Why Planning Your Content Matters
Many businesses start out small and use blogging, social media, and creative content to grow their brand and their online presence. At the beginning, it may be easy to come up with creative ideas and content and post them as they come to you; but as your business starts to grow and you require more and more content it can become challenging to stay organized. A content calendar and well planned social strategy can be helpful when trying to market your growing business strategically.
One of the best ways to drive traffic to your site and your social accounts is through consistency and organization. To ensure both of these, try using a content calendar to inform your social strategy. Many businesses use different types of calendars to organize their posts into campaigns and grow their social following. There are different templates you can find online or through applications like Loomly or Trello. We recommend online options because they give you the capability to store links to your graphics, see real time edits from team members, and connect to scheduling apps like Hootsuite.
Once you have chosen your calendar option it is important to take inventory of your resources and ask yourself some important questions before beginning to plan your content. First, identify what resources you are working with:
- What team members are available to help with content creation and planning? (graphic designers, tech writers, social media manager, SEO experts)
- What resources do you have to help you create and organize content? (apps like Penji, Powtoon, Hootsuite etc)
Now it’s time to plan some overarching goals for each platform:
- What’s the main goal you want to achieve from each platform? (things like new lead generation, brand awareness, or thought leadership)
- What’s a way to track your ROI? ( stats like the number of likes, new sales, or follower count)
Next come up with your content workflow strategy. Here is an example:
- Brainstorm Ideas
- Create graphics
- Write copy
- Edits and checks from other sources
- Schedule your posts
- Monitor your audience’s reactions and respond to comments
- Check social analytics and record new trends
- Analyze analytics and refine content strategy for next campaign
Once you have your resources accounted for, your goals set, and your content flow down, you can focus on identifying your audience and coming up with ideas for your platform. Your strategy should be a combination of your brand’s purpose, or the value you bring to your customers, and your customers’ interest, or what they care about in relation to your services.
Identifying Your Audience
You need to know your consumers’ wants, what they care about and what they need, in order to understand the content you need to deliver. You can start by doing a deep dive online. Take a look at how people interact with competitors ‘ products. Check social media and see who people are following and what is trending within your field. Look at online forums and the places your customers talk and post. By listening to people: what they say, how they say things, and why they say it, you can start to come up with a list of topics potential customers may want to hear about and where they’ll be more likely to hear it. Once you have identified some trends from your research, you can create personas that represent the different types of buyers you are working with.
For example: Maybe you’re selling web hosting online and you notice that everyone is commenting on the new WordPress Esperanza update. You listen to the feedback and you identify a few different types of users:
- Customers who are confused with the update who’s sites have broken or now have errors they can’t fix
- Customers who love the update and have already improved their sites
You can use this information and how people are discussing it to create two different types of personas and feed content to each of them.
Brainstorming Your Content
A good feed has a solid content mix. This could include blog posts, email drip campaigns, social posts, white papers etc. There are three layers of content that are important to include in any good feed.
The Top Layer
The first, most basic level has the highest amount of content with the least amount of brand value. These posts are based on you
ur customers’ broad interests and are loosely connected to your brand. They should be aimed at people who may not be aware of who you are or what you do, but are interested in the subject you are posting about and will therefore connect with you if they see you posting about it. These posts are to get consumers attention and to lead them to look into your brand.
For example: Based on the previous approach, let’s say you’ve decided to target your less technical crowd who had questions about the latest WordPress update. They may be asking themselves things like: I keep getting these updates with no warning. I don’t understand how to work this new menu. Why are my pictures suddenly not showing up correctly?
There are three main things your top layer of content should do while addressing these problems:
- Get potential customers’ initial attention
- Have a long standing, positive impact on your brand
- Reveal how your business can help consumers with their problems
In order to accomplish this you need to know what types of media your customers are consuming, what will attract their attention, and their demographic information so you can properly target them.
Some examples of types of content that you could use to inform them are:
- Social media post and ads
- Short video content
- Influencers and endorsements
- Blogs with high SEO value
- Introductory emails
The Middle Layer
The middle of your marketing funnel is content that is speaking to customers that have just begun to consider to buy your products or services. There should be less of this content than the previous section, but each post should have a little more value. At this point you have formed some sort of previous relationship with the customers you are targeting and you are running a platform where you are able to produce educational content for them. Now, each post you make should have some type of call to action to convince the buyer to move to the next stage of the buying process.
For example: At this phase your consumers may be thinking: I found a few different web designers and businesses to help me figure out how to optimize my WordPress off of Instagram and blogs. But maybe I can fix this myself with a google search? That guy on YouTube last week probably submitted a video that could help me too! Or I could look into hosting solutions are well to see if they can help me.
Your next layer of content needs to:
- Explain the problems your customer is having and how you can solve them
- Answer any issues your customer might have about your offered solutions
- Tell your buyers the benefits of going with your solution over someone else’s
The buyers you are targeting with this content are not ready to purchase from your company yet and they need to know you are an intelligent voice in the industry. This is your opportunity to make a good impression on potential customers and prove to them your brand value and expertise.
Some examples of types of content that fit this area are:
- An email drip campaign
- Blogs that are more in-depth and less SEO based
- How to’s and content that teach your customers something
- News that is relevant to your business area
The Bottom Layer
Finally, the bottom of your marketing funnel is your chance to convince your customers to buy from you. This is where you use your most valuable brand content. This content is meant to convert serious shoppers into buyers. You’ve already created a relationship with this audience and they are already interested in choosing your specific brand for their problem, so this is your chance to close the deal.
For example: At this last phase, your buyer now would be thinking: So I’ve established the guy on YouTube didn’t help and there’s companies online that I could pay to do it right in half the amount of time I would have to spend figuring this out. Should I do a price comparison to pick which one? Maybe take a deep dive into their reviews and go from there?
Here are some main things this content should accomplish:
- Represent your product without directly asking for the sale
- Demonstrate how your solutions work and the specific features you offer
- Explain how your customer would benefit if they bought from you
You want this type of content to naturally flow into a place where you customer is willing to purchase. Did you include a link to your store? A coupon for in purchase discounts?
Here are some examples of content that would fit:
- Customer testimonials
- Case studies
- Products features and demonstrations of how they work
Now Go Implement that Content Strategy!
Now you have your flourishing business, your employees to help market, you know your audience and how to contact them at each step of the customer buying process… So what’s left?
It’s time to start planning those campaigns! Figure out your posting frequency, the best times to post, and how much of each type of content to post on each platform. You have all the tools and types of content you need for each funnel. You have the calendar ready. Now it’s time to go meet with those marketing teams and start planning out what you want your company to communicate to your audience and when you want to do it!
Click below for more helpful posts on how to push traffic to your site and build up your following! And if you’re looking for blog hosting or fast and reliable web hosting for your new online store, we have you covered as well!