You know how nobody likes being sold to these days? Well, content marketing is (in my opinion) the easiest way to build trust with your target customers and move them along the sales journey without actually doing any selling.
By the time they make contact with you, they already know, like and TRUST you. The sale is almost made before you’ve even got involved!
I use content marketing to attract the right people into the top of my marketing funnel, which means that more of the right people get to the bottom of it.
It’s a super simple way to grow awareness of your business, get people over to your site and start to build a relationship with them – so easy that it doesn’t feel like selling.
Wondering what I mean by content marketing?
It’s marketing your business using content – showcasing your knowledge and expertise.
Anything that tells a story, educates or entertains can be considered ‘content’ ….. such as blogs, videos, ebooks, social media posts, infographics, reports, diagrams.
Why is content such a great marketing tool?
The benefits of a content marketing are many!
For me, the top ones are:
- Building trust and credibility that you know what you’re talking about. This grows your brand reputation.
- Educating prospects about their problem and how your solution can help. It basically does the sales for you!
- Helping you get found via search. Google loves fresh content and lots of variety with well-placed keywords.
- Creating more external pathways into your website, and this is also something Google loves!
- Driving more traffic to your website (which you can then convert with well-placed lead magnets).
Ok, I think you get the picture!
Content is king when it comes to marketing.
Gone are the days where you simply advertise a product / service and people buy it.
These days we’ve got what I like to call ‘hyper-competition’.
There’s so many people offering the same services, that it’s almost overwhelming to choose one!
What do people do when they have too much choice? They go with their gut feeling – the one they TRUST the most.
This is why building trust in your brand is a top priority, and will end up saving you precious marketing dollars down the track.
Aside from great quality reviews from past customers, the best way to build trust is to SHOW people your expertise through quality content that appeals to your target ‘ideal’ customer.
Which means you need a content marketing plan.
What’s a content marketing plan?
Before we get into what a content marketing plan is, we should step back and look at the three key marketing plans your business needs.
- A marketing plan
- A content marketing plan
- A social media marketing plan
What’s the difference between a marketing plan, content marketing plan and social media marketing plan?
Your marketing plan is your strategic plan for marketing your business.
It covers your entire marketing strategy, brand strategy, product strategy and how you go to market, who you are targeting, and what tactics you are going to use to attract your ideal customer and move them through your marketing funnel – e.g. content, social media, advertising, PR, email marketing.
But it doesn’t go into detail about WHAT content, what posts, what topics or WHEN.
This is where the content marketing plan and social media marketing plan come in.
They specifically detail your approach for that element of your marketing plan. They outline your strategy for your content or social media, your specific objectives, and your approach.
A content marketing plan outlines your themes and topics, what sort of content you’ll produce (blogs, videos, social posts, live streams, infographics etc) and how/where you are going to publish and promote them.
A social media marketing plan outlines a strategy and specific objectives for each social platform you have named in your marketing plan. It details how often you’ll post, what sort of content you’ll post and how you’ll use that platform to support the broader business.
How to create a content marketing plan
Step 1: What are you going to write about?
First, refer to your marketing plan and, in particular, your ideal customer avatar. (Don’t have one? Download my simple worksheet and template here.)
What does your ideal customer want to know more about?
How can you educate them on their problem and also help position your solutions to their problem?
From this intel, you can identify topic ‘themes’ for your content plan.
For example, Ideal Customer strategy (aka your Customer Avatar) is one of my own key themes, because it’s one of the biggest challenges that my clients have, and it’s also the central point to every marketing activity – so I have LOADS to say about it!
Under each of your themes, brainstorm individual topics. You’re aiming to create a list of individual article topics – break down bigger topics into manageable chunks, one topic may become a 3-part series for instance.
Step 2: What type of content will you create?
List all the outputs you could create from each topic. This is my favourite working-smarter hack – you can re-purpose the same message in different formats to give you more opportunity to reach your audience and it takes you much less time to create content for your social media.
I normally like to start with a blog, and then turn it into many other types of content that I can share.
- 4-5 social posts
- 1-2 emails to your list
- 1-2 videos (you can talk to screen or create a visual clip of your top points)
- 1-2 Live videos
- 1 infographic
- 1 e-book
Plus, additional social posts to share videos, infographics, e-books.
Step 3: How will you share your content?
Decide on the frequency you wish to put content out and then select your publishing methods – how are you going to get your content seen by your ideal customers?
What platforms are you going to use? Your website, YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, etc.
What activities will you do to get the content out to them? Facebook posts, Instagram, Sharing in groups, Pinterest, ads.
TIP: You should be writing and distributing your content based on your ideal customer profile because THAT’s who it’s for. (Grab my free customer avatar worksheet to build a detailed profile of your ideal customer and understand what content they’ll engage with most).
Step 4: Have a clear Goal for each piece of content
Finally, before you start writing, what is the call to action for each piece of content? You should have a marketing objective for that piece of content.
What do you want the person to do after they’ve consumed your content?
Where does this piece of content sit in your overall marketing funnel?
Is it to attract new people into your audience at the top of the funnel, or are you building trust to existing subscribers and ready to get them into your sales process?
For example, your objectives could be:
- Gaining new subscribers (directs them to your lead magnet)
- Joining your group or social media audience
- Gaining new leads (directs them to call / set up meeting)
- Making sales for an affiliate product
- Making sales of your own products
- Registering to your event, course or webinar
The important thing is that your CTA is relevant to the message of the content. Your content should be the primer that leads them to the next step in your marketing funnel and makes them WANT to act.
There you have it – the basics you need to create a content marketing plan!
Need more guidance to create your own content plan?
If you want to learn more about content marketing and get my help in how to use it to attract your ideal clients,…..
Check out my group coaching membership “Marketing Momentum Mastermind” for women running service-based businesses. You’ll get access to my own content marketing plan template, plus loads of other tools, templates AND my personal advice to get your marketing working harder for you.