Planning is an essential step for success when it comes to marketing. Too often, marketers shoot into the dark, casting a wide net, hoping to reel in as many leads as possible. Not only is this method of marketing inefficient, but it also can result in a lot of inquiries that stall out, leads that are mismatched for the type of services or products a company provides, or leads without the resources to pay for the services or products offered.
By taking the time to plan when and where content and social media marketing efforts will be made, you can ensure that you’re reaching your target audience, and by extension, increase the likelihood that you are speaking to those most likely to pay for your products and services. Here’s a recipe for a content and social media marketing plan that will help you to reach your marketing sweet spot.
One Buyer Persona
Who is your company trying to reach? The best thing to do, before deciding what you will write and where you will write it, is to determine who your ideal lead is. This is the person who will need what you are offering and who will be willing to pay for what you are offering. There are a few ways to go about doing this. Ideally, you will look at those who have already purchased your products or services and extract commonalities from those individuals.
One Helping of Research
Once you’ve determined what sorts of people are most likely to buy your products, it’s time to reach out to those people and interview them. You can do this by questioning current clients, leads, and referrals. During the interview, you’ll want to ask about their backgrounds and preferences, trying to gain as much information as possible about what led them to seek out your services in the first place.
One Buyer Persona Reference Sheet
Create a reference sheet based upon the information you gathered. Use real quotes, information about the individual’s background, and notes about the sorts of problems that your buyer is trying to solve.
Several Dashes of Well-Targeted Content
Once you’ve created your buyer persona, you can start to craft content that speaks to that audience. How can your products or services solve the person’s problems? What solutions have you found to other problems they face that relate to your industry? What are some of the questions that came up concerning your industry that you could answer in a blog post or a white paper? Once you have an idea of who your buyers are, you can come up with a well-spring of content that is targeted directly to their needs and their problems.
Several Sprigs of Social Media Posts That Meet Personas Where They Are
Did you find out during your interviews that your buyer personas never use Google+? If so, don’t waste your time trying to cultivate an audience on the platform. If 70% of your target audience is on Twitter every day, spend 70% of your social media marketing efforts on Twitter. Nothing is much worse than speaking to an empty room. What are the things that your buyer personas are liking and sharing? What sorts of posts do they comment on? Take note of where they are, what posts speak to them, and like and share some of the same posts in addition to sharing your own content.
One Serving of Re-Shared Evergreen Content
While some content and social media posts will be time-bound, it’s also important to be sure that some of your content is evergreen. In case you’re not familiar with “evergreen content,” it’s content that’s relevant no matter what the season or year. These posts and white papers will be the cornerstones of your content and social media marketing efforts. You’ll want to share and re-share these posts over time to reach the largest possible group embodying your target audience.
Mix it All into One Plan, Complete with Schedule and Budget Information
Once you’ve researched and created your buyer personas, found where your audience hangs out online, and created outlines for what sorts of content you will post and share, it’s time to put it into marketing plan form. Here is a general outline for how to create your content and social media marketing plan.
Summary of Your Plan
Target audience – Here is where you will include all that golden buyer persona information.
Distinguishing point of view or Unique selling point – Here is where you put that information about the type of content you will offer that solves the problems and answers the questions that your target audience has.
Sharing plan – Here is where your content schedule goes. You’ll also include information about what social media platforms will be used, how often posts will go up, and how often you’ll reshare evergreen content.
Search engine strategy – Remember when you got all that great background information about your target audience? This section is where you will discuss the types of keywords they’re likely to use in searching for solutions to their problems and answers to their questions.
Goals and analytics – What goals do you have for conversion with your content and social media efforts? How will you track your progress toward those goals? Where are you at currently in terms of readers, page views, followers, etc.? Record all of this information for benchmarking when you need to refer to how successful you’ve been after implementing your plan.
Adjust According to Need
If you find something isn’t working for you, scrap it. If you learn of a new venue, create a strategy for how you will share there and try it out. It’s important to remember that plans are flexible – they really are living documents. By being responsive to what’s working and what isn’t working, you can be sure that the efforts you put into your plan aren’t wasted.
Ronda Bowen – Content Creator
Not sure where or how to start? Contact us today and let us help you with your marketing plan and strategy.