What’s all this fuss about a content plan?
Isn’t it enough that you’re pushing out semi regular blogs pedalling the products in your eCommerce store? Not anymore it isn't.
A content plan is a plan for your content. Stay with me here...it is a structured strategic action plan for the content you create, when you create it and how you create it. It is supported by extensive research for SEO purposes and follows a strict guideline to entice consumption.
If you’re reading this and thinking to yourself “Well this is a waste of time because I don’t put any content out there” then let me tell you why you should be!
The world of marketing has shifted, it is no longer a sales driven profession.
It’s an engagement focused one which means that if you aren’t investing in your leads, prospects and customers but actively engaging with them then you won’t be seeing repeat customers, loyalty growth or customer lifetime value.
People want to consume information from thought out content, they are no longer interested in learning from ads when they can dive into relevant research and seek out the best solution for them.
You are doing yourself and your business a disservice by not utilising content marketing.
Content marketing is ultimately a long term inbound strategy that puts valuable content out there to attract readers that will convert to customers.
This means that what you’re putting down is a foundation that will secure the integrity of your content house (if you will).
Imagine every email is a brick in your content house and every piece of nurture content is the cement holding it all together.
Writing a blog could seem like the most arduous task in the world to you and that’s okay. There are lots of ways to engage with your prospects, we would always recommend a blog because it establishes solid positioning but there are multiple ways to achieve this.
You can get your content out there via;
These are the various methods of delivering content which you need to keep at the forefront of your mind when building a succinct content plan.
A checklist doesn’t work as well in a podcast as it does in a blog. A demonstration isn’t as clear in a blog as it is in a video and so on.
You already know your target audience - now you just need to throw some strategy and methodology in and wham, you have your content marketing planned out.
If you aren’t sure where your target audience hangs out, then experiment. Try different spaces and places. Spend some time developing your buyer persona, study their journey, learn their behaviour - all of this intel will help you deliver your valuable content to your audience in the best way for them.
We know and love Marcus Sheridan’s big 5. It’s brilliant. The cornerstone to any cleverly designed content structure.
Here’s a refresher;
It is in our human nature to veer towards what could go wrong as opposed to what could go right. Every business has its problems or ‘pain points’.
These are superb fodder for readers because they are desperate for reassurance.
Let’s imagine you are creating a piece of content for the restaurateurs. Sophie is opening her first restaurant after years of being a pop up cafe. She’s sunk her life savings into it, hired the best people and is working furiously to market it. Her biggest pains would be surrounding;
So these would be your focal point, you want to highlight the problem so you can answer the question rather than shove it under a carpet somewhere.
Think things like;
Increase your restaurant’s profit in its first year
Build your restaurant’s success with these 6 simple steps
Establish five star reputation for your restaurant
Highlight the pain and address it. Restaurateurs are searching for this information, give it to them.
Money is always a sticking point and because of this a lot of businesses expect their prospects to jump through several hoops to get access to their fees.
You know what you’re worth and you know what level of service/product you can offer so talk about it.
Positioning yourself as the expert in your field with unrivalled success means you can up your fees but you have to be clear about what they are and why you charge them.
Once upon a time there was a copywriter called Luke. Luke was amazingly talented and had won several awards for his copywriting skills. Luke had client after client come back to him and thank him for their increased traffic, growing click rate and building customer base. So what Luke did, because he didn’t want to waste anyone’s time or have his own time wasted, was declare his fees and back his shit up.
Luke dedicated time and space to writing about what his fees were and what the benefits were to the people investing in his services. He backed this up with statistics and testimonials.
Doing this in your business makes you trustworthy, people are so cautious that offering up your services alongside fees is like opening your door and welcoming them in.
The internet has given us the power to research whatever we want whenever we want. We have an avalanche of sources, a whole myriad of opinions and factual databases so vast that it’s entire consumption remains an absolute impossibility.
Because of this black hole of never ending knowledge, creating content that compares X to Y puts all the information in a nice concise blog/video/podcast that the prospect can have right at their fingertips (or ear-tips or eye-tips).
I’d like you to meet Victoria. Victoria is a tutor who teaches online from the comfort of her home. Her speciality is university level biology and chemistry. People want to know several things here;
Is online as effective as face to face?
