A company that markets a product or service to the wrong audience may as well be performing a play in an empty room.
Content marketing plans that fail to both align with business goals and accurately account for the customer will nearly always miss their targets by a mile.
So how can you create a content marketing plan that is both tied to your objectives and what your customers need and expect?
Let’s look at the steps you need to take in this in-depth guide.
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1. Start With Your Overarching Business Goals
While your content marketing strategy has to revolve around specific audiences, there’s no question that your business should come first.
You need to ensure that your strategy is rooted in reality and has firm objectives.
First, you need to audit. This means looking at where your business is now. Questions might include:
- What are your revenues and profit margins?
- How big is your marketing budget?
- How successful are your current marketing efforts?
- Who are your biggest competitors?
- How are you differentiating your business and winning new customers?
- What is your current customer retention rate?
- What’s the makeup of your marketing team and current skill sets?
Next, using your answers, you’ll be Estonia Phone Number better placed to write objectives. Your goals give you direction, enable you to set key performance indicators and metrics. They also ensure you can track progress as you deliver on the strategy.
When creating goals, consider what you want your business to achieve in the short (one to two quarters), medium (a year), and long term (five years).
Compartmentalizing your objectives this way will help you get things done, You’ll also have an eye on where your business is going in the future.
You should aim to be:
- Ambitious, yet realistic.
- Determined, but flexible.
- Goal-driven, but audience-centered.
2. Get to Know Your Customers
Once you understand your current situation and have objectives to focus on, think about who you are targeting and how you will solve their challenges with your product or service.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make at this point is to assume knowledge of your customer. This can lead you down the wrong track and unseat your entire plan. It’s important, then, to do some real groundwork and get to know who you are targeting.
Get Qualitative & Quantitative Data
Surveys can help you uncover a range of useful data on your current and target customers. They can include anything you want to know, from usage habits, location, and demographics, to personal or professional goals.
You can also find other unexpected or hidden information that might be pertinent to your content marketing efforts.
If you have an engaged audience, you can carry out focus groups and interviews for more personal takes. The qualitative information that this generates helps your marketing and customer services team form a more human concept of your target audience.
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Next, collate and analyze feedback. Not only will this inform your brand voice and tone, but will also give you ideas for content topics, when it comes to planning.
In your research, be sure to uncover your target audience’s pain points and challenges. These will assist you in ideation and developing content that genuinely resonates with the people you need to connect with.
Finally, define your audience segmentation. You are likely to have more than one type of customer or one type of audience. You might split these by location, goals, budgets, challenges, or even how or why they use your product or service.
When you put your audience in groups, you will be able to personalize your communication and make more of an impact.
3. Develop Reader & Buyer Personas
Now that you have a good understanding of who your target customers are and how you can segment them, you should create a range of buyer personas. These are written profiles that represent who ideally purchases your product or service.
In content marketing, we also sometimes call these buyer personas “reader personas”. Reader personas are a little broader than your buyer personas, because you might also want to target people who become brand advocates and share your content with their networks.
Consider these personas to be your targets for all content and marketing collateral going forward. They consolidate the information you have collated. What’s more, they help teams across your business visualize and understand their customers.