Having a master plan is vital to a strong content marketing strategy. The dictionary definition of master plan tells us that it is a plan giving comprehensive guidance or instruction. A further description includes the phrase “long-term.”
But perhaps the word that is the most significant is “master.” A master plan is about more than merely creating a plan for the types of content you want to produce in a given time span, whether it is a month, a quarter, or a year.
What you really want to consider are your long-term goals in terms of customer engagement.
Here’s a closer look at how to develop a winning content marketing master plan.
Short-Term Outcomes Versus Long-Term Strategy — The Difference
There’s an important distinction between short-term outcomes and long-term strategies. For example, you may aim to sell a certain number of tickets to an event with an advertising campaign that runs for several weeks. That is a short-term outcome for which you develop specific content.
Conversely, your long-term strategy may be to raise overall awareness about these types of events. So your content marketing master plan will include several different content pieces that highlight your events more broadly, building interest long before a particular event is ready to launch.
As you can see, the short-term outcomes tie into the longer-term strategy, or at least dovetail into it. Ultimately, the content you create may serve a short-term purpose, but that purpose should always be connected to your long-term strategy.
Change Is Inevitable. Are You Planning for It?
Have you thought about what would happen if the social media platform where you have your biggest audience shut down unexpectedly and indefinitely? Would your organization lose a large part of its online community?
Social media platforms come and go. For that reason, you need to have a content marketing master plan that goes beyond social media.
Think about your long-term goals and start planning out the best way to create community in such a way that your audience will remain with you for the long-term, regardless of what happens to whatever platforms you’re currently engaging with.
The best way to do this is through your website, and especially through email. You can use your email database on any platform, including Google, if need be. Even if your email platform fails, you can easily find another that will deliver direct communication to your audience.
Think about your content master plan as risk-proofing your content marketing for the long-term.
How Can You Elevate Your Brand Awareness?
“Content Marketing is a strategic method of creating and delivering very valuable and relevant content to a specific audience which leads to brand awareness and conversion,” according to Manisha Sukhyani.
An excellent content marketing master plan ensures that your content will continue to be highly valuable, story-driven, and will reach the one person you know wants your service or product. Your master plan may contain a topic that you want to focus on for a two- or even three-year period, interlinking different pieces of content to drive overall brand awareness.
For example, if you want to reach people who feel lonely, you might plan a content strategy with videos, podcasts, and blog posts that touch on loneliness among teenagers, in relationships, for single mothers, for the elderly, and for those without close family members.
Planning out this content for the long-term will give you a content-rich map to engage with many different people. Yet, the entire time, you are building awareness around loneliness and setting yourself apart as the brand that helps people through it.
Having a content marketing master plan also allows you to consider branching out into different media channels that you hadn’t considered before. For example, you may not have a podcast right now, but as part of your longer-term planning, a podcast may be a great way to reach a different audience group to further raise brand awareness.
How to Develop Your Content Marketing Master Plan
1. Determine your long-term goals. It’s ideal to have two or three documented long-term goals that contribute to your overall content strategy. Make those goals clear and measurable.
2. Be clear on your purpose. What do you want to achieve by engaging with and growing your audience? Being clear on your purpose — the why behind what you do — makes defining your content strategy easier.
3. Setup or define some measurement metrics. How will you know that your content marketing is working long-term? Is it that you have more people regularly attending your events? Or is it that your content is being read by more daily viewers? Be clear and set the measurement metrics.
4. What niche do you want to stand out in? Define the space in which you wish to have the most significant brand awareness. Think of it as defining the one specific person you’re talking to whenever you develop content.
5. Outline your content topic area. Define your content topic area, the one place you will add value through your content.
6. Draft a content marketing schedule that embraces all of the items in #1-5. Draft a publishing schedule that captures everything you identified by answering the questions above. Answering those questions will give you clarity on the types of content you wish to publish. Remember not to focus primarily on the platforms. The aim is to develop a plan of content development, which will then be distributed through platforms such as blog posts, articles, videos, audio, and social media posts. Think strategically about how to develop a long-term plan that will empower your success without relying too heavily on one platform.
7. Place all of the material you develop in a master document. This is your content marketing master plan. This can be a living document that is adjusted based on your audience engagement. For example, you may choose to spend more time engaging with one audience group, because you’ve determine they’re the ones who need your services most, while your original plan may have had you focusing on more than one audience group.
The greatest benefit of having a content marketing master plan is being able to monitor the outcomes of what you are producing. Then you can use your time to develop content that makes an impact and creates the brand awareness you desire.