5 Steps to Plan and Develop Your Content Marketing Strategy

One thing that’s very important, if you plan to leverage the power of audio, video and text, is to have comprehensive content marketing plan. Here’s a little checklist that might help you do that.

Step 1: Set Your Goals

Missing-the-goal All your content creation should have a purpose and that purpose should not only benefit your readers, but benefit your business as well. Some purposes might be:
  • Search engine traffic
  • Word of mouth and viral effect
  • Pre-selling and warming up the audience to a product
  • Establishing credibility and authority
  • Reader satisfaction
  • Boosting your opt in list subscribers
  • Boosting customer relationships
  • Selling your products  
Just remember, the goal or purpose of each content piece is aligned with your overall marketing strategy. This may also help you decide whether content should be in audio, video or text format. For example, if your goal is to boost customer relationships, you might choose a video of yourself to do that. Make sure your content includes a call to action that supports your goal. For example, “For more information about how to manage debt, grab our free report 12 Steps to Eliminate Debt in 12 Months.” – tell them what you want them to do next. 

Step 2: Research


Carving out time for research is very important. From brainstorming topic ideas to finding supporting information for those topics, there is plenty to be done. You also want to research potential places to distribute your content as well. Here are some things that will make your research easier:
  • Keep a list of content ideas throughout the month. 
  • Use the following to generate content ideas/topics:  
    • Social networking
    • Keyword research tools
    • Blog comments
    • FAQs
    • Client interaction
    • Brainstorming 
  • Review the analytics and results of last month’s content and evaluate which pieces generated the most interest or results. Know which pieces your audience responded to and are use that information to create content topic ideas for this month. 
  • While you’re researching topics, take note of interesting articles, statistics and other items you might reference later as you’re creating your content. 
  • Keep your eye out for places where you might publish your content. Connect with other website owners who might publish for you. Connect with them by subscribing to their sites, on Facebook, Twitter and more. 

Step 3: Creation and Distribution

create_ebook Here are some things to plan and keep in mind, so your content gets out there to your audience.
  • How much content will you need? Will you write it all yourself, hire a writer or use PLR? If you’re using a writer, ensure they have all the information they need well ahead of time, so they can meet your deadline. 
  • Have you created your content publishing schedule? Plan ahead, so that you can match content topics with products you’ll be promoting. Decide where each piece will be published and which pieces will be published in multiple places. For example: 
    • Autoresponder
    • Blog
    • Guest blog
    • Website
    • Social networking page
    • Video sharing website (ex. YouTube)
    • Audio sharing website (ex. iTunes)
    • Other   

Part 4: Repurposing

repurpose content The best way to make the most of your monthly content is to find ways to reuse it and repurpose it. However, when creating your repurposing strategy make sure that you’re still focusing on your goals. Each repurposed or reused piece of content still needs to serve a purpose and support a goal.
  • You’ve created a plan to reuse or repurpose some or all of your content. For example, an article published on your blog can be rewritten and published on an article marketing site. Or an article that resonated with your readers, could be made more visual and viral by turning it into a video. 
  • Each piece of content that is repurposed or reused content has a goal/purpose. You should always keep benefiting your business (and your audience, of course) in mind. 
It may seem overwhelming to have to plan all this content in a variety of mediums, but over time you’ll learn what your audience responds to and where you should focus your efforts. And remember, quality is more important than volume, so focus on delivering the best content you can to your audience.

Brainstorming Can Be Fun With Mindmapping

BrainstormingIf your marketing team sat down to brainstorm together, what would that look like? Many companies sit in formal conference rooms and verbally spew ideas while some poor individual lists the ideas on an oversized notepad or white board. Often times it is done as quickly as possible so everybody can get to the next meeting or looming deadline. The team ends up settling on something they all agree upon rather than making sure it is the absolute best idea and taking a risk. And so goes the status quo of recycled ideas and hum-drum marketing methods.

If you want your company to stand out as unique (think: Google), to be known as progressive or cutting edge, it will require some additional time for creativity. For starters, before reading any further, jot down all of the projects the marketing team needs ideas for. Use a scratch sheet of paper or that free notepad a vendor gave you last month. Ready? Go.

The rest of this post can wait a minute or two. Just give it a try.

Got it?

Okay, good. Keep that scrap of paper nearby as you continue reading; you’ll want to refer back to it.

Some of the ideas you may have mentioned could be any of the following (if you missed one or think of another, feel free to add it to your paper or in the comments below):

  • Webinars
  • Event marketing opportunities
  • Lecture/seminar topics
  • Videos
  • Trade show exhibit themes
  • Web content
  • Ebooks
  • Lead magnets
  • Email blasts

Individual players performing as a team

After you compared your list to this one, did you think of additional items or get a more specific idea about particular topics? That is how brainstorming should work: making use of the stream of consciousness for the sake of creativity. While there is value to the team brainstorming together, there is quite possibly greater value found when each team member brainstorms individually first and then the group combines and tweaks all of the ideas until the best one has been selected.

Color outside the lines

Before sending individuals off to brainstorm alone (and in more creative spaces than a conference room), give the team some parameters that will get their creative juices flowing. Teach them how to create a mindmap.

Before jumping head first into the how-to’s of mindmapping, look at your scrap of paper again and answer this question: how did you write your ideas down? Most people who grew up in public schools, where notebook paper was lined and each of those lines received its own number before a spelling test, will have composed an actual list made up entirely of words. That is a neat and orderly way to perform the task, but it leaves your brain in a rut of thinking linearly.

Enter mindmapping. Think of mindmapping as a combination between employing your stream of consciousness and playing a word association game. Or if those concepts are too vague, think of mindmapping versus list-making as the difference between walking through a candy store tasting every flavor of jellybean and sitting in a conference room wearing heels or a tie. One is fun, risky and exciting; the other oozes dread and boredom.


MindmappingIn the center of another scrap of paper, write one of the items from your previous brainstorming time. As you look at that word or topic, what comes to mind? Draw spokes out from the topic for each thing that comes to mind and write or draw or abbreviate whatever that thought was. If one of those thoughts leads you to another, draw a spoke off the secondary thought and record the new one. Continue this process until you run out of space on the page or out of ideas. For example, if you chose trade show exhibit themes as your central idea, the word themes may have made you think of a theme park like Disneyland or themed parties like luaus or a theme song. Each of those thoughts may have led you in a new direction.

When the map is complete, look at it as a whole. Research any questions it may have elicited, connect similar ideas that surfaced on different parts of the map or choose the most unrelated items and consider how they could work together to be the best idea. The purpose of the mindmap is to help you think differently; the final solution is up to you.

Huddle up

Now, imagine your team members each creating an individual mindmap and then meeting together at a restaurant or park to share their mindmap ideas. The creativity possibilities are endless.

This is a Guest Blog Post by Tiffany Marshall from StartRankingNow.com