Haven’t written a post this month? No worries – this will help!
Over the course of this blog post, I’ll walk you through all the details of not only what it is, but more importantly, what you can do to use content and a content calendar to market your business, your products, and your services.
We got into the “how to” details and I have plenty of content strategies you can try for yourself to have a full editorial calendar.
First though, let’s talk about exactly what content marketing is and why it is so crucial these days for your content strategy success.
It doesn’t matter if you have an online or offline business. People use the internet more than anything else to find information and to find you. The best way to make sure you are easy to find is to have plenty of content out there to do the marketing and selling for you, especially if you use a content calendar template.
Online Content Can Come in a Variety of Different Formats
Content marketers use written content, social media posts, audio and video content, and even images, infographics and the like. These are all great bits and pieces that can be used in your overall marketing strategy.
To market with content simply means that you use those informational and educational pieces of content to promote your website and what you have to offer.
The idea is that other people will find your blog content, read it, watch it, see it tweeted out, or listen to it, and learn from it. This helps them to get to know you and most importantly, it helps to build trust and build that relationship that gets them comfortable doing business with you.
As with any other advertising and marketing method, the idea is to get out there in front of people who are interested in what you have to offer. That means your blog or website isn’t the only place where you use content marketing. It may also include posting on Facebook, tweeting regularly, digital marketing, creating content on LinkedIn, or recording educational videos to share on YouTube.
It means creating keyword-based content so you can be found on Google, but also other platforms that we don’t necessarily think of as search engines, like Pinterest, and again YouTube which is now the number two search platform as well as LinkedIn.
Let’s get started as there is a lot to go through.
Content is King, Or Is It?
The importance of publishing relevant cannot be understated.
That’s why Bill Gates first said that
“Content is king”
in 1996. He went further and stated, “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”
Truer words have rarely been spoken. If you look at the history of the internet and where it’s going, it’s clear. The content is, in fact, king and will remain so. This means that you have a wonderful opportunity to do a lot with the content you publish and it all starts with your audience.
Educate your Audience
Content types directed toward the issues and information that your audience cares about are a great way to educate them on a problem, issue, and solution. For example, if you have a business selling your coaching services the type of content you develop will be focused on teaching your audience about their problems and the need for coaching as a solution to their problems.
Makes You a Thought Leader
If you study your industry well enough and publish what you’ve learned, you can become known as a thought leader once you’ve published enough scheduled content. You’ll want to publish content in all different forms but it might be print, infographics, video, or audio. That will help spread your message far and wide so that your audience can find you.
When you share information with your audience from the first email, blog post, social media updates or another type of interaction starts to establish and build a relationship with people as individuals. People don’t read your content online in groups. You’re reaching each person one-on-one and due to that, it’s more personal to the person consuming your content. They start to feel as if they know you. Knowing you is the first step in the “know, like, trust” trinity.
Facilitate Customer Loyalty
When you give information to your customers about the products or that you’ve created for them even after they purchased that content will boost customer loyalty. The reason is that they will feel as if you care about them. You can check in with them to see how they like their purchase, send surveys to find out what can be improved, and even provide additional resources for them based on what they bought. You’ll become a hero to them and in return they’ll be loyal to you, recommending you to their friends and colleagues.
When you share great content with your audience it also encourages engagement. Invite them to respond to your blog post. Use the proper return email address for every email you send and invite them to respond to your email messages. Ask them to come to your forums and groups on social media.
Build Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO enables search engines to find your content so that they can recommend it to their customers who are searching for your content. The more you follow the guidelines put out by Google with your content, the more likely they are to send your customers to consume your content.
When you use the right content, at the right time, in the right places your business will grow in all ways that matter. You’ll grow your audience, your customer base, and your revenues. The reason is that you’ll get more eyes on you due to publishing more content.
What’s more, content is a real business asset that you can continue to build on for years to come. The content you produce and publish today will continue working for you for years to come. That’s why it’s so important to have a content marketing strategy.
Why You Need A Content Marketing Plan
You know what they say about planning, right? They say that “… if you don’t plan, you’re planning to fail”. This is very true when it comes to content marketing. No one would dream of publishing a magazine or newspaper without a content marketing plan. Creating a content marketing plan requires an understanding of your goals, your products or services, and your audience.
You need a content marketing plan because you need to create cohesive content, establish your brand identity, increase productivity, improve analytics and get the most bang for your buck. Content marketing can do all of this and more if you create a content marketing plan.
When you develop a content marketing plan, you’ll work out all the content you want to create based on the products and services that you want to promote. That doesn’t mean every piece of content is going to be promotional in nature, but it does mean that all the content you create will work together, share the same voice, and talk to the same audience.
