The beginning of a new year is a time of reflection, intention setting, and planning. Creating a content plan and knowing what type of content to develop ensures you’re providing your target audience with relevant, consistent content. Sounds like a plan.
How do you develop a content plan?
It begins with figuring out exactly what you’re going to say and when you’re going to say it. Start by creating several pieces of compelling, targeted content and then set up a content calendar to plan ahead and keep you accountable.
Do you plan to write blogs, articles, white papers, case studies, or a newsletter twice a month, once a month, once every quarter? Keep in mind that the content you produce creates material for your newsletter.
Come up with topics to focus your content. Plan for specific themes, too. For example, knowing March is Women’s History Month, you can plan a feature blog or interview with your company’s female founder ahead of time then schedule the post for mid-March.
How can content be used to reach your target audience?
First, you need to know who your audience is and how they’re engaging with content. Then you can develop content that markets directly to them. Video has become more popular, particularly with social media and short attention spans. But people still want to read—they want to read content that’s informative and adds value. How can your content help your clientele? And, how can your content convince your clientele to take action?
Develop targeted content that shows you’re an expert in your field—without directly marketing or selling to your potential client.
Storytelling can help. Think of your About Us page or company bios. People want authenticity and they’re more apt to connect with a message that’s relatable and compassionate. Tell them what drives you and what difference your company/products/services are trying to make in the community—or in the world.
Once you’re regularly producing content, you need people to read it. Social media can help drive traffic to your site and encourage visitors to take action—so can a newsletter. If you’re already building an email database, you can send an introductory newsletter (be sure it enables people to unsubscribe). If not, you can use social media to invite people to sign up for your newsletter.
What about search engine optimization?
Think about your content as anything that helps someone find your company online—and not just through social media. Most people looking to engage with a new company will search for it online. Or, they are searching for the product or service you provide. How does your business rank when searched?
There are basic ways to help with that. Start by refining your content to ensure you’re including key phrases that will drive search engine crawlers and people to your site. Then, continue developing new content to keep them coming back.
Why should I bring in an outside content expert—especially if my company knows its own content best?
Great question. You probably know exactly what you’re talking about—but does everyone else? Does everyone understand your terminology and industry jargon? Are they interpreting it the right way? An outside perspective can help with relevancy and phrasing.
A content expert who’s skilled in SEO is also beneficial when it comes to word choice and writing for your target audience.
An outside perspective also provides a bird’s-eye view of all your content. Does your content align with your messaging and branding? Does your content use a voice your clientele wants to hear, see, or engage with?
What if you’re an idea person, but not a strong writer? Sometimes it’s helpful to brainstorm—whether it’s on a whiteboard or a Word document—and bring someone in to conceptualize and clarify your ideas.
Small business owners and entrepreneurs often feel they have to handle all things: accounting, human resources, social media, marketing—and content creation. Handing off some of those tasks to experts in their fields may seem daunting and costly. But it can ultimately save time and energy.
So much focus goes into things like choosing the right logo, company name, and website provider. You want to get it right the first time. The same goes with content. Content experts know words matter. And they know getting them right is essential to reaching your potential clients.
Maybe you’re already working with a marketing or PR company to create press releases and marketing material. An expert content creator can collaborate with marketing and PR, whether internal or external, to create a complete content plan and take on content development tasks like blog writing, interviewing, editing, and proofreading. Marketing and PR can focus on their roles, knowing they can rely on steady content production.
What if you don’t have the budget to hire an outside content expert?
As far as creating content on your own: Just start. Even if it isn’t perfectly written, it can still be useful information. Just remember to use an authentic voice and keep it concise.
About the Author
Nan Price is Founder of Uncommon Content LLC. She’s also Content Manager at the MetroHartford Alliance and Website Curator of Innovation Destination Hartford.