If you read our last post about content marketing, you know how important it is, but now it’s time to dive a bit deeper on how to actually put this technique to good use. It’s important to give your content a purpose – that’s why building a content strategy is crucial and can help you determine how to manage all of the amazing content you create. Content can definitely just live on your site, but with a solid strategy in place, it can reach more consumers and can even help you generate leads. Let’s take a look at a 6 steps for building your content plan/strategy and how to get the most bang for your buck:
1. Set Your Goals/Mission: Setting goals is an important part of any business strategy, and it’s no different when building out a content plan. We often focus on the how, but it’s also crucial to look at the why. So, why are you investing in content marketing? What are your content goals? How are you measuring them? Determine your goals and the KPIs you want to track right off the bat. Some examples could be:
- Increase in site traffic
- Enhanced SEO
- Increased Brand Awareness
- Social Engagement
Setting this information right away allows you to define your expectations and determine what success looks like. If you’re not hitting these benchmarks down the road, it might be time to re-evaluate your strategy.
2. Determine Your Audience: Knowing who you are reaching is an important step in creating a content plan. Start off by conducting a bit of research on your consumers. Who is your average buyer and what do their demographics look like (age, gender, education, income, etc.)? If you have social platforms, take a look at your top-performing pieces of content to see what your audience is most receptive to. If you haven’t posted consistently on social before, you can always rely on other industry pubs for supplemental articles to get you started. Gathering this information on the forefront can help you determine who your buyers are and what content they will likely engage with in the future.
3. Determine Your Channels: There are multiple ways to distribute content and different types of content perform better on different channels. Once you determine your audience, you can also start to track “where they are hanging out” so you can better target them. Some of the more common channels for distribution include:
- Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.)
- Your website/blog
Keep in mind, you can always adapt one piece of content to perform well on various channels. Say you have an article on “Top 5 Things to Look For When Buying a Dozer” – you could turn that blog post into 5 different posts on social and add it into your email newsletter. Feel free to play with your content to see what your consumers like.
4: Think of Content Ideas and PRODUCE: Once you’ve determined your audience/channels and set your goals, it’s time to get to work. There are a variety of content types to choose from, including blog posts, infographics, videos, podcasts, photos, social posts, and more. Look for examples of each and see which types would best fit with your audience and goals. If you’re unsure, try out a variety of content types and see which mediums your consumers engage the most. Keep in mind that consumers on different mediums may prefer different types of content, so it’s good to develop a wide variety.
Once you’ve selected the type of content you want to run with – it’s time to produce. Some pieces of content are going to take longer than others, and that’s okay. If you’re unsure what to post, consider our key questions to guide content development. Good content takes time, but if you need something to post quickly, share articles from industry resources and leaders, and take a look at Equipment Trader’s blog for sharable content. Just always remember to give credit to your sources.
If you’re not sure how to create content, check out a few of our favorite free tools:
- Canva: Canva allows you to easily create and edit images to share on social, blog posts, and more. The app also lets you create banners, brochures, presentations – you name it, Canva can do it. This is one of our favorite tools and we highly recommend checking it out.
- Animaker: This tool lets you create high-quality animated videos. With this program, you can create multiple video types and can even create infographic videos.
- iMovie: If you have an iOS device, iMovie is a great tool for creating and sharing videos. While this tool can seem intimidating, it’s actually very straight forward and there are a number of good training videos out there you can reference to get started.
- Kapwing: Have a hilarious idea for an equipment-themed meme? Kapwing allows you to easily create memes by simply uploading a photo and adding text – these are fun for social sharing.
- Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator: It can be hard to think of blog ideas, but that’s where Hubspot’s Blog Generator comes in. This tool is full of unique topics and ideas that will pertain to your specific business.
- Audacity: Curious about starting a podcast for your business? Make your vision a reality with Audacity. This tool is a free, open-source, cross-platform audio software for multi-track recording and editing. Remember – you’re an industry expert, so this is a great way to share your knowledge.
Create a Calendar – Once you’ve picked your distribution channels and built up your content library – it’s time to distribute what you’ve written. Creating a content calendar is a great way to (1) ensure you are posting consistently on a wide variety of topics, (2) get all of your content scheduled, and (3) identify the writers within your organization that are passionate about a topic to break up the workload. This could be as simple as using an online calendar or spreadsheet to determine content due/scheduling dates, but if you are posting a lot of content you might want to look into a content management tool. CoSchedule is a content calendar for WordPress users that helps keeps you organized while saving you time. With this tool, you can collaborate, schedule, and even automate your posts.
Track Performance – Last but not least, after you post your content, it’s important to keep track of how it’s performing. To do this, you’ll want to take a look back at the original goals and KPIs you set in place for your content marketing strategy. Determine if you’re meeting those targets and if you’re not, feel free to tweak your strategy and test new methods – it’s all about finding what works best for your business.
Content is a powerful tool and we hope these tips encourage you to plan your very own content strategy for selling more backhoes, chippers, or whatever else your dealership sells. Have any content-related questions? Feel free to drop us a line in the comment section below – we’d love to help.
About the Author
Emily is a Content Curator for Trader Interactive, serving the recreational brands RV Trader and Cycle Trader. She strives to provide dealers with practical insights they can use to help reach their business goals.