Your business probably creates a fair amount of content as part of your content marketing efforts.
But do you have a content strategy?
Despite what many businesses think, a blog isn’t a strategy – it is merely a channel to publish your content marketing. If that content isn’t driven by specific goals using a specific strategy, it will never be effective. For the very list, you’ll end up with a cool calendar, such as this:
But more likely, you’ll end up with a lot more, as a content calendar is one of the easiest and most effective ways to ensure that content marketing fits into a larger strategy. According to the Content Marketing Institute, even though nearly all (93%) B2B companies are using content marketing, less than half (44%) have a strategy for it. Should it come as a surprise then that the majority of B2B companies do not consider themselves effective at content marketing (58%)?
Here are five ways to create your content marketing plan now:
1] Take Stock of your Content Marketing Victories Up to Now
Analyze what content has performed well in the past and determine what searches your audience is coming from. Find and locate the content that has had the most views and performed well (eg: viral hits, social media shares, most views, etc). Be sure to dig deep into your analytical numbers (the more the merrier) that make up the backbone of your marketing research and ask yourself certain questions based on your business plan.
While every B2B business ultimately aims to land more eyeballs and content consumers, be smart about probing your analytical results by first focusing on what you do know about your current consumers. This is the starting point of adopting a new content strategy. Your goal should be to create content that not only generates attention and leads but to ultimately help you draw your ideal, quality product buyer– the kind who are recurrent buyers and/or spread word about your business to others for free.
2] Change It Up – Different Content Formats and Types Boost Business
Mixing up the format and type of content (blogs, infographics, whitepapers, etc) enables you to deliver information to your audience in a way that is most palatable to them. Some people prefer podcasts (people who learn better by listening), others prefer visual summations (graphs and infographics that present information cleanly) while still others like to read an article from start to finish. Experiment and combine pictures, graphs, infographics, white papers and blogs to see what your ideal content presentation should be like – the kind that draws in the most leads and, ultimately, that precious ideal product buyer who will market your business for free.
Great Tip: Mixing up content formats works especially well when you employ a content personalization technique, that is, the delivery of content recommendations to your target audience subsets.
3] Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
A lot of work, thought, emotional energy and time goes into creating quality content and yet the majority of your audience doesn’t read the majority of your content. This is because we live in an increasingly fast-paced world with a myriad of distractions where time is precious. These days, depending on your target audience, many are juggling several tasks at the same time and don’t have time to read that 800-page blog post in full. Always consider the needs and attention spans of your target audience first when drumming up content, that is, keeping your articles skimmable, introducing a summary video, etc., if your audience is young and attention-challenged, or the opposite, if your audience is older and has more time.
Great Tip: Repurpose your material. Turn an old report into an infographic, or an earlier blog series into an eBook. So long as the information is still relevant, your followers will benefit from an added perspective that refreshes their memory.
4] Plan, Plan, Plan – Your Content Strategy Should Reflect Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
Have your content create anticipation for a freebie or product when needed as you focus on creating more value for your audience. Does your company publish industry reports? Retool the reports as an eBook that breaks down the significance of the numbers for your audience, then in the weeks to months before its release, write up a series of related blog posts to attract followers, and later pitch the eBook to them.
5] Keep an Eye on the Calendar
Your content strategy should successfully revolve around company launches and calendar events (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc) and build momentum appropriately. Don’t wait until a week before your webinar, live event or product launch to start pitching it to your audience.
By planning your content calendar ahead of time, you will be able to create a more complete experience for your audience while making it easier for you to plan and create impactful content.
How does your company plan their content marketing? Let us know in the comments!