If there’s even a doubt for you, let me start by saying: content marketing is effective. Content marketing can achieve amazing results for your business.
With the right content strategy, you can attract an audience of highly qualified leads who are very similar to your ideal customer type.
Sharing your knowledge and expertise allows you to create trust with potential customers and to show them solutions for their pain points in an educational setting. Because of this, readers perceive you as a great resource of value and knowledge and not as someone who is trying to sell them something.
This allows you to generate leads for your business, get free media press coverage, get featured in other blogs, podcasts and build high-quality backlinks for your website.
To make content marketing work, you have to carefully craft your content strategy and plan out your topics in great details.
Now that we’re all clear on why content marketing is effective, let’s see what we’ll cover in this piece:
  1. Find your audience
  2. Find topics your audience will love
  3. Identify your best topics and themes
  4. Create your content mix
  5. Create your publishing schedule
  6. Theme of the month
  7. Theme of the week
  8. 7-Days, 7-topics
  9. Organize your topics with labels and categories
  10. Organize your content creation team
  11. Define your content creation process
  12. Create a content promotion marketing plan
  13. Publish and republish your content

Find your audience

Let’s talk about your ideal audience first.
Entire books have been written about creating a customer avatar for your ideal audience, so I am going to keep it brief.
Whether you’re targeting B2C or B2B customers, always target high-level decision makers and influencers for buying decisions.
Your audience should
  • Benefit from your products and services.
  • Be able to afford to pay for your products and services.
  • Be interested in learning and improving in areas that are covered by your content strategy.

 

Find topics that your audience will love

Now it is time to find topics and themes that your audience will love.
The best and most efficient way to find topics and themes that your audience is interested in is to talk to them. Check out your LinkedIn account and see who you are already connected with. If you have nobody in your direct network, check out your second level connection and ask one of the shared connections if they can make an introduction.
When you connect with someone, be curious and ask them questions about:
  • current pain points and challenges
  • desired outcomes and results
  • what topics and themes they’re reading
  • who are the influencers and content creators they follow in your industry
This will help you create a list of exciting topics that fall in the top left category.
For more inspiration, you can check out my article about storytelling with over 54 evergreen content ideas.

content marketing ideas diagram

 

Identify your best topics & themes

If the coffee chat went great and your counterpart got all excited, you probably have a very long list of potential topics.
Sadly we have to narrow it down a little bit for three reasons.
  • We don’t have the resources and knowledge to write about everything
  • Some topics are too generic which makes it more difficult to attract the right audience.
  • Other topics don’t allow us to qualify our readers into different buying temperatures.
First, we eliminate all topics that too complex and complicated and would require a ton of time for research and content creation.
Next, we think about each of the topics and evaluate if it allows us to make educated guesses such as: “If a reader is interested in topic A, they are most likely in stage 3 of our sales funnel”.
The goal is not to eliminate specific phases in your sales funnel. We just want to get rid of topics that give us no insights at all.
Once we are done, we group our topics by sales funnel stages.
A good content strategy should include content for all sales funnel stages.
A good content strategy should include content for all sales funnel stages. @iamtimqueen Click To Tweet

 

Create your content mix

If you only wrote about the same topic over and over again, you would exhaust your audience.
It is important to have a good content mix to maximize engagement.
Here is my content creation blueprint to stay organized:
  • Have a different theme for each month
  • Have a unique theme for each week based on the monthly theme
  • Have a different content type for each weekday

 

Create your publishing schedule

Before we go into more details, you should think about what kind of content and how many pieces of content you want to create per month.
Here are three scenarios, depending on your time and resources.
  • Bare minimum:
    • 1 article per month or 12 per year
    • 1 short form content per week or 52 per year
  • Recommendation:
    • 1 article per week or 52 per year
    • 2-3 short form content per week or 100-150 per year
  • Tim Queen level
    • 1 article per week or 52 per year
    • 2-3 videos per week, or 100-150 per year
    • 5-7 short form content per week or 250-365 per year

 

Theme of the month

Good themes are broad categories and allow you to create many subcategories.
Here is an example of 12 monthly themes for a content planning tool company:
  • Content Marketing
  • Content Strategy
  • Content Planning
  • Content Categories
  • How to create content
  • How to create content faster
  • How to rank your content in Google
  • How to get more engagement on your content
  • How to promote your content
  • How to hire great writers
  • How to design great visuals for social media
  • Best practices for social media networks

