Producing quality content isn’t easy. Don’t waste your time running in circles. Take ten minutes to lay out a content marketing plan before you jump in and start executing. There’s no need for a fifteen-page planning document. Simply answer a few key questions to make sure your efforts are purposeful.
1. What’s our goal?
It’s shocking how many of us start chasing tactics without knowing why. You can’t make progress toward a goal until you have a goal. Use these two prompts to determine why you’re spending time producing content.
- Who is the audience we’re trying to reach?
- Why are we trying to build an audience?
There’s no need to make your goal more complex. Know who you want to reach, and why you want them to follow you. Even if you skip the other two questions below, answering who and why will prevent hours, weeks, months, and possibly even years of wasted time on the wrong things.
2. What’s the right platform for us?
You can’t be great on all platforms. Even global brands with thousands of people working in their marketing department make this mistake. Chasing every hot platform is the most common blunder I see in content marketing and social media.
I’m proud of Special Sauce’s sad excuse for an Instagram account. I have intentionally chosen to focus our efforts on other platforms. Maybe I’ll pursue Instagram in the future, but I find our efforts much better placed elsewhere at the moment.
I took the time to cultivate a following for my previous agency on Instagram. It yielded zero clients in three years, but it required constant work.
And honestly, I can inexpensively advertise to the exact people I want to reach on Instagram. Why spend countless hours trying to grow this audience if I can reach them in a matter of minutes with some budget?
I chose to focus on platforms where my clients are looking for brand and marketing related content when I started Special Sauce. Medium, LinkedIn, my blog, my email, and now YouTube fit my skills and my audience.
People visit these platforms looking for answers to their brand and marketing problems. That’s what I’m good at providing.
Compare the results…
I landed a client in my first month of pushing out content for Special Sauce and have seen consistent new clients walk in the door. That’s far better than zero clients in three years of work on Instagram.
Your business may be the exact opposite of mine. Instagram is a perfect fit for many companies. I have a few clients where we see fantastic engagement and results from Instagram. I simply use Instagram as an example to prove my point.
The important thing to consider here is that every business, industry, and person is different. You have to find the platforms that fit your business and skills.
3. Why should people care about our content?
Compelling content makes people think, laugh, cry, or helps them solve problems. I’m dad funny, but I’m not funny. I’m empathetic, but I’m not going to draw tears with my writing or videos. That leaves me with two options, making people think and helping them solve problems.
These I can do.
I strive to produce content that is valuable enough to bookmark, share, and link to without asking. If people want to share my content, I know I’m doing my job.
Will you leverage humor, deep emotion, brain-bending insights, or solve problems? Decide why people should care about your content and consistently deliver.
Focus Over Hype
Answer the three questions above and you’ll be headed in the right direction. Don’t waste your time on a platform just because it’s the hot trend. Focus your efforts, be consistent, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
This plan is as simple as it gets, but that’s typically the best start for businesses new to content marketing. You can add layers of complexity once you’re consistently executing this simple plan.