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Time to plan

As business owners, it’s an adage we all know well: fail to plan and plan to fail.

That’s very true when it comes to our business plan and marketing plan, but how about when we drill down a little further?

If you’ve been following the MerrieZine for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been running a series on email marketing and how to approach it in a professional way. Of course, the one thing that keeps your subscribers reading is having excellent content – that goes without saying.

However, that content needs to be part of an overall content strategy…which is in line with your communications strategy (what messages and when), which in turn will be in line with your marketing strategy.

Your content strategy needs to cover not just your newsletter, but the surrounding social media that you use. You need to ensure that your underlying message is consistent all the way through your entire social media, but that you keep ‘what’ you’re sending out consistent to.

So for instance:

Your business plan says that you will be launching a “New Year, New You” programme in January.

Your marketing plan tells you who your target market is and why they will be interested, and the media will need to attract them to this programme.It will also tell you when you need to run your promotional activity.

Your communications plan (and marketing funnel) focuses in on the campaign messages to attract your potential clients – your social media campaign pulls people through to an e-book download which then pulls people to a free webinar in which you tell them about your New Year, New You Programme.

Your content strategy then supports this. On your marketing plan it may say that in order to attract your ideal customer you need to use Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and your monthly newsletter. You’ve made the decision about how often you’re sending messages out and what (ie infographic, article, video etc).

But now we need to overlay the actual content. So if you’ve got a programme running in January, then you need to be filling in the first two weeks of December. Work backwards and you need to start promoting about September/October…and so your content around that time needs to be focused entirely around subjects relating to your new programme, and the call to action needs to direct people to where you want them to go next.

I still plan my promotions with pen and paper. Call me old fashioned if you like, but I can see it and feel it on a piece of paper. If I’ve drawn it all out, it makes creating it online a whole lot easier.

Preparing your content plan in this way leaves in no doubt over what you’ve got to do and when, and what exactly you have to write about, record, or prepare. And takes all that panicked, going round in circles feeling that you can get when you don’t plan.

Of course, if you ever need any help with marketing planning (including content strategies), or find yourself completely directionless with what you’re supposed to be doing with your marketing (let alone your content strategy), then please do drop me a line or call me on 01452 223306.

Dedicated to your success,

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