Awareness and engagement are two of the most important aspects of any marketing strategy. Prospects need to be aware of your brand if you want to make sales. They also need to engage with the content to become invested in you. Content marketing ticks both these boxes, developing targeted content that attracts prospects and leaves them wanting more. Competition for attention is one of the factors that stands in the way of your content reaching a desired audience. However, it is possible to develop, in as little as 30 days, a content marketing plan that generates positive results.
Exactly how you prepare and execute a content marketing plan will vary depending on the size of your team. A larger business will be able to delegate different tasks to specialist individuals. Assuming you are doing everything alone, though, you need to work on a number of different skills or outsource these tasks.
Initially, it is important to define your goals. You may be attempting to increase social follower numbers, build an email list, or make sales. You can then map out a customer journey, taking someone from reading a blog post to performing a subsequent action and reaching the goal you have set.
Next, try to understand the audience you are attempting to reach. Look at industry forums and social media sites to find the topics most important to people. A tool like Mention can give valuable insight into your target audiences. BuzzSumo will show you what your closest competitors are doing and the audiences they are reaching. You will then understand better what content people are eager to consume.
Your first week can focus on starting a content schedule. If you are working alone, it is wise to limit the number of posts, allowing you to maintain quality and have enough time for promotion. Along with your own blog, look at other channels for content distribution. You will want to publish content across your social network, growing these platforms as a promotional avenue, and send email updates to subscribers. Depending on the niche you operate in, forums, YouTube, guest blogging, and social advertising can also be used.
Rather than developing brand new content for every channel, though, you can repurpose your existing posts. For example, your main blog post can include images, video clips, infographics, lists, and more. You could isolate a few quotes from your post for a site like Twitter, post the video on YouTube, use a blurb to answer a question on Quora, and include an infographic on Instagram.
With your content channels operational, you can continue to develop new content and syndicate it effectively. The next stage is to look for promotional avenues, building relationships with targeted influencers and sites. Your initial research will have identified competitors and people within related industries. You can also use BuzzSumo and other tools to find related influencers and bloggers. Reaching out to these people can start the process of building a relationship.
You can choose to be direct or indirect in how you approach people. A direct approach might involve sending an email complimenting their site and linking your latest piece of content. You could also ask to write a guest blog for them. A less direct approach could be to Tweet them, thank them for their hard work, writing a comment on their blog, or discussing an industry issue on social media. Building relationships takes time, so start the process and you will see the rewards in the future.
If you have been maintaining your content calendar, you should have some initial data about your content and the audience response. The goals you set will determine how successful a campaign has been, but you can look at some common metrics to gain an early impression. Analyze the page visitor numbers, bounce rate, blog comments, social media shares, and new email subscribers to determine if you are getting the response you need.
If you find your content is not resonating, try to assess if you are understanding the mindset of the audience. Your content should be offering something audiences cannot easily get elsewhere. You may be trying to be entertaining, engaging, highly detailed, emotionally connecting, provocative, or clear and precise. Content marketing is an ongoing process, so you will always need to assess and adjust based on audience responses.
With the foundations set, you can now focus on your content calendar, ensuring you maintain posting standards and continue to build relationships. You can begin to build out the schedule for the coming months, developing content that helps to grow your voice and brand within the industry. In most industries, there will be notable events, milestones, and broader holiday periods. You can make a note of these events, ensuring you are set up to capitalize on an increased level of interest.
The end of the month is a good time to track your metrics, determining if you are reaching your goals. There are free options like Google Analytics that can offer important data, but you can use link trackers to follow each link you post across all platforms. Analysis will typically look at visitor numbers, where visitors came from, bounce rate, and conversions. You can also see how people are engaging with content via comments, likes, and shares.
Don’t expect too much from the first 30 days, with content marketing requiring a continued effort. You should, however, be able to see some initial results that indicate you have a distinct voice that is resonating with audiences. When you can create content that your target audience wants to consume, factors like growing an email list, moving people into a marketing funnel, growing your network, and more can be tweaked until they are giving optimal results.
Content marketing is an ongoing process, so you can always expand on your knowledge. Various aspects of the process are also subject to change, making it important to continually experiment with content types and the platforms you publish on. However, focusing seriously for a month on your content plan will give you a wealth of knowledge. After sticking to the plan, developing campaigns that produce results will only get easier.
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