Establish Your Brand Identity
When you plan the content you’ll create and share in advance, it helps with branding because you can keep everything similar. For example, you can decide on the voice, fonts, images, colors and more ahead of time. It’s a lot easier to explain to someone you’re outsourcing to what you want when you know what you want because you’ve planned it out.
When you create a content marketing plan you’ll know what you need to do each day to reach your goals because it’s going to be in your calendar and schedule. You will know exactly what content you’re working on creating today, what is being published today, and most importantly why you’re doing it. That’s going to make it a lot simpler to create the content you need for all parts of your business.
If you know why you’re publishing a piece of content, you’ll be able to check analytics to find out if it’s working the way you thought it would. You’ll also be able to trace what’s working and what’s not working so much better than if you’re just acting off the cuff. The plan makes some assumptions and those assumptions are used as a basis for your analytics.
Get the Most ROI
When you do all that you can with content marketing such as using the right keywords, find the right voice, create the content directly for your audience you’ll find out that your return on investment will be a lot higher. You’ll boost revenues as you boost brand awareness because more of the right people will know about you.
To create a content marketing plan you need to understand who your target audience is, the problems you solve for them, where they hang out and much more. But once you do the things you need to do to create an amazing content marketing plan it’s going to pay off in all aspects of your business.
Who Is Your Target Market?
One of the first things you need to know about your business is to create amazing, engaging, and useful content, who exactly is your target market? Knowing who your target market is will inform the content you develop more than anything else. It can also help you create products and services easier. To define your target audience please answer these questions.
- What Is Their Demographics? – Knowing your customer’s sex, how much they earn, where they live, and these types of things are very important. If you aren’t sure, you can choose the audience you want to target by developing an audience persona that you believe you’d like to work with. If you have already sold products and or services then look to your analytics to find out your audience demographics.
- What Are Their Values? – This can be harder to determine but it’s an important question because it will determine the type of people your target market wants to buy from. You don’t want to be fake, but if you want to attract a certain crowd you’ll need to ensure that you share their values and that it’s demonstrated by the content you share.
- Where Do They Get Their Information? – This is sort of a “where do they hang out” question. Which publications do they read? What groups do they hang out in? Who do they look up to and follow on social media? This can help you find your audience faster by going straight to where they are to distribute the content you create rather than simply waiting for them to find you.
- What Type of Content Do They Prefer? – Does your audience like written content, video, podcasts a combo of the above? Do they love infographics or something else? You may not be sure right away, therefore, if you want to repurpose the content you create two different formats so that you can collect stats regarding which types of content your audience likes most.
- What Are Their Problems? — If you know their problems you’ll have an easier time creating products, content, and solutions for them. You’ll be able to get to their level and talk to them as human beings and not just a faceless person. That’s going to make content creation so much easier.
When you answer these questions, you’ll have an easier time understanding who your target market is. This is the audience you’re going to create all your content for as well as every product and ever service for. You’ll also eventually create subsets of this audience (segmenting) which will make content creation even easier. How did you discover your target market? Please answer and describe who they are below.
How To Come Up With A Content Schedule
Creating a content schedule doesn’t have to be super difficult or overwhelming. You can start slow and build on your efforts as you get used to each new platform you use while creating systems that make it easier. To create a workable content schedule, follow these steps:
Understand Your Sales Cycle
How often do you plan to launch new products or services? This is an important factor in determining how much content you should create and when you should publish it. If you have just one product or service then you’ll be able to create an entirely different type of calendar than someone who continuously launches new products.
Know the Platforms You’re Using
Each platform you use has different content publishing preferences. For example, on Twitter, you will want to share things more often and repeatedly than you will on Facebook. However, due to Facebook changing their algorithm where you cannot get to your entire audience every post you can post the same information more than once there too. Look for analytics on the platform that will tell you the best times and frequency to post.
Identify Your Audience
Of course, you should know your audience before creating any content but you should think of your audience as you create your schedule. That way you will understand their tolerance for content. You’re better off creating more content than less but some audiences will not be tolerant of being sold to several times a day. You may need to test it out to find out what happens.
Determine Your Topics
Once you know that information you’ll want to choose the topics that you’ll create content for based on your launch schedule. If you only have one product then the best thing to do is start from the beginning and work on creating pillar content from which all the rest is derived.
Schedule Publishing, Due Dates & Promotion
When you determine a topic, go ahead and schedule due dates for research, creation, outsourcing, publication, and promotion. Each day look at your calendar to find out what you need to do that day. Make sure to build in time for outsourcing, you can’t do everything. Be realistic when you schedule to ensure that you really can meet your goals.
Track & tweak
Nothing is ever complete until the tracking and tweaking is done. Once you’ve published, give the content some time to start getting results then look at your analytics. When you notice anything amiss you can correct it on the fly. You may need to tweak the headlines or the images to get a better response.
