Learn how to develop an effective content marketing management plan to manage your content marketing activities and expenses.
Content marketing can help to create more exposure for your business online and drive more traffic to your website.
Content marketing, however, also requires having a content marketing management plan in place to ensure that your marketing activities are effective.
In this lesson, we cover the following:
- What is Content Marketing?
- Defining Your Content Marketing Strategy
- What Content Will You Use To Market Your Business?
- Documenting Your Content Marketing Strategy
- Developing A Content Marketing Management Plan
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is using content to communicate the value of your business to your target audience.
The essence of content marketing is:
- Creating valuable and relevant content that builds trust, credibility, and authority with your visitors and customers and makes them want to continue doing business with you.
- Using media to increase exposure and sales for your company or organization. This media can be anything you create: blog posts, articles, videos, podcasts, images, infographics, special reports, e-books … even software!
Whether you create content items like a blog post, video, e-book, or a forum signature, it’s important to keep in mind that the purpose of your content is to make a compelling statement that engages your target audience.
This is important because the goal of your content marketing strategy is not to “sell” people a long or short advertisement about your business, but to educate them on how to become your best customers or clients.
Our Free Content Ideas Generation Course shows you how to create content that will get attention, gain your reader’s interest, help build desire for your offer, and encourage them to take the action you want them to take, i.e. click on a link, fill in a form, call to make an appointment, subscribe to your newsletter, share the information on social media, etc.
Content Marketing: Not Talking AT, But WITH Your Visitors
Content marketing is a dynamic process for communicating and engaging with other users online. It is more than just communicating AT visitors and customers. It’s communicating WITH them.
You are not using content to blatantly advertise your business – you are sharing information that will benefit and add value to your target audience.
If you’re using your website to post mostly self-promotional content, there may not be room for dialogue or any type of meaningful engagement with your audience.
In today’s socially interconnected digital world, this type of communication is no longer as effective as it may have been once. Online users quickly become blind to advertising and self-promotion and start tuning these out.
On the other hand, it’s hard to tune out information that benefits you.
Imagine for a moment that your business genuinely helps people to save money and that every time you put out a new piece of content, your readers end up saving money.
Soon, you will have a crowd of people who are paying attention to your content, wanting to hear from you, and sharing your great money-saving tips with others.
People are consuming large amounts of digital information. Look at cable TV and 24-hour news channels. Imagine how much content is required to keep these wheels turning. These networks wouldn’t be thriving if people weren’t hungry for information.
Your business is no different. Your job is to define what type of information your target audience finds meaningful and then provide them with this information.
Define Your Content Marketing Strategy
Your content marketing strategy differs from your overall content strategy in that your overall content strategy looks at the flow of content through your entire organization, while your content marketing strategy is the part of your content strategy that helps your organization meet its strategic marketing objectives.
Fortunately, many of these areas overlap. So, if your organization has already invested the time and effort to create an overall content strategy, you should be able to use many of its components in your content marketing strategy.
- If you need help creating an overall content strategy for your organization, see this lesson.
- If you need help creating a content marketing strategy, you can use the one below from HubSpot.
Let’s go briefly through each of these components:
- Define your goal – Your content marketing goals should be aligned with your organization’s overall content strategy and your marketing plan. Additionally, as explained further below, it’s important to understand which type of content marketing strategy your business should engage in (i.e. B2B, B2C, etc.)
- Conduct persona research – Your marketing team should be able to supply you with this information. If you need help with this, go here.
- Run a content audit – We cover this in this lesson.
- Choose a content management system – This is covered in this lesson.
- Determine which type of content you want to create – See the section below or see this lesson.
- Brainstorm content ideas – subscribe to our Free Content Ideas Generation Course – you will learn how to never run out of content ideas for your blog, newsletter, or content marketing activities.
- Publish and manage your content – Managing your content is covered in the lessons in our content management training module.
