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How to Start a Content Marketing Plan

By Erin Sparks
May 22, 2013

Content Marketing has become one of the most popular buzzwords out there today in the internet marketing industry. We’ve heard all the cliche’s before, and I won’t repeat them here, but there are reasons why content marketing has become so popular.

No further evidence is really needed than in the infographic below. Content is what is driving search engine result rankings, inbound links, and most importantly, sales.

The infographic below by Demand Metric outlines why a content marketing strategy is so important and how big it has become. What I like the most is that it actually gives a step-by-step process how to start the content marketing.

1. Identify Objectives

The first step in a content marketing plan is to establish what are your objectives and identify what assets are currently available at your disposal. This is also an excellent time to evaluate your competitors and see what content they are pushing. Once you have gathered this information, get your content marketing team together and outline out some content marketing objectives and develop up a list of ideas of the different content you can produce.

2. Understand Your Buyers

Your website should act as a salesman for your company and the best salesmen understands their buyers. Do some research into your customer’s buying cycle of your product. Do customers do research and then comeback a few weeks later or do they impulse buy? Install tracking programs (like Google Analytics) and see what patterns you can pick up. Try using Crazy Egg to see where your visitors are looking and clicking on your website.

3. Identify Gaps

So now you have done your research and know what types of content you would like to push, now you need to identify where the gaps are between steps one and two. Does your website need more content to provide the user a reason to buy now or do you need more information to show your expertise? Identify what content is most appropriate for your buyers and see where you can plug in that content.

4. Build Content

Now is the fun part! Now you know where your weaknesses are and it is time to build content! Get your content marketing team together and come up with story ideas. My first job out of college was with a TV station, and we would have meetings every morning where we’d through out story ideas. Write them all down and choose the best. Choose some stories you can do quickly and others that will take more time and are lengthy.

A tip: Try writing list posts (you are reading one now!) or how-to posts. It will make the content writing easier and won’t feel so overwhelming.

Also try to repurpose content when you can. Have a cool blog idea? Make it into a short video too!

5. Organize Distribution

Select which channels you will distribute your content on. Most of the times it will be on your blog, but would it make more sense for one blog to be a guest blog or a video? Or would a post straight onto social media be more efficient? A neat statistic in the infographic below says that 80% of the US internet users interact with social media sites and blogs. Hopefully that statistic alone should convince you to start a content marketing strategy.

6. Measure Return on Investment

This is probably the most important step. You have put in all the work, and now is the time to see it flourish. Monitor your website and social media to see how your customers are reacting to your content. I mentioned Google Analytics and Crazy Egg earlier in this post, but they are vital here. If you notice that people aren’t clicking where you want them to, maybe you can tweak a button color or location to get more conversions.

There are a lot more tips and statistics in the infographic below, I hope that you will take the time to look through it. I only touched a few of the points in this post, and there is a lot more information below.

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