Here we are at Part III of our three-part series on how to get started with content marketing! We’ve covered getting things up and running in the first 30 days and refining your content with SEO and keywords during that 30-60 day time period. Now, we’ll take a look at what to do in the first 90 days of content marketing.
Taking Stock and Planning Ahead
At 90 days in, it’s time to assess how things are going. By now, you should have a pretty good idea of which parts of your plan are working and which are not. If you haven’t figured this out yet, there are a few ways to do so, depending on what your goals were at the beginning of this whole process.
Was your goal to publish X pieces of content on X number of channels every month? If so, look back and see how you did.
Was the goal to drive conversions or collect more leads from online sources? Look at your analytics and check your numbers. Be sure to compare them with the pre-content marketing plan time period and today.
By looking at this data you can determine if you’ve met your goals and which pieces of the plan played the strongest role in making it happen. Armed with that knowledge you can start to plan ahead. For example, you can decide whether to devote more resources to lackluster content channels or to give up on that channel and focus on the ones that are working best with your audience.
Keep in mind that just because a piece of content or a content channel doesn’t lead to a conversion doesn’t mean it’s not working. Not all content will lead to conversions. What you’re looking for is views and interactions. Are more people seeing your content, commenting on it, sharing it, or converting because of it? If you answer “Yes” to any of those actions, then it can be argued that your content is doing its job of raising awareness of your company, products, or services.
This is also the time to look ahead and start planning a budget. You should have some solid analytics available to help build your budget case and by now you likely also have a deeper understanding of what it will cost in terms of manpower and resources to publish content regularly – whether the work is done in-house or with outside help.
The Content Calendar
Now that you have a snapshot of how content marketing is working for you and what kind of budget needs you have, it’s possible to plan out the next 6-12 months of your content plan. The 6-12 month plan can be more of the same or, now that you’ve got your feet under you, maybe you’re ready to tackle a bit more by increasing the amount of content you put out or adding new content channels to the mix. But the most important thing I want to emphasize in regards to planning ahead is to create a content calendar.
If you’re going to be serious about content marketing, a content calendar is a must. It will make your life so much easier in the long run! A content calendar is basically a month-to-month plan of what kind of content you’re going to create each month, which helps ensure the content actually gets created and published! Very important for content marketing success!
A content marketing plan should include:
- Content channels – Decide where the content will be run.
- Content creation – Brainstorm content ideas. What fits your niche? Are customers seeking answers to specific questions? Do you have a seasonal aspect to your business that you can tap in to?
- Content type – What does your content look like? A blog? An infographic? A whitepaper? An email newsletter? A How-to video? Some content will lend itself better to certain formats than others.
- Authors – Identify who will be responsible for creating a specific piece of content for a given week. This is the time to tap the in-house experts and resources you identified in your first 30 days.
- Due dates – Establish firm due dates for authors. Make sure to include time for the editorial team to review the piece prior to publication.
- Publishing – Establish dates that each piece of content will be published. It’s probably better to spread publication out over the course of a week or month rather than dump all of your content into all of your channels on one day. Remember, consistency is key. Regular, reliable publishing will serve you better than a massive influx once a month.
Ready, Set, Go!
There you have it! These 3 posts have set out simple, non-intimidating ways to get started with content marketing that can help any business begin or improve their online marketing efforts. For additional help with content planning or content creation, contact The Marketing Shop! Call 860-615-6182 or schedule a consultation online.