Looking to create a content marketing plan for your website and don't know where to start? I have been there. Staring on a blank screen with the "Content Marketing Plan" title and nothing else. I understand this can be hard, no matter how experienced you are.
In this step-by-step guide, I will help you develop a content marketing plan for your website. My aim is to keep things as simple as possible but also not to ignore anything important.
First of all, let's revise the basics.
What is a Content Marketing Plan?
A content marketing plan is mostly about understanding how your content will convert with audiences/market and how you can find better ways to do so. These plans help you sell your products better and reach more audiences.
The success of a content marketing plan is defined by not only the conversion but also by the organic reach of the content. It's easy to write (or hire people to write) millions of words and pump those into your website but without a plan, everything will go down to hay.
The purpose of a content marketing plan is to ensure that the content has value. And also that it reaches the perfect audience.
Value of a Content Marketing Plan
Value is a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged. This is the dictionary definition.
But value can also be seen as the act of help people. By helping someone you are adding value to his or her life. That is the beauty of content marketing. You are freely helping people, and one day you hope they in return will buy or promote your service.
A lot of times we think of value more literally. We think my tool or software or ebook is so awesome because it helps you with x, y, and z. Which may or may not be true. But oftentimes people don’t care about your product’s features, no matter how valuable.
We want to add emotional value.
We want to convey why our product or service can help them in life. That’s emotional.
Economics talks about how rational people make logical decisions before buying something. But a number of studies have shown the flaws in this logic. We often make decisions based on emotions. So we must create emotional value.
This trick, however, works only for consumers and individuals — and may not be effective if you are associated with a B2B product. I will talk about this soon.
Let's see how you can convert your product's feature values into emotional values.
Features to Emotions
Let’s look at how I provide feature values, and then we’ll look at how I give you emotional value as well.
From a features perspective, I help develop content marketing & business plans for companies. This is accomplished through the use of a blog and social media. If you hired me, by observing analytics, you will be able to see a measurable result, of whether or not I was successful. Did I improve your website traffic or not?
Those are the feature-specific values I provide.
It covers what you get out of it, and some of the tools I use to accomplish the mission. And that’s great; you need to convey those to your clients. But unfortunately, that is not what generally sells your product or service.
The people, who only care about features, generally are comparing multiple providers to choose the best company based on the price “value.”
So while I provide value to a company, by helping get their awesome business found online, I provide something even more valuable.
Here is my emotional value.
My Blog. My freebies.
On Gaurav Tiwari, I spend a lot of time teaching people about marketing, business, SEO, WordPress, and more using my blog articles. Plus I offer free downloads for my readers.
I give these articles and downloads freely. And I do it without any request for a return.
That doesn’t mean I don’t expect something in return, I do, but it simply means you are not required to give something in return.
It is my goal to establish an emotional connection with my readers.
A connection of trust. And my repayment could be from a reader, who decides to enlist my services because they find the content market too time-consuming.
Maybe another reader, who becomes a successful entrepreneur by following my free advice, tells a friend they should give me a call. I expect a return for the free emotional value I give, but I don’t require or specify anything.
And that is the point of content marketing. It is a process of you giving emotional value beyond your main product, to help people out. And in return, a number of things can happen.
- You can build authority in your industry as a thought leader
- You can convert people to paying customers, by building a trust level because of your free giving.
- You can get great referral business from your readers.
But none of that happens without a content marketing plan, in which you freely give value to people in your target market. It’s about putting a face to a name. It’s about becoming human, and it’s about providing practical advice.
It’s not about spitting out promotional ads. It’s not about providing technical results on why your product is the best thing on the market.
People get that crap all the time.
Those things are not emotional.
Rather, they are the noise we hear every day.
Physical Value << Emotional Value
If you create a physical value with your content marketing plan, someone will take your words on a product (like a blog) for just once. But if you create an emotional bond, they might try your product again and again — and even recommend those to their peers.
So, whenever you are writing a content marketing plan (in fact, any marketing plan) make note of this. Emotional value is way higher than physical value.
Now let's talk about the types of audiences your content marketing plan may be aimed for.
Audience Types for Your Content Marketing Plan: B2C vs B2B
Depending on your niche, your audience can be either end-users or businesses. These two are covered under different strategies, called B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business) plans respectively.
I have read a lot of articles advocating a single plan for both needs. That may be true but to sell better your content marketing plan must cover both the segments even if you proceed with a single plan.
B2C Plans Sell on Emotions
Consumers are more likely to buy into a story that is emotional in its truest nature. For example, consumers will quickly attach to purchases a number of social connotations:
- Future prospects
B2B Plans Sell on Solutions
Businesses, on the other hand, are only going to buy into a story revolving around a business problem. It’s all about solving major problems with solid solutions.
While creating a content marketing plan, you need to present your message in a way that connects a problem to a solution (your solutions).
Don't hunt on needs or expectations.
Find a problem and create a plan (solution) for that.
Businesses are not going to part with their money or adjust their yearly budgets if your product or service doesn’t solve a prominent problem for their business.
More on B2C vs B2B Sales
As told earlier, consumers may or may not care about a problem. They will buy anything that connects with them emotionally. Take iPhones as an example. A segment of consumers is emotionally attached to iPhone. They don't just buy iPhones, they live their lives around these. In my opinion, making B2C sales are easy. Businesses think with their brains while the consumers use more of their hearts.
One more reason why B2C sales are easier is that often there is only one person involved in the purchase, or maybe two if you consider family purchases by a husband and wife.
B2B purchases tend to be more strategic. A business will have tons of needs, with multiple departments vying for the same limited resources, so usually, management is the one making the final call. Each department is going to have to sell your product to management, and they will have a much better chance if you have already given them the ammunition to win. You need to give them the problem and solution, and it needs to be legitimate and compelling.
A few items, which aid a business in determining whether or not a sale is worthwhile, are to address the bottom line.
Is My Content Marketing Plan Good Enough?
So, when you are creating a content marketing plan, answer these two questions separately.
- Does your content marketing plan decrease cost-to-customer acquisition?
- Does your content marketing plan improve the prospect-to-acquisition ratio?
If the answer is yes — move forward. You have created a great content marketing plan.
Final Words of Advice
Say you represent a content marketing agency or you are a content marketer. Your first step to creating a content marketing plan should be to help a business see its website as a tool. You will be working with your marketing services to help them reduce their advertising cost while increasing overall traffic.
Once you reach a point of satisfaction in achieving an optimal advertising cost, you should start focusing on increasing budget, sales, traffic, and conversion.
You will have to plan on what products you are going to sell next and what other new content marketing strategies should you be trying. Are these plans easy to apply and how much of the website is covered with these plans?
- B2C = Emotional story
- B2B = Solving a business pain