Reaching consumers is tougher than ever with so many businesses clamoring for attention. Providing good, attention-grabbing content is the key to being heard over all the noise. But how does your business craft a consistent, effective content marketing strategy?
According to a pair of studies hosted by Marketing Profs and the Content Marketing Institute, nearly half of all B2B marketers have no content strategy. More than half of all B2C marketers lack a strategy for content marketing. This means businesses and marketers who take time to plan their content marketing for 2014 will have an advantage over their competition.
As you begin a new year with high hopes for your marketing efforts, here are a few tips you can follow to create a content marketing plan that will yield results.
All a marketer needs to create a content calendar is a blank calendar. There are several tools you can use, which are mentioned below, but the biggest work in a content calendar is the pre-planning you’ll do prior to marking up your calendar.
First you’ll need to determine the dates of your major events in 2014. Is there a special luncheon or seasonal sale you’d like to promote? Note that, as well as any peak sales seasons you’ll want to take advantage of. You’ll likely want to promote each date more than once, so when you begin choosing dates on your calendar, you’ll be able to choose several posting dates leading up to each big day.
If you’d prefer a more comprehensive content calendar tool, here are a few worth noting.
- Kapost is among the most popular content calendar tools, allowing users to assign team TISI -1.49% members, who can check off items as they complete them. But with plans starting at $95 per month per user, Kapost may be a much more robust tool than many businesses need.
- WordPress’s Editorial Calendar Plugin is a great option for current users of WordPress as a content management system (CMS). Using the editorial calendar, WordPress users can get an overview of when each blog will post to allow them to identify any gaps or overlaps. While this tool is designed specifically for blog posts, it can provide a good jumping-off point as businesses begin to create a content calendar.
- Google GOOG -2.01% Docs provides a selection of editorial calendar templates that can be used and saved to a shared Google Drive. Once uploaded, the calendar can be shared and updated by all permitted team members.
In addition to planning posts, any business that has multiple team members working on projects needs a collaboration tool. Files can be uploaded and shared, tasks can be marked as complete, and workers can communicate over an interface similar to the social media tools workers use every day.
Here are a couple of the most popular collaboration tools.
- Basecamp starts at $20 per month, but it comes with a 60-day free trial to allow businesses to see if it meets their specific needs. With Basecamp, each project gets its own page, where users can collaborate, upload files, check off items on a to-do list, and more.
- Team Gantt uses the Gantt chart style of planning often used by project managers. But this solution adds e-mail reminders, collaboration capabilities, and more.
Incorporate Other Media
Too often content strategies focus solely on written content, but today’s consumers respond to imagery as much, if not more than, text-based content. Infographics continued to grow in popularity in 2013 and will likely become even more popular in 2014. By adding posts to YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram to its plans, a business can grow its market even further in 2014.
Another way to engage visitors and attract attention is through short explainer videos. Powtoon provides a free creation tool, as well as advice on how to create your own animated videos. Even on paid animation sites, businesses can create an animated video themselves at a fraction of the price a production company would charge.
Infographics are another tool that initially had business owners perplexed. Luckily, numerous online tools have emerged to help businesses complete the task. Infogr.am and Visual.ly both let businesses create infographics themselves, incorporating both text and vivid images.
Analytics and tracking should be a part of any marketing campaign, with results regularly gathered and reported. This insight can help a business redirect its campaign when certain elements aren’t working, ensuring success and boosting ROI.
Social media analytics are a great way to get information on campaigns specific to various social media sites, but many businesses can’t. Google Analytics can help provide insight on consumers’ search habits, both on PCs and mobile devices. For social media campaigns, though, HootSuite puts a variety of analytics in one place, with reports customized to a business’s needs.