Additionally, refer to this HubSpot article: How To Develop A Content Marketing Strategy.
Which Content Marketing Strategy Is Right For Your Business?
It’s not only important to develop a content marketing strategy but also to have a clear idea of which type of content marketing strategy your business will engage in.
The type of content marketing strategy you should focus on is determined by the buyer’s reason for purchasing your products or services.
B2C Content Marketing
If your business promotes products and services to consumers, then your focus should be on developing a B2C content marketing strategy.
A B2C content marketing strategy focuses on creating content that is all about improving the consumer’s life or eliminating personal pain points.
The aim of your content marketing strategy, then, is to not only deliver content that provides value to buyers but also strikes an emotional chord with consumers by appealing to their interests and motivations.
As most consumers tend to make impulsive, emotional, or logical buying decisions either on their own or through the opinions of their friends and family, a B2C content marketing strategy should be focused on generating leads and driving sales based on short sales cycles.
See this article for more information on developing a B2C content marketing strategy.
B2B Content Marketing
A B2B content marketing strategy focuses mostly on business needs, not personal needs. It also typically involves winning over multiple decision makers, which can mean a longer sales cycle and delivering content that provides a lot more statistical data, proof of effectiveness, and information about ROI.
Understanding which type of content strategy to use (i.e. B2C or B2B) has a significant impact not only on the buyer persona that your content will need to address but also on the type of content, the content formats, and the distribution channels your business will use to make the strategy effective.
See this article for more information on how to create a B2B content marketing strategy.
Content Marketing Strategy vs Content Strategy
A content marketing strategy is a comprehensive plan for creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and engage a specific target audience, with the goal of driving profitable customer action.
It outlines the overall goals and objectives for the content, your target audience, the channels through which your content will be distributed, and the metrics by which success will be measured.
A content strategy, on the other hand, is a plan for managing the creation, delivery, and governance of content. It focuses on the long-term vision and direction for the content, the processes and governance that will be used to ensure quality and consistency, and the technologies and platforms that will be used to create, store, and distribute your content.
While a content marketing strategy is a subset of a content strategy, the focus and approach of each are different.
A content marketing strategy is geared towards generating revenue and reaching business objectives, while a content strategy focuses on the overall content lifecycle and management.
A content marketing strategy is mostly focused on the external aspects of the content, how the content will be distributed, and how it will help your business, while a content strategy is more focused on the internal aspects of your content, how it will be created, managed, and governed.
Content Marketing Plan
Creating a content marketing plan typically involves the following steps:
- Define your content marketing goals and objectives: Start by identifying what you want to achieve with your content marketing efforts. Examples of goals include increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or driving sales.
- Understand your target audience: Conduct research to learn more about your target audience, including demographics, pain points, and buying behavior. This will help you create content that is relevant and valuable to them.
- Develop buyer personas: Use the information you’ve gathered about your target audience to create detailed buyer personas. These are fictional representations of your ideal customers that help you understand their needs and behaviors.
- Identify your content pillars: Choose the main topics or themes that you want to focus on in your content. These should align with your goals and objectives and resonate with your target audience.
- Determine your content mix: Decide what types of content you want to create and how you will distribute them. Examples include blog posts, ebooks, infographics, videos, social media updates, etc.
- Create an editorial calendar: Plan out the specific pieces of content you will create and when they will be published. This will help you stay organized and ensure that your content is consistent.
- Measure and optimize: Set up a system for tracking your content marketing performance and use the data to optimize your content and strategy. This will help you understand what’s working and what’s not, and make adjustments as needed.
- Review and adjust: Review your content marketing plan regularly, and make changes as needed. Keep your goals and target audience in mind and be prepared to adjust your plan as you learn more about what works and what doesn’t.
It’s important to remember that creating a content marketing plan is an iterative process. While the above steps provide a general framework, you’ll most likely need to make adjustments as you go based on your findings and results.