When you create your content schedule, if you’ve ensured that the goals you’ve created are realistic, you shouldn’t have much problem reaching your goals with content marketing. Use a spreadsheet and a good naming convention to keep track of. Remember to utilize cloud storage so that you never lose all your hard work.
Are You Repurposing Your Content?
If you feel like you can’t keep up with content creation there is a possibility that you’re not making use of the content you already have by repurposing it. There is no reason to do all that research, work hard on an article, and then not use it again. Likewise, there is also no reason to use PLR (private label rights) content only once too. Let’s look at some of the ways you can repurpose your content.
- Webinars – If you host a webinar you can get it transcribed and then the transcription can be used to create a variety of other types of content. If you can share it via audio only (meaning it doesn’t have a lot of need for visuals) you can make a podcast out of it. You can take the transcript and turn it into an eBook, blog posts, or a case study. You can even repurpose the webinar as it is by putting it on YouTube.com.
- Slideshows – If you create a slideshow for your webinar you can upload it to sharing sites like slideshare.net. You can also use the slides as the basis for a book, blog, or article outline. Anything you create about a topic can be used again.
- Images – Be sure to read the rules for your image purchases and downloads but most of the time you can use an image more than once. You can turn images that are inside a report into a meme by adding text overlay to it using online software like Canva.com. If you create a meme first, you can use it inside a report or a slideshow.
- Infographics – Once you create an infographic you have lots of data that you can use for blog post ideas. Each point in your infographic can be a separate blog post or article. Combined, it can become a book. You can also use the infographic as the basis for a webinar or YouTube.com video.
- Articles – Anytime you write an article, or buy one such as with PLR content, you have a great opportunity to recreate it differently. If you have an article with 8 points, that can become a slide show. It can also become 8 blog posts, or 8 emails, or 8 videos covering each point in more detail.
- Blog Posts – Your blog posts are all fodder for extra content if you think about it. A blog post can become an email, combine a lot of posts and they can become an eBook. Any blog post can be the basis of a YouTube video or webinar.
- Podcasts – It might seem difficult to do anything with a podcast but you can. Have it transcribed, cleaned up and expanded and you’ll have plenty of material for many blog posts, case studies, and more.
- Facebook Live – Once you do a FB live you can download it, put it as is on YouTube, and you can transcribe it to get it into text format to use in different ways such as articles, blog posts, eBooks, and reports.
- Live Events – Anytime you have a live event, if you get permission to video and record everyone there you can use that information and transform it into a new content format. You can even sell the recordings to the attendees or those who could not attend the live event.
If you give some thought to how you’ll use every piece of content that you create including how you’ll repurpose it, you’ll find that creating enough content for your audience is so much simpler than you thought. Proper reuse will go far in building trust, expanding your audience, and making more sales too.
Using the Same Content For Multiple Formats
It may seem like cheating but once you realize that you can use any content you create many times by transforming it into multiple content formats you will suddenly realize that creating the content you need for your business doesn’t have to be hard. It really can be simple if you think about your process before you get started.
Let’s start with a webinar. When you conduct a webinar you usually have a niche, a goal, and some sort of offer in mind. This is great because it will keep the information cohesive even if you have several speakers or interviews happening the information gleaned from the webinar can be used in many ways.
Repost on YouTube
Once your webinar is complete, you can use one of the automatic webinar services to replay as live the webinar at many different times. You can also repost it as is, on YouTube. Be sure to put a lot of information in the description box so that viewers can link to the sales page easily. With video, you don’t have to worry about duplicate content. You may want to rename the video of the webinar to be more findable by the YouTube audience.
Transcribe the Webinar
Another way to reuse the webinar is to have it transcribed. You can sell the transcript as it is along with the video as a product or you can clean up the transcript and turn it into other types of content such as report, pillar website content, blog posts, email messages, and even guest articles and posts. The transcription can also be posted with the YouTube video so that it has more search options.
Imagine the Possibilities
Imagine the implications of this when you purchase PLR (private label rights) content. It can be the starting point kind of like the research already done for you (what a time saver) that can be used to create many different types of content starting from the PLR. A blog post can turn into a webinar, a mini email course, a YouTube video and more.
As you can see, starting from just one type of content, in this case, webinars, you can create all other forms of content from it. If you think about that from day one, you’ll be able to plan your content marketing creation efforts in a more streamlined way.
If you’ve not been repurposing your content yet, start with your most popular content to date and repurpose it in some way to find out the amazing results you can enjoy from repurposing content.
You can find out which content is being effective via your analytics. (If you don’t have analytics on your website or blog yet, you should sign up for a free Google Analytics account so that you know what’s working best for your audience.)