Now that you know what content marketing is, and the outcomes it can give you and your biz, let’s talk a bit about how to put this wonderful resource into action.
Remember back in the first post in this series, when we defined content marketing as a “strategic marketing effort“? That’s what we’re going to dig into today – how to create content that meets your purposes and needs.
(You’re not going to be a content marketing strategist by the end of this blog post, by any means. But you will have a better understanding of some very basic content strategy and how to use it.)
Content Marketing Strategy – Step 1
For the purposes of this post, we’re going to create a fictional health and wellness pro, a massage therapist named Julie.
The first step in creating Julie’s content marketing strategy is to decide on her main outcome or objective. We went over that in Part II. Who does Julie want her content to make her into, in the eyes of her audience?
Julie has decided she wants to become her tribe’s expert authority and trusted source for accurate and up-to-date information.
Secondarily, Julie wants to create a kickass online and real-world tribe, as well. She recognizes the value in a loyal group of followers who can not only advocate for her business, but perhaps for some of her beloved “causes” as well.
Lastly, Julie wants to be a life influencer. She wants to change minds and dispel myths surrounding what she does specifically, and what a healthy body is, in general. She wants people to come to her with their questions, their concerns, and join her in changing others’ minds and lives, too.
So, Julie is looking at three outcomes, with being an expert first and foremost, and being a community and thought leader somewhere in there, as well.
She’s taken the first step in creating her content marketing strategy.
It really is that simple.
Content Marketing Strategy – Step 2
Julie’s next important decision to make is what type of content is she going to use.
Will she be blogger? Maybe a podcaster? Maybe use a video platform like YouTube or Instagram? Create visuals to share on Pinterest or Twitter? Or just go the route of so many and hang up a shingle on Facebook?
(A quick note here – a website of your own is a must for any content marketer. Parking all your valuable content on someone else’s property is placing all that hard work, dedication, and hopes and dreams in jeopardy. What if, tomorrow, Facebook or Insta decided to charge extra for video content? Or if something like the proposed TikTok ban actually occurs? Where will your marketing efforts be then?)
Some of this decision will be influenced by knowing herself. Julie loves to do live demonstrations and hands-on teaching, so video is probably a good choice to fit her personality. Some of it will be determined by where her local clients are already hanging out on the internet. And that seems to be Facebook and Instagram. And Julie is smart enough to know about digital sharecropping from her consultation with me, so we’ve already got her own website in the works.
What Julie decides to do is create videos and some textual posts and become a vlogger/blogger. She’ll use her Insta and Facebook profiles to promote her vlog/blog, share small bits of information, and start conversations.
Her platform has been chosen, and her profiles are prepared. Julie’s ready to move on to step 3.
Content Marketing Strategy – Step 3
Step 3 for Julie is create a very basic content creation plan for herself. Since she has one main outcome and two secondary outcomes, we’ve decided she’ll be best off utilizing a 3:1:1 ratio for her content.
That means she’ll create one engaging/community building post and one encouraging/thought leadership post for every 3 educational posts she puts up on her vlog/blog. (She will use more engagement on her social media profiles, but we’re talking her main source for content marketing here.)
Next, she’ll have to decide how often she’s going to update her vlog/blog. She thinks she can handle two new posts a week, especially if they are videos she can shoot in a few minutes.
The written plan
Once that is decided, she has to get a plan down on paper or screen somewhere – a notebook or a spreadsheet on her laptop will do the trick. I told Julie how studies have shown that having a written plan for content marketing can increase her chances of success by as much as 70%.
She’ll start off with 24 rows – one for each post for a quarter of the year. The first thing she’ll do is brainstorm those 24 topics, with 15 of them being educational, and 4 posts each of engaging and encouraging content. This leaves a post “left over” for addressing a current event or doing a promotional enticing post of some sort. That plan follows her ratio pretty well.
Now Julie knows she needs variety, and she’s already got built in variety with her three outcomes. She just needs to make sure she schedules that variety into her posting. So, across the top of her plan, she places a date to publish the post. That way, she doesn’t have to just go straight down her list and yet still be able to track what type of posts she’s been recently creating.
Next is to decide when to create the posts. I always encourage self-creators to have at least 2 posts created, posted, and scheduled ahead of time. That way, Murphy’s Law can’t catch up with your content marketing very easily. It gives you a safety net for things like illness, unexpected house guests, or even a natural disaster that disrupts power or internet services.
With this in mind, Julie decides to work a week ahead, so she adds another column, the date to create. She knows on that day, she has to shoot the video or write the blog post, and the posts for Facebook and Insta promoting her latest new content, and get them scheduled in HootSuite.
For Julie, that’s it, for now. Later, she wants to meet and discuss things like categories and tags and some very basic SEO for her vlog and blog. For now, though, she just wants to get up and running and see if she can even “make this thing work”. So a very simple, very basic, content marketing strategy plan is all she needs.
Content Marketing Strategy and You
Now, it’s your turn. Do you think, given what you’ve just read and learned, that you could create a simple, basic content marketing strategy plan for you and your biz? It’s a valuable tool, whether you are a self-creator like Julie, or hire a creator like me to do the work for you.
It’s the first step that every new client and I take together, creating a plan for me to follow that puts their content to work for them in the best way possible.
Never publish without a purpose, and your content marketing strategy plan puts that purpose on paper, for all the world to see, understand, and follow. Any questions? Comments? Post them below. Want a content marketing strategy plan of your own and not sure you’re as capable of creating one as Julie is? Contact me. I’ll be happy to set up a strategy session for you.