Why You Need A Formalized Content Marketing Plan

Content is king. It’s one of the most effective ways to reach your target audience, establish your brand voice, and demonstrate your authority in your industry. Your company’s blog can house your most valuable content and play a key role in your content marketing plan.

Why you need a formal content marketing plan

Some critics argue that blogs are dead. They point to social media and video content as the way forward and suggest these mediums are making blogs irrelevant. They’re not entirely wrong; social media and other forms of content are growing—but they’re not killing off blogging and written content. In fact, these other forms of content have actually increased the use of blogging as a means of providing additional value to consumers.

“Blogging is not dead. It’s alive as ever,” writes social media guru and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk. “Blogging has simply morphed and changed into a much broader category where blog creation, and the question to where you should be starting a blog, is very different.”

Blogging’s definition evolves each time a new communication platform is unveiled. But some blogs still aren’t successful.

Why do some blogs make it while others fail?

Generally, only blogs with a formal content marketing plan have proven successful.

According to CoSchedule, marketers who set clear goals are 429% more likely to succeed. Your blog needs more than random or inconsistent posts. You must create a formalized content marketing plan that targets your audience, your competition, and your business goals.

Your content marketing plan is the key to building your following, regardless of the products or services you sell.

“Anyone, anywhere, with any budget can develop a valuable audience over time and make an impact. In other words, there are no excuses for not doing this well, as long as you have a plan and execute against that plan,” writes Joe Pulizzi, the founder of Content Marketing Institute.

The obstacles to a formal content strategy

Most marketers worth their salt understand the need for a content strategy. They know their brand needs a well-designed blog, a social media presence, and maybe even supplemental content like whitepapers or e-books. But they often fail to formalize their plans.

There are two key reasons marketers neglect a formal content strategy: they don’t know the metrics to track the return of their content strategy, and they feel intimidated or overwhelmed.

Where should you start? How often should you release content? What metrics are most important for your business? How will you stand out from the millions of other brands publishing content?

These obstacles are easily overcome—and you must overcome them if you want a successful content campaign.

How to build a formal content marketing plan

Create goals

Your content marketing plan must be directed by clear goals. What do you want to achieve? How will you measure those goals, and how often? What metrics are most relevant? Everything you publish should be driven by your business objectives.

Moreover, every content marketing activity should be linked to key performance indicators, or KPIs, to determine your ROI. For example, if you publish one post per week to your blog, take note of how many people are visiting each post and how long they’re staying on the site.

Content on-site

Quality content, and lots of it, ensures readers stay on your site for long periods of time. Your bounce rate—or how long a reader stays on your website before leaving—is a measure of this.

A low bounce rate indicates that people are sticking around on your site for longer periods of time. The longer readers are on your site, the more opportunity you have to make a lasting impression and move them along to the next step in your sales funnel.

You can directly impact the bounce rate KPI with a content map. Your content map controls how readers navigate your site. You’ll use internal and external links to lead them to additional content, signups, or products. The goal of the content map is to maximize each visitor’s experience.

For instance, say you’ve published a blog post about gaining Instagram followers. You’ll include internal links to other Instagram-themed posts on your site, and possibly a link to your landing page where you offer a free Instagram consultation.

Search engine visibility

You not only increase your content backlog every time you publish a new post, you also add to Google’s index. Google crawls and indexes all pages to discern which sites have quality, credible content. Your Google ranking isn’t necessarily affected by adding more pages. However, you can boost this ranking by adding quality pages that are keyword-rich, mobile-friendly, and contain applicable external and internal links.

In essence, a strong content offering tells Google that your site is legitimate. Quality content also gives you a strong domain authority ranking, which is a score that predicts how your site will rank in search engine results.

Link building

Your Google ranking is also boosted by your external links. Thus, your content marketing plan should include a strategy for guest posts on high-authority websites.

For example, let’s say you write a piece about Instagram followers on your blog. You reach out to a Forbes contributor who wrote about the power of social media, and they agree to include a link to your blog about Instagram. Google recognizes that your link was included on a well-established site and boosts your site’s visibility in search results. This means thousands of new viewers coming your way.

Increased conversion

Your content should do more than simply entertain—it needs a purpose. Essentially, your content should be a tool to convert, whether that means capturing an email address, securing a sale, or sending readers to a landing page. A strong call to action ensures your content is also a powerful marketing tool. Avoid being too promotional and be clear about what you want your readers to do next (i.e. “Click here to learn more”).

When creating a formal content plan, always begin with the call to action that the content will direct the customers towards.

Enhanced reputation

Your content is your primary tool in building your brand voice. What’s the tone of your content? Is it fun, inspiring, or informative? Does it show that you’re a thought leader in your industry? How does it foster a grander conversation?

Your content should provide value, and a repeated demonstration of value builds a positive reputation for your brand. Build your formal content marketing plan based on the types of value you want to provide to your audience.

Engenders loyalty

Through your content, you create a relationship with your reader. This relationship is more personal and intimate than one created through traditional advertising. Your content isn’t a hard sell; you’re providing value that extends beyond simply selling products and services. Engendering a sense of trust and loyalty through blogging not only helps increase your customer base but it puts you leagues ahead of your competitors.

Decreased costs

Content is more cost-effective than other types of marketing. A traditional ad campaign can cost thousands when you factor in design elements, production, and distribution methods -- and any ad content will only have the shelf life of the campaign. Content marketing requires a smaller investment upfront.

With a solid and formal content marketing plan in place to measure ROI, you can make adjustments in real-time to ensure you’re maximizing your impact. Furthermore, you’ll likely see a higher return in the long run. Content marketers convert at a rate 6 times higher than their traditional counterparts.

Work with the experts

Palm Beach Content Company can help you focus on a custom content marketing plan that’s tailored to your business. Working with us is like having a content department in-house, without having to restock the coffee supply every day. You get your own strategist, a custom marketing plan tailored to your business, and a steady stream of top-notch content created by professional writers and graphic designers.

Your Turn

Content should be an integral part of your marketing strategy, but it only delivers results if you have clear goals and objectives. Take the time to define what you want to accomplish, determine how you’ll measure ROI, and watch your business take off. A formal content marketing plan can help you convert at a higher rate, improve your visibility, and magnify your brand’s reach.

If you’re a marketing manager or small business owner, it’s time to formalize your content strategy and start seeing results.

Contact Palm Beach Content Company to schedule a consultation and start building your content strategy today.

Allison Hess