It’s always good to have a plan. This can be said for many of your business endeavors. Just as you have a plan for operations, finances, recruitment, and sales, you need a plan for content. However, you may be unsure of how to build a business plan for content.
Unlike an editorial plan that may focus on audience-centric topics, industry news or holiday themes, this content plan articulates how your business is going to use content to reach specific goals. You probably use some type of content marketing now, or at least you know you need to, but have you thought about the objectives?
Simply publishing blog posts here and there, occasionally checking social media platforms, and other directionless actions won’t reap the ROI you expect. Having a concrete content plan, which, is different than your content strategy, ensures that your content has a defined trajectory to drive leads and attract buyers.
6 Steps to Building Your Business Plan for Content
Crafting a business plan for content isn’t unlike any other business plan. There are some key steps you should take to ensure you have a strong foundation. This foundation will determine the performance of your content and its quality.
Step 1: Know your goals and how to measure them
Your content needs goals! Otherwise, it’s not going to push the ball forward. There are several types of goals you can expect to achieve with content marketing, including:
- Drive greater brand awareness
- Increase traffic to your website
- Generate quality leads
- Convert leads into customers
- Improve customer retention and the opportunity for up-sells
Merely knowing your goals isn’t good enough. You also need to understand whether your content marketing efforts are helping you reach them.
It’s not always easy to measure the success of content marketing. Tools that enable precise and real-time content analytics are paramount. At this phase in the plan, you are laying the groundwork and also determining what you need to support it.
Step 2: Identify your target audience and where to find them
Content marketing can come off as disingenuous, condescending, or out of touch if you don’t take measures to deeply understand your target audience. You should put yourself in their position and consider what influences their decision-making.
With well-developed buyer personas, you’ll have a great grasp on the motivations, goals, and concerns of your audience.
Defining your audience ensures you’re creating the right content for the right people. It also allows you to seamlessly connect the benefits of your solution to their needs in your content. Finally, when you do these things well, it increases your conversions.
Use your buyer personas to determine the topics most relevant to your audience and also where to distribute them. Look at historical data regarding channel usage to establish this as well as looking at where your industry seems to seek out information. These channels may include LinkedIn, Quora, industry publications, or more.
Step 3: Perform a content audit
Content audits are very useful in building your business plan for content. They help you determine many things like:
- The consistency of your brand messaging, voice, and tone
- If you have content for every stage of the buyer’s journey
- Keyword performance (are you using keywords that your ideal buyer would use?)
- Content that should be updated with current information
- Any content you should remove because it’s no longer accurate or applicable
- Content gap opportunities
- Your most popular content (you can use this as a template for future content)
To audit your content efficiently, follow these tips:
- Crawl all indexable URLs
- Gather all metrics—if you are already using a central hub then you should have dashboards configured that focus on metrics that matter
- Identify trends and insights from your dashboard
- Create a report that summarizes findings, provides recommendations, and details next steps
With a content audit, you’ll have the answers you need to questions concerning what type and format of content your audience responds to best. With these answers, it makes it easy to plan content.
Step 4: Generate content ideas
Developing content ideas can be a huge frustration. It’s difficult to keep coming up with original ideas that your audience will find interesting. There are many different content ideation exercises you can use to create a constant stream of topics.
Outside of these exercises, here are a few other quick tips:
- Constantly monitor industry news and write timely content around shifts
- Consistently update your keywords and when new ones emerge, create content around them
- Ask other parties: get sales, customer service, product managers, and the C-suite involved in feeding you ideas based on their interactions with buyers
- Set up Google alerts for certain terms to see what’s trending
- See what people are curious about around your industry with Q&A sites like Quora
Step 5: identify what type of content to create
Now that you have your audience defined and topics gathered, you need to document what type of format to create. There are a host of different formats from long-form content to visual content like infographics to more interactive content.
Go back to your data and pinpoint what formats your audience found most compelling. Also, think back to your goals and the formats that will help you hit these. For example, if you expect content to help build your email subscription list, then you need to blog consistently. If you are seeking to generate leads with content downloads, then you’ll want to create eBooks and whitepapers.
Also, consider how you can repurpose content. Do you have a series of blogs on the same topic? Consolidate them into an eBook. Or maybe, you have a popular “how-to” post that could easily be made into an explainer video.
Step 6: Create a content calendar
A content calendar is your central hub that includes every content project and its status. Now that you have identified topics, channels, and formats, it’s time to break it down in your calendar, documenting all the tasks required to complete the piece of content and distribute it.
Ensure you use a content calendar that’s part of your content marketing platform. Many companies use standard spreadsheets, but they aren’t as effective as a content calendar that’s dynamic and has automation capabilities.
Now you’re ready to put your business plan for content into motion! Should you need help with managing or scaling your new content operation, a content marketing software platform like DivvyHQ can help. See how it works today.