Of all the things you do online (your website, blogging, newsletters, social media posts, etc.) to promote your business and engage with your customers, one of the most important things you need to do is plan! Having a strategic plan around your content marketing is the only way you will not only be prepared (and make your life easier) but also be able to measure your results to see if all the work paid off!
Researching what your customers are reading and searching for online that is related to your business or industry is the first step. See what they are saying and what they want (complaints, discussion forums, social media posts, etc.) Ask your customers what they look for when making a purchasing decision. Know what other knowledge or resources may help your customers as it relates to your expertise and business product/services.
Once you know what to talk about, plan for it! Decide which platforms make sense to you and for your audience; blogging, newsletter, social media, vlogging, white papers, case studies, etc. This decision is critical as it will dictate your time commitment to writing, publishing and tracking results.
Once your are ready to deliver your content, be sure you have a process to measure your results. This could be how many more followers/likes you get on social media, how often your content is shared or commented on, what readers are saying about your content, how much your website traffic changes, etc. There is a good deal of metrics to consider, it depends on what content your are sharing.
Being preparing with a content marketing plan will allow you to easily identify what needs to be adjusted early on before you put your efforts into something that may not be showing results. Results do not happen overnight, so be prepared to give your content marketing changes to show the results. There is no “magic number” of days/months it may take to show improvements (this all depends on business sales cycles in your industry, platforms you are using, frequency of your content sharing, time of the year if you are a seasonal business, etc.) but it is safe to say that any changes should allow for at least three months of monitoring at a minimum before making any significant changes.
For more about this series read our 31 Day Countdown to Your Success post.