In 1996, Bill Gates surprised the world with his opinion on which online industries will thrive in the future and why.
He predicted that companies providing a wealth of information and entertainment would grow in popularity.
In 2019, as content dominates search engines, social media and online businesses, Bill Gates’ prophecy has been proven to be 100% true.
“And so, content is king. Everybody knows it. And all online businesses produce content for brand awareness, customer acquisition, and thought leadership.
So tell me why online businesses still struggle to grab users’ attention if they are consistent content producers?
I will tell you why…
Let’s say the user searched for a “new chicken recipe”. Google bombarded it with three hundred and thirty-nine million results in 0.54 seconds. Now, if your content is all about “chicken recipes”, how are you going to stand out in 900 million results. And if your content is about ‘Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes’ or ‘Hunger Chicken Recipes’, it is more likely to claim Google’s first page results and also attract users instantly.
Of course, almost every online business is in the content race. Authors publish over 2 million blog posts daily. And it’s not going to stop. On the contrary, content will increase in size in different forms including blogs, videos, images, podcasts, etc.
To win the race, brands create specific content for the targeted audience that paves the way for branding, awareness, and conversion. The strategy is known as content marketing. It helps brands create the right content for the right audience.
With over 500 million blogs exist in the world of the Web (and continue to grow), only a few have paved the way in the minds of users as a brand. Not just because of content, but because of content marketing.
A Brief About Content Marketing
Content marketing is a strategic method of creating and delivering high-value, relevant content to a specific audience, which leads to brand awareness and conversion.
- Content marketing will grow beyond 16% by 2021 (Technavio)
- 89% of B2B marketers consider content marketing a crucial part of their strategies (CMI)
“Content marketing is the only marketing left”
Content marketing in itself is a lead generation tool, but only when you know how to use it based on changing user demands and trends.
Maybe you already have content marketing in place to give your content a good direction. But you wouldn’t be here if you produced the marketing results you wanted.
With this step-by-step guide to creating a content marketing master plan, you’ll learn the right way to implement content marketing mixed with personalized content that users demand.
“If you don’t plan, you plan to fail”
As I said earlier, the main reason businesses fail at content marketing is because they produce random content that limits their reach to random users. A content marketing strategy puts a stop to your haphazard content creation and gives it a proper content map to walk on consistently. It helps you create the right content for the right audience at the right time with the right platform.
Want to know how?
Let’s discuss it in detail:
Step 1. Create a Buyer Persona first
A buyer persona creates a fictional representation of your target audience based on research and actual data from existing customers.
Understanding the buyer persona guides you through your content creation journey. It tells you what content to create for ideal customers. This, in turn, allows you to craft an effective content creation strategy.
So how are you going to build a character?
The collection and analysis of demographic data, objectives, motivation to buy a product, behavior patterns, industry, interest, age, etc. customers help you create a perfect picture of your potential customers.
Step 2. Describe the buying process
Once you know your customers, take it a step further and visualize their buying process.
Buyers generally go through 3 stages before buying the products or services:
- First, they don’t know anything about your products or services
- Second, they are looking for your products or services
- Third, they are ready to buy products or services
Image source: Marketing Experiments
You should create content for each stage as users go through different stages.
Let’s take an example of beauty products and how to create content according to the 3-step buying process.
First, you create awareness content to plant the seeds in the minds of users. To tell them they have a problem and you have a solution. For example, Overnight Solution to Get Rid of Pimples.
In the second step, you create competitive content telling users why you’re in the best position to solve their problems. Attach a call to action with your content to give users easy access. For example, how ingredients in beauty products work for stubborn pimples. Also, where to avail the product (call to action).
Finally, promotion content gives a quick boost to users’ already ready-to-buy minds. Discounts, quick list benefits, customer reviews, etc. are best suited here.
Plan your content creation process around the buyer persona and buying process.
Step 3. Write down the keywords
How will you ensure that your content reaches the target audience? Keywords play an important role here. Keyword insertion ensures that your content appears whenever users insert relevant words into Google search.
Let’s take an example of beauty further.
A person prone to pimples will type “how to get rid of pimples overnight”. These and many more are your keywords like make pimples disappear overnight, home solution for pimples, get rid of pimples at home, etc.
Google’s Keyword Planner helps you find brand-relevant keywords. Or you can manually type into Google to notice the dominant keywords.
Also copy the keywords of your competitors.
Save them all in the Google sheet because you need to use them with the content creation process.
Step 4. Create a Content Editorial Calendar
Now you know who your users are, what content to create based on the buying process, and what keywords to focus on. It’s time to build an editorial calendar to stay strategically focused on what to create, when to create, when to publish, and where to publish. This saves you from falling into a random arena where companies create content anytime and publish anywhere. Also, it helps you create content consistently.
Software like Trello and Google Sheets are great tools for creating an editorial calendar. Remember to clarify the content to be created, who will create it, the deadline and where to submit it.
Here is Buffer’s content editorial example on Trello:
Image source: HubSpot
Point: Put someone in charge to take care of the whole process.
Step 5. Follow a Content Distribution Strategy
Don’t think your content is limited to websites and blogs only. It was centuries ago. Now content is so much more than just a blog and website. Content is the world of blogs, videos, podcasts, pictures, and god knows what. And content distribution platforms host social media platforms, YouTube, iTunes Podcast, and wherever your audience resides. Also add link building and influencer marketing for wider reach.
You have to be omnipresent to spread your brand like word of mouth. For that, you need a content distribution strategy where you transform (or break) a long-form article into other forms of content. And promote it on different social channels.
This is Gary Vee’s popular strategy.
Curata, a content curation and marketing platform, explains it well with a content marketing pyramid:
image source: curata
Again, use your content editorial calendar – assign tasks with deadlines.
You are ready to work for a long time with this content strategy. No more waste, no random content. In fact, you are ready to turn your business into a brand.
But how will you know where you have reached. Obviously, you need results to continue and adopt flexible strategies according to the needs of the moment.
Analyzing the end results will help you here.
Step 6. Measure your progress
Counting likes, shares, and comments is important, but not enough attributes to measure your progress. Conversion is what you want knowing how effective your branding is. Here you need the help of tools to give you detailed information about where your brand stands and where do you need to go.
Let me give you 3 tools to know everything.
- Google Analytics: It measures content performance, engagement, and identifies sources where traffic is coming from.
- Ahrefs: It is known as an all-encompassing SEO package tool, giving information on everything from keywords to content suggestions to backlinks.
- Mention: It helps you track brand mentions using which you can be available to users from any corner of the world.
It’s time to adapt
Overall, generate targeted content influenced by buyer persona and buying process. Refine your content marketing strategy through measurement. Collect and track what works while discarding what doesn’t. Keep your strategies up to date with trends and get rid of outdated strategies as soon as possible.