It’s no secret that online visibility is at an all-time high. According to Google, more than 5.6 billion searches are performed every day. This means there’s more opportunity than ever to drive visibility for your business online and establish a long-lasting brand presence.
Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to drive awareness, generate leads, and build trust with your target audience. In addition to targeting the right audience and creating engaging content, you must invest in a content marketing plan to see results.
However, many businesses don’t know where to start regarding content marketing. This guide will teach you the importance of a content marketing plan, its components, and best practices. Get a full-proof roadmap to creating a content marketing plan for your business.
Content marketing plan can take many forms, so it’s essential to define your audience and what you want to accomplish before you begin.
Many businesses struggle to define content marketing, making it difficult to determine which strategies are right for them. Some companies use the term “digital marketing” synonymously with “content marketing.” But the two terms are quite different.
Digital marketing is a more general term that includes a variety of online marketing strategies, such as search engine optimization, paid search, email marketing, and social media marketing. On the other hand, content marketing is a specific subset of digital marketing that focuses on creating, publishing, and distributing engaging content that attracts and engages customers.
As mentioned above, it can be challenging to determine which content strategies are right for your business. You don’t want to accidentally choose an ineffective strategy that wastes your time and money. If you don’t structure your content marketing plan carefully, you could miss out on crucial opportunities to drive engagement and leads.
A content marketing plan is essential for any business that wants to create and share engaging content with its target audience.
Without a plan, it can be challenging to know what content to create, how to distribute it, and how to track its success. A content marketing plan will help you to
1. Define your target audience and determine what content is most relevant to them
2. Create a content strategy that aligns with your business goals
3. Track the success of your content marketing efforts and measure their impact on your bottom line
A content marketing strategy is a plan that outlines how a company will create, publish, and distribute content to attract and retain customers. A content marketing tactic could be anything from creating a blog to including customer testimonials on a website.
Marketing strategies are broader than specific tactics. To illustrate this in an example, a content marketing strategy for a B2B software company might include content distribution through LinkedIn, while a content marketing tactic might be to create a video explaining how their software works. A marketing strategy is a broader plan v/s tactics are the specific things that will be done to achieve the strategy.
When creating a content strategy for your business, it is important to map out the consumer journey and provide appropriate content at every step of the buying journey. Think of your content offerings in the form of a funnel- the most popular content up top and the most important, conversion-driven content at the bottom. The three funnel stages of any content strategy cycle can look like this:
Content at the top of the funnel is all about creating awareness in your audience’s mind about the problem that exists and potential solutions for the same. The channels included here are those that are seen by a wider audience like blog posts, social media posts, infographics, newsletters, etc.
Middle of the funnel content is for when the user is in the evaluation phase. They understand the problem and the solutions but need a bit more convincing on why they should choose you and not your competitors. Surveys, whitepapers, datasheets, webinars and events are some channels to consider for the middle of the funnel content.
The bottom of the funnel is the final stage where the user is ready to make a purchase. Here the content should only focus on creating a conversion resulting in a successful sale. Some forms of the bottom of the funnel content include demo request pages, customer success stories, product specification sheets, etc.
It is important to keep the user engaged throughout each of the funnel stages, secure as many leads as possible and convert them into paying customers for your product or service.
Irrespective of what your end goals are, any content optimization strategy should focus on optimizing content for three key areas- user engagement, discoverability through search engines, and being able to create conversions for your business.
Read more on how to optimize your content in our content optimization guide here.
When people are looking for something to purchase, they usually go online and research the products and services they are interested in buying. People are looking for information to help them decide which product or service to buy. People go online, do research, and read lots of information. Visiting websites, reading content, and learning about products and services are a big part of the decision process when buying something.
A content marketing plan is an effective way to attract leads, make your product or service more appealing when someone is researching what to buy, and close sales.
If you have a good content marketing action plan in place, then you are right where your target users are. Whether it is on top of search queries, a news report they are reading, or as a targeted ad on their social media feed.
Applying and executing your content marketing plans means you deliver content for each buyer's purchase cycle stage. Here is how you can use content marketing in each stage of the user's journey and create a sale for your company.
To attract new leads, you need to reach out to people who don’t know about your company yet and give them a reason to learn more about it. Content marketing can help attract potential customers, inform them about your business and generate awareness for your brand, product, or service.
The awareness stage of the funnel is where you should be giving your content to educate, not sell. Your aim is to focus on the top concerns of your audience. You might start by talking with them in-depth about their pain points or challenges while providing advice on how to get through it all (make sure this part isn't too much like a sales pitch). Save any selling for the consideration and closing stages.
Your content marketing campaign aims to make it easy for potential customers to learn about your product or service and decide whether they want to buy it.