Content Marketing Plan vs Content Plan
A content marketing plan is a strategy for creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and engage a specific target audience, with the goal of driving profitable customer action.
A content plan, on the other hand, is a document that outlines the specific pieces of content that will be created and distributed, as well as the schedule for when they will be published.
While a content plan is a component of a content marketing plan, it is not the same thing. A content marketing plan takes a more holistic approach and focuses on the overall goals and objectives for the content, while a content plan is more focused on the nitty-gritty details of what content will be produced and when.
Your Content Marketing Funnel
The key to creating an effective content marketing strategy is to focus on providing value and using information to help your potential and existing customers understand how your business, company, or organization can add value to their lives.
Essentially, you are using an indirect sales method to create a content pipeline that will enhance the lives of your prospects in a beneficial way.
Like any sales pipeline, the goal of your content marketing strategy is to help turn your visitors into prospects, your prospects into customers or clients, and your clients into your champions.
To achieve this goal, you need loyal customers and an active community of users that consume and recommend your products and services to others on a regular basis.
Your content, then, needs to educate, inform, train, engage, empower, and motivate your audience to act and share your information with others.
Your content also needs to be part of a content marketing funnel system that will help you attract prospects and potential clients and guide them from their first interaction with your business through to converting them into paying customers.
TOFU, MOFU & BOFU
There are 3 main stages of the content marketing funnel you need to pay special attention to:
- TOFU (top of the funnel) – This content is purely educational and not designed to promote or sell your business. TOFU content aims to attract attention and help your target audience focus on common issues faced by your buyer persona. Examples of TOFU content include eBooks, guides, and checklists.
- MOFU (middle of the funnel) – This content is about showing why your business, your solution, and your brand is the best choice. The aim of using MOFU content is to generate leads. A good example of MOFU content is a blog article offering a side-by-side comparison of your products with those of your leading competitors.
- BOFU (bottom of the funnel) – This content is about driving purchases and payments by addressing how your product or solution meets your buyer’s specific needs. BOFU content can include free consultations and demos to ask questions and gain a deeper insight into your buyers’ needs and their unique situations.
User intent is different depending on which stage of the funnel they are in and requires setting different goals and measuring different results.
What Type Of Content Will You Use To Market Your Business?
Once you have worked out which type of content strategy best suits your business, you need to decide which content types and formats you will create for your target audience and which content distribution channels will be most effective.
This will allow you to produce the right type of content for the right audience, delivered at the right buying stage, through the right distribution channels.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular content types and formats for your content marketing mix.
Blog Posts & Articles
While blog posts and articles are ideally suited for both B2C and B2B content strategies, they differ greatly depending on which audience you are writing these for.
For example, if you are writing for a B2C audience, your articles should focus on storytelling and making the content engaging, relatable, and emotionally appealing, whereas a B2B article or blog post could be a long-form evergreen piece where the content is written in a first-person voice offering an authoritative point of view and focused on problem-solving for key buying-cycle stages and audience segments.
For more information on using blog posts and articles in your content, see the articles and tutorials below:
- Content Marketing With Blog Posts
- Content Marketing With Guest Posts
- Content Creation Tools
- Content Editing Tools
Images & Infographics
Images, infographics, charts, and diagrams that summarize complex information such as processes or data are very useful and effective for a B2B audience.
On the other hand, memes, cartoons, comics, user-generated images (eg. someone modeling a product or showing a new item they have purchased), funny animated gifs, etc. can go a long way with B2C readers.
For example, here’s one way a gardening services company could communicate the importance of hiring professionals to mow lawns using images…
For more information on using images and infographics in your content, see the articles and tutorials below:
- Content Marketing With Images
- Content Marketing With Infographics
- Content Marketing With Memes, Cartoons & Comics
- Media Creation – Image Tools
- Media Editing Tools
- Video Course: How To Create Engaging Presentations
Videos & Webinars
Videos and webinars work well for both B2B and B2C audiences.
