Content marketing is a front-and-center topic on most business sites and guides today, and most companies know that they should be doing it. The question is: what does that really mean? Creating content without a plan for how—and why—you want to use it will lead to an ineffective campaign and frustrating results. Before the first click on the keyboard for your first piece of content, you need to have a content marketing gameplan. Not sure where to begin? Ask these questions to get your planning on the right track.

What are my big-picture goals?

Your content needs a reason to exist, and your big-picture goals are it. Although you may have some specific objectives you want to achieve with individual pieces of content, you need some broader goals to help you guide your campaign.

Focus on the goals and objectives your organization has for the next six to 12 months. For example:

  • Do you want to increase visitors to your site?
  • Do you want to increase sales for a specific product line?
  • Are you ready to launch a new product or service?
  • Are you ready to have a more visible presence in your industry?

Knowing the big-picture goals you want to achieve with your content marketing helps in two ways. First, it creates context for designing a marketing plan that is tied to tangible goals you have identified as beneficial for your company. Second, it gives you a framework through which you can evaluate the success of your content marketing efforts. Your goals will define what success looks like for your campaign in a clear and concise way that is understood by staff and management alike.

Who is my audience?

You can’t have relevant marketing content if you don’t know the market. Start with the demographics of the customer group you want to target, including age, education level, and income. Note that your audience may not include your entire customer base. Taking a more targeted approach to reach smaller audiences within your broader base can be effective, if it aligns with your goals.

Once you have the basic demographics, you can then get more in-depth with your audience’s identity by considering questions like these:

  • Where does my audience consume content?
  • Is my typical audience member a solo decision-maker or part of a family/team?
  • Is my audience in the consumer or B2B market?

Defining your audience will help you make important decisions about your content, including the ideal tone and the type of content that you should focus on. It will also help you strategize the best ways to get your content in front of your audience.

What content do I need?

If you have existing content, then the best place to start is an audit of the work you have published. As you audit the content, consider the topics you’ve covered, how you’ve covered them, and whether they are likely to resonate with the audience you have identified. It is also important to look at the stats for your content to see how it is performing. Look carefully at things like the time visitors spend on pages, bounce rates, and conversion rates. These stats will help you identify pieces of content that are working and those that are not.

You should also pay attention to pieces of content that are missing. If your site has a lot of long, text-heavy posts, then you could benefit from shorter pieces, videos, and infographics. If you have a lot of short pieces, then you may want to introduce white pages, technical guides, and other authoritative, long-form pieces that will boost the credibility of your site.

During your content audit, take the time to get a clear definition of your voice and brand. You should have a guide to refer to that will allow you to screen each piece of content to make sure it is on brand with voice and messaging. If you’re not sure about these identifiers, then consider the following questions:

  • Does your audience expect a positive, humorous, somber, or professional tone?
  • Should the content be formal or conversational?
  • Are there any words or phrases that are tied to the brand that you can weave into content?

After you perform a content audit, you can then turn to your competitors. What are they covering that you’re not? What do you like and dislike about their content? If your audiences align closely, how can you speak to them in a way that your competitor is not? If you think that your audiences are different, then how can you effectively differentiate your messaging?

Do I have the tools I need to implement a content marketing plan?

Done correctly, content marketing is a time-intensive concern. If you create a gameplan that you can’t implement and support, then you won’t achieve the results that you need. As you evaluate your ability to launch and foster your content marketing plan, consider these factors:

  • What is my budget for both content creation and content management?
  • What kind of content approval process needs to happen? Are there any industry-specific regulations that make a more extensive review process or use of a disclaimer necessary?
  • Does the marketing team have the personnel and budget to leverage content in their broader marketing strategy?

Answering these basic questions will help you ensure that your marketing plan won’t get derailed by unexpected budgetary or approval glitches. These kinds of delays can diminish the value of your content.

At Pennington Creative, we’re ready to go to the drawing board with you to create a brand-specific plan for your content marketing efforts. You’re not in it alone—our team of content marketing professionals can assist with everything from copywriting to graphic design. Whatever your gameplan is, make sure our knowledgeable content marketing specialists in Tucson are on your team. Get in touch with us today to start planning your industry-specific content marketing strategy.

About the Author

Heather - Digital Marketing Specialist, Copywriting
Heather McDonald

Digital Marketing Specialist, Copywriting