Content marketing at this stage is about making sure people are aware of what you have to offer, why you have the best solution, and that they get it from you. Educate readers about the various features of your product and how it can benefit them. The more information people have about your product or service, the better chance you have of getting them to purchase it.
At this stage, your prospects are finally ready to buy. Content marketing can be used differently depending on where people are in their buying cycle. For example, you may use more general content to attract leads who are just learning about your business, while you’ll use more targeted content to convert leads into customers.
You should focus your central message on demonstrating your expertise, knowledge, and the unique benefits of what you sell. In this stage, you should focus on prospects and sales while emphasizing how your services or products are the best choices. Read how to create E-A-T-friendly content and demonstrate your expertise.
An excellent way to ensure that you offer content for each stage is to funnel your content. Content funneling, as described above, allows you to best serve users’ search intents by providing content for every stage of their research. This will also help you determine the best times to publish content and help you create content that your audience finds valuable.
Now that we know why and how a content marketing plan works, let us understand what a content marketing plan looks like.
Creating a content marketing plan requires you to think of the creation and distribution of content. This requires a strategic approach beyond simply writing and publishing blog posts or creating videos.
A content marketing plan also requires establishing your publishing schedule and creating content relevant to your audience. This planning lets you identify your goals and audience needs, which you can incorporate into your strategy.
Your content marketing plan should include the following
What are your overall content marketing goals? What do you hope to achieve with your content?
Your business goals are the best place to start when formulating your content marketing goals. First, define a set of metrics and KPIs you want to achieve through your content and align your content marketing goals with it.
Align your goals with your brand positioning. This can help you narrow down the type of content you should produce.
Who is your target audience? What do they want or need? What are their pain points? The best way to determine which strategies are right for your business is to research and analyze your audience.
Once you have a better idea of who you are attempting to reach, you can begin to tailor your content to specific needs and interests. Targeting your audience and creating relevant content increases your chances of engaging them and converting them into leads.
How much money do you want to spend on content marketing? What resources (staff, time, money) do you have to devote to it?
Budgeting is essential because it helps you make sure your content marketing efforts are aligned with the resources at your disposal and helps make the goals achievable.
When planning your budget think about what resources you have and the goals you defined. Then map each goal with specific tasks or steps. Define how much time, energy, and money each of these tasks requires. Align the need for resources with what you can currently accommodate. This gives you a clear picture of what and how much you need to reach your goals.
What types of content will you create? What all formats will you cover? Where do you plan on publishing your content? There are several content formats available.
Ebooks are a great way to establish thought leadership and establish your business as an authority on key topics. Ebooks are also good for lead generation. Ask users to fill out a simple form before they can download the actual ebook.
While ebooks are usually gated content; guides, articles, and blogs are free educational content offerings you can provide. Detailed, long-form guides are an excellent way to cover a key industry topic in detail. Articles can be used to focus on consumer problems with how-to, step-by-step style content pieces. Finally, blogs are a quick way to fill in the missing content gaps with smaller pieces that are easy to consume.
Guides, articles, and blogs also help build your search engine rankings as they help provide answers to user queries. Building pages worth of quality content can improve your ranking on search engines and make you stand apart from the competition.
Case Studies are a good resource for every business to show how their product or service can solve user problems. They are proof that your product works and provides value.
Customer success stories are also heavily used in the sales funnel to convert a potential lead into regular purchasing customers.
A study found that 83% of consumers connect better with videos than texts or still images. This showcases the power of video and why you need to have a video presence.
Videos are a great way to showcase your product in action or demonstrate its use. Customer testimonials, tutorial videos, and how-to videos are some ways in which you can utilize video as a content format.
Podcasts and interviews are another great content format to capture. If you do not have the budget to produce video content, then you can simply start with audio content in the form of podcasts.
Use your podcasts to answer user queries, interview key industry figures, and share overall market trends.
Finally, use images as a content creation resource. Image search results take the top spot on search engines for several user queries. Thus, having images and infographics to support your content or simply as an independent post can be beneficial.
Infographics can be an excellent format to explain complex concepts through graphs and charts. If your product offerings or features are too complicated, an infographic can often help simplify the information.
Now that we know the variety of content formats- let us see what channels you can use to distribute them.
How will you distribute your content? How often will you publish content? Which channels will you use? For example, social media, email marketing, paid advertising, etc.?
Determining your distribution strategy is essential for getting your content in front of the right people. When it comes to content distribution channels, you have three key types.
Owned distribution channels are any platforms that your company owns directly. It is created for your brand to help with brand awareness and publish in-house content.
The platforms that come under this channel include your website, mobile app, social media channels, and blog sites.
