A content marketing plan sounds like a big deal, doesn’t it? It sounds like something that maybe your blog doesn’t need—just a little too much work and effort.
However, if you’re looking to run your blog like a business, then it is absolutely crucial to write a content marketing plan, if only for yourself. It is also a great skill to have for future endeavors as your blog (and business!) evolves.
A content marketing plan is a fancy way of sayings “your goals, your editorial calendar, and how it all ties together.” It doesn’t have to be intimidating! They’re actually really fun to create because it gives you an opportunity to check out your competition, work on your branding, and really nail down what you want from your blog.
Here is an outline of how to write a content marketing plan for your blog.
1. Establish your goals and objectives.
First things first, decide what you want your goals to be. You’ll want to look at the performance of your blog in the past and decide how you want to improve on it. Do you want to reach out to more businesses for sponsorships? What kind of businesses? Or do you want to start selling ebooks, or custom made WordPress templates? Maybe you just want to increase your traffic by 20% within 6 months, or you want to increase engagement.
Once you get an idea of your goals, get them written down. We’ll talk about how to break down these goals into achievable steps in a moment.
2. Outline who you think your audience is.
This is a step that’s sometimes called “creating your ideal customer” or blog reader, in our case. If you’ve ever read about the brand Lululemon, you may have heard about their publicized ideal customer: a mid-30s woman named Ocean. It sounds really funny, but it’s actually really helpful.
- Ask yourself: when I’m writing for my blog, who am I writing for? Who do I think will be reading?
- If you want to start taking on sponsorships, what information are you hoping to convey? Who will be likely to buy those products you’re promoting?
- If you want to sell ebooks, who will those ebooks benefits?
You should know their rough age, what kind of person they are, and what they want to achieve. Basically, when it comes to your ideal reader, do their goals match yours? Do they want to start a blog or a business? How can you make their goals happen through your product or blog? Do their needs match your solutions?
3. What is the content from your competition like?
This isn’t a matter of finding your competition and trying to best them. Not at all! When it comes to monitoring your competition, you just want to see what they’re doing and why it works. Do they have an amazing Pinterest strategy? Is their Instagram absolutely drool-worthy? What kind of content are they producing? How do readers seem to respond to them?
Pick your favorite pieces of content from competitors and study it. What do you love about it? What jumps out at you about it? Think like a consumer, not a competitor: why is it appealing? How can you tap into that appeal without becoming a carbon copy?
4. Establish what your marketing content assets are (or will be)
If you’re already an established blogger, look at your analytics. Which of your posts perform the best? Why?
For a long time, one of my best-performing blog posts at my old blog was a “style steal” of Effy Stonem from the TV show, “Skins.” Yeah. It performed amazing. However, I knew I didn’t want to be writing posts like that all the time. But how could I utilize that momentum to apply to other posts?
This is your task! When looking at your content that works, what about it grabs readers? Why do they seem to love it? What search terms are they using?
And most importantly, pay attention to what isn’t working. Even if you love writing certain posts, if they aren’t performing, you’ll need to alter them to include what does work. It’s a hard, complicated process—but it’s worth it.
In your content marketing plan, outline what you think works in your most popular blog posts and what you think doesn’t work in your other blog posts. Then, you can decide what you need to start creating under your new plan and what to get rid of.
5. Establish an editorial calendar outline
There are so many great articles about writing editorial calendars! In your content marketing plan, you aren’t writing out an editorial calendar—but rather outlining how it will work. You’ll set rules and parameters for yourself, essentially, and some ideas of how you’ll write parts of blog posts (like titles).
Here’s what to include in this outline:
- Your posting schedule
- Your content promotion schedule (basically, when you’ll promote blog posts on your social media accounts)
- How you’ll write blog posts (title formats and voice)
- What kind of photos you’ll take or use (if you have a specific style in mind, this is the place to outline it)
- Your desired content (include any campaign ideas you have, as well as ebook ideas)
- How you’ll work to grow your follower & subscriber numbers
6. Predictions for the future & a summary
Once you have your editorial calendar outline written, now the fun really starts: it’s time to predict how all of this will effect your blog in the future. How do you think your numbers will do? How many extra subscribers do you think your social media promotion plan will bring in? What do you want to happen based on the goals you wrote down way at the beginning?
Finally, write a brief summary of your plan: what do you want, how are you planning to achieve it, and what you think will happen.
That’s it! Sounds easy, right? That’s what I thought.
It’s a lot of work—mainly, a lot of thinking about your blog and really deciding what you want from this fun little experiment! It’s all for the greater good of your blog though. With a firmer idea of your goals and a concrete strategy for moving forward, you will be able to more fully take charge and become the powerful, girl boss blogger you’ve always wanted to be!