If you want to succeed in business and remain relevant, consistent content creation is vital. However, for your content to be of any benefit to your business, it needs an audience, and the only way to get that is to create good quality content on a consistent basis and to promote it.
So, to get started you need a plan. And, every plan needs an end goal.
What do you want to achieve by creating a content plan? More leads? Brand recognition? Increased rankings? All of the above?
Once you know what you want to get out of it, you can begin your killer plan.
For a plan to be “killer”, there’s got to be a strategy behind it. Simply writing a blog post a month isn’t going to do a great deal. The content you create must make a point or persuade the reader to take action. It’s got to provide advice, or a perspective other people may not have considered before. As such, you must understand what your customers and prospects want. What answers are they searching for online? What problems do they have that you can solve?
Step 1 – Create customer personas
Creating personas will help you keep on track when it comes to creating content ideas and targeting your ideal customers. I recommend creating 2-3 personas that focus on different job roles people have, issues they face, brands they’re aware of, online and offline publications they read etc.
Step 2 – Identify the search intent of your customers & prospects
Search intent refers to the motivation behind someone’s online search. For example, if you were to type ‘KFC’ into Google, your intention may be to find your nearest KFC restaurant; someone else may be looking for the KFC Twitter account, news about the company or even history of the business. It’s these little details we need to understand in order to supply website visitors with the content they want.
Search intent is usually broken down into four sub-categories:
By considering search intent for your business, you can begin to formulate some ideas for content you need to create for your target audience, based on the psychology of their search. As explained by Yoast.com, “…Google wants to rank pages highest that fit the search term as well as the search intent of a specific search query.” It can have a positive effect on rankings, increase traffic and serve your customers’ needs too, which results in increased exposure and leads!
Step 3 – Check out your competitors
How can you expect to beat your competition if you’re not looking at what they’re doing?! Your competitors can provide you with great ideas for your own content. Of course, we do not recommend plagiarism at all, but have a look at content they create that performs well. Consider ways you could create something similar, but better!
BuzzSumo is a great tool for finding out what content and pages, on your competitors’ websites, perform well and how many social shares they get, too. You can also do a manual check on your competitors social media pages to get an idea of what engagement they’re getting, whether that’s just likes, or comment and shares.
Step 4 – Keyword analysis for the win
When you’ve identified 3-4 competitors enter their domain, along with your own into a tool such as SEMrush and conduct a keyword gap analysis. This will allow you to identify where you already rank in the search results, along with where your competitors are positioned. The tool also shows how many people search for each keyword and term, along with how difficult it is to rank for it.
Use the data from the keyword gap analysis to highlight terms and questions you can address within your content to increase your own rankings easily based on the higher search volumes against how difficult and competitive it would be to rank for.
Step 5 – Bring all the ingredients together
If you’ve followed each of the steps above, you have all the elements required to begin creating your content plan. Ideally you want to create a plan that includes content aimed at your ideal customer, addressing issues they may have, while considering what will help you rank for certain keywords and phrases. What’s important to note, is to keep your content natural, share stories and actionable information, provide articles backed up with data and statistics and include quotes from other industry leaders. Don’t just write content to gain results in search.
Creating a variety of content types will engage with different audiences and ensure people come back for more.
“What are the content types?”, I hear you ask. As part of your content plan, include a combination of the following:
- Social media posts & stories
- Blog posts & news articles
- Case studies
- Guides, white papers & e-books
- Memes, photos & graphics
- Press releases
- Training materials
- Presentations & SlideShares
- Paid ads & remarketing
You can use the plan we’ve created, which you can download here.
This is just the beginning. Once you’ve mapped out what you’ll do where, you can consider what events are going on and from the keywords you’ve already researched, along with the questions and queries you anticipate your customers will ask, you can begin creating article titles and themes. You can also add in details of case studies you’ll conduct, which may be relevant to an event or theme at a particular time of the year.
Step 6 – React to attract
Bear in mind, this plan is something you work towards. You may plan to create more content as the months progress and your confidence builds. What’s more, you may decide to exhibit at an event or win an award that you want to create content about that you’d not foreseen, in which case you can move content around to suit you and “bank” article titles for another day if you wish. However, creating this plan should keep you on target.
Further to this, if you’re out and about, tell the world right away. People like to share in your experiences, which could be your location, the food and drink you’re consuming. People want a more personal connection, to find out what you’re like, where you go, what you’re interested in.
Step 7 – Amplify to get heard
In order for your content to get noticed, you’ve got to tell people about it. If you’ve used the plan above, you should have press releases and social content scheduled, but that on its own is not enough. When it comes to sharing content, there are so many avenues at your disposal. Send out newsletters to tell your customers and prospects about new blog posts and case studies, add a link in your email footer and if you’re messaging potential clients on LinkedIn, for example, send them a link to your latest content. They’ll be much more receptive than if you were to simply try selling to them.
I also recommend setting up remarketing to target website visitors and those people you’re directing to your site with tailored adverts. Further to this, you can use Google and Social ads to direct people to content you’ve produced, be it an article, downloadable guide or case study.
The key isn’t necessarily to just create a killer content plan, but to action it. And, consistency is key, so be sure to keep creating and sharing content. What’s more, as you begin to produce more content and amplify it, you’ll begin seeing increased engagement, which will increase the reach of your content and provide you with ways to connect with new prospects and old ones too. Responding to comments will further help you build your brand, its voice and highlight your values and knowledge.