What to Include in a Content Marketing Proposal

For many of us, the new year brings about a fresh start and an opportunity to set resolutions. Maybe you want to learn a new language, spend less time watching TV, or follow Tom Brady’s lead by eliminating junk food and calling avocado ice cream your dessert of choice (no thanks!).

New year’s resolutions are not only for personal betterment, however; they also often expand into business. From the stats I’ve come across recently, starting a content marketing program or ramping up content efforts seems to be a common business resolution for 2016.

New year's resolutions word on notebook lay on wood table,Template mock up for adding your goal.

In fact, we recently published an industry news article that showed 79 percent of marketing and public relations professionals already have a content marketing program in place, and the majority (64 percent) intend to increase their efforts in the coming year.

So, whether you work on the agency side or in-house, you will likely need to submit a proposal for budget and resource approval.

If you’re looking for some ideas of things to include in your content marketing proposal, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some things to consider:

Focus and Objectives

Before anything else, you should identify the needs of the client and ask “what are we trying to accomplish?” Could the client benefit from generating more qualified traffic, conversion opportunities, or search engine visibility?

Knowing your goals before you start planning and executing the strategy will allow you to focus in on what’s viewed as important by those you’re pitching to and will put your content program on the track to success.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of metrics for measuring content/SEO performance, take a look at this post.

Data Gathering and Discovery

After the foundation has been placed, it’s time to outline the data-gathering and discovery phase of the content strategy. The goal of this portion of the proposal is to identify and outline keyword targets and the target audience.

To get started, think about looking at buyer persona integration, keyword search estimates, competitive link profiles, and search results analysis.

  • Buyer personas will allow you to understand your audience and produce content that has the best chance of converting.
  • Keyword search estimates (Google Keyword Planner is helpful here) will give you an idea of the volume and competitiveness of phrases related to your client. These estimates will also help dictate the level of content production that will be necessary to be seen on the first page of SERPs.
  • Competitive link analysis will not only teach you more about the industry, it will give you a list of obtainable links to get the strategy off the ground.
  • Competitive search results analysis, based on keyword targeting, provides you with an understanding of the of content marketing needs required, in terms of asset type, complexity and depth, and potentially the overall volume of production.

Some other materials to consider looking at include site analytics data, existing marketing collateral, industry publications, and events/tradeshows.

By digging into each of these factors, you’ll be able to learn some of the ins and outs about the client and the industry as a whole.

Initial Program Work

Before jumping into ongoing content initiatives, there are a few things to do, which will further set the foundation for content marketing success. Analyze the site structure and optimize pages (where necessary), as this will improve visibility for keyword phrases and conversion rates.

Also look for ways to add conversion opportunities, as creating track-able lead opportunities and measuring performance on a regular basis will allow you to maximize the success of the program work.

Related Resources

Ongoing Content Initiatives

As the program rolls along, there are a number of content initiatives that should be put in motion. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Content Types: Publishing optimized blog posts is a nice place to start, as they can be used to drive brand awareness through promotional efforts in third party industry and social media sites, industry blogger outreach, fan-based forums and communities. However, videos, infographics, case studies, newsletters, white papers, and much more can be extremely beneficial pieces of marketing collateral as well.
  • Frequency: You will want to outline how often content will be produced. The frequency that assets are produced will likely be dependent on the keyword and traffic goals of the program. Aggressive keyword and traffic goals will call for publishing on a weekly, or daily basis. Be sure to create an editorial calendar with primary topics and keyword goals emphasized to stay organized.
  • Social Media Strategy: While social could be considered its own entity, it’s a critical component of a successful content strategy. Social not only provides a platform for content to be shared, it’s also an effective tool for monitoring brand mentions, connecting with other industry blogs/publications, and, of course, staying in touch with existing customers and prospects.

With all of these initiatives in mind, don’t forget about logistics. Whether you’re outsourcing content efforts or keeping them in-house, you will want to make sure you have the approval process nailed down.

Every successful content program needs a dedicated set of individuals that are responsible for approving and publishing the content to the site.

Reporting and Analysis

Blindly producing content will likely lead to an unsuccessful program. As assets are created and have had some time to mature, it’s critical to look back at what has worked (and what hasn’t). Be sure to have reporting tools (Google Analytics, BuzzSumo, Omniture, etc.) at your disposal to get this done.

It’s a good idea to provide your client(s) with a monthly report in a format that is digestible by project staff and high-level executives. Key metrics and performance, activities completed in the month, and a summary of recommendations and next steps could all be helpful in showing the content strategy’s value.

Final Thoughts

So, whether you’re looking to pitch a content strategy in-house or to a new client, hopefully this short checklist gives you some insight on where to begin.

What are some of the things you think are critical to see in a content marketing proposal? Drop a comment below or connect with me on Twitter to chat!

“The KoMarketing team took our PPC and SEM marketing efforts to the next level. They are a team of thoughtful, creative, and smart people, and they get downright scientific when it comes to measurement and attribution. A true pleasure to work with.”

Will Bernholz — Will Bernholz, Vice President, Marketing Dropsource

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