How To Create A Content Plan In 5 Steps

Content marketing is achieving some amazing results for businesses right now. It can generate more than three times as many leads as outbound marketing and cost 62 per cent less. But almost every company creates content and only some receive these levels of return. So, what’s the secret?

Run a quick search of the best performing campaigns and you’ll see many of the same companies frequenting the top spots – companies like Coke, Rolex, Hubspot and Hootsuite, alongside a number of smaller businesses, that, besides their standout content, have very little in common. Why then is their content so much more effective than the rest? The answer is a considered and comprehensive content plan – the first step to successful content marketing.

For B2B tech brands looking to emulate this success, let us tell you how:

1. Start with the content you already have

To begin with, creating an effective content plan is all about asking the right questions: establishing exactly where your business is with regard to the content it is producing will help determine where it needs to go moving forward.

Ask yourself:

  • What are the pieces of content that worked and those that didn’t?
  • What form did they take – have you supplemented text-based content with videos, webinars or podcasts?
  • Who is the target audience and have they indeed been targeted? If so, how?

Scrutinising the content you already have will put you on the right track to determining the type of content to develop moving forward and for what purpose. Don’t waste time with content for content’s sake. Every item on your plan needs to be there for a reason, with a pre-planned method of how and why exactly you will ensure it is seen by your target audience.

2. Set clear KPIs

When auditing the content you have, consider what performed well, and look to understand the reasons for this success. Then ask yourself (more questions!): what does success look like? And how will it be measured?

This will help determine your goals for each individual piece of content and for your content plan as a whole. Does it:

  • Build brand awareness?
  • Drive online traffic?
  • Generate sales leads?
  • Support sales enablement?
  • Nurture customer relations?
  • Encourage upsell opportunities?

Are the processes in place to:

  • Calculate the ROI of your content?
  • Analyse traffic and online engagement?
  • Measure the number of leads generated?
  • Receive a constant loop of feedback from colleagues and customers?

When establishing your KPIs for successful content, speak to others in your organisation that use the content, such as your sales team, and ensure it is aligned with their targets and those of the business.

A pragmatic approach on how exactly to measure content effectiveness can be found here.

3. Keep your audience front and centre

Businesses are never short of messages they want to communicate but when putting these into practice there is one piece of advice that should really resonate: you are writing for your audience and not for yourself. This means knowing your customer base inside out and resisting the urge to produce content that – on reflection – only really serves to help you personally understand the business case, or that results in something overly technical, commercial or promotional of your business without addressing your customers’ business case at all.

Instead, plan for content that resonates with your intended audience by ensuring a clear understanding of the different types of customer your business caters to and what is it that they are looking for before you get to content creation. How do their challenges differ and what are the implications of this for your content plan?

Consider the sales funnel: what kind of content is most useful at the different stages of the purchase journey and what are the channels they like to receive it via? A good content plan also includes delivery. Content needs to be seen to be successful. The top tech content marketing trends we found amongst B2B buyers can be viewed here.

4. Create a calendar

Content needs to be timely and it needs to be consistent. Create a plan by year, by quarter, by month, by week to stay true to your KPIs while ensuring the flexibility to remain reactive to anything unforeseen internally or to industry developments, and adaptive to feedback.

Make peace with the fact that your content plan will remain a work in progress.

5. Talk to a content marketing agency!

For support developing and executing a successful content plan in the tech B2B space, contact [email protected] to find out how we can help. Alternatively, you can read on, here, for more advice on how to set your content marketing apart from the competition.

 

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

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About the Author : Heather Oates


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