As a business, you might consider creating content to attract more customers to your site. To do this effectively, you need a content marketing plan. Knowing where to start when creating a marketing plan, even if you’ve already been creating content, can be challenging. Without one, though, you’ll be fumbling in the dark.
At Proofed we follow a carefully curated content plan for our Writing Tips blog, which receives over 300,000 monthly visitors at present. We know how difficult it can be to create an efficient and scalable content marketing plan, so we’ve put together nine steps to develop a plan that will set you up for success.
Develop Your Content Marketing Plan
#1. Define Your Audience
Before you can create content, you need to know who you’re creating content for. The market for your blog is likely the market for your product or service, but remember, people who have not purchased anything from your company may come across your blog and use it to decide whether your product or service is what they’re looking for.
Creating content that’s relevant to your customers and potential customers can be challenging, but a great way to get started is to create buyer personas. These are profiles that define the age, occupation, struggles, personalities, and even names of your target customers, which will help you to create customer-centric content.
#2. Research Your Competitors
Next, you need to know what your competitors’ marketing strategy is. This is for a few reasons. The first is that you don’t want to be parroting what’s already out there because your customers will just go to the original source with their queries and bypass your content altogether.
The second is that you can use this research to identify what your customers are struggling with and any gaps in your competitors’ content that you could fill, making you the go-to source. You need to differentiate yourself from the more than 600 million other blogs (as of 2022), and researching your competitors is the first step in doing this.
#3. Establish Your Goals
Figuring out where to start can feel like navigating a maze. That’s why establishing goals is so important. Your goals will give you the direction you need to get out of the maze. Most importantly, you want to create SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. With these goals in mind, you’ll be able to decide which content is relevant for your company. You can also take this further and define key performance indicators to track the success of your content.
#4. Choose Your Platform
Once you’ve defined your audience, researched your competitors, and established your goals, you need to decide which platform to share them on. Ideally, you’ll have a website where you can share this information, but if you don’t, you can use a blogging platform. There are a number of popular sites to choose from, so do your research to determine which one will work best for you. Also, don’t forget about other platforms, like social media, which can be great for driving people to your blog.
#5. Review Your Existing Content
The aim of any content creator is to produce content as quickly and efficiently as possible. So, it’s a good idea to repurpose existing content (if you have any) for new posts. It might be that you write a whole article dedicated to one point made in another article (i.e., an article about establishing goals) or vice versa (i.e., a top tips blog that consolidates several topics into one).
You don’t have to stick to one form of media, either. You can turn blogs into videos or infographics. You can repurpose your content in whatever way you like, but make sure you update any content that’s no longer relevant before you republish.
#6. Plan Your Schedule
Once you’ve come up with some ideas for content, whether they’re brand new or repurposed, you’ll need to organize them into a coherent plan. Having a content schedule, including times for posting and what you want to post, will help you and your team stay on track and take some of the stress out of creating content. There are apps that you can use to create a schedule, or you can use old-fashioned paper and pen (although this is less useful for large content teams because it’s harder to edit and share). Experiment and see what works for you.
#7. Devise a Style Guide
Creating content can be a time-consuming process, but you can speed up your content creation by using a style guide. This is a document that outlines your company’s preferred style, punctuation conventions, and word choice that your content team can refer to. You can create your own, use an established one (e.g., the Chicago Manual of Style or Associated Press), or a combination of both.
If your creators have an outline of exactly what you’re looking for, they’ll spend less time wondering what they should be doing, making your content more consistent and speeding up your process. With our help, Lucid Advertising managed to cut their turnaround times by 50% using a style guide, and we’re sure it will work for you too.
#8. Create Your Content
Now, you’re ready to start writing. At this stage, it doesn’t matter too much how good or accurate your content is; it only matters that you get started. As New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult once said, “You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” It can be tempting to go back and rework pieces while you’re writing, but save that for the next step, or you’ll never move forward. Just get your ideas down, and then you can improve it later. If you need help with writing successful content for your business, check out this blog post.
#9. Remember Editing and Proofreading
With everything else you have going on, it might be easy to forget or skip this step, but it’s the most important step because error-ridden content will massively impact your reputation and bottom line. Editing and proofreading will catch any inconsistencies in spelling, syntax, and grammar mistakes, allowing your audience to focus on the content rather than trying to understand what you’re saying.
If people have to question what you’re trying to say, then you’ve lost them. To prioritize this step, consider hiring editors or outsourcing the work to an agency – whichever works best for your company.
Congratulations! You now have a content marketing plan that you can use to create high-quality content. We wish we could say the hard work is over, but it’s only just begun. You might find as you gain more experience that you need to amend parts of your plan to better reflect what your company currently needs, so go through the above steps regularly to see what’s working and fix what’s not. These steps will form the basis of a content marketing plan that will help you create effective material.
What Can Proofed Do for You?
With a team of over 750 fully managed editors, we have vast experience with editing marketing content. We’ve helped over 1,000 businesses, from global brands to start-ups, to make their written content the best it can be. When you’re ready to see what we can do for you, schedule a call here.