Whether you are looking to increase brand awareness, educate your audience, or nurture existing prospects to send them further along in the buying process, content marketing can be an extremely powerful tool. And according to research, about half of today’s B2B organizations have a documented content marketing strategy in place designed to do just that.
However, if you fall within the other half of organizations without a dedicated content strategy, chances are you’ve at least considered starting a content program. Before getting a strategy up and running, you will almost certainly need to submit a proposal for budget and resource approval (this goes for in-house and agency marketers).
With this in mind, here are some things to consider as you develop your content marketing proposal:
Executive Summary and Goals
Before anything else, you should begin with an executive summary. This is where you would provide an overview of exactly why you need a dedicated content marketing strategy and how it could positively impact the business as a whole.
At the beginning of your content proposal, you should identify the needs of the client (or your own organization) and ask “what are we trying to accomplish and how will it improve the business?”
Here are a few examples of goals and KPIs you could start with:
- Generate x% of new site users
- Improve organic search visibility and keyword positioning
- Increase conversions (whitepaper downloads, demos, contact form fills, etc.)
Knowing your goals before you start planning and executing the content 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 fast track to success.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of metrics for measuring content and SEO performance, take a look at this post.
Data Gathering and Discovery
After the foundation has been set, it’s time to outline the data-gathering and discovery phase of the content strategy proposal. The goal of this portion of the plan 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. Each buyer persona should include unique identifiers such as age, location, and job function. Successful buyer personas also include information like the individual’s goals, as well as challenges unique to their job function or department.
- Keyword search estimates will give you an idea of the volume and competitiveness of phrases related to your client or organization. These estimates will also help dictate the level of content production that will be necessary to be seen on the first page of SERPs. Give this post a read if you’re unsure of where to start with keyword development.
- 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 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 of 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.
- 6 Ways to Measure B2B Content Marketing Performance
- What To Do When Content Marketing Fails To Improve SEO Performance
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. The types of content you create should match what your audience is looking for. As you think about the types of content, be sure to provide an explanation of each and tie it back to the benefits it will bring to the business.
- 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. At KoMarketing, we typically map out our content strategy months in advance, to ensure there is a theme for each month and content in the hopper. Of course, it’s critical to leave space for emerging trends or ad hoc pieces of content that are relevant to the business as well.
- Content Promotion Workflow: The content journey has only begun when you click “publish.” To get the most out of a content marketing strategy, you need to promote across channels and tie it to the lead generation/nurture process. Social media is a great place to start, as it not only provides a platform for content to be shared, but it also serves as an effective tool for monitoring brand mentions, connecting with other industry blogs/publications, and, of course, staying in touch with existing customers and prospects. Among our clients, it’s also very common for content marketing assets to be used as cornerstone pieces of email campaigns.
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.
So, whether you’re looking to pitch a content strategy in-house or to a new client, hopefully, this short content marketing proposal 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!