 

Theme of the week

Within each of the 12 monthly themes, you can easily select four sub-themes for each week.
As an example, let’s take “Best practices for social media networks”.
You can easily split this up into
  • Best practices for LinkedIn
  • Best practices for Facebook
  • Best practices for Instagram
  • Best practices for Medium

 

7-Days, 7-Topics

Here are seven ideas for themed days
  • Inspirational quote
  • How to guide
  • Q&A
  • News roundup of the week
  • Customer Spotlight
  • Review
  • Expert interview
SEE ALSO: 7 Brainstorming Techniques That Will Keep Your Social Media Content Flow Steady

 

Organize your topics with labels and categories

There are one million ways in which you can organize your content. One of the best tools to organize your content is Planable. It allows you to create different labels to categorize your content including color codes.
content marketing ideas planable social media collaboration platform with labels
I created
  • 7 labels for each of the themed days
  • 1 label per calendar month.
  • 1 label per calendar week.

 

Organize your content creation team

Now that you have a content strategy and an actionable plan for specific topics and themes it’s time to organize your team. No worries, if you’re just a one-person team! It just makes things easier for yourself! 🙂
Your entire team has to be on the same page.
They have to know what’s needed of them and when.
You have to assign topics of your content creation plan to specific writers of your team.
Each writing project should be planned carefully in at least three target metrics.
  • Number of words
  • Topics and theme
  • Content outline with 3-5 bullet point
  • Deadline when content has to be
    • managed
    • planned
    • researched
    • created/written
    • edited
    • reviewed
    • approved
    • published
  • Roles (You can assign all roles to yourself or different members of your team)
    • Who is the project manager
    • Who is creating the plan
    • Who is doing the research
    • Who is creating/curating visuals such as photos, infographics, graphs, diagrams or videos
    • Who is writing/creating the content
    • Who is editing the content
    • Who is reviewing the content
    • Who is approving the content
    • Who is publishing/scheduling the content
Once you have assigned all roles to the right person, it is time to dive deep into content creation.
SEE ALSO: 4 Major Content Marketing Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Social Media Campaign

 

Define your content creation process

After the content plan and publishing schedule have been defined, it’s time to set specific dates.
If you’ve decided to go for a weekly schedule here are the next steps
  • Set weekly publishing days and times
  • Decide on the final approval date: example at least 6 hours before publishing time
  • Work out the review timeline. For example, the first draft should be ready two weeks before publishing date to allow for one week of review time. Work out at least two edit rounds for review
  • Decide how much time is given to research + writing the article + sourcing for pictures + a catchy headline
  • The project manager should set up a weekly review meeting to ensure the scheduled publishing day and time is still on track
  • If you are doing video content, schedule filming dates. Work out the schedule of editing time, review and final approval.

 

Create a content promotion marketing plan

Work out your content marketing plan. Whether it’s sending out emails to your subscriber list or on social media platforms, the materials should be prepared in advance before the publishing date. This will help the marketing team to come up with the materials to promote it on more than 10 social media channels in the same time.
Don’t forget the marketing team! Your publishing schedule has to be communicated to every member of your marketing team.
Share the publishing schedule with your team in advance so they can create a buzz before the article or video is published.

 

Publish and republish your content

To maximize the value of each content piece, it is important to republish and reuse each piece of content multiple times.
I recommend the following reposting schedule for long-form content such as articles and videos:
  • 3 days later
  • 7 days later
  • 14 days later
  • 30 days later
  • 90 days later
  • 180 days later
  • 270 days later
  • 365 days later
You can use tools such as Planable to quickly schedule reposts in advance. This way you don’t have to worry about your schedule in the future. 🙂

planable social media collaboration content marketing ideas

 

Conclusion

Content marketing is one of the most effective marketing strategies today. Creating a constant flow of high quality and engaging content can be challenging. The solution lies in a streamlined content creation workflow, processes and systems and excellent communication with your content creation team.

 

 

Tim Queen Content Marketing Ideas
Tim Queen is the #1 Inbound Marketing Strategist on LinkedIn and influencer with 28,000+ followers. He created Vivid Talks and hosts the 100 Strategies Podcast Show. Follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter