How to Launch a Content Marketing Plan That Leads to Real Results
You’ve heard it from many marketers and experts: Your brand needs content marketing as part of your marketing plan. (Yes, even here on the blog, we preach the value of brands acting like media companies.)
But, there is a problem with this advice.
Many brands embrace the idea of content marketing and get to work creating content -- without realizing why they are doing it.
They know they need content, so they create it. But they don’t know why. And the results are a lot of work, a lot of content, and not a lot of results.
There’s more to content marketing than just creating content for content’s sake.
Your content needs to be strategic and tied to your goals if you want it to produce results. The rest of this post will explain how you can use content marketing to get results -- not just a few more pages on your blog
What Type of Content Can You Create?
First, let's talk about what content is. Content can mean a lot of things. There are many types of content you can create, and the type of content can refer to a variety of mediums and uses.
Content mediums -- or the way you construct your content could be:
Content use -- or how you package or post your content could be:
- Blog Posts
- Guest Posts
- Landing Pages
- Case Studies
- Social Media Posts
- Text Messages
- Presentations/Live Videos
The wrong way to create content is to look at either of these lists and simply pick a type of content to develop. For example, you may look at this and say: “Webinars are popular. We should do that” or “We don’t have videos. We need some.”
Do not start your content marketing plan by filling a need you think you have.
Instead, create real results by looking strategically at your goals, audience, and resources and then deciding what type of content to create.
How to Decide What Content to Create
So, how can you look at your current state of business and decide what content to create? Here are a few steps to follow.
#1) Outline your general marketing goals.
Content marketing isn’t a goal. You create content to help you reach other goals. So start by outlining your current general marketing goals. Don’t think about content; just think about what you want your business to accomplish in the next 30 days, six months, or year.
Some examples of goals might be to:
- Build brand awareness.
- Generate more leads.
- Boost sales.
- Improve customer retention.
- Drive more website traffic.
#2) Define your target audience.
Now, look at your goals and consider who you need to reach to accomplish them. Who is the audience that you need to target and how can you best reach them?
The more you know about your audience, the better equipped you will be at finding ways to reach them literally and figuratively. You’ll know the platforms to use as well as the messaging and positioning to leverage.
Recommended Reading: Get to Know Your Customers Through Super Simple Buyer Personas
#3) Outline tactics that help you reach those goals.
With your general goals and audience outline in front of you, consider what tactics will help you reach them. Don’t limit yourself to thinking about how content can specifically help you.
Remember: Content is a tactic to help you reach your goal. Content creation is not the goal itself.
Focus on what you want to accomplish and what are the best ways to reach that goal. Don’t force yourself to create content. Instead, look for the most effective and efficient way to reach your goal.
For example, if your goal is to boost sales, you may find that investing in pay-per-click ads to drive web searches directly to your product pages will create the most effective results. You don’t need to create consistent content for that to happen.
Or, if your goal is to build brand awareness, you may want to work with social media influencers to help spread the word about your brand instead of investing in creating new content for your own social channels.
#4) If content is a relevant tactic, choose a content medium and use.
In the last step, you may have found that content is a good tactic for reaching your goals. Now, determine which type of content medium and use will work best.
To help you find out what medium and use is best, ask yourself:
- How does the content tie back to the goal? What does the content have to do to help you reach your goal? For example, if the goal is to generate leads, how does the content drive users to share their contact information? What has to be included in the content strategy to drive that action?
- Do I have the resources to create this content? What do you need to create the content? For example, do you have a writer if you’re creating copy or a videographer if you’re making a video? Do you have a blog set up on your website if you want to publish new posts? Do you have an email marketing software and an active list if you want to send emails?
- Where will my content be most effective? How can you get your content in front of your target audience? Where do they spend time online? Can you stand out on those platforms? Do you have the organic reach to accomplish your goals? Or, do you need to pay to get attention?
- How will I measure results? What key performance indicators and marketing metrics can you use to determine if the content helped you reach your goals? Remember, you aren’t creating content just to create content. How can you tell if you created content for a purpose and a productive end goal?
Put Your Content Marketing Plan to Work
Creating content for your brand adds a ton of value to your business. But, only if it is mapped out to follow a strategic plan and reach a specific goal.
Don’t let this post scare you out of creating content. Instead, use it as a guide to start creating content that produces real results for your brand. And, if you are still struggling with what type of content can best help you reach your goals, let’s talk!
The team at MyArea Network would be happy to look at your business plans and help you determine what is the best approach to content marketing for your unique brand. Contact us today for your free consultation.