In our last post, we discussed how to create a content marketing strategy for your business. Today, we’re looking at a similar, but different idea – how to create your content marketing game plan.
You might be thinking, “What’s the difference?”
The difference is that your strategy is looking at your marketing goals and objectives and determining opportunities and potential content angles to pursue.
The game plan gets more specific and dives into the exact tasks and steps for a specific time period.
We prefer to build 3 month game plans, because if you do it monthly you’ll be surprised at how quickly the cycle keeps coming back around.
Why Do you Need a Content Marketing Game Plan?
The game plan is critical for content marketing success. The most common complaint I hear from marketers who haven’t succeeded with content is that it’s so hard to remain consistent.
Consistency is more important than just about anything with content marketing. Think about it. A big thing you are trying to do with content marketing is establish trust. You want to educate your potential clients and help them in a way that they believe in you.
When you are inconsistent with content and they can see from your website that you’ve tried content but stopped several times, they immediately have a little seed of doubt about your reliability and follow-through.
When you are publishing consistently you exude professionalism and organization, which creates confidence.
Consistency is the reason why a game plan is so important. If you ever want to publish consistently, you have to sit down and make a plan.
If you decide you are going to commit to content creation and will plan to block out time every so often for writing – you’ll always lose those blocks.
Content creation is never an urgent item. It isn’t going to get a client off your back. It isn’t going to produce immediate revenue. So when you’re left to getting around to it, you’ll always put off creating content.
The only way to succeed is to create a 3 month game plan with a list of tasks and scheduled times to tackle those tasks.
Then, you simply follow the game plan, and you’re off to creating consistent content.
What Does a Content Marketing Game Plan Look Like?
Ok, so you’re ready to build the game plan. Let’s start with two key facts.
- Quality beats quantity every time.
- Consistency beats quantity every time, too.
Most of the time we overestimate how much content we can produce and set an overly ambitious publishing schedule. “I’ll post 3 times per week for the next three months.”
First of all, if you’ve not been posting at all, jumping to three times per week is setting yourself up for failure.
Secondly, focusing on a high number of posts creates a focus on hitting “publish,” and can create a tendency to put subpar work out there. If your content is generic and pointless, it won’t do anything and you might as well not create it.
A better approach is once per week or even twice per month of high quality posts. Try to make them between 800 to 1200 words because that’s long enough to be authoritative, but short enough to consume in one sitting.
The key is quality and consistency.
You’ll also want to build a lead magnet into your game plan. If you’re planning on posting weekly, you may have enough bandwidth to create a new lead magnet monthly.
If you’re posting an article every 2 weeks, than maybe you create a lead magnet quarterly.
Either way, you’re building a plan to stick to and deliver on.
Let’s follow through with the first example – publishing weekly with a lead magnet monthly. Your game plan can look like this.
Tues. Week 1: New Post
Tues. Week 2: New Post
Fri. Week 2: Launch White paper
Tues. Week 3: New Post w/ white paper CTA
Tues. Week 4: New post w/ white paper CTA
You can then repeat that flow for the next two months.
I love a game plan like that because in your planning, you’ll be very intentional about what big topic you can focus on for your lead magnet.
Then you create articles that match the opportunities found in your strategy, and are a natural flow for taking action to downloading your whitepaper.
If you can have a new lead magnet every month, you’ll stay fresh in the eyes of your audience and can even use these assets to re-engage with your cold lists or bottom-of-funnel prospects.
Not every business has resources to create at this pace, so if you don’t set yourself up for success.
You can definitely set up a game plan with a quarterly lead magnet and two posts per month and have success.
That would be much better than being aggressive and quitting after three weeks.
Your Social Media Game Plan
Like content publishing, your social media strategy also needs a game plan. If you don’t set a plan, you’ll put it off and be scattered and inconsistent.
Once again – consistency and quality are the key with social.
At Full Stadium, we use Buffer for social media which allows us to schedule all of our social content in advance.
We use the 10/4/1 method recommended by Hubpsot. What that means is you have a ratio of 10 helpful posts sharing someone else’s content / 4 posts sharing your own content / 1 post with a direct call to action for your business.
You can download a social media publishing template from Hubspot here.
The beauty of this rhythm is that in the 10 posts of other people’s content, we recommend sharing people who are in your ecosystem who will notice you being a cool person and you catch their attention.
If you have the 10/4/1 method in mind, then creating a game plan is pretty simple. You can block time every Monday to build out the social posts for the week, and get them all scheduled pretty quickly.
You’ll still be listening and networking throughout your week, but the foundational publishing is already taken care of and guarantees you a consistent, quality presence.
One Last Time: Be Consistent!
You’ve heard it enough by now. The goal is to be consistent. So if you’ve decided you want to start diving into content marketing, don’t start creating content.
First get your strategy and goal set, then build out your publishing game plan.
With the game plan in place, you’ll be ready to execute your content and become that thought leader your audience is looking for!