Planning your content strategically will ensure your digital marketing activities all support your goals.
Step 3. Create a content planning grid
So far, you’ve established your customers’ process, and where/how they interact online — time to plan how you can fit into this equation specifically.
Fill in the cells where your customers’ purchasing process and your digital media meet. Put the phases in the process across the top and the media/channels down the left hand column (Ex. Process: Trends, Ideas, How To, Products, Comparison, Buy; Ex. Media: Site, Blog, Social, Mobile, Video). Start filling in the general topics, questions, resources. These will serve as the themes for the content and pages you will create to meet your customer’s needs. This will help you see the bigger picture of how to implement an integrated digital marketing plan effectively to serve your audience(s).
Later, you will should prioritize the contents/themes of the grid and assign it to an editorial calendar. Having this framework will save you time and ensure that all of the content you create will be strategic. Figure out what the customer process and channels mean to your brand and brand strategy — and plan accordingly.
Your digital marketing efforts will be significantly easier to measure when you understand why you’re doing it, what you should measure and how it all fits into the bigger picture. The purpose of any page, discussion or post related to a cell in your grid, should be clear to you and to your audience. Once you meet the customer need with the content, remember your goal… what is the next logical step? The call to action and goal should be to move users to the next phase and closer to a purchase. This also gives you some specific ways to measure each element.
You may find that you already have many of these elements, but realize you need to reorganize the information and resources in a more logical way. You also may find that you have some of these resources offline, but need to create electronic versions to use online. Another thing to think about is what media/channel you’re using for something that is successful for you now — how can you use it in other media/channels as well to magnify this success? If it’s a download, maybe make a video, create a blog series, start some social media discussions around it and create a mobile-friendly version. For more on reimagining content in different ways, I recommend reading Content Rules by Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs.com.
Of course every person does not have the same needs and preferences, though they will follow a standard general process the vast majority of the time. That means you need to figure out what different types of shoppers or personas are your consumers, and plan your content to meet those different types. Try to keep this in mind when filling out your grid. You can probably glean this from available market research in your industry.
Also do a competitor analysis and see what pieces of your grid they have covered and where the gaps are. You may want to prioritize some of the gaps to exploit your advantage in the search space, or social media space specifically.
By the time you have finished this content map, you will be well prepared to move forward. The next step, is analyzing keyword trends at each phase to assess where your focus should be for SEO when creating the content you have just laid out. This may also make you aware of some additional content you will need to create based on trends you uncover.
The Bottom Line: Don’t spin your wheels creating content on a one-off basis. Know how each piece fits into your integrated digital marketing strategy, what the purpose and goal is, and how you can measure it.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, for more on keyword research.