Content marketing is one of the most important activities that any business can engage in. When it comes down to planning out what you should talk about and how to deliver the content, many businesses get stuck. Today I am going to give you a simple, no-nonsense guide on exactly what to do. Don’t overthink it. Just follow the instructions and start creating content that will help your audience.
Step One: Answer Some Basic Questions
If you’ve never planned out your content marketing schedule in the past, this format will help you think objectively about your goals and plan. Before mapping out the schedule, you need to have some clear answers in hand. Let’s start by answering a few basic questions:
- Question: Why are you engaging in content marketing? Answer: To make money (please don’t forget this. Stay focused on revenue).
- Question: How do you make money? Answer: By providing something of value to your marketplace – something that our prospects want to buy from us.
- Question: Do you know what your marketplace wants from you? Answer: If you can’t answer yes, survey your audience. Find out what they want.
If you can’t answer what your prospects want, get on the phone with your five best customers and ask them why they buy from you instead of the competition. It may be price, but most likely you provide something unique that your competitors don’t. Once you are armed with this information, you are ready to create the publication structure.
Step Two: Create Your Publication Structure
When you engage in content marketing, you need a content structure to keep you on track. Here are two different ways that I think about the content marketing format for my own business and my clients.
The 80/20 split:
80% of the time I write valuable guides and information for my audience. This way 80% of the time I am providing value and not asking for the sale. This positions my company as an expert in the industry and continually reminds my prospects of what services we offer in a soft sell manner.
20% of the time I ask for the sale. This means that two out of 10 emails are direct sales messages. I ask my audience to sign up for our webinars, purchase our services or contact me for a free proposal.
The One in Four Model:
When you are able to be more aggressive about selling your services, you should be! Remember the first question at the beginning of this post? Why are you engaging in content marketing? To make money of course! So, when every fourth email or blog post can be a call-to-action sales pitch, it should be.
What this looks like:
Decide on the level of aggressiveness you would like to have and where you stand. After you decide, follow a simple structure like this (this shows the one in four model):
- Sales Pitch
- Sales Pitch
- Sales Pitch
If you take a look, you can see that you have 12 weeks of posts outlined above and three sales pitches. This will take you through the first quarter of your content marketing plan.
Step Three: Write the Content
Now that we have identified that we need content for sales pitches and general information posts that provide value to your audience, we can dive into the actual content creation. Follow this format and you’ll have all the content you need for the year.
Answer your FAQs:
What questions do your current prospects and customers ask you about your services right now? Have you ever taken the time to write answer to these frequent questions instead of having to write an email or verbally explain something over and over again?
Start by writing titles for each of these questions:
- How does XYZ service work?
- When will my XYZ product be ready for pickup?
Those are just two examples, but you get the idea. Write out nine question and answer post titles to get started. This will help you stay on track while writing the content.
Once you have the titles written out, schedule 30 minutes out per day to write a post answering that question. In nine days, you’ll have your first set of posts written.
Write Your Sales Pitch Content:
If you’ve never written a sales pitch before, check out my post about how to write a killer sales pitch. It will get you thinking in the right direction, and you can follow that format for each of these posts:
- Write a general “call us for your XYZ needs” pitch
- Write a “special offer” pitch
- Write a case study or testimonial based pitch
Make sure your posts follow the killer sales pitch format and have multiple calls to action in them. Be sure that readers can click to a contact form and be sure to have a clearly displayed phone number for them to call as well.
Step Four: Recycle It All Three Times
Now that you have nine content posts and three sales pitch posts, you can do something that will give you efficiency of time and effort. Rewrite each post into three additional and different versions. Don’t flatter yourself; the likelihood of someone reading your content every single week is low. So, rather than worry about someone seeing duplicate content, focus on repeating valuable information that will help new readers.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Change questions into statements
- Write “how-to” guides that answer the questions
- Make a short video explaining the answers to the questions you receive
- Create a special third quarter promotion for one of your sales pitches
- Simply “extend” the offer you wrote about in one of the other sales pitch emails
Recycling your content by rewriting or providing updated answers and information is a great way to reduce the work of idea creation and continue to provide value for your audience. Remember that your goal is to make money with your content marketing efforts, so you must be top of mind for your audience at all times.
If all this writing sounds overwhelming, you can hire our writing service, Copywriter Today, and we’ll handle all of the content creation for you!
Step Five: Publish and Share Your Content
Once you’ve written the content or had it written for you, you should use each piece wisely. This guide won’t be going into how to post on a blog, social media marketing, or email marketing, but if you contact us at Business Marketing Engine we can help you with this as well.
Follow these simple steps for every single post that you write:
- Post it to your blog
- Email it to your email marketing list
- Share it with Buffer to all your social networks 6+ times over the next two weeks
- Make a PDF and share it to specific prospects
- Record a video about the post and post it to YouTube
Follow this publication and promotion process and you’ll be able to reach your audience with high value content and sales pitches that convert into leads. The most important aspects of content marketing are consistency and persistence; so don’t give up! Keep following this practice and you’ll see high value returns over time.
Content marketing is an investment. All marketing is an investment for that matter. So, make sure that, as you plan out and take action on your content marketing plan, you have this mindset. Answer the right questions, choose a content publication structure, write the content, recycle the content, and promote it!
If you need help with any part of this content marketing plan, you’ve come to the right place. tEkk3 can help you create and implement a content marketing campaign that will generate more awareness and more leads. Contact us today and we’ll help you get started in the right direction!