» 5 Steps to Executing a Content Plan

5 Steps to Executing a Content PlanFor those paying attention to marketing trends, content marketing is the shiny “new” strategy. Only, it’s not new. The idea that writing high-quality, educational content can help you book more business has been around a long time, and it’s not going away any time soon! Your wedding business should come up with a content plan to help you walk people through your sales process.

Easier said than done, right? Below are five steps to help you start a content plan and maintain it this year and beyond!

1.  Conceptualize

Writing requires a good deal of forethought; there are a lot of things to think about before you open up a blank Word document. Before you dive in, take the time to think through the topic and its relationship with your audience. Is your idea something they want? Something they need? Something that will help them learn more about your business or the wedding industry? Answering these questions will help you decide if your topic will be popular with your audience. You should also consider the format of your content. A blog post can be short, sweet and informative, while a denser topic may require a longer format such as a guide or a white paper. Don’t limit yourself to one or two types of content – decide on the format on a case-by-case basis. If you need help coming up with topics and committing yourself to writing, see our post on jump starting your blogging efforts (applicable to other types of content as well!).

2.  Write

OK, now that you’re ready to write, write! If you’re prone to writer’s block, try skipping the introduction and coming back to it later when you have a better idea of how your piece will end up. Give yourself time to write and try not to self-edit as you go. You’ll have time to edit after you get all your ideas out! It’s also smart to have a coworker or employee look over your content to proofread for errors and give general thoughts on the way you expressed the topic. At the end of your post or article, be sure to include a call-to-action which instructs the reader what to do next. For more guidelines to help you write, check out this PR Daily content marketing checklist.

3.  Optimize

In order to help search engines find and identify your business’ content, you’ll need to optimize it. First, determine the right keywords to target for your business using our checklist. Then, incorporate those keywords in the title, content, description and tags wherever possible. The title of your content should be no more than 60 characters, and any description of your post should be 156 characters or fewer – these guidelines will ensure your content looks good in search results. When adding links to your content, be sure to make the link text descriptive (not just “click here”). Add links to your own blog or website when possible, and add links to external sources or websites where appropriate. Linking to refutable sources is another way to let search engines know that your content is trustworthy.

4.  Distribute

If you write an amazing blog post, guide or white paper, how will potential clients find it? Optimizing your content for search engines can only help you reach people searching on those keywords, so you’ll need to do a bit more work to get them to come to you! Distribute your content on your own social networks so your fans and followers will see it there. They can also share it with anyone else outside of your network if they think it’s valuable, which is key to reaching a broader group of people. Additionally, it’s a smart strategy to send your content to clients via email to bring it to their attention – this can be a newsletter or a more targeted approach for those who have showed an interest in your business. If you have business-to-business content rather than consumer-facing content, try sharing in any professional groups or associations you belong to. Use any channel open to you to get your content out there!

5.  Report

This step is often forgotten, but it’s the most important step in maintaining your content plan! In order to know if your content plan is working, you’ll need to analyze each attempt to see how it performs over time. You should see a general upward trend as you start a new strategy, since it will take time for your business to see some traction. Important places to measure the success of your plan would be your website or blog’s Google Analytics account, any email activity associated with your content (such as a newsletter) and insights via each social network on which you distribute your content – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and most other networks have their own analytics. These will give you a full picture of how people are finding your content, if they enjoy it and if they share it anywhere else. Learn more about how Google Analytics can help give insight into your website in our previous post.

Follow these steps and repeat for better content marketing this year! For more content help, head over to our Writing Tips section.