With videos, make sure to match the video content, duration, and quality to suit the right audience type.
For example, video tutorials (and webinars) with product walkthroughs allow users to better understand a product or service. Depending on the intended audience, however, the video content (or recorded webinar) will either emphasize benefits over features (or vice-versa), be of a longer or shorter duration, use a more entertaining or educational voice, be shot and edited professionally or captured using a phone camera, use different font styles, titles, annotations, timestamps, etc.
For more information on using videos and webinars in your content, go here:
- Video Marketing
- Content Marketing With Videos
- Media Creation – Video Tools
- Media Editing Tools
- Video Course: Video Marketing
- Video Course: Using Webinars
- Video Course: Online Course Marketing
Social Media Content
Social media content is very effective with B2C audiences.
However, you can also help B2B audiences influence other decision-makers and shorten the sales cycle process by sharing time-saving bite-sized content on social media about complex aspects of your product or industry, useful statistics, sound or video bites, and compelling testimonials or reviews that can be quickly and easily forwarded or shared.
Social Media Networks
Make sure to set up social media accounts for all the social media platforms that you plan to post content to, e.g.:
Also (if applicable):
For more information on social media tools and resources, go here:
- Social Media Tools
- Video Course: Social Media Marketing
- Video Course: Facebook Marketing
- Video Course Twitter Marketing
- Video Course: YouTube Marketing
Sending out regular email newsletters allows you to stay top of mind with existing and potential customers or clients.
Just make sure to plan your content appropriately for your audience. Educational emails or relevant industry news and events can help to establish yourself as an active, informed, and authoritative member of your professional community or industry for B2B clients, whereas B2C emails may be more emotionally charged to try and get readers to click on a “buy now” link.
Additionally, using email for outreach campaigns to increase backlinks and forge new partnerships with other businesses can be an effective B2B use of email content marketing.
For more information about using emails in your content marketing mix, go here:
eBooks, Guides & Reports
A B2B content marketing mix typically includes the production of eBooks, Guides, and Whitepapers with content aimed at showing users how to solve business problems or increase ROI, profitability, efficiency, etc.
eBooks and guides that help users solve their personal needs work well for B2C audiences. Examples of this include ebooks and guides on health, fitness, beauty, cooking recipes, personal care tips, tips for dieting and weight management, travel, etc.
Depending on the audience your content is aimed at, different decisions will need to be made about areas like content design, layout, navigation, use of different embedded media, etc.
For more information about using eBooks in your content marketing mix, go here:
- Content Marketing With eBooks & PDF Reports
- Content Marketing With User-Generated Content
- Content Marketing With 3rd-Party Content
- Video Course: Digital Product Creation
Case Studies, Reviews & Testimonials
Case studies and content peppered with reviews and testimonials from previous clients traditionally work well with B2B audiences.
These provide social proof and help to build the credibility, legitimacy, and trustworthiness of your brand.
For more information about using case studies, testimonials, and user reviews in your content marketing mix, go here:
Podcasts with regular or episodic content like opinions, commentary, or interviews with industry thought leaders built around a consistent theme or framework are a great way to establish a personal connection, trust, authority, and credibility, build a dedicated and loyal following and get potential customers or clients coming back for more.
For more information on using podcasts, go here:
Templates, Checklists & Calculators
Providing links to downloadable templates, free calculators, checklists, etc. in your content where appropriate is an excellent way to attract B2B prospects.
Companies that market to B2B audiences like HubSpot use this method very effectively.
Templates, checklists, and calculators also make great lead magnets.
A sound content marketing strategy involves creating valuable content that will not only drive traffic to your site and keep readers engaged but also help move your prospects forward through the traffic generation, lead generation, and sales conversion phases of your online sales funnel.
If you plan to grow a list of subscribers, then, in addition to producing great content for your articles and posts, you will also need to create valuable ‘lead magnets.’
