29 Jan 6 Steps for an Effective Content Marketing Plan
Content marketing remains a major challenge to implement. A 2015 survey from the Content Marketing Institute indicated that:
• 62% of B2B marketers rated their content marketing efforts as neutral or not effective
• 63% of B2B marketers rated their content marketing efforts as neutral or not effective
• Only 21% of B2B marketers say they are successful at tracking content marketing ROI
• Only 23% of B2C marketers say they are successful at tracking content marketing ROI
Small percentages of both types of marketers—27% with B2C and 35% with B2B—actually have documented content marketing strategies.
And that’s the problem. Here are some action steps for developing an incisive content marketing plan that is pegged to demonstrable ROI.
Step 1: Conversion Strategy
For there to be ROI, people have to buy. Companies have to map out how they will convert someone who is reading their blog post or watching their video into a buyer.
If you build a content sub-brand that looks like a microsite, you could have it function like an online media site with banners and other offers in the text that link to landing pages. So users arrive on the site for the content and the offers entice them to buy.
Or you could adopt a funnel strategy in which you offer readers on a topic other pieces of content related to the topic, eventually capturing their contact data as they download an e-book, for example. If a person goes from reading a blog post on acne to watching a video to downloading an e-book, this consumption qualifies them as someone who is seriously looking at options to solve the problem. Clearly, people with a casual interest won’t try to get more content on the subject. If you request their contact information to access certain pieces of content that prove their strong interest in the topic, you can then send them e-mail promotions.
Another option is to personalize content pages for users who have expressed interest in certain topics and have downloaded gated data. You can lead them back to the site by offering content on the topic via email and the pages will have more, along with offers to stimulate a purchase.
In addition, content people consume—videos, infographics, for example—can promote other pieces of content that further prove their interest and can lead them to a personalized landing page with an offer.
Step 2: Distribution Strategy
Before developing content, it’s key to know how you’ll get it out there. Organic social media posts? Paid posts? Both? Content syndication services? Newsletters? In this case marketers have to review carefully how they reach their audience with other tactics, their audience’s media habits and how many distribution outlets are feasible for them. With distribution channels in place, companies then have to designate coordinated output with specific schedules.
Step 3: Tracking
With a plan to convert customers, you have to set up your objective measurement that clearly traces the path from initial engagement to actual purchases. So if 20,000 people visited your blog site in May, you should be able to tell how many subscribed to your newsletter and how many downloaded the e-book you offered and then how many signed up for your software demo and then actually bought. As such, marketers need to understand their company’s sales process thoroughly and use some form of tracking code or other method to identify certain sales as driven by content.
Step 4: Mapping Campaigns
Whether you opt for a funnel strategy, a media microsite strategy or content promoting content, you have to label the content pieces, identify the format and the way each takes the user towards conversion step-by-step, with each campaign having a name like ad campaigns to track what happens.
Step 5: Creation
It may seem odd to make creation last, but this is content marketing, not creating content only with the purpose of engaging. The path is more important because it’s what drives the ROI. But with the other steps set up, you then can begin generating content ideas based on your company’s USPs. Key questions to consider in developing content would be:
- Does it tie in to what your company sells?
- Is it useful for the target audience?
- Is it distinctive or does a Google search reveal a page full of similar pieces?
- Does it solve a problem?
Does it answer a question your customers typically have?
- Does it manage typical objections your sales team handles?
- Can you set it up in different forms to qualify users and determine their interest level?
- Is it dull as dirt or does it have a style and voice that pulls in the user?
Step 6: Testing and More Testing
People don’t get into the grunt work of content, but there’s a lot of it. Response to topics via opens, clicks and page views will tell you what’s working and what isn’t. So will landing pages to convert, which you will constantly have to adjust to make sure they’re not keeping conversion from the goal line. You’ll also be able to observe the kinds of content that resonate with your audience and the kind that don’t—maybe infographics generate weak response while videos do extremely well. But with results in hand, you’ll be able to repeat steps 1-5 and hopefully achieve better and better results.
Contact us to find out how we turn this intel into captivating content that will pack your sales pipeline with leads that convert to revenue.