We’ve talked about what content marketing actually is, along with whether or not it actually works (hint: it does!). So now we’re ready to discuss actually implementing a content marketing plan in your small business.
Let’s get started!
1. Get to Know Your Audience
Before you even begin developing a content marketing plan, you need to first understand who your target audience is. What kinds of things are they interested in? What questions do they ask? If you already have an audience, an online survey can be a great way to accomplish this. If not, do some research on the audiences of your direct competition. What kinds of questions do they ask and what do they seem to be interested in?
This is key because when you go to create the actual content for your content marketing plan, understanding your audience will help you develop content that they are actually interested in and want to read.
2. Decide What You Want to Accomplish
What’s the main objective – or end goal – behind your content marketing plan? Do you want to build up your email list? Develop better potential leads? Grow an online community? The final end goal is usually to grow your business in some way, but the method in which you want to do this will help to determine the core message behind your marketing and the channels you choose to reach your goal.
For example, if you’re looking to grow your business by gaining more email subscribers, you’re going to want to create enticing opt-in offers and really market your content well. On the other hand, if you’re looking to develop a strong online community as a way to grow your business, your content marketing efforts will most likely be more focused on your social media channels and promoting your content there.
3. Develop a Core Message for Your Content
Once you’ve decided on your target audience and main content marketing goals, it’s time to develop a core message behind your content – almost like a mission statement. This is more for you than anyone else as it will help to keep you focused on your goals and reasons for doing content marketing in the first place.
When you’re not sure what to write about or where to post your content, you can always go back to this core message as guidance to make sure that you’re still on the right track and moving forwards towards your content marketing goals.
4. Try out Various Content Marketing Channels
With goals and main message in hand, you can now determine which content marketing channels might work best for your business. We talked a bit about the different content marketing channels in the first blog post of this series, but some of the most popular channels include blogging, social media, email newsletters, video content and podcasts.
Exactly what works best will depend on where your target customer spends the most time. Blogging is generally a good bet since the text content can help improve your site’s SEO and provide useful information to your audience. Video content is also great because it can reach people in a completely different way. Depending on your prospect’s activities, it may be good to try out several and see what works best for you and your business. Podcasting might be an amazing option for some while others might see a better ROI with blogging or social media.
5. Take Notes – What Works and What Doesn’t?
As we just discussed, try different methods of content marketing, but make sure that you are diligently tracking results to see what works and what doesn’t. As with any marketing strategy, content marketing can be a bit of a trial-and-error process until you really get to know your niche.
But don’t let this discourage you! Take the opportunity to learn more about your business, and really invest in the areas where you are seeing results. With time, you’ll discover the methods that work best and you can keep moving forward from there.
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