What is the cost of online vs face to face
Victoria wants to create a platform that is clear and helpful so she creates two core pieces of content;
The pros and cons of online tutoring vs face to face
The cost of online tutoring vs face to face
These comparative blogs (for example) give prospective clients the knowledge they need in a quick and effective way - people really like that.
Is someone getting the best of you? Besides the phenomenal Foo Fighters track ringing in my ears, the best of category is a common search term.
When you’re hunting for a new bookshop, dance school, vet...basically anything - you search for; “the top xyz” or “the best xyz”.
This means that this is a high ranker - which is good news for all concerned.
Let’s say you are a small independent bakery and you’re vying for your spotlight on the dying highstreet (sad but so true). Remembering that you want to add value to your readers and nurture them, you might get creative and write;
Top 5 things to do in Bristol on a rainy day (and include a stop over at your bakery for a homemade cake)
Best ways to work with sugar
Top 10 things for kids in the kitchen
You get the idea.
A good angle is to involve your competitors or fellow high street business owners, connections are key in all growth.
If you are in the market for a rescue dog and you have several children and maybe a cat or two at home, you’re going to want to find the best rescue dog for your situation.
The same goes for everything - when you are looking for something specific you want the one that will meet your needs in the most satisfying way.
Pretend you are an enigmatic event photographer and you want to review the wedding exhibitions in your area. You visit each one, gather all the core facts on foot traffic, diversity of vendors etc and compile a review of each in a nifty blog.
What does this do?
Well it does several things.
It offers your prospects a lot of information in one place and saves them the trouble of visiting every show.
It gives you an opportunity to highlight potential partners for upcoming events (make up artists, videographers, florists)
It builds your network and theirs. People will read your review and click on the links to the show or the vendors and that could potentially grow their customer base and vice versa.
So those are Marcus Sheridan’s Big 5, which should be the cornerstone to every content plan.
We like to add in another two…
What is the answer to the universe?
A common search term and a great guideline for content because people want to know how to do things themselves.
If you are preparing to attend your friend’s wedding you might search;
What is the best thing to wear to a wedding
What is the most affordable wedding outfit
What is the most appreciated wedding gift
As you can see from this very short example, the ‘what is’ part of the question (or search term) offers the opportunity to be the guide which gives you the opportunity to not only create relevant content but to position yourself as the one who guides (commonly known as the expert).
I use this one alllll the time…
How to relieve teething
How to make your toddler stop throwing tantrums
How to get your toddler to eat
How to start potty training
How to encourage your toddler’s speaking
You get the idea!
It’s a big one and it’s a bloody useful one. It opens up the ranking possibilities to an amazing level, giving you such a wonderful opportunity to not only position yourself effectively but to hit keywords like never before.
How to’s are the internet’s answer to “I don’t know” - this creates the supply for the demand.
So we know;
Now we get into the juicy stuff.
Keywords are your starting point - always. If you need to read more about what keywords are, do so here.
Let’s say you’re a coffee shop, some of your keywords may be;
We take these and research them using Mangools or something similar. Mangools will tell us the search volume (how many times searched for in a month) and what the difficulty is to rank for those keywords, which helps us know what to focus on to get your blog/vlog/whatnot the most organic traffic and the best quality leads.
So we have our keywords and we know what they’re worth to us.
We then take them and create a structure.
Combining the big 7 with the keywords gives us headlines/topics that will perform in the most promising way which is the backbone of our content plan.
Using our new learnt skills we might create content such as;
Takeaway coffee - an attack on the environment (Problem)
Why is speciality tea so expensive? (Cost)
Dark hot chocolate vs White hot chocolate (Comparison)
The best cake for a hangover (Best of)
Top 10 breakfasts in Bristol (Review)
What are dairy alternatives? (What is)
How to eat vegan in a coffee shop (How to)
And so on and so forth.
A content plan is your strategy - it keeps you relevant and intentional for your prospects. The goal is to convert your readers into customers and strategic content will do this for you again and again and again.
If you’d like us to build an effective and strategic content plan for your business that will;
Improve lead quality
Add value to your prospects
Then hit this big old button and let's have a free 30 minute call to see how we can help!