Three Simple Ways to Get Started on a Content Marketing Plan

In today’s world, content is KING. In fact, I read an article recently that said content was more like THE KINGDOM. I really like that analogy. Think of all the ways that you receive content; how you receive it, when you receive it, where you receive it.

If you’re like me, the last thing you do before you lay your head down on your pillow is check your phone and social media. The first thing you do when you wake up is…you guessed it, check your phone and social media sites. I’m not proud of this behavior, but somehow I have developed the habit. And I’m not alone.

We are on a linear track of increasingly getting our information from online sources and social media. Maybe even more important is that this content is provided in a way for people all over the world to ENGAGE with their news. The article titled “Data Never Sleeps” really brings this concept home.

Purposeful content marketing truly has the ability to build your kingdom, supporting the mission and vision of your organization.

Where Do You Start?

Most of our clients are government or public entities. Our clients range from small to large cities, rural water systems, utilities, universities, and economic development associations. So how do you go beyond using your website and social media platforms to announce street closings, trash pickups, and awards to truly providing good content that will build your brand, engage your audience, and serve as a valued resource of information?

Start with a plan that spans out at the very least 6 months in advance. This is especially important if you’re a one-man show or Public Information Officer wearing many different hats. Starting a plan from scratch, however, can be really daunting. I know, I’ve been there! Over the years, I have found that there are some simple ways to get started without becoming overwhelmed.

Frame your content marketing plan in terms of monthly content. Pull out a calendar and organize around the following:

  1. Identify key dates. Are there certain dates in history that pertain to something meaningful in your organization? Yearly dates of note like “Drinking Water Week” or “Public Works Day”? Or upcoming conferences, public informational meetings, project completions, etc.? Identify those key dates and start planning topics that would enhance the understanding or engagement of your audience around those key dates.
  2. Pinpoint cyclical topics. There are topics that can revolve around the seasons, around legislative sessions, around the school year. There are simply some things people want to know about (or should know about) every year at a certain time. It might be water conservation, how your organization budgets for certain scenarios, or maybe even how key legislation may affect your audience. Either way, you become the primary news source for this important information.
  3. Answer your most frequently asked questions. If you’re a city, perhaps you ask your department heads to submit the top three questions they are asked by the public or key audiences. If you’re a university, maybe the top ten questions asked by incoming freshman as they are going through admissions. Whatever your purpose as an organization, I am guessing that there are some burning questions people always ask. Get ahead of it and provide this valuable information proactively, and in way that is consistent with your overall messaging.
  4. Ok, I said three ways to get started but I am giving you a bonus one – reuse and repurpose! Do you have staff members that are giving presentations at conferences? Did your leader just give a State of the City/Organization address? I would guess that people in your organization have prepared presentations, written articles, or given interviews. Use those moments as jumping off points for further engagement of others and build on your brand.

I guarantee, by the time you go through this exercise, your marketing content plan will be starting to take shape. There is more to a content marketing plan, of course. Every organization has to make sure that their content supports their main messages and brand. It also has to match the right platforms to deliver the content effectively. But these steps are a good start to laying the foundation of what is important and momentous to your organization and your audience.

I am interested in hearing how others start their content marketing plan or if this was helpful to you?

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