include options to measure your online campaigns.
Especially the tools created by Google offer great value, for example, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, etc.
6. Reformatting your Content
Reformatting your content means adapting it to a different platform.
As an example, you could choose to take your best performing LinkedIn article “Top 10 free analytics tools” and convert it into a youtube video tutorial.
Nowadays, the content we produce is being recycled over and over again.
This is an indication that the target finds the content interesting and relevant.
Distributing one piece of content on different channels allows it to be discovered by different audiences.
For instance, if your youtube video tutorial gets many views, you can recreate a podcast episode with it to expand on the topic.
If your business is active on multiple marketing channels then this is a good approach to attract a bigger audience by making some content pieces available on the remaining platforms.
Furthermore, updating an already popular topic will give visitors the chance to better inform themselves and as a result, make better decisions.
Finally, it requires less effort transforming an already published piece of content than creating a completely new article or video of a trending topic.
7. Maintain an Editorial Calendar
Many people use a calendar to organize their day-to-day schedule and plan ahead.
The same goes for content marketers who use an editorial calendar to keep track of when to publish what on which platform.
In content marketing, it is very important to follow the publishing schedule.
Posting content later than planned can decrease the viewership because the audience might not be online.
Being consistent is the key to a successful content marketing strategy. Therefore, it is crucial to follow a defined schedule in order to maximize viewership and awareness.
Having an editorial calendar is the best way to keep things organized and get a clear picture of what to start writing next.
Calendars are a great tool to plan content strategies in the long term as they help to visualize and connect the topics on the different platforms.
8. Build an Email list
Maintaining your current customers can be challenging.
An email marketing strategy is an excellent tool to provide valuable content to both current customers and prospective ones.
Counter to popular belief, having an email list is one of the most effective tools marketers use to nurture existing clients.
Email lists are mostly used to inform customers about the latest news on the company, new product releases, and enhanced services.
Also, content marketers use email marketing to link trending topics to their current offering seeking to provide new perspectives to their subscribers.