It’s never too early to optimize 2020’s content marketing efforts.
At this time of year – early in the fourth quarter – many marketers are beginning to take stock of their budgets for the upcoming year.
And while “content marketing” has become a common line item in many promotion budgets, less frequently does a thoughtful content plan accompany it.
This is a miss, because a thoughtful content plan is one of the most effective strategies you can employ to attract new business and nurture the relationships you already have. Here are five reasons why.
1. A content marketing plan helps you serve your customers
A thoughtful content plan helps you deliver to your customers information they want and value. You can identify topics of interest to your clients and prospects, and then prioritize them according to your business objectives within the content plan.
2. A content plan helps you manage your resources
No one has unlimited time or budgets and a content plan can help you prioritize where to focus your energy.
As you develop a plan, you go through the exercise of identifying the most valuable topics and projects for which you’ll be creating content — either by client/prospect demand, your current business strategy, or both — and eliminating the rest of the noise from the system.
If business partners or other stakeholders ask for content to promote a pet project that is neither top-of-mind for your customers nor the business, you’ll have a solid rationale sticking to your organization’s true priorities.
With a plan, only content initiatives that ultimately add value to customers and the bottom line and maximize your limited resources will make the cut.
3. It helps you stay in your wheelhouse
As you develop the plan, you want it to be grounded in the things your customers care about – and your customers will give you many, many ideas for content that they care about.
But those ideas may not all be aligned to your organization’s core competencies or value proposition.
Here’s an example: Perhaps you’re the owner of a number of suburban car dealerships, selling both traditional and hybrid vehicles. Many of your customers are interested in more information about electric cars, battery use in cars, self-driving cars, and other environmentally-related topics, particularly hybrid-SUVs. You are also trying to grow that area of your business. You might find that is a content area that you cultivate.
On the other hand, collecting and restoring classic cars may be an area of interest for some of your customers – and a personal passion for you – but it may not be core to your business strategy. Therefore, content on vintage autos may not be a key part of your content plan.
A solid content plan will keep you focused on the content that’s aligned to what you do best.
4. It keeps you on message
A content marketing plan that is focused on topics of importance to your customers, and aligned to your business objectives, can – and should – be rolled up to your most important marketing messages. You’ll know which messages to develop as your primary areas of focus, and others to include as secondary, supporting messages.
Consistency of messaging is key in an effective marketing program, and content marketing is no different. So a thoughtful content plan will keep you on message and make your program that much more effective.
5. It helps you target the customers you want
A thoughtful content marketing plan is just that – thoughtful. It is based on your business objectives and your customers’ and prospects’ needs. It allows you to develop content for the prospects or existing customers that you really want because they are core to your business’s strategy. Without a plan, you might find yourself developing content for any idea that comes across the transom. With a thoughtful plan, you can align your content efforts against the priorities that will make the biggest difference for your customers and your business.
Now is the time to begin your content marketing plan for next year. It’s a great tool for adding value to your customers and to your business.
If you would like to learn more about developing a content marketing plan for your organization, please reach out!