A strategic content marketing plan in 5 easy steps

Introduction

Content is King!

Aren’t you sick of hearing that?  Unfortunately, it’s true…

If you want to generate leads and build thought leadership, you need to publish content.  But without a strategic content marketing plan, it could be difficult to reach your goals.

A robust content marketing strategy, on the other hand, shifts the focus of your content agenda.  It becomes a smart, coordinated approach rather than a mad dash.  An approach that delivers consistent business improvement.

The water industry sales funnel can be divided into three stages:

  • Awareness
  • Evaluation
  • Conversion

At each stage, you can nurture your prospects along by providing valuable content about the problem they are trying to solve.  And information about how your product, process, or service will solve that problem.

With a documented strategy, you can deliver quality content consistently.

So, let’s get started!

Just do it:       A strategic content marketing plan in 5 easy steps

Start the process with a brainstorming session.  In general, people involved in the planning process support the plan’s implementation, Include as many of the team as possible.  Top management to technical experts.  The sales team and the design team.

Step 1:          Goals through the sales funnel

The goals for your content marketing must be consistent with your company’s desired business outcomes.  You need to be able to document which business outcome you want to impact through your content creation.

Remember, content marketing builds trust.  Your company builds trust over time by providing quality information.  Make your content marketing count by defining goals that will impact the desired business outcomes.

In next week’s post, we will take a deep dive into:

  • how to establish goals for content marketing, and
  • how they change through the sales funnel.

Step 2:          Your audience through the sales funnel

In B2B marketing, the sales funnel is long and many people are involved in the decision-making process.  To target your content to the right audience, you will need to identify the key personas in each stage of the sales funnel.  Your content can then be crafted to provide value to each of them.content marketing plan

You also need to understand that your audience is not static or inflexible.  Changes in the market can alter your prospects’ attitudes:

  • Has there been a major weather event (i.e. flood, drought, storms)?
  • Has there been a major change in the regulatory framework?
  • Is a certain sector heading into ‘boom’ conditions?

Be sure to review your personas regularly to reflect these types of changes.

Step 3:          Content through the sales funnel

Now that you understand who your target audience is, as a person, you can start thinking about how to take it to the next level and forge a connection with them. Start a one-on-one conversation.

One way to approach this is to create a story around the desirable qualities and unique value proposition that only your business can provide.

These are your big ideas.  They become the themes in your content calendar.  A calendar that documents the purpose of all your content.  You then break done the big ideas into content-sized chunks.

In a later post in this series, we will look in greater detail at which content types work best at each stage in the sales funnel.

Step 4:          Metrics through the sales funnel

There’s a saying in marketing: “If you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”.  content marketing planIf you want to be able to quantify the return on investment (ROI) in a content marketing campaign, you must be able to measure the response.

It is important to tie the metrics to the goals and objectives of your content marketing strategy.   You must also make sure that systems are in place to track the chosen metric.  Develop procedures to make sure all metrics are monitored and both positive and negative results addressed.

In the final post in this series we will align metrics to your goals and content as they change through the sales funnel.

Step 5:          Plan review through the sales funnel

Your strategic content marketing strategy is a living document.  You need to be reviewing the plan regularly to ensure it remains relevant.  Within the plan itself, specify review periods for all sections of the plan.  Review periods will be different for each section of the plan:

  • Goals – 5-yearly
  • Content Calendar – annually
  • Audience – annually and/or event-based
  • Metrics – quarterly

Give it power             Document your strategic content marketing plan

You pulled together a lot of information, going through this process. Now document it!  You will generate a powerful statement about your intentions.  About how content marketing will achieve your desired business outcomes.

A documented strategy helps you gain support from the executive team.  A plan keeps content producers strategically aligned.

Conclusion

Content is here to stay.  If your company wants to stay on the top pages of Google, it is going to have to use content marketing.  And effective content marketing is only possible with strategic planning.

Go through the process.  Document it.  Implement it.

 

Do you have trouble producing enough content to satisfy your audience?  Do you struggle producing white papers and case studies? Lack the time to write those blogs, that newsletter article?

I am an expert water quality scientist with experience in the water industry. I understand the science behind your solutions.  I can interpret the jargon.  I can explain complex ideas in simple terms and compel your prospects into action.

Contact me to discuss your next content project.

CONTACT ME

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