Inbound Marketing is being used by more and more companies. A survey of b2b businesses shows that 80% say they are practicing some inbound marketing. In order to be effective with inbound marketing you have to have great content.
A majority of businesses say they are producing more content this year. Quality content is not easy to develop and takes time and resources. So before you jump in and start writing ponder this. When considering the factors that go into a successful content campaign don't discount planning. Sixty percent of companies with a written documented content strategy feel their campaigns are effective while only 32% of those with only a verbal content strategy are satisfied with their efforts.*
The Four Steps Toward Content Planning
This post outlines four main steps to take while planning your content campaigns. You can learn more and get the templates by downloading the complete guide and SMART goals template which is available at the end of this post.
STEP 1: Complete a SWOT analysis on your content marketing efforts and develop a plan to improve them.
STEP 2: Define the right objectives and KPIs for that plan
STEP 3: Brainstorm content ideas and map these across your funnel
STEP 4: Create a timeline for your content plans
I know, it's so 1990's but a SWOT(Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats) analysis of your current content marketing efforts is an essential part of creating your plan. It allows you to create a plan of action based not on what you’re interested in doing or on your gut-feel, but what you need to do given the situation in the marketplace. You must target your content to your buyer persona's and this exercise helps you determine if you are doing that. It provides a strategic view of the main opportunities and challenges available from content in your market. The guide goes into detail on how to recognize SWOT and has examples to help you.
Create a Plan
Now you’ve completed the SWOT analysis of your current content marketing efforts it’s time to use that information to create an actionable plan. This actionable plan should be based upon the strengths and weaknesses you’ve identified from your current efforts, it should take advantage of opportunities in the market and also account for potential threats to your current strategy. There is a handy template in the guide to help you visualize your plan.
You need a strategic approach
If you don't know what the goals of your campaign are then it's hard to know if it's working. It's also true that most executives think marketers focus on the wrong metrics. Planning your goals is a very important step. Each content offer can appeal to someone at a different stage of the funnel so the goals would be different. A content piece meant to attract would look at website visits and the behavior of those visitors while something designed to convert would want to look at not only the number of leads generated but also what percentage of visitors become leads.
The SMART goals template included will help you identify the goals for your content targeting the different life cycle stages. It will allow you to plan specific objectives and KPIs structured around the customer life cycle. This template makes objectives actionable by defining strategies to help you reach these objectives.
Using the template for the content matrix helps you make sure you are using different types of content and you did not leave anything out. It also makes sure you use the right content to target your lead in the appropriate stage. This is a visual exercise which is fun to complete. A rarity in marketing!
Use the content time line template to keep your campaigns on track. From the development to writing stage , a calendar will help keep you on time for delivering your great content to your audience. You want to ensure you have a clear time line of when different parts of your plan will be completed. This time line can be used not only for your internal team, but also senior management and anyone else within your company who has an interest in those plans.
Download your copy of the guide and templates here