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You create content all the time as a small business owner. But have you thought about whether what you create is making you profit? Does it help you at least break even? Not to mention: Can you regularly set money aside at the end of each month?
Not so sure?
When I sat down at the end of my first year as a small business owner, I wasn’t sure what to expect. How well or poorly did I do? And here’s why.
I was laid off from my corporate job that turned out a blessing in disguise, even if it didn’t feel like that the first few weeks. Also, this event left me with severance pay that I decided to partially invest into launching my small business. After all those corporate years, it sounded like the best of plans to finally take complete control over my work and life.
You see, I had some financial leverage that allowed me to ease my way into the business owner mindset. It gave me a secure playground to experiment with things and find what’s best for me. Still, I was aware that I won’t last in the long run without taking my financial situation dead seriously. And my reserves will be emptied soon.
That’s when I sat down to come up with a profitable content marketing plan. That not only helps me break even but make a profit.
Here’s what I did and what you can do if you want to create a content marketing plan to hit your financial goals.
How to create a profitable content marketing plan
Before you jump in to brainstorm about marketing and content ideas, you need to know how much money you need to make as a minimum to cover your business costs. And beyond that to make a profit.
You need a financial plan before a content marketing plan.
Start with 👉🏻 a Financial plan
Make a list of everything you need to run your business.
Think about what tools, apps, devices and outsourced services you need to run your small business. Find here a few items to help you get started:
- Accounting/invoicing software
- Accountant and tax advisor
- Legal advisor
- Domain name
- Website hosting
- Internet service provider
- Email marketing platform
- Stock photo membership
- Professional license for creative or business applications
- Office rent (if not working from home)
- PO box
- Ink (for printer)
- Fund for laptop/desktop, printer and mobile phone repairs
If you’re creating and selling physical products, add all your costs for:
- Raw materials
- Printing service
Calculate the yearly and monthly business costs.
Now that you have this list look at how much you pay for these tools and services. For each of them, check your receipts and write down their cost (subscriptions, renewals etc.). You end up with the amount of money your business needs to make in a year to break even the business costs.
As it’s easier to plan in smaller bits, divide this by 12, and you get the monthly cost to run your business.
Calculate your average monthly expenses.
You don’t exist in a blissful vacuum, and you also need to eat, pay rent or mortgage, cover utilities, insurance, you name it. Write down the average monthly costs of living.
Add the profit you want to make.
So far, you listed the costs of your business tools and covered your monthly expenses of living. Now think about the monthly profit you want to make. This is totally up to you and your preferred lifestyle.
Sum it all up.
If you sum it all up, you get your financial goal. You want to make this amount of money every month. Whatever you ended up with, there’s no right or wrong amount here.
To achieve this goal, you need to plan ahead when to create and publish what type of content. And how to promote it to your audience on various marketing channels.
That’s where you start working on your content marketing strategy.
Continue with your 👉🏻 Content Marketing Plan
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing and business process focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience and ultimately drive profitable customer action.”(Source: HubSpot)
As part of your content marketing strategy, you need to focus on the following areas.
Define the ideal clients and customers of your business.
To generate this monthly sum you came up with above, you need to sell your services or products to the right audience.
Outlining a primary and a secondary client profile helps you focus your attention. It’s easier to talk to a clearly defined group of people than to anyone you may meet online.
Create your core website pages for your ideal audience.
Use a structure, design, and website copy that suits this ideal audience the best possible way on your website.
The moment they land on your homepage, guide them through a journey, a so-called user flow, leading them to your service pages or product pages.
Consider creating content pillar pages for your business blog to showcase your industry expertise and know-how.
Optimize your website so that it’s easy to find it online.
Search engine optimization (SEO) should be a crucial part of your content marketing planning because SEO strategies can help increase your website’s visibility and search engine ranking.
Text will always be the foundation of search, so making sure the text around your website’s assets is descriptive will help them rank well in search.(Source: HubSpot, 2020)
Invest in email marketing.
Email marketing lets you build an intimate connection with your audience. It allows you to segment your subscribers into various groups based on interest and behaviour and send them highly relevant, personalized emails.
Marketers who use segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue.(Source: (Campaign Monitor, 2019))
If you’re at the very early stages of your business, you can even start growing your email list while you’re building your website. For example, on Flodesk—like on many other email marketing platforms—you can create a full-page signup form that comes with its own shareable URL. Which you can promote on social media.
Start your free 30-days trial on Flodesk through my referral link—no credit card required. Or use code ARRADESIGNSTUDIO. It gives you 50% off for the first year of your paid membership should you decide to convert after your free trial ends.
Identify your audience’s preferred social media channels.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Tik-Tok—you name it. While there are several social media platforms, the best is to focus your time and energy only on 1-2 channels with the highest return on investment for your business.
Look at your Google Analytics account. Check which social media sources drive the highest traffic to your website and sales pages and maximize your content marketing efforts on those.
Use social media to drive your audience to your email list and sales pages.
Create your Content Marketing Calendar.
- Plan on how often you want to post on your business blog and your social media channels.
- Brainstorm on content topics that solve your clients’ problems and that you can link back to your services and products. Don’t forget about affiliate opportunities you can promote.
- Jot down all national holidays and special days that make sense for your business and when you plan on running promotions.
- Add your content ideas to your content calendar and reverse engineer the best times to start promoting your content and offers.
Once your content marketing strategy and plan is ready, all is left to implement it. And to regularly check on how things are going.
Regularly monitor your results
As you look at your analytics and check on your progress and content performance, try to answer questions like:
- What marketing activities did you do?
- How much money did you make from promoting your own offers and services?
- How much money did you make by promoting others (affiliate marketing)?
- Which content type and marketing channel turned out to be the most profitable or least profitable?
- What went well? What made it successful?
- How can you leverage that success and repeat it?
Compare your financial goal with your earnings. And adjust your marketing efforts as needed for the next month or quarter.
Do you need help with creating content that helps your business grow?
The Smart Way to Create Content
teaches you how to keep those content ideas coming. And what are the best ways to repurpose your existing content to help you save precious time. Use the planning worksheets to jot down your thoughts and keep track of your content with ease.