Whether you are a seasoned expert or just starting out with content marketing, you need a content marketing plan! According to research by Content Marketing Institute, 70% of surveyed marketers say they are planning on creating more content than they did last year. Content marketing identifies you as an expert in your field and provides information and/or content to your current and potential customers.

Like any other marketing plan, a content marketing plan starts with a goal. Ask yourself what your content marketing goal for the year is. What does your company want to accomplish with content marketing? Whatever the goal is, you will have a much easier time creating your content marketing plan if you have an idea of what your objectives are for the New Year.

The second step to a content marketing plan is identifying who your target audience, or “buyer persona,” is. According to the Buyer Persona Institute, a buyer persona is an example of the person who buys, or might buy, products like the ones you sell, based on what you have learned from research, customer conversations, and website analytics. 

Content marketing isn’t about selling at its core. It’s about educating, entertaining, and interesting your readers in order to earn their confidence over time. By knowing your target audience, you can produce more relevant and valuable content that your audience will want to read.

Many businesses make the mistake of creating content for other professionals, not their customers. When creating a content marketing plan, make sure to take a customer-centric approach to ensure you create something of value to readers. Many people start out with blog posts, but there are several different approaches you can take with content marketing. Here’s a quick list of a few content examples:

  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Case studies
  • How-to’s
  • Webinars
  • Guides

Maintaining a flow of content marketing ideas that are interesting to your target audience can be challenging, but coming up with topics for your content can be even harder. Content creation takes time, lots of brainstorming, and research. To help you with your brainstorming, here are a few tips:

  1. Let your brain wander

Don’t restrict your ideas and thoughts! It may sound ridiculous at the moment, but it could turn out to be a magnificent idea. You never know when a great idea is going to come your way.

  1. Use tools and resources

It’s okay to Google and read other blogs and/or articles to get ideas for your own content.  There are many tools available online to help you think of content topics, like the following:

  1. Brainstorm with others

By brainstorming with other people, you can bounce your ideas off each other. When you brainstorm with others, you can see your ideas from different angles, as well as your peers’ ideas.

After brainstorming and coming up with ideas for your content marketing plan, it is a good idea to create a calendar that maps out at least three to six months of all your content marketing ideas. Having a plan for what you are going to publish and when you are going to publish it makes it far more likely you will actually do it.

Don’t forget that consistency is key! Publishing your content regularly is super important. Commit to a schedule and try to publish new content at least once a week. After developing a habit of posting and publishing on a set schedule, you can increase the amount of content you post.

As with any marketing strategy, analytics and tracking should be part of your content marketing plan. These insights can help you know which content is working and which isn’t, ensuring better success rates and boosting ROI. Social media analytics such as Hootsuite and Buffer are a good way to get information from various social media platforms. Google Analytics can also help provide insight on consumers’ search habits and website behavior.