When lockdowns were enforced in 2020, people had to stay home. That revolutionized how consumers behaved online. Nearly everyone purchased products online, ordered food online, and availed services online through their mobile phones.
With more and more people sharing digital space, it’s crucial for businesses to market their companies online. One of the best ways to accomplish this is with the use of a strong content marketing strategy.
According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), content marketing focuses on the creation and
distribution of online content. And, it doesn’t have to be just any content. It has to be relevant, valuable, and consistent. Companies need to do this to attract a clearly defined audience and retain them. This ultimately increases the chance of profitability, which all businesses aim for.
But a content marketing strategy is only an answer to your company’s questions. Why do you need content? Who are you going to create this for? How will it affect them? How is it different from other online content?
Answering these questions, however, doesn’t let you initiate the content marketing process. What you need to do is create a content plan first.
What is a Content Plan?
A content plan is the technical aspect of a content marketing strategy. It is well-detailed documentation of how you will execute your content marketing and what else it needs for it to be successful. CMI explains there are five key areas that a content plan tackles and this guide will help you get an idea of how each is developed.
The Business Plan
Content marketing must be part of every business’s overall marketing plan. It cannot stand on its own. It shouldn’t be just your main method of marketing your company’s products or services. Your goal here now is how to include your content marketing plan into your company’s broad marketing plan.
The ‘business plan’ for a content marketing strategy should outline the business model it’ll follow, its unique value proposition to the company, and the content program to be executed. It should also cover the problems and opportunities that the content program will encounter.
The Business Case Defense
One of the major hindrances to successfully implementing a content plan is the lack of support from company leadership and management. To get them on your side, you need to develop a business case defense, which is divided into two phases.
First, your goal is to gain executive support. To achieve this, you should explain what content marketing is, why your business needs it, and how it can help your company reach consumer goals. You need to provide the management with a reason why content is important, what issues may arise if you use it, and what kind of success it will bring the company.
Second, your goal is to get permission for the allocation of budget and resources. This phase is important because it opens up the opportunity to experiment with the execution of the content strategy. You will be allowed to make mistakes and choose different venues of execution. It is in this phase, however, that you need to figure out what will work best for your company and explain that to the management.
The Brand Story
The brand story contains the messages and ideas of your company. It explains how you will communicate this to your audience, how it is different from the competition, and how do you expect the audience to react to the message.
The Content Maps and Audience Personas
The content maps cover what type of content you will produce to reach your marketing goals. This may include a wide range of content from SEO (search engine optimization) articles to social media posts.
The audience personas include your target market, their demographic, and their engagement preferences. You will also map out their needs and expectations. For example, your target market A prefers SEO content. To provide them with what they need, you have to produce what they expect from you. To reach that goal, you need to either do SEO in-house or outsource to a reliable SEO firm.
The Channel Plan
Finally, the channel plan lists which platforms you believe are the right venues to share your message with your target audience and how you can connect them to strengthen your brand story. It should also explain why you chose a specific platform over others, what processes will you undergo to use that platform, and what tools you will need to use them. According to the Journal of Direct Data and Digital Marketing Practice, content management systems can give businesses a competitive edge compared to those that don’t use them.
Take note, however, that each business is different. There may be businesses that don’t need a specific area to focus on. You must analyze each one and weigh its requirements whether it’ll be appropriate for your business or not. From there, include only the most relevant elements to suit your business needs.