Paid channels are platforms where you pay money to gain visibility. Paid channels help you promote the content you created and drive traffic to your owned channels.
Paid channels include display ads and PPC campaigns on search engines, retargeting, paid promotions with influencers, social media ads, etc.
Lastly, earned channels are those that are gained through a third party. They are effective in publicity and exposure. Therefore, you can influence earned channels in some aspects.
Some ways to distribute content on earned channels are reviews, customer feedback, testimonials, directory listings, business mentions, and news reports.
Leveraging all three types of channels helps create an effective content marketing plan.
Along with leveraging different distribution channels, you also need a distribution schedule. A schedule allows you to publish content regularly and keep your audience engaged. You can use a content calendar to help you stay on track. This will help you identify what content you should be creating each day.
How will you track the success of your content marketing? What metrics will you use? Measuring the success of your content marketing is essential for determining its effectiveness and making necessary adjustments.
The best way to measure the success of your content is to track key indicators. Once you have created your content, you should track how many shares or views you receive. You should also track how many people engage with your content. Lastly, you should track how many people click on your links.
These KPIs will help determine which content marketing campaign is performing best. It will also give you signals on how to adjust your content marketing strategy for the future.
A B2B content marketing strategy plan is very different from a B2C content marketing strategy. Similarly, a content marketing plan for an eCommerce company needs to stand out. Let us look at what are the points of difference and what are the essential elements of a B2B v/s B2C v/s eCommerce content marketing strategy plan.
Generally, the content in a B2B context is more complex than in a B2C context. Oftentimes, it is targeted at a more educated and sophisticated audience. The tone and style of B2B content should be more sober and professional, as opposed to being funny or informal.
In a B2B context, the content is meant to build trust and credibility with the buyer. The goal of content marketing is to help buyers make educated decisions about which products or services to buy. The content must be educational, rather than promotional. It is not about generating direct sales.
The content marketing objectives for a B2B company are usually around lead generation, thought leadership, and brand awareness. The content is generally delivered through a blog, white papers, e-books, webinars, and social media. The content needs to be well-researched and data-driven, as opposed to being anecdotal or opinion-based.
B2B companies usually have a smaller content marketing team, which is focused on creating high-quality content. Thought leadership and blogs that showcase industry expertise are some of the content angles that a B2B content plan must include. The content is typically promoted through email marketing, organic search-optimized content, and paid search.
The content in a B2C context is generally more entertaining and informal than in a B2B context. The tone and style of B2C content should be more fun and engaging, as opposed to being dry and serious.
In the B2C world, the buying process is often simpler, involving only one decision-maker. Hence the goal of content marketing in B2C is to persuade buyers to buy a particular product or service. The content must be persuasive, rather than educational. In a B2C context, the content is meant to generate direct sales.
The content marketing objectives for a B2C company are usually around lead generation, brand awareness, and customer acquisition. The content is generally delivered through a blog, social media, videos, and infographics.
For a B2C content marketing tactic, the content needs to be visually appealing and engaging, as opposed to being dull and boring. B2C companies usually have a larger content marketing team, which is focused on creating high-quality content. The content is typically promoted through paid advertising and PR while organic leads are generated through form fills and promotional campaigns.
Finally, eCommerce companies have a different goal than B2B or B2C companies. It is generally more product-focused than in a B2B or B2C context.
The goal of an eCommerce company is to get buyers to purchase products or services online. Therefore, the content marketing strategy for an eCommerce company must be focused on persuading buyers to buy products or services online.
The tone and style of eCommerce content should be more sales-oriented, as opposed to being educational or entertaining. In an eCommerce context, the content is meant to generate direct sales. The content marketing objectives for an eCommerce company are usually around lead generation, brand awareness, and customer acquisition.
eCommerce content is generally delivered through a blog, social media, videos, and infographics. The content needs to be visually appealing and engaging, as opposed to being dull and boring. eCommerce companies usually have a larger content marketing team, which is focused on creating high-quality content. The content is typically promoted through paid search advertising and PR as well as organic lead generation.
You’ll need to decide how you want to collaborate on your content marketing strategy. For example, you can choose to manage content across teams or integrate teams with your content marketing strategy.
When managing content across teams, it’s important to keep in mind the culture of each team. While content marketing is an essential strategy, it’s not a one-size-fits-all strategy.
Content Marketing needs to work with teams across your organization so that you provide a united front. It is also an opportunity to learn from each other.
The various teams that can help boost your content marketing campaigns include:
1. Product/ Engineering teams can help the content marketing team develop product-related content, such as how-to guides, case studies, or blog posts that compare and contrast your product with your competitors.
