When it comes to your content marketing campaign, the strategy seems straightforward enough. The implementation? Not so much. Everyone knows the first steps — develop your buyer personas, identify industry pain points, know what your remarkables are, then develop content.
But content development isn’t, or certainly shouldn’t be writing blogs and other content at random. Instead, content should be planned carefully and with great intent. Knowing where to start with your content planning can be difficult. Thankfully, we have a methodology (complete with a free template!) that we hope you’ll find useful.
Planning Your Content Marketing Campaign
Everybody plans content differently. For the team at Criterion.B, we start by identifying our focus for the quarter. Is there an industry the client wants to focus on? Is there a topic that we can touch on effectively to reach our target customers? These questions dictate our focus, buyer persona, and pain point. From there, we identify both the keywords someone might use to search for information at each stage of the buyer’s journey, and also what campaign offers would resonate best.
Remember your personas when planning content. While this seems simple enough, this is probably one of the longest points in the process. This section is your foundation, and if your keywords are not accurate, or your content doesn’t speak to the persona, your content marketing campaign won’t be successful. That’s certainly a lot of pressure, but there are ways to find security in your campaign plan — namely, user testing.
It can be easy to dismiss user experience and user testing as something only implemented in web design or application development. However, a true expert will tell you that user experience should be something that is assessed and considered no matter what you are completing. The user testing does not have to be complex here. It can be as simple as getting a few client customers together and asking a series of questions about the content focus.
Samples might include:
“Rank the following pain points on how much they apply to you and your company”
“Where do you go to find solutions for your troubles?”
“How might you conduct a search for answers to X problem?”
While you do not want to lead your users to an answer, keeping questions broad and unbiased can help you gather insights that help you come up with what will resonate best. Once this is assessed, you develop SMART goals around the content marketing campaign and come up with a promotion strategy. (If that last part seems difficult, you can always determine what your content will be before developing your promotion strategy as well.)
Now you’ve gone through the steps and you’ve developed your overarching campaign. Congratulations! But you are not done yet. Remember that user testing you did (or maybe research if you couldn’t get actual users)? This is where the information becomes truly valuable. The first step in developing the individual content for each campaign is figuring out your offers. Your offer type should, again, speak to your persona, as well as the stage they’re in within the buyer’s journey.
Once you have this step in place, things should begin to flow more easily. From here, you’ll develop supporting blogs that help promote the offer, any emails you expect to send, and a plan for a nurture and social strategy. If you like everything in one place, this is a good spot to brainstorm call-to-action (CTA) lines, as well as landing page copy.
Planning What Works for You
This template was obviously developed to match the system that works best for us at Criterion.B. But everyone may not operate their content strategy the same way. That’s okay. This tool is meant to be a starting point for your content marketing campaign and is built in Google Docs for you to adapt as necessary. You can get your free download below. Happy planning!