Today’s web is a living, breathing entity. Web users are digital consumers with insatiable appetites feasting on new content, almost every time they refresh the browser.

Is all about keeping your audience engaged, informed, educated and entertained. Our social feeds are constantly
overloaded with new articles to read, videos to watch and podcasts to listen to.
When your audience is engaged. They are agreeing to come on a journey with you and your brand. The journey you both take together should have a positive outcome for both the content creator and the contents consumer.

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An example of a positive outcome is the consumer has a problem he has a website and he’s not receiving much traffic and the traffic, he is receiving is not converting to any sales. The website owner is on Facebook one-day and he sees a promoted post from a local digital marketing agency with the headline “Do you need more traffic to your website? Get 60% more traffic instantly!”. The website owner, clicks through the Facebook post link to a blog post where he’s shown a video explaining that if his website is not mobile ready and does not display correctly on a smart phone, he might be losing up to 60% of potential customers. The website owner takes his smartphone out of his pocket and tries to visit his website, he realises that his website is too small to be seen or easily navigated using a phone.

After spending a few more minutes on its website, he realises that certain pages won’t even display at all, due to the fact it was originally coded in flash! Having realised that in order to solve, his traffic problem, he needs to make his website mobile friendly, he decides to take a look at the rest of the website that hosts the blog. The agency website looks great and is almost ready to give them a call. He reads a few more posts and sees their followers positive comments and testimonials. Convinced they are experts and they can solve his traffic headache he gives them a call.

Content marketing is a fine art and almost a science. It is not just about creating content and hoping for the best. Detailed analysis plays an important part in the ongoing success of your content marketing strategy.The keys to success are creating high quality pieces of content , posting consistently (same time/day each week)and analysis.

For someone just starting out in content marketing, the pace and volume of content required can seem extremely overwhelming. In this post we will be breaking down the process of creating a killer content plan into small steps which will make the process less stressful more actionable and easier to understand. Consider this a template and all you have to do is fill in the blanks. After reading this you will be able to focus on creating awesome content and not if your doing it “right” or “wrong”.

OK grab yourself a cup of Joe and lets get get started on creating your killer content plan.

 

Who are your audience?

For any form of marketing to be successful is highly important to know who your target audience are. Knowing who your audience are dramatically increases your chances of keeping them engaged and ultimately being successful.

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When identifying an audience. I like to create what is known as an avatar. An avatar helps us build a picture in our mind of who we are targeting. If you have a product or service that is already being sold, it is much easier to visualise the avatar as it simply requires looking at who your past customers were. I will use an example from when I was working in a house for world renown London record store BM Soho. Our target audience were:

  • Dance Music Lover
  • Vinyl Enthusiast
  • Turntable User
  • DJ
  • 18 – 45
  • Male

An avatar is a hypothetical representation of your core audience. Having this representation allows you to build a picture of your target demographics motivations and online behaviour. Every audience have a slightly different pattern of behaviour
and building this image allows you taylor your plan to fit in with their needs and desires. It’s important to understand who your audience are so you can go with the flow and engage with the naturally, going against the grain will result in substantial disengagement.

The examples are provided for BM Soho is extremely niche so the core of our customer base could be summed up with one avatar.However this is not always the case as Hubspot.com suggest “A community bank’s biggest customers may include small business owners and mothers”. When a business has several customer types its important to create an avatar for each customer type and provide content that they are looking to consume.

Once we have visualised our avatar, its time to map out our goals for our content marketing plan. I am going to go back to the example of BM Soho, our goal was simply to create vinyl sales. Our audience was hungry and passionate to find out which records would be available in the store each week.

We would post you Tube snippets of each record and mention the limited quantity available. We would also post occasional interviews with record labels,producers and DJs. This simple content strategy was very easy to create as all it required was using a smartphone to video around one minute of each record playing or simply emailing some questions off to whoever was going to be interviewed. The content was posted to you Tube and embedded in Facebook and Twitter posts. The sound clips created a talking point for our staff to engage with the audience of our pages. These online engagements frequently led to our audience taking action off-line coming to the store and making a purchase.

 

Content Schedule



Now we know who we are targeting its important to establish when we are going to publish our content to reach them. The first stage is to create a content schedule by creating a calender in Excel. Please see the picture for an example of our
schedule here at Sociocaster. Our content schedule is:

  1. Mon – 2000 word blog post
  2. Wed – 2000 word blog post
  3. Friday – 5 – 10 minute video post

Your exact content schedule will depend on your specific set of circumstances. If you are a one-person business. It may be impractical to commit to writing two 2000 word blog posts twice a week. If you have a team, it might be possible to split content creation duties amongst the team to lighten the load and streamline the process.

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If, for example, you are a large digital marketing agency, then it makes sense for each specialist to cover the area of expertise. You might get Bob the SEO guy to write a 500 word SEO post on Mondays and gets Janet your mobile specialist to create a video every Wednesday and Friday you might interview both clients and authority figures within the industry.

If you are a small mom and pop store, then you may want to take a less in-depth approach to content creation. If you are selling physical products, it is advisable that you focus on video and photo graphic content. Your potential buyers will want to know:

  • what the product is
  • what it does/what problem does it solve
  • how does it compare to other products
  • what comes in the box.

The camera on a smartphone is more than adequate for shooting these kinds of videos.

