Of course we're all uber organised and have our content schedules ready to go for 2016, 2017, 2018 and beyond... right?
Yeah, don't worry, me neither.
As I'm doing it for myself anyway, I decided I'd post this blog and include my Content Marketing Template as a free download.
If you're not sure why you should be bothering with content marketing at all, just check out this video on Copyblogger.com:
"Content Marketing - How to Build an Audience that Builds Your Business"
Content Marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.
That's the Why - Here's the How To
You'll find these in the Project Details tab on your Free Content Marketing Template.
There's a few columns to fill in along here, just collect your ideas as you have them, as you gather suggestions and advice from trusted resources, and you figure out what works or what might work, based on your experiences with content marketing, and your knowledge of what is best for your customers and prospects.
- Project Item or Outline - Your marketing ideas
- Business Goal - What you hope to achieve with it
- Media - Where you think it'll fit best
- Timing - How long will it take start to finish
- Date or Deadline - If there's a specific time frame suitable for it
- Who is Responsible - If it'll be done in house or outsourced
- Target Audience - Who's it aimed at
- Budget - Is it something you can create with time cost only?
Don't worry if you're not sure of these details yet. I've filled in some examples in the Download, or you can just leave blank anything that's not relevant to your business at the moment.
The next tab is the Project Calendar itself.
As you fill up your Project Details Sheet, you can transfer the projects over to the ideal date and month that suits it.
To help with ordering this, I've added a filter on Date or Deadline column of your Project Details Sheet, which you can click on and check or uncheck whichever boxes suit what you want to do. For example, you may have 7 Project Ideas for January, so check the 'January' filter only and it'll hide everything else. Then just click back on 'Select All' when you're done, and you'll see all your Projects again.
Step One: Check Out Your Sales Cycle
- Who are they? Where do they live, work and socialise (in real life or online)?
- Where do they start from and how long does it take them to buy, usually?
- What sort of problems are they coming to you/your competitors to solve?
If you have this information, you'll see the stages they go through before purchase, and where/how it's best to create content to market to them through this cycle.
If you don't have this information - start to gather it! Meanwhile, check out some basic marketing info for your industry or niche, and you'll get a general idea at least.
Step Two: Brainstorm Marketing Project Ideas
- How do you solve those problems?
- How can you let them know you solve those problems?
- Why are YOU the best person to solve those problems?
You might end up with a list of blog post topics, some suitable advertising markets, event ideas, resources or added value offerings you can use to entice new customers, or keep hold of existing ones, interesting ways to keep your business on their mind, an email newsletter you can set up or a themed series of mailings you can send out, tried and tested ways to lead a prospect from considering to purchasing your product.
It's all good, write it all down on your Project Details sheet!
Step Three: Organise Your Content Calendar
Your content doesn't have to be all newspaper or pay-per-click advertising. In fact, it shouldn't be. A good marketing mix is essential to keep your business bright in the minds of your customers and clients.
Try out different types of content on your Project Calendar:
- Video Content
- Expert eBooks
- White Papers
- Case Studies
- Blog Posts
- Infographics & Charts
- Digital Newsletters
- Old fashioned Direct Mail by post
- Photographs and Exclusive Images
- SM (Social Media) Posts
You might have the expertise to create this content in house, or you may need to outsource to a company or freelance copywriter, graphic designer or AV technician.
Find someone you trust, and start small - work with them on one piece of content or a short series, and see how you fit. If you're concerned about cost, I can tell you a good copywriter or other freelancer is worth their weight in gold for creating quality content that shows your business in the best light!
If you're not an experienced content creator yourself, or don't have one on staff - hire a professional. This is the front line image of your business brand.
You're worth it.