There’s one thing all marketers agree on: content marketing is essential.

And more and more companies are building their strategies around it.

Marketers learned that modern customers are curious, have the desire to learn new things and have experience in their respective fields.

That’s what makes content marketing the ultimate marketing strategy.

Content marketing is a reliable way to present your services and products to prospects, along with useful and relevant information, demonstrating you know what your customers want.

This way, when buyers reach out to the sales team, they already know what they want, as they have researched and read about it.

Which makes your sales reps job much easier.

Now.

This ideal scenario only happens if you develop a good content marketing plan.

If you still don’t know how to work out a content marketing plan, don’t worry, that’s exactly what we’ll cover in today’s post.

Keep reading to learn what you should be aware of when designing a content marketing plan for your customers.

One Must Do Before Even Getting Started

Before getting started, we need to agree on 2 points:

1 – Content marketing is not an isolated initiative. Content marketing is a continuous, ongoing effort.

2 – Your content shouldn’t be focused on your products or services, but on your customer’s needs.

Namely, it should educate them about their needs and help them understand how your solution can help them.

Accordingly, the first step to design an effective content marketing plan is knowing your customers.

You might need to analyze some data in order to understand your audience or even do a more personal directed research.

Running an analysis of your content performance is a good start. So is checking the results of previous campaigns, looking for patterns and trends that worked out well.

Collecting this data will help you answer some fundamental questions, such as:

  • Who am I writing for?

  • What kind of content do my prospects read?

  • Why is the content I’m producing worthy of attention?

  • Is my content offering solutions to my clients’ problems?

  • Is my content being advertised on the platforms my clients visit?

  • Is my content inspiring customers to take action?

Answer those questions and you’ll be half way into creating a great content marketing plan.

1. Understand Your Goal

The end goal of every business is making more customers and grow.

However, the path to growth is not that straightforward and it can be broken down in several steps, from attracting new visitors to turning them into leads and so on.

Given that, you need to know your goal, and, in case you are developing a content strategy for a customer, what your customer’s goal is.

Creating personas is a good tool for that.

Come up with a questionnaire that covers questions related to:

  • the customer’s history

  • the responsibilities of the company

  • what products or services they sell

  • who they sells for

  • what challenges and obstacles they face

Challenges and obstacles are key to a good content marketing plan, and the content you produce can also address these issues and provide solutions to them.

Knowing your client’s habits and interests is also helpful to improve the interaction with the sales team.

The more in-depth the questions and the research, the more aligned and engaging your content will be.

Last but not least, be sure to check if your client is consistently creating content in order to keep the audience interested. Sometimes your client may be writing content, but not directing it to the right persona.

2. Align Expectations

Elaborating a content marketing plan has to do with relationships.

Your client only came to you because of the credibility and trust you have and that relationship will only last if it is nurtured.

There is only one way to maintain a solid relationship with your customer: aligning expectations.

A customer’s disappointment and frustration can put an end to the agency’s negotiations.

That’s why a well-structured briefing is essential, as well as a very detailed timeline attached to the content marketing plan.

This will make the client’s expectations clear (briefing) and when you intend to deliver (schedule).

This alignment brings peace of mind to both the agency and the client, allowing the plan to flow the right way, with no surprises.

3. Define the Scope of Your Work

Speaking of expectations, it is very important to make the scope of the work very clear when designing the content marketing plan.

Be clear about everything that will be produced and about when it will be delivered (and also what will not be).

If this information is not sufficiently clear, schedule and budget problems may come up.

The scope will also allow the workflow of all the teams involved in the agency’s project to flow.

The actions can be more detailed and there will be no space for problems with deadlines.

This can also stop Interference from internal or external sources, bringing more productivity and efficiency to the content creation process.

Don’t forget to make it clear to the client who will take part to the project and what the responsibilities of each person are.

If you have a content manager, an editor and a team of writers, explain that each have their own individual skills, deadlines and responsibilities.

4. Analyze Costs 

Another key point you have to address is the cost of the work.

It is important to be transparent and to make all the costs and processes involved clear.

Be careful while pricing as not to leave anyone out, especially if you work with freelance professionals.

It is important to know the prices of all the professionals involved, including your internal staff.

You can set a price based on the hours worked or per piece of content, which helps making it clear to the customer how much each stage of the process costs.

Do not forget to set the price of mentoring sessions and implementations of other aspects prior to the production of content, such as creation of the buyer persona, buyer’s journey, keyword planning, etc.

5. Benchmarking and Markup

Make sure you include markup in your content marketing plan.

Markup is the applied index on the cost of the service or product to calculate the sales price.

When it comes to showing values to the customer, it is important that you are making profits and not just covering your costs.

So it is essential to know your markup.

Doing benchmarking with other companies of your region that work with the same type of customer as you do is also a good idea.

This way you’ll know if your price is high, low or average.

6. Build a Good Presentation

Appearance matters.

It’s no use having a good content marketing plan if it’s not presented right.

Your need a killer personalized presentation that brings good graphic material to help you sell.

Bring up your client’s challenges and obstacles when presenting your content marketing plan.

Use the difficulties and problems reported in the beginning to show them that content marketing is a good way to solve them.

Also, make clear what the outreach channels are and the best calls to action (CTAs).

Give examples of rich text and rich material already produced, present successful cases.

Work with the sales funnel to make it clear to the customer that content needs to be constant, but only if it’s the right content at the right time.

Finally, show them that your agency is prepared to put all o this into practice and is capable of handling this methodology.

Reminding them in your content marketing plan that you need to get to know each other, work together and align expectations, and plan a good timeline for results is also a good idea that can prevent stress in the future.

Still have questions about how to prepare your Content Marketing Plan? Contact us to learn more about how to come up with the best strategy to help you on your journey towards great results in content marketing!