2. Branding & Product Marketing team can help with content marketing by developing brand-related content, such as blog posts, social media posts, or even entire eBooks that focus on your company’s unique selling points, industry insights, or thought leadership.
3. PR team can help with content marketing by developing press releases, pitching stories to journalists, and generating positive publicity for your company through third-party media placements.
4. SEO & PPC team can help with content marketing by optimizing your website and blog content for search engines, creating targeted paid search campaigns, and identifying relevant keywords that you should target.
5. Sales and Customer Success team can help with content marketing by developing customer case studies, contributing product reviews, and providing feedback on new content.
With the constant evolution of online marketing strategies, regularly updating your content marketing plan is important. You’ll need to stay on top of your strategy by regularly updating your content marketing plan. This lets you identify what’s working and what could use some improvement.
Some factors you may want to consider when updating your plan include:
1. The latest changes in your industry
2. Any changes in your target personas
3. Keeping regular updates of your competition’s content marketing strategies
4. The latest marketing channels and distribution styles
5. Finally, how all of these affect your overall content strategy
As the landscape of digital marketing continues to transform it is essential for marketers to stay on top of it. Your content marketing plan needs to rank on search engines, serve consumer preferences, and align with business goals. Here is a comprehensive breakdown of the optimal content marketing best practices.
1. Quality Matters over Quantity: Quality content will remain important, especially as search engine algorithms become more sophisticated. Focus on creating unique, relevant, and valuable content to your target audience. Ensure any videos, images, and infographics you include are of the highest quality. Read our Image optimization guide for more,
2. Use Interesting and Engaging Formats: Content formats have grown in popularity in recent years, from interactive quizzes to webinars, and this trend will only become more prevalent. Try out new formats for your content, such as augmented reality and virtual reality, to capture the attention of your audience and make them more likely to engage with your content.
3. Adopt an Omnichannel Approach: Content should span multiple channels to maximize its reach and engage your audience. Consider developing content specifically for different channels and platforms, such as video content for Instagram and text-based content for LinkedIn.
4. Focus on Mobile-Friendly Content: Mobile usage continues to grow, and creating content optimized for mobile devices is essential. This includes ensuring your content is responsive and displays properly on different devices.
5. Leverage Visual Content and Storytelling: Visual content and storytelling can be incredibly engaging and effective for content marketing. Consider utilizing interactive infographics, videos, and images to connect with your audience better. Learn more about creating and optimizing videos for web here.
6. Personalize Content for Complex Buyer Journeys: Personalized content has become increasingly important to create meaningful connections with buyers. Content should be tailored to different buyer personas at different stages of the buyer’s journey.
7. Integrate SEO and AI Technologies: SEO and AI technologies can help you improve the discoverability and performance of your content. Consider optimizing your content for keywords and leveraging AI technologies such as natural language processing to improve search result rankings.
8. Utilize Influencers and User-Generated Content: Influencers and user-generated content (UGC) provide a more authentic way of reaching your target audience. Leverage influencers to help boost engagement and visibility, and tap into UGC to create content that resonates better with your audience.
9. Measure Results and Adjust Accordingly: It’s essential to track the performance of your content and adjust your strategy accordingly. Keep an eye on the metrics that best measure the success of your content, such as engagement, clicks, and conversions.
10. Invest in User Experience (UX): Investing in user experience will help ensure your content is easy to find and navigate. Create content that’s easy to consume and optimized for the user’s device, and consider creating a content map to improve navigation and discoverability.
Content marketing is an ever-evolving field, and the best practices constantly change. By staying up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies, you can ensure your content is as effective and engaging as possible. Leveraging these practices today and beyond can help ensure content marketing success.
Content marketing is a crucial aspect that any and every business needs to engage and plan for. Building a content marketing plan can be a daunting task, and the template above should help kick start the process.
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SEO content marketing focuses on optimizing content to gain visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). This type of marketing involves creating and publishing optimized content to improve a website's ranking in search results and attract more organic traffic. It involves creating content relevant to the user's search query and optimized with the right keywords and phrases. SEO content marketing also involves creating helpful and informative content while also engaging the audience.
Content marketing helps attract potential customers by creating relevant and engaging content. It also allows businesses to establish trust and credibility with their target audience, leading to increased engagement and conversions. Content marketing also allows businesses to reach their target audience efficiently and cost-effectively, as the content can be shared across multiple platforms and channels.
Creating an SEO content marketing strategy involves researching target keywords, creating content optimized for keyword clusters, publishing optimized content, and leveraging external sources to improve visibility. It also involves creating content that is helpful to the reader, optimizing it for different devices, and marketing the content on multiple channels. Additionally, it involves tracking and measuring the performance of the content.
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