On an average, 82% of online marketers (B2B and B2C) rely on content marketing as a trusted tool to reach consumers, and this trend is not slowing down. More and more companies, industry leaders and small businesses are increasing their content marketing efforts to connect with their customers.
Image Source: The State of Content Marketing, 2012, Outbrain
And you should too! Using content to attract people to your site is a very effective and acceptable way to market your online business. In a way, internet marketing revolves around content. You need content for search engine marketing, email marketing and for social media. You can very easily establish your brand presence online and position yourself as an expert through your content.
Content marketing is altogether different from traditional marketing because you do not force your ads or promotional material onto your audience. Instead, you are gradually bringing them onto your fold and getting them engaged with your business.
Content isn’t restricted to web articles alone – it includes ebooks, white papers, audio, videos and of course, images. You don’t have to cram a lot of information into a single post, to have effective content. Your challenge is to provide relevant information that helps solve your audience’s problem in an easy-to-grasp format.
You can follow the steps listed below to plan content that will make your online business flourish.
Step by Step Process to Plan Your Content
1. How do you want your content to work for you?
You should have a very clear idea of what you want your content to accomplish. Try to be as specific as possible in this regard. Here are a few things you can get done using your content:
- Build up and support your online brand.
- Reach out to potential customers.
- Engage and interact with your audience.
- Generate leads – get more subscribers, sign ups, shares, etc.
- Get more sales (eventually).
We used our free ebook promotion to gather subscriptions, so we can offer them much more in the coming months. Decide on what you’re aiming for with your content.
2. Define personas and categorize their pain-points
On Day 2, I shared information on creating customer profiles. Map out the interests, challenges, hopes and aspirations of your target customer personas. Also note down the major problems and issues each segment may face. When you arrive at a list of your audience’s pain-points, group related issues into various categories.
3. Brainstorm content ideas
Now you can tailor content to address the pain-points you’ve categorized in the above step. By doing so, you can portray what your business services can do for your target audience.
Come up with a list of content ideas that will provide information to help solve the issues you have identified. These ideas should also meet the goals you’ve set for your content.
4. Decide on the content format
As mentioned in the introduction, your content need not be limited to just a full-text article. You could develop content that falls into any one of the following categories:
- Blog posts
- Audio podcasts
- Video blogs
- Case studies
For each of the ideas you come up with in Step 3, decide on which format would be best to present your content. Take into account which avenues you are comfortable with, and also which formats would relate well with your target audience.
An important part of this step is keyword research which we will be covering in tomorrow’s post.
5. Who is going to create the content?
Decide on who will be responsible for creating the content. You obviously have the knowledge and expertise, but you may be clueless about creating content of a particular format. For example, you may be a good writer but have no experience in designing an infographic. Identify areas you need help with and check if you need to hire someone to do it for you.
6. Map out the resources required
Content creation requires a variety of resources. For example, to create a video, you will need a video capture device. For recording a podcast, you will require a recording device and editing tools. To publicize an interview, Skype recording needs to be enabled.
Map out the resources that are required beforehand. It will be extremely disappointing to get started on creating the content, and then realize you don’t have the resources to complete it. You need to have a budget planned that covers the entire content creation process.
7. Build an editorial calendar
It would be greatly beneficial if you have all your content well planned out in advance. It will definitely make your web promotions and outreach activities easier. You can use a paper planner, a blank notebook or an online calender to plan when your content has to be published online. You can also plan recurring content – features that are repeated every week or every month. This will definitely organize your content ideas and streamline the process for you in the coming days.
I hope this article has given you an overview of how to plan your content. This is the first step in getting quality content published on your business website. Look out for more information on content creation in the next 2 days!
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Click here to catch up on all the posts in this series.