Content marketing is one of the best ways to drive traffic to a website and build brand awareness. According to a study by Demand Metric, 70% of consumers prefer to learn about a company through a blog post rather than a traditional advertisement.
Creating quality content for your clients is essential, but the quantity and consistency of your posting matters, too. If you and your clients are planning out content month-to-month, you may find that you burn out on content quickly with short-lived results.
By creating a long term content plan, you are building trust with the target audience, further developing your client’s brand voice, and are able to provide the audience with authentic and helpful content.
What is Long Term Content Planning?
Long term content planning is an overall roadmap to identify what goals and objectives your client has for their content initiatives for the year. Determining goals in this process allows for strategic planning around content creation, keyword planning, and social media engagement.
Why Is Long Term Content Planning Important?
When you create a long term content plan, you are making an intentional effort to create content that will be relevant and appeal to the target audience. Content creation should not be a short term tactic to gain new customers quickly. It is about building trust with the audience over time and giving them valuable content without any strings attached.
Having a long term plan in place can help you (and your clients) understand where the content strategy is headed. A long term plan also allows your clients to collaborate on content writing or social creation if they can provide specific industry insight.
Planning content a year out may seem daunting, but it will actually help you to stay consistent and organized. More importantly, it allows your team to plan for keywords your client wants to rank for. While every agency has a slightly different process when it comes to content planning, the following steps are a great way to start creating a long-term content plan.
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6 Steps for Long Term Content Planning
1. Set Your Goals
The first step in long term content planning is to set your goals and objectives. After speaking with your clients and meeting with your team, take a moment to think about what you would like to achieve with your content strategy. What goals do you have for your content and how might you achieve them?
Common long-term performance-based goals often look something like:
- Increase website visits by 25% by the end of the year
- Increase website conversions by 10% by the end of the year
- Increase leads generated from social media content by 15% this quarter
- Rank for specific keywords by 6-8 months
Creating specific objectives can motivate you and your team as you create content. It also helps to better organize your time and resources. Once you have goals in mind, begin to research the kind of content you need to create to achieve them. This often starts with identifying the client’s target audience and defining a“buyer’s journey.”
2. Research the Audience
Before you can start to create great content, you need to know who you are creating it for. Putting in research on your client’s target audience can help you to create quality content that will really resonate.
Your client may already have target audience profiles in mind. If not, you may need to work with them to build some. There are a number of demographic factors to consider when building a customer persona, including:
Use all of this information to build customer profiles. Once you’ve created these profiles, you can work through a “buyer’s journey” and identify the content that will reach users at each step of the marketing funnel. This will also help you to create content that you know visitors will find valuable.
3. Review Past Content
Conduct a content audit review of any content you’ve created for your client in the past. This process involves organizing your published content by title, buyer’s journey stage, marketing funnel stage, format, and audience persona. Organizing and reviewing old content prevents you from creating content that is too similar, as well as reviewing which posts received the most customer engagement.
This strategy can be used to identify older blogs that can link to newer posts for inbound links. You may even choose to rework some old posts, if they are receiving attention through keyword ranking. A content audit will identify gaps and/or missed opportunities in the current content management strategy.
4. Brainstorm New Ideas
A great way to get new ideas for content is to ask your client’s audience directly using a brief survey. In the survey, you can include a variety of questions, such as:
- What content from our website do you enjoy most?
- Which content do you wish there was more (or less) of?
- On our social media accounts, do you feel that we post too often or not often enough?
- What topics [in your client’s industry] would you like to learn more about?
Asking your client’s audience what content they want to see can take some of the guesswork out of content planning and allow you to fine-tune your strategy.
Another method of brainstorming new ideas is to research your client’s competitors to see what content they are creating and sharing. This type of research keeps your clients up-to-date on current trends and allows for them to share their industry specific perspective.
5. Pick Tools to Organize and Share Your Content
Another important part of creating new content ideas is finding ways to organize them. Content collection tools can help you and your clients keep all of your content in one place, without the hassle of sharing documents or sending them through email. Platform sharing tools can also automate your content posting schedule on a variety of social media platforms, like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
You may choose to mix and match multiple content tools. As you work, test them out to see if they work for your agency and clients. To further streamline the process, you can opt for a software that combines multiple tools into one single platform.
Some great platforms for automated social sharing include: Buffer, Hootsuite, Later, CoSchedule, and MeetEdgar. You can also use Facebook Page Manager directly to schedule out posts on your client’s Facebook page
6. Determine Posting Pattern
An important part of creating a long term content plan is deciding what posting pattern you will use (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly). Posting frequency largely depends on your client’s industry and individual goals.
Once you determine how often you will be posting for your client, you can begin content mapping for each quarter or month – however your team chooses to create new posts.
Consistency is Key
No matter what posting schedule or content management tools you choose, it is important to stay consistent and try to follow the structure you’ve laid out for your client. Along with the many other advantages of long term planning, this structure will support your agency to be better prepared to meet your client’s needs and help them achieve their goals.