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When you’re getting ready to hit the road for a journey, you don’t just hop in the car, turn on the engine, and hope for the best. The best road trips require a considerable amount of planning and thought, with a  map to guide you and pit stops along the way. The same is true of content marketing. That’s why you need a content marketing roadmap.

Although you certainly can produce some content willy-nilly, toss it out there, and hope for the best, planning and preparation (as well as knowing what you’re looking for and what you want to achieve) will lead to the best results.

Following a content marketing road map will help you create your content plan and strategy, and help you figure out the best way to get to where you want to go.

Your Content Marketing Road Map

Choose Your Destination: Set a Goal

The first step when planning any route is to figure out what you want to reach. In the case of content marketing, that means choosing a goal. What do you want to achieve with content marketing?

The goal you choose will influence not only the type of content you create, but also where you promote it and what metrics you examine and measure.

A few common content marketing goals include:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Improved traffic
  • Increasing leads
  • More conversions/sales
  • Increasing customer loyalty or retention

Mark Your Route: Create a Content Plan and Strategy

Once you know your goals, the next steps are to plan your route and prepare for the trip. Your content marketing strategy helps you understand the reasons why you are producing content.

A content marketing plan is a step-by-step guide to putting that strategy into action. A content plan usually includes things such as:

Fuel Up and Prepare: Discover Your Audience, Choose Content Types, and Pick a Team

Now that you have a route planned on your content marketing road map, it’s time to fuel up and get ready to depart.

Step one is analyzing your audience, and figuring out exactly who they are, what they need, and what they want.

Buyer personas help you gain useful insight into your audience members, and allow you to create content that will be as relevant and useful for them as possible.

Next, you want to focus on creating content, and putting together a team to work on the content, as well as distribution and promotion.

Knowing your audience’s or buyers’ needs and preferences will help you decide whether written, visual, video content or some combination of all of those options will be the best choice for your brand.

If you aren’t using a group of people entirely in-house, you have several options for finding content creators. One option is to use a marketplace, which will connect you to writers, video producers, and other creators with experience making content.

Get on the Road: Create and Distribute Your Content

You’ve got gas in the tank and a team that’s ready to go. Now it’s time to hop in the car and get on the road.

First step: Create, review, and approve the content.

That means having your creators produce blog posts, videos, and so on, then having someone from your team review them, edit as needed, and finally approve them.

Content marketing software can help you stick to your schedule and confirm that the content is up to your standards and expectations before it goes live. You can also use software to negotiate deadlines and fees with your content creators.

As soon as the content is ready to go, you need to distribute it to maximize its reach and make sure your intended audience actually sees it. Publishing it on your brand’s blog or website is just the start.

Methods of distribution can include sharing it on your brand’s social profiles, working with influencers to have them share your content, and using paid distribution options such as promoted posts and ads on social.

Kick the Tires: Measure and Track Your Content

On any road trip, you might have stops from time to time to check on your car. These are to make sure there’s enough fuel and oil, and that the tires are pumped up. The same is true with content marketing.

Before you can reach your goal or destination, you need to check that everything is going as planned. You do that by measuring your content’s performance. Things to measure include traffic, shares, leads generated, and sales.

What you track depends in large part on your overall goal. If you’re hoping to get more traffic, pay attention to who’s visiting your site and how long they’re staying. If you want to get more sales, pay attention to how visitors reach sales page.

A content marketing road map can help you travel all over with content marketing. Once you’ve reached one destination, revisit your map. That way you can set a new goal and start planning your next content marketing road trip.

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