The main thing to bear in mind when creating a content schedule is that consistency is the key to success. If you plan to post three times a week, you must post three times a week. So look at what time and resources you have available and work within them to create a plan that you know you will stick to. The whole purpose of this exercise is to build our brand authority, this is not an overnight process and use something that requires long-term commitment in order to provide both your audience and yourself with the most value.

The one thing to take away from this section is just To what you will be able to deliver every time. It’s is better to take small steps and grow your plan over time than to overcommit and become overwhelmed or even worse to be so overwhelmed that you do not even launch your plan. In short, if one 500 word blog post is all you can manage per week, but you can deliver it every week without fail, then go for it! Even a small content plan can provide valuable data to tweak your marketing strategies and lay the foundations of a more detailed plan in the future.

Content Creation

In this section we will look at the different types of content that you can create. Your industry will dictate which kinds of content are relevant to your business.

Video

According to a report publish by Cisco in earlier this year by 2019 80% of web traffic
will be video. This means in the next 4 years video content is going to be extremely
hot. According to another report by Ericsson mobile video will be grow 55% year on
year that the until 2020.

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So what do these statistics mean for your business? It means that you cannot ignore video. I appreciate not everybody is comfortable with appearing on camera, but there are several ways around this. Firstly, not all video content needs to be in a talking head style, animation and explain videos are absolutely huge and you have no doubt seen them. Another option is to look at PowerPoint presentations, they are a great way to get a lots of information to your audience. In a very short space of time with out having to show your face.

If your happy to appear on camera a modern smartphone is enough get you going, as is a standard HD Webcam and a basic USB condenser microphone such as the Samson meotor. I will cover getting started with video content creation in a future post. You will also need some editing software such as Camtasia but iMovie or Microsoft Moviemaker are enough to get going.

Another option is to either delegate video content creation to one of your team or simply if your budget allows hire a spokesperson.

Hiring a spokesperson does not need to be expensive or stressful. I would advise taking at Fiverr.com, where you are able to hire people starting from five dollars. Outsourcing is a great option if your resources permit. An in-depth explanation of of outsourcing is beyond the scope of this blog post, but fortunately there are many great outsourcing courses available.

There are many great tools available to optimise your video content marketing efforts
including sociocaster to which we recently added the awesome Socioplayer. Socioplayer has some incredible features including embedding optin forms directly in your video! More on this later this week.

Blog Posts

At sociocaster we have opted to commit to two 2000 word blog posts every week. The reason for this is we are aiming to provide you with some seriously in depth information in the form of guides, plans and case studies. Writing long form blogs can seem extremely daunting but here a quick strategy:

1) Create your title – must be highly compelling, interesting and engaging
2) Create your sub headings (Intro/Point1/Point2/Point3/Conclusion)
3) Start with the ending in mind so your writing to reach a goal
4) Gather your sources and take notes for each section

I like to break it down into roughly 4 sections of 500 words or 5 sections of 400 words.If your going to write posts of this length, it is absolutely essential you have experience in whatever your subject matter is. With so much content around readers are quick to sift through posts that are simply copied and pasted from other blogs.Inject your personality into it and make it your own.

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Once you have a few decent posts under your belt – you can begin your blogging outreach program to network with other relevant bloggers in your niche. When your blog is receiving a good amount of traffic, getting authority figures to do guest
posts and getting guest posts will become easier. Guest posts are great for generating back-links from relevant sites and increase your domains authority in the eyes of Google. So is it worth investing in a quality blogging schedule it certainly is, the benefits overtime will be up your online game considerably!

Mini Courses

According to Udemy an online learning portal, it has around 9 million students. On Udemy students can either take free or paid courses on virtually any subject. Anyone can submit a course to Udemy providing they meet a few basic criteria and standards.Compiling your content into short courses is a great idea to not only extend your reach and grow your authority, but to increase the perceived value of the content. You could sell a course on Udemy to generate additional revenue, build a targeted list and also offer it as a sign up incentive for free!

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Conclusion And Breakdown:

So the simplest terms possible. The process of creating content planning can be broken down into three stages:

1) Identify Your Audience
2) Schedule & Frequency
3) Content creation

Each stage is equally critical to the overall success of your content plan and should treated as such. A content
plan is never truely “complete” and should be viewed as an ongoing project.

The final of piece of the puzzle comes in the form of analytics. Analytics are the key to understanding how
effective your content plan is. It will let you find see who is viewing your posts, where they are,
where your traffic is coming from and even which device they are using. Analytics is a deep subject and will be
the subject of several future posts!

The most common tool is the excellent Google Analytics, which provides very deep levels of data. A quick glance
you can see your traffic volume and unfortunately thats where
most marketers stop. Google Analytics can provide so much more! In a recent Social Media Examiner interview Andy Crestodina stated “not enough people use Google Analytics as a decision support tool” and that sums up in a
few words what Analytics is – “a decision support tool”. Analytics data is there for us make important
decisions on what content to increase, decrease or scrap entirely based on its performance. To succeed in content
marketing we need to publish only the highest performing targeted content that speaks authentically to our
audience.

Sources:

1) http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/content-marketing-plan

2) http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/ip-ngn-ip-next-generation-network/white_paper_c11-481360.pdf

3) http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/analyzing-content-with-google-analytics-with-andy-crestodina/#more-88027

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