How to Plan a Content Marketing Strategy: A Start-to-Finish Guide

Whether you're just starting out with content marketing or you've been using the same strategies for a while, your content marketing plan needs to be better than ever for 2017. 7 Steps for Creating a Content Marketing Strategy 1) Define your goal. Why do you want to produce content and create a content marketing plan? It also generates several blog post ideas for you after you've completed the questions, so you can use those ideas in your content marketing plan. Here are some of the most popular content formats marketers are creating and tools and templates to get you started. Posts should provide valuable content for your audience that makes them inclined to share posts on social media and across other websites. Podcasts Starting a podcast will help audiences find your brand if they don't have time or interest in reading content every day. This could entail a few things: Publishing website content on social media sites, such as LinkedIn Repurposing content into new formats and publishing them on your blog or social media sites Creating original content specifically for external sites, such as Medium Here are some ideas for repurposing published content to generate more traffic. Check them out below: 7) Publish and manage your content. Then, create a social media content calendar so you can promote and manage your content on other sites.

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Whether you’re just starting out with content marketing or you’ve been using the same strategies for a while, your content marketing plan needs to be better than ever for 2017.

Why? This year, you’ve got even more competition — according to Content Marketing Institute, 70% of B2B marketers surveyed say they are creating more content this year than they did in 2016.

The first step to getting a leg up on the competition is to have a solid, smart content marketing plan in place. If you’re having trouble planning for the upcoming year or need some fresh ideas to include in your plan, read on.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into why your business needs a content marketing plan and the exact steps you will need to take to create one.

Why Content Marketing Matters for Businesses

Content marketing helps businesses prepare and plan for reliable and cost-effective sources of website traffic and new leads. Think about it — if you can create just one blog post that gets a steady amount of organic traffic, an embedded link to an ebook or free tool will continue generating leads for you as time goes on.

The reliable source of traffic and leads from your evergreen content will give you flexibility to experiment with other marketing tactics to generate revenue, such as sponsored content, social media advertising, and distributed content. Plus, your content will not only help attract leads — it will also help educate your target prospects and generate awareness for your brand.

Now, let’s dive in to learn the specifics of how to create a content marketing plan.

7 Steps for Creating a Content Marketing Strategy

1) Define your goal.

What’s your aim for developing a content marketing plan? Why do you want to produce content and create a content marketing plan? Know your goals before you begin planning, and you’ll have an easier time determining what’s best for your 2017 strategy. (Want help figuring out the right goals? Download this goal planning template.)

2) Conduct persona research.

To develop a successful plan, you need to clearly define your content’s target audience — also known as your “buyer persona.”

This is especially important for those who are starting out or are new to marketing. By knowing your target audience, you can produce more relevant and valuable content that they’ll want to read and convert on.

If you’re an experienced marketer, your target may have changed. Do you want to target a new group of people or expand your current target market? Do you want to keep the same target audience? Revisiting your audience parameters by conducting market research each year is crucial to growing your audience.

3) Run a content audit.

Most people start out with blog posts, but if you want to venture out and try producing other content pieces, consider which ones you want to make. For instance, if you’ve been doing weekly blog posts for the past year, creating an ebook that distills all your blog posts into one ultimate guide would be a one way to offer information in a different format. We’ll go over several different types of content you can use further down on the list.

If you’ve been in business for a while, review your content marketing efforts and the results from it in the last year. Figure out what you can do differently in the upcoming year and set new goals to reach. (Pro tip: Now is a great time to align your team’s goals with the rest of your organization’s goals.)

4) Determine a content management system.

Have a system in place where you can manage your content. A few vital parts of content management include content creation, content publication, and content analytics.

If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can plan, produce, publish, and measure your results all in one place using HubSpot software. Other content management system options include CoSchedule and WordPress (although we can’t speak to the full range of capabilities of these sites).

5) Brainstorm content ideas.

Now, it’s time to start coming up with ideas for your next content project. Here are some tools to get the wheels turning:

  • HubSpot’s Website Grader: HubSpot’s Website Grader is a great tool to use when you want to see where you’re at with your marketing. From your blogging efforts to your social media marketing, Website Grader grades vital areas of your marketing and sends you a detailed report to help you optimize and improve each area. With this tool, you can figure out how to make your website more SEO-friendly and discover new content ideas.
  • What To Write: Get your mind gears going with What To Write’s unique content idea generator. This tool asks you questions…

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