It’s easy to understand the importance of content marketing. You’ve read that it can help you attract and even convert new leads, all while establishing relationships with readers and demonstrating your expertise.
That’s great. But how exactly do you start to see those results?
Content marketing for your business will be nothing without a strong plan in place to guide it. It will help you to define your goals and understand the specific steps you should take to accomplish it. In this post, we’re going to take you step by step through the process of how to create a content marketing plan that’s right for your business.
Know What You Want to Accomplish
This is an important first step, and it’s one a lot of businesses skip over.
What do you want to accomplish with your content marketing?
Do you want to improve your SEO? Attract new leads, or build thought leadership, or promote your products or services? You can do all of these things with content marketing, but it’s important to set specific goals so you can then try to optimize for them.
Define what exactly you want your content marketing to accomplish, and then you can start to lay the groundwork for your plans and choose the metrics you measure.
Want to promote your products? You’ll need to create content that will appeal to users who are actively in the research stage, and then measure traffic to product pages and conversions.
Looking to capture lead information? Create lead magnets like ebooks or webinars, promote them in blog posts, can watch for both downloads and percentages of new site visitors to your posts.
Once you have an idea of what you want to accomplish, you can move forward with the implementation of development of your strategy.
Create Keyword & Topic Lists Based On Your Audience
You now have a basic idea of the goals you want to accomplish and the types of content that you want to create. The next step is to do keyword research in order to generate blog post topics that will appeal to your target audience.
I can’t stress this enough: you must keep your specific audience in mind when creating your content. You want to write topics that work with your goal but that will also interest your audience and match the language they use.
If, for example, you’re a landscaping business, you might write a post about “how to choose a landscaping company.” Maybe your audience, however, is searching for “how to choose a lawn maintenance company.” If you get the language wrong, you won’t get the traffic.
Keyword research can help with this. My personal favorite tool is SEMrush’s keyword tools, but Moz’s keyword explorer is also a great option. Both of these tools will give you insight into what terms, phrases, and questions users are searching for, and show you both search volume and competition of each keyword.
They both let you search based on country, which can help you refine your audience.
Write down a list of keywords that you want to optimize for, and develop blog post topics that revolve around them. Remember to avoid keyword cannibalization by using a different keyword variation in each post.
Still stumped? Look for questions that your audience is asking so you can answer them in a blog post.
Develop a Long-term Strategy
After you’ve assembled your list of keywords and topics, you’ll want to develop a specific content marketing strategy and content marketing funnel that incorporate both your topics and your long-term goals.
Let’s say that your landscaping company wants to attract new leads. You know that your best bet is connecting with families who have just moved to the area and who are looking to hire someone for lawn maintenance, but haven’t found someone yet.
You’ll first want to decide on a lead magnet. This could be a free checklist for how to take care of your yard on a regular basis, including steps like mowing, weed-eating, pest control, and monitoring the irrigation system. This would be available for download on your site.
In addition to making the lead magnet’s landing page SEO-optimized, you would also want to write a series of blog posts to link back to it. This could include a post on what to look for in a yard when buying a new house, how to decide what size yard is right for you, and different pet-friendly plants you can put in your new yard. All of these are relevant to the lead magnet, but most importantly, they take the target audience into consideration.
Once users download the free lead magnet and give you their email, you can send them an email campaign that offers them a free consultation, and let your sales team take it from there.
Remember to Diversify
You’ve got your content up and running, and one of the best ways to both cover your basis and to keep users engaged is to diversify.
This includes incorporating more diversity in:
- Content type. While you want your branding to stay consistent and coherent, some diversity in your content will help your strategy long-term. Remember to include images, videos, infographics (like the example from Hootsuite below), ebooks, and webinars into your content marketing strategy when and if applicable to your business. This diversity will keep users interested and can even make it easier for you to maintain a steady stream of content.
- Keywords. You don’t want to focus on just one keyword and forget about everything else. Write content for a variety of keywords that appeal to your target audience and that you can write relevant content for, and you’ll be able to cast a wider net as a result.
- Your distribution method. Some businesses rely solely on SEO as a distribution method for their content, but especially for new blogs, that’s a big mistake you want to avoid. Instead, use a variety of distribution channels in order to get more eyes on your content, including social media, industry forums, and even PPC campaigns.
Content marketing can be one of the best investments you make into your brand, but only if you execute it correctly. A strong content marketing strategy should always be in place. If it is, you’ll be able to make content a central staple to your inbound marketing strategy and you’ll start seeing the leads come rolling in before you know it.
Need some help with your content marketing strategy? Get in touch with us and see what our content marketing services can do for you.
What do you think? What steps did you take when creating your content marketing strategy? Which factors did you consider? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!