Don’t have a content marketing plan that works or one at all? Here’s what you need to do now.
No matter what industry you’re in, you need a marketing plan that drives sales and creates income. The big mistake that a lot of solopreneurs make is not having a content marketing strategy at all. Because they’re often juggling so many balls just trying to get clients and grow their businesses, marketing happens last-minute.
Does this sound like you?
Out of desperation, you put “something” out there—a last-minute blog article, a social media post, an email to your list, hoping and praying that it will make a difference. There’s no strategy around how that blog article, post or email will actually result in money in the bank, but you do it anyway because you think doing something is better than nothing.
You’re taking a “throw spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks” or “hope and pray” approach, both of which waste a lot of time and a lot of effort. It won’t lead to the kind of results that you want to have in your business, but it will lead to a lot of frustration.
You deserve better.
Let’s dive into the first step of creating a client-attracting, money-in-the-bank marketing plan the easy way.
Step 1: Decide on what your paid offers will be and when you’ll make them
Getting really clear on how you’re going to create money in your business throughout the year is the first critical step. When creating your content marketing plan, you have to start with the end in mind. Do you offer your services, programs or products? Which revenue-generating programs, products or services will you be offering? How are you going to create money in your business?
You have to know specifically what you’re selling and when you’re selling it at a specific intervals throughout the year. The goal is for you to create consistent income or consistent periods of income from your marketing efforts and that takes planning.
Let’s say you want to launch a new group program. You’ll have a big marketing push to fill your program, so the first step is to put your program launch date on your calendar. Everything that you do during the three months leading up to your program launch will be planned out to promote your program and brand in a very specific way. That’s why the first step is knowing exactly what your offers will be and putting them on your calendar.
Action Step: Write your offers on your calendar
If your marketing plan right now is willy-nilly, spaghetti at the wall marketing plan, I want you to look at what it is that you want to sell for the next 12 months.
- What are you going to be launching?
- What are you going to be promoting?
- What are you going to be selling that makes you money?
- When are you going to be doing each?
Then write these on your calendar and plan out when and how you’re going to promote sales of each.
Step 2: Create monthly content themes
Blank page syndrome. It afflicts not just writers but entrepreneurs staring at an empty calendar they need to fill with content that helps promote their products and services. Until I developed the process I’m sharing with you here, I was all-too-familiar with that knot-in-the-stomach feeling caused by not knowing what to say or share that will result in more clients and money in the bank. If you’re putting out content on a regular basis, it takes a lot of effort and you certainly want to see a return on all of that hard work. Monthly themes help you organize your thoughts around what you’re promoting each quarter.
Let’s continue with the example of launching your own program or online course. Say you choose the second week of September as your program’s start date. All of the marketing you do and content you put out in June, July and August should support awareness of your program and enrollment once you open the doors for registration. Everything needs to be sequenced in a way that makes sense for your ideal clients and choosing monthly content themes makes that process a lot easier.
Action Step: Write out your monthly themes
Start by looking at your program’s topics. Just as you logically map out the learning journey for your program’s student, you’ll map out your content for that month.
- What would someone need to know first?
- What’s the logical next step?
- What topic would they’d want to know about next?
Step 3: Brainstorm topics for your individual content pieces
Now you’re going to give your marketing plan more detail. Brainstorm at least three topics around your monthly themes. What can you talk about that would be a value to your audience, what would they love to hear about and what do they need to learn in order to get past a challenge or to stop struggling with something that’s getting in their way?
One method of doing this is to create a mind map around each monthly theme. You can simply draw your mind map on paper or use an online tool like MindMeister to organize your thoughts.
To continue with the example, let’s say that the program you’ll be launching is all about how to attract and book more clients.
- What are the things related to getting clients that you could talk about?
- What are the questions that your ideal clients may be asking themselves?
- Is there a resource list or checklist on how to get more clients that you could provide?
- What’s a blog post that you could write?
- Could you take a controversial standpoint to getting clients and do a livestream on that?
- Do you have a surprising method on how to get clients?
If you execute this correctly and consistent in putting yourself out there and getting visible then clients are connecting with you and finding you and signing up to your program or course or signing up to work with you. That’s how you put money in the bank.
Action Step: Create a mind map or list of ideas around each of your monthly themes
Write down associated ideas or topics and ways you can deliver them for each of your monthly themes, either by sketching them out on a mind map or by making a list, if that’s more your style.
Step 4: Organize your planned content
When creating your marketing plan, organize each piece of content into a sequence that creates a logical journey for your dream clients to follow but which also supports the sale or the promotion of your program, product or service. Approach organizing your content from the perspective of the ultimate result you want your content consumers to get from each month of content you put out. What do you want them to learn or be able to do as a result of consuming your content?
Then work backward from that ultimate result and think, “What’s the step that I would need to give them or what would I need to share with them right before that in order for them to achieve that result?” Put your content in order and then walk through it as if you were your ideal client. Does it make sense? Are there any big gaps that might confuse your reader or listener?
One last tip: You may have come up with a lot more ideas in Step 3 than you can fit into each month. Some of them might not make sense for that particular month once you start sequencing your content and should be saved for a later date. The content that makes the cut should (1) address the top-of-mind problems or challenges your potential clients face, (2) reflect the solutions they’re looking for right now and (3) position your program, product, service or lead magnet as the next logical step for your content consumer to take.
Action Step: Create your content marketing schedule
Once you’ve decided on what content you’ll produce each month, organize it into a content marketing plan with each piece of content scheduled to be distributed on a specific day. If you’re tight on time, start with putting out one piece of content each week. When you’ve reached the point where you’re consistently producing weekly content, work up to twice weekly and so on. Don’t make the mistake of trying do too much if producing quality content consistently is new for you. It’s better to create one piece of fantastic content each week than to distribute several that don’t really measure up.
Step 5: Get your content in front of your target audience
The last critical step to creating a client-attracting, money-in-the-bank content marketing plan is to get your content in front of your target audience. If you create the most amazing piece of content, but no one sees it, you’re not going to make any sales as a result of all the work you’ve done…so let’s make sure you do!
There are literally hundreds of ways to make your content visible to your audience. The key to avoiding feeling overwhelmed is to consciously choose how you want to market your content and your brand and to focus on mastering one to three methods. So how do you choose which visibility method is right for you?
First, determine how your dream clients best like to consume content. Do they love to watch videos, listen to podcasts or read blog posts? Deliver your content in a way they most love to receive it.
Second, find out where your target audience lives online. Are they on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest most? Which blogs or websites do they frequent? You’ve got to market where your audience already is, then start with the method that’s most popular for them.
Third, get creative in how you can interact with your target audience on those platforms. In what ways can you increase the levels of engagement with your content and your brand?
Lastly, show up consistently in those places. Again, consistency will lead to more people discovering you and your content and drive sales.
Action Step: Decide on your content marketing strategy
- In which formats are you going to provide your content?
- Where are you going to distribute your content?
- How are you going to increase engagement with your content and brand?
Then, create your plan for getting your content in front of your target audience and put it into action so you can serve more people and make great money doing it!
No matter what business you’re in, having a solid content marketing strategy in place will help you attract more of your ideal clients and grow your number of paying customers faster.
Christine Parma helps ambitious women entrepreneurs who are fiercely committed to creating profitable businesses they love and lives they love even more. Step by step she shows you how to grow your business without working 24/7, missing out on precious time with your loved ones or sacrificing what matters most to you. With the right strategies and systems in place, you can do what you love, get paid what what you’re worth and have the kind of life you dream about. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
Ready to make business work and work for your life? Learn more about what we can do together (click here).