With 82% of marketers actively utilizing some form of content marketing, standing out and getting seen can seem to be an insurmountable task. For every successful blog or content strategy, a million others lay in the distance, fizzling out without ever having found an audience.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when creating a content strategy is not spending enough time plotting their movements. In other words, there’s no “strategy” in their content strategy.
Creating content is hard and can feel overwhelming when also trying to balance a business or other responsibilities on top of that. As a result, there is no shortage of blogs, newsletters, video series, or other forms of content that have created occasional content that went largely unnoticed.
So, how do you ensure that you aren’t falling victim to your own mistakes?
Attempting to create a competent content strategy without a clear purpose and plan is like writing a novel without an outline. You may find success but it’s much more likely that you’ll have to backtrack, edit, and fix problems on the fly.
A clear purpose for your content and a plan for what content you will post and when is the number one way to stay on top of it and grow your viewership. It is also the best way to avoid or anticipate errors along the way.
With that in mind, let’s look into content plans, what they entail, and how to ensure that yours excels.
What Does a Content Plan Include?
Content is a wide-ranging term that encompasses many different mediums, forums, and forms. While getting creative and finding new avenues for your content is always encouraged, here are some of the more common forms that content takes:
Email newsletters are one of the most powerful tools that small businesses have to form relationships with their customers. Not only do emails create more opportunities for your customers to engage with your brand, but they also offer you the ability to give your company a voice.
Recent surveys indicate that visitors to your website that come from email can spend as much as 80% more time on your page. The longer someone spends on your website, the more likely they are to convert.
Webinars enable you to speak directly to your customers while adding value to your product. Through webinars, you can:
- Reinforce the benefit of your company or product
- Answer questions your customers may have
- Offer additional services that otherwise may not have been possible
- Place an actual, human face to the brand you are cultivating
In an increasingly virtual world, webinars are more commonplace and easier to accomplish than ever. As a result of this, your customers and subscribers are more open to webinars than they ever have been before as well.
Blogs and Articles
Blogs are one of the best ways to increase the search ranking of your website. By providing long-form answers to the questions that your visitors are searching for, you can establish your brand as an authority in your industry.
Blogs also provide great content for email newsletters and webinars, offering a separate location on your website to point your audience to.
Ebooks and Guides
Ebooks and guides represent longer forms of content that your website offers its viewers. There are many creative ways to go about doing this. Some of my favorites include:
- Offering a free download of an ebook or guide in exchange for signing up for your email newsletter.
- Adding them on to entice people to attend your webinar and then putting it on your website for sale afterward.
- Self-publishing an ebook to demonstrate your industry knowledge and advertise it on your website.
The Importance of a Clear Purpose and Content Plan
Content marketing carries a price tag 62% lower than traditional forms of marketing while generating around three times the amount of leads. This is according to a report from Demand Metric.
Content marketing is one of the best ways to build up organic traffic for your website and showcase your brand voice and authority. Without having a clear purpose and plan, all your hard work can wind up falling flat, wasting your time, energy, and money.
The intent of your content is the guiding force behind its creation. If the purpose of your webinar is to foster a community with your customers, the tone should differ from a webinar that is aiming to sell a product.
Once you have an intention, it’s time to start planning. Broadly speaking, it’s best to have your content planned out at least two weeks in advance. If you’re wanting to plan a webinar or event, that should happen at least a month to two months beforehand.
Keeping a content calendar and providing regular, relevant content is the most important element for success in your overall strategy.
Keep in mind
When creating content, it’s important to keep in mind the following:
Are you speaking to dedicated fans of your brand or newcomers who have never heard of you? What qualities define the people that are consuming your content? The more you can answer these questions, the better you can tailor your message to them directly.
What is the goal of the content you are creating? If it’s to showcase that you are a knowledgeable authority in your industry, the messaging should differ drastically from a sales-oriented focus. Consider as well which part of the sales funnel your audience will likely be in and how you can move them toward the next step.
Why should anyone care about your content? Consider what it is that you are offering and, if you can’t clearly define it, you aren’t ready to move forward.
What sets you apart from all the other people looking to sway the audience towards their content instead? You are a unique person and your brand should be unique from all other brands as well.
Whenever somebody signs up for your newsletters, follow up to confirm what they’ve signed up for. When they’ve commented on your content or otherwise reached out in any way, follow up and engage with them. Following up is the easiest way to show that a person is operating behind the logo of your brand.
Create and Maintain an Email Preference Center
An email preference center is a webpage that is a redirection for those wishing to unsubscribe. Without email preference centers, anyone who may lose interest in even one element of your content plan may wind up unsubscribing from all of them.
Redirect pages for those wishing to unsubscribe to give your audience the chance to think it through and potentially stay on board, if only for a smaller part of the overall plan.
A note on CTA’s
Your call-to-action should be the most important element of your design. The CTA on whatever content you are creating must be about the value your target audience will receive. CTA’s that are little more than placing a giant logo and photo of yourself never convert well.
While those other elements are often nice touches, they are not what will grab their attention and get them to open and engage with your content.
Need a Little Help?
Managing the many duties of content planning, creation, and execution is difficult and many find themselves needing a little help to get by. I’ve dedicated my career to understanding the ins and outs of the sales pipeline. As your Pipeline Plumber, I’m here to help you get your content strategy off the ground and soaring to new heights.
I am proud to offer all the necessary services to get develop, maintain, and strengthen your purpose and content plan. Schedule a call with me today and I’ll show you the many benefits I can provide and we can see if there’s a route forward together!