Having a strong content marketing strategy can help you recruit new customers, educate existing clients and set your business apart as an industry expert. In this Marketing tip of the Month post, we’ll offer five valuable ways that you can build a content marketing plan tailored to your business’s industry, goals and schedule. 1. Determine content purpose – As you begin to create a content marketing plan, consider how you’d like it to benefit your growing business. Are you focusing on acquiring customer leads? Or do you need a platform to connect with existing customers, and provide them with information about your services or products? These objectives will affect the content format that you choose to focus on. This content could be a blog post, tutorial, video, case study, or infographic, among other forms. In addition, don’t be afraid to try out different types of content themes. Post about company news, industry-related information and even hiring updates. Each piece of content should tell a story, teach readers something about your business or industry and give them next steps. Remember, a diverse content marketing strategy will allow you to reach a wider audience! 2. Plan content creation – It’s likely that after a productive brainstorming session, you have some exciting content ideas to share. But next comes the hard part – execution. In order to generate top-notch content, you’ll need to write and edit copy, choose images, and construct social posts, in addition to other tasks. If you’re planning to produce videos to YouTube or Vimeo, or are making your own graphics, this will also take additional work. Divide this work between the members of your marketing team. If your business doesn’t have staff members solely dedicated to marketing, then recruit employees who have solid communication skills to work on content, or hire freelancers. Be realistic about your posting frequency, and focus on the message that you want to share with your audience. You’re better off focusing on one piece of strong content than rushing to put out multiple pieces of content that aren’t completely finalized. 3. Use a calendar – Ensure that your content marketing strategy is organized by utilizing a calendar. If you have more than one person working on your small business’s online content marketing, this will help everyone know what task they are responsible for. Companies like HubSpot and CoSchedule offer online calendars, but there are also free templates that you can take advantage of. 4. Track content performance – Once you start consistently sharing content, evaluate which pieces are performing well. If certain topics or formats aren’t resonating with audiences, it may be a better use of time to try something else. Of course, it will take some time to build a strong blog, social media and online presence. Having data will help you determine future content ideas, and which social platforms and content forms are working for your business. 5. Refine strategy over time – As you test different types of content, be aware of what is resonating with your audience, and what isn’t. You won’t want to waste your time crafting content that isn’t engaging new and existing customers, or people interested in your business’s industry. If you’re looking for a new way to market your growing business, it might be time to implement online content marketing efforts. Whether you’re producing blog posts, how-to videos or infographics, these initiatives will help you stand out to potential and existing customers. Has your small business had success with content marketing? We want to hear from you! Tell us how content marketing added value to your small business.