Creating good content takes a lot of effort.
And it starts with making a good Content Plan. And that’s easier than it sounds. Have a look…
Content is King
If you’re an entrepreneur or small business (or even if you’re in a bigger company), content marketing is probably the best, and most durable way to market products or services to your audience.
Why? Simply because regular advertising doesn’t cut it (anymore).
For SME’s, traditional advertising is much too expensive. And those who can afford it are faced with the fact that advertising is intrusive and interruptive. You’re invading the space of someone who is actually trying to do something else: read an article, watch a video. And in this digital day and age, audiences show no mercy for interruptions. (*)
So enter Content Marketing, which is based on delivering content that is informative, or inspiring, or simply entertaining. And the best way to get started with content marketing, is to make a plan!
Because to be efficient in content marketing, you have to provide content on a regular basis over a longer period of time. And if you can plan regular slots to publish your content, all the better.
Who are you talking to?
First thing you need to know: who are you creating content for? Who will benefit from reading your content?
If you’re a baker writing about a new type of rye bread in your bakery, you might target health-conscious adults. If you’re a wine bar with a new stock of excellent Rosé, you could target young, outgoing adults with a taste for wine and good company.
So think about who you want to reach out to.
What are you going to say?
A lot of people and businesses who want to start ‘doing content’ often complain that they don’t know what to write about. That’s nonsense! Unless you are completely and totally new to the business you’re in, you have a wealth of knowledge, information and expertise you can share with your audiences.
And if you’re really stuck, try to think about your business: what kind of questions do you get from customers? Do you find yourself regularly explaining the same things to different people? Those are the kind of topics you can already start on.
And don’t be afraid to lower the bar: information that might be completely obvious or petty to you could be of great importance to your readers.
So think about what you know and start writing about that.
When are you going to say it?
Ah…one of the main ingredients of any plan is timing.
And time planning has two functions in a content plan: on the one hand, it allows you to spread your content so you can publish new content on a regular basis at pre-defined moments.
Second thing is topical timing. You publish content to coincide with an event. Like a garage owner writing about the need to prep your car for winter weather. Not much use if you publish that article in June, right?
Or the baker who does a quick piece (and perhaps even a nifty video) about the new Halloween cupcakes he’s creating. Safe to say mid-to-end October would be the best timing for that.
Topical timing is a great way to get your content plan started. Figure out which moments or events in the upcoming year are important to your business and to your customers. And plan content around those moments. Then all you need to do is fill the gaps in between with good quality content that is not time-sensitive.
Also, if your topic allows it, plan a follow-up. The baker in the example above could easily take some quick snapshots of customers queueing for his Halloween cupcakes, and post them on Instagram or …
Where are you going to publish your content?
Well, I assume you at least have your own blog on your web site. If not, it would be a great idea to get one 🙂
Other than that, your publication channels are pretty much determined by your audience. Are they mostly on Facebook, on LinkedIn, on Twitter, then you use those channels to promote your content. If you already have a loyal customer base, you might start by spoiling them with a great email newsletter.
Sidenote: you don’t have to publish everything in every channel. It’s OK to mix real blog articles with shorter updates, pictures or quick facts on Facebook or Twitter, for example.
Tag your content
Another good idea is to tag your content with keywords. This is good for a variety of reasons. Good keyword tags help your Google search ranking (how quickly you are found in Google, to put it very simply), especially if you use them in your titles or subtitles. But they are also a good way to keep track of your content, both for yourself and for your blog visitors. So if the baker above would tag his content, he would probably use ‘cupcakes’ and ‘Halloween’ as keywords.
There are tens of thousands of blogs, sites and books about the why and how of content marketing, from the very basic to the very complicated. And at the beginning of the article I listed a few reasons why content marketing is as important as it is.
But here’s the thing: in everything you do, related to content marketing, there is one (1) fundamental question you need to ask yourself: what do I want my readers to do or feel differently when they’ve read my article?
What do you want to achieve? What action do you want them to take?
Come to your shop? Order something online? Hurry back for another piece of information? What?
That is your call-to-action (CTA). That is the note you should end your content piece on. If you want them to come buy something, and you’re content is written well enough to achieve that, use the call-to-action to invite them over.
If you’d like them to sign-up for your newsletter, then your call-to-action is a signup form. Like the one I have below. Feel free to use it 🙂
Be sure to include a call-to-action in your planning so you know what you’re working towards.
And finally, … to help you get off to a great start,
you can download a free content planner below.
(*) Well, it seems they do, actually, because interruptive advertising and interruptive marketing still work. It is still the perfect tool for companies with money who want to boost short term sales. Often, that makes up for the fact that they lack the skills and/or vision to get any significant long-term marketing or communication strategy going. So they end up doing endless strings of short term campaigns.
Keen on more stories about content?
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