A lead magnet is a compelling incentive or ‘ethical bribe’ that you offer to visitors in exchange for getting them to opt into your list and give you their email address or other contact information.
Examples of free lead magnets you can offer to attract subscribers include:
- Access to a coaching or support group
- Apps / software
- Cheat sheets
- Contest entries
- Ebooks and PDF guides/reports
- Gear/resource lists
- Membership sites
- Mind maps
- Process maps
- Swipe files
Developing A Content Marketing Management Plan
Having a clear and well-defined content marketing strategy is important.
However, without a content marketing management plan, how can you ensure that your efforts and spending on content marketing activities are delivering results and a positive return on your investment?
A content marketing management plan involves:
- Documenting your content marketing strategy
- Tracking your content marketing performance
- Managing your content marketing expenses
Let’s take a brief look at each of these areas.
Document Your Content Marketing Strategy
According to research, 60% of the most successful B2B businesses that use content marketing have a documented content marketing strategy, while only 21% of the least successful ones have one.
Having a documented content marketing strategy helps you justify your content marketing efforts, tactics, channels, and budget, and ensures consistency in your organization’s content marketing activities.
For more details, see this lesson: Content Documentation
Track Your Content Marketing Performance
It’s important to track the performance of all your content marketing activities, as there are typically so many different options and opportunities to promote your content but only limited time and resources to pursue all these different options (and not all of these may be opportunities worth pursuing).
Measuring your content marketing performance can help you answer questions like:
- Which content type delivers the best ROI?
- Which is a better investment of your time and resources: producing video content, running webinars, or writing ebooks?
- Which article topics and other characteristics (e.g. word count) deliver the highest engagement, leads, and sales conversions?
- Which social media platform should you focus most of your advertising efforts on?
For more information on tracking your content marketing performance, see these sections:
Manage Your Content Marketing Expenses
More companies today aim to build their business with the goal of generating monthly recurring revenue (MRR). Your business probably does too.
While this is a smart goal, the flip side of this is that more businesses today have to sustain monthly or annual subscriptions for all kinds of sales, advertising, marketing, and management services, tools and software, memberships, support, maintenance, and upgrade plans, in addition to web hosting, domain renewals, etc.
Needless to say, your content marketing efforts and activities must be able to justify the content marketing expenditure involved and hopefully still produce a positive ROI.
Doing this, however, requires documentation (e.g. a spreadsheet where all regular expenses and subscriptions are logged) and the ability to effectively track and analyze your content marketing performance so you can determine which methods, activities, and services are assets vs liabilities.
This will help you answer questions like:
- Which paid services, tools, etc. are worth keeping?
- Which subscriptions are not delivering a sustainable ROI?
- Are there any non-essential paid services that can be dropped or swapped for similar free services?
- Are there any essential services that are costing money but need to remain active? Can these costs be reduced or can the service be transferred to another provider that costs less?
Having a clear and well-defined content marketing strategy is very important, as is having a content marketing management plan to ensure that your efforts and spending on various methods, services, and tools are consistently delivering results and a positive return on investment.
In addition to creating and implementing a content marketing strategy, make sure that your business also has an effective content marketing management plan for documenting and tracking performance, results, and associated expenses.
- Content Marketing Workbook – Use this free downloadable workbook to develop a content marketing strategy for your business.
- Content Troubleshooting Guide -Use this guide to help you troubleshoot issues with your content marketing strategy and improve your content management practices.
- How To Develop a Content Strategy in 7 Steps: A Start-to-Finish Guide
- How To Build An Effective Content Marketing Funnel
- How To Execute A B2C Content Marketing Strategy
- How To Create A B2B Content Marketing Strategy (+ Advanced Tactics)
- Return to the module overview: Content Promotion
- Go to the lesson on Content Metrics
- Go to the lesson on Content SEO
- Go to the lesson on Content Distribution
- Return to the Course Outline
Image: Content Marketing