This is the fourth installment of a series of posts on creating a content marketing plan. The first installment, The One Stop, Five Step, Quick Start Content Marketing Plan, provided an overview of the process. The second post covered content marketing goal setting; the third explored how to segment your audience and how to reach them through the various media channels available. This installment looks at the topics, formats and styles of content should create in order to engage the target audience.
Creating the Right Type of Content
The Million-Dollar Question
In deciding the content offerings, there’s one big question to ask yourself: Once I get the attention of my desired audience, what’s going to motivate them to act? In other words, how are you going to entice prospects to join the mailing list, make a purchase, take action for a good cause or do some other desired activity. The answer to this question dictates the substance of your content. It reveals what topics you should write about, which photos to showcase, the type of content you offer and the tone of your content (humorous, urgent, etc.).
Be the Problem Solver
People tend to be motivated by self-interest, so you want to consider what you can offer that will be helpful to your prospects. That often means solving a problem or filling a need, which in turn means you should spend some time identifying what are the consumer’s “pain points”.
- Is rush hour traffic a problem for your audience? Perhaps you should create a podcast series that they can listen to in their cars, while they creep along the highway. This doesn’t solve the traffic problem, but it may make it easier for your prospects to cope with it
- Are you targeting local retailers who are baffled by the complexities of digital payment systems? That’s your opportunity to offer a free eBook that explains the basics of the technology and reviews various options.
- These days, everyone is pressed for time, so it’s a pretty sure bet that offering convenience will entice prospects to your door. Consider what you can offer that will make life more convenient for your audience. This may be as simple as a blog post that suggests time management tactics. Or, you might try offering a new service, such as creating an express website for preferred customers.
- Timing also serves as a guide. Linking your content topics to seasonal themes and holidays is a tried and true tactic that can be very effective, especially if you add a bit of a twist to your offering. For instance, don’t just have a spring sale; host a “spring cleaning” contest on your Facebook page instead. If your business is virtual, like the graphic designer we used as an example in previous posts, tell prospects to clean up their hard drives or cloud accounts. If you’re a retailer like the florist we’ve used as an example, encourage people to refresh their living space with a new houseplant and offer a guide on how to choose hassle-free plant varieties. A bit of imagination goes a long way in content development.
Take a few minutes to surf around the web and social media sites to see what other businesses are doing with content marketing. There is a wealth of ideas out there that can be adapted to your marketing plan, so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
That said, content marketing strategy is a complex discipline, and it’s evolving rapidly. What worked last year may not be effective now. Don’t think once you create a plan that you don’t every need to change or refine it. There is always room for improvement.
Up next, I’ll explore how to evaluate your content marketing efforts. See you soon!