How to Plan Your Content in 5 Top Steps

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The importance of good quality content on your ecommerce site cannot be underestimated. Your consumers today are empowered, in control and telling brands where, when and how they are open to a mutually valuable exchange of information. Digital Marketers increasingly see the potential for content – amplified by digital and social media – to build large followings and achieve a new level of engagement and understanding of prospects and customers (Forrester 2015) The evidence is conclusive: 74% of mainstram global enterprise marketers see their senior leadership believe content based ‘inbound’ marketing being the majority media mix in the near to medium future. (Source: eConsultancy/Epsilon, September 2014). Your content plan needs to be an intrinsic part of your digital marketing plan. Here are top 5 steps to developing an effective content plan.

discovery2 1. Discovery
Go on a journey of discovery of your brand. What is the ethos of your business and how is this directly related to your client base. What is it that your business needs to do, increase sales, promote to a wider audience. Today’s customers are mobile, their attention is fleeting and their demands for great experiences are high. Don’t lose sight of your overall goal, attracting, acquiring and retaining customers. Find answers to as many pertinent questions on who your customers are as this will inform your content strategy in giving your users the content most relevant to their search. Today’s digital marketer needs to focus on what the customer needs not on what you sell. Your content is the solution to their problem. Do a content audit of your website. This involves doing qualitative analysis of all of the content on your website. Choose categories that are most applicable to your website in evaluating the content based on the following defined characteristics/factors:

Usability
Knowledge level
Findability
Actionability
Audience
Accuracy
Business Value
Message
Brand/ Voice Appropriateness

Rate the results on a 1-5 scale. The results will give you a strategic analysis of your content in line with your future goals. Analyse your digital content performance and use this information to determine your content strategy. What worked, what didn’t work, what was popular, what was not. What content was read and shared by your audience, develop this further in your content plan. Equipped with the results of the you will become more adept at knowing what content is important to your customer in the buying process. Then you can incorporate the findings into your content plan.

2. Plan
Schedule a 6 or 12 month content plan in the form of an editorial calendar. Be realistic with this in regard to time and resources as this is something you need to stick to rigorously for it to work. Set out your blog posts in series form with the first following onto the second in relevance and so on as according to Exact Target 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. Optimize blog posts for keywords and include this to the content plan.

Plan Image3. Implement
As has already been covered in previous blog posts you need to write highly relevant and informative content that gives value to your audience and that ties in with your content plan goals. The more relevant the content is the more it will be found by your customer’s search. Your customer base is well informed and researched. If you have a solution to their problem in your content they will thank you for it by giving you their loyalty. Another benefit to blogging according to Hubspot is that your blog posts can continue to generate leads long after they published. Hubspot found out that more than 90% of their blog leads came from old blog posts. Include a style guide as a cohesive representation of your brand/voice. Images and infographics are necessary, how often have we heard ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ this truly applies to content. Use all your social media channels, networks, influencers to get your content out to as wide an audience as you possibly can. Once they like and share and give feedback this will be instrumental to your goals and to SEO.

4. Test

ab testing imageDo A/B testing on new content to further analyze when comparing two versions of a web page or app against eachother to determine which performs better. This gives you valuable data that will inform decisions on changes in content and you can develop your content to maximise on this. According to Optimizely A/B testing allows you to make data-driven decisions instead of hunches and guesses. Rather than launching features to your website or app and then hoping for the best, testing allows you to confirm or disprove your hypotheses before committing to changes.
Testing allows you to optimize your site or app experience to improve converision rates in a methodical way. A higher conversion rate means getting more value from your site’s content.

Google Analytics has a content experiments option where you can test which version of a landing page results in the greatest improvement in conversions or metric value. Content Experiments uses an A/B/N model. You’re not testing just two versions of a page as in A/B testing, and you’re not testing various combinations of components on a single page as in multivariate testing. Instead, you are testing up to 10 full versions of a single page, each delivered to users from a separate URL.

5. Analyze the results of your content plan after implementation. This is a working plan which will evolve and develop over time. The results of which will inform the following content input to maximise on continuously engaging with your target audience. Your content plan is a working plan, it is open to improved content developments based on your analysis. Google Analytics is a necessary tool in analysing performance on your site. It lets you measure sales and conversions and gives insights into how visitors find and use your site and how to keep them coming back.

In conclusion:
The more information that you glean from your content audit and put into your content plan will lead to you having valuable content that will be used and appreciated by your audience. Get in contact with us and we can work with you on all the finer points of bringing together a winning content plan that will get you the results that your ecommerce site deserves.

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