Content Planning in the context of Internet marketing describes the process of defining a business strategy that needs to be established before any content is created. The planning process involves the research that is necessary to work out who the content is for, what it is going to consist of and when and where it needs to be delivered.
For any business owner planning to create content it is important to work out the goals of the business and how the new content will fit into an overall marketing strategy. The goals could be to make sales, get more leads or increase brand awareness. Knowing who the customers are and how the business meets their needs will enable the business owner to work out what is often called a “unique selling point” or USP. People don’t wake up in the morning and think, “I must go out and buy some more products and services.” They are looking for a solution to a problem or to fulfill a need and describing how a particular offer can do that for them better than anything else on the market is what sets the business apart from the competition.
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Having identified the business’ strengths and why its offer is better than anyone else’s the next step is to identify a target market. In the digital world there are many ways available to target a particular segment or demographic of the market. Social media companies like Facebook for example hold a huge amount of information about their users that allow marketers to show ads to men or women, people of a certain age range or just to people with specific interests. Google AdWords allows marketers to show ads to people who searched for specific keywords or visited certain sites. Marketers can show ads to people based on their location or which language they speak. Knowing who the potential customers are and how they behave online enables marketers to plan what kind of content to create and how to deliver it. The type of content created will vary according the goals of the business. If the goal is to make more sales than a paid advertising campaign driving traffic to a website might be the solution. If the goal is to increase brand awareness then a video campaign on YouTube or a social media campaign using Facebook advertising can achieve that. Whatever type of campaign is used the plan needs to consider the sort of content that will be of interest to the intended audience who will view it.
After having created an offer and having identified the segment of the market to show it to, the next step is to tell the audience what they have to do. This “call to action” could be many different things depending on what the marketer is trying to achieve. It could for example be pressing a button, watching a video, signing up for a newsletter or posting a comment on social media. Careful content planning ensures that a marketer can have a strategy in place for measuring how well the audience is interacting with the content. This means tracking the amount of sales or leads to work out if the business goals are being met and this information can be taken into consideration for the next campaign. Content planning is essential to the success of an Internet marketing strategy and it is part of an ongoing process of research, testing and measuring.