The SchlickArt Content Marketing Plan For Small Businesses


January 24, 2023
Kirsten Quinn

Tired of failing to meet your marketing goals? Put the SchlickArt Content Marketing Plan for Small Businesses into action to finally see results. 

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We all start off the new year with big lofty goals and grand plans for our businesses – but without a documented marketing strategy, those dreams are more likely to stay dreams. 

If you want to move the needle forward, and actually cross those tasks off your list this year, then a Content Marketing Plan is an absolute necessity

Here’s our step-by-step plan to create yours with clarity and ease. 

What’s A Content Marketing Plan? 

Think about all the things you need for your marketing goals to go off without a hitch: time, ideas, systems, software, people, marketing materials, photos, videos, scripts, websites, social media posts, and so much more. 

Now ask yourself: Do you want to be searching for those things when you need them? Or do you want to have each element organized and planned out ahead of time? 

That’s what a Content Marketing Plan can do for you and your business. 

It looks at the why, what and how of creating marketing content for the year ahead. 

Not only does it set you up for success, but it also serves as a reminder of why you’re doing all this in the first place. Plus it helps establish accountability for your entire team, and it gives you a way to track your results to see if your efforts are actually working. 

Needless to say, we think it’s pretty important. 

That’s why we’ve broken it down into 10 steps that you can tackle with your team, or with the help of a trusted friend or mentor. 

So grab something to write with – and someone to bounce ideas off of – and get started! 

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The SchlickArt 10-Step Content Marketing Plan For Small Businesses 

1. Reflect & Review

Before you can dive into a new year, it’s really important to reflect on the previous one to see what worked, what didn’t work, and what could be done differently. That’s why the best marketing plans start with a brief reflection on the past year, followed by some big-picture brainstorming for the year ahead. 

Not sure where to start? Answer these pivotal questions about your 2022 performance: 

  • Review your revenue from last year. Did you meet your annual goal? What months performed well? What months fell below your expectations? What promotions, specials or seasons stand out to you? 
  • Review your key marketing strategies and pull up any analytics you have access to, including social media channels, your website, email clicks, and more. What performed well? What needs to be improved or dropped? 
  • Next, focus on where your leads and customers are coming from. Where do you get the most leads? When/how are you most likely to turn a lead into a customer? What marketing channels bring you high-quality customers, and what channels bring you more hassle than they’re worth? 
  • Lastly, spend a minute identifying your ideal customers by thinking about your current client base. Who do you value most and why? What do those customers value most about you? How did you find these customers? How can you find more like them? 

Action Step 

Grab a pen and a notepad and write out the answers to these questions. Gain what insights you can from your revenue numbers and marketing analytics, and then move forward. Try not to get caught up in a bunch of new ideas yet. This is your time to simply observe what’s working and what’s not. 

2. Set Big-Picture Goals 

Content marketing plan content marketing small business content marketing plan content marketing plan for small businesses santa clarita small business new year marketing series schlickart new year marketing series 2023 marketing plan for small businesses 2023 santa claritaNow it’s time to think about your overall vision for the year ahead. Again, try not to get caught up in the how or focus on specific strategies just yet – we’ll get to that in a second. Instead, try to stay focused on the bird’s-eye view. 

Here are a few questions to get you started: 

  • How much do you want to make this year? Try setting a goal that feels slightly out of reach if you really want to grow. Even if you come close, you’ll have made progress. 
  • Now break down your annual goal into a monthly goal. Don’t forget to account for vacations, when you potentially won’t be earning revenue. For example, you may want to divide your annual goal by 11 if you plan to take two weeks during summer, a week during the holidays, and have room for sick days. 
  • Now it’s time to figure out how many people you need to serve each month in order to reach your monthly revenue goal. If you look for people, instead of the number of sales, you’re more likely to build relationships that make hitting your target easier, rather than simply focusing on one sale to the next all year long. 

Action Step 

Grab a pen and a notepad and write out the answers to the questions above. You should have three numbers: 1) your annual revenue goal, 2) your monthly revenue goal, and 3) your monthly customer goal. Next, write down your goals in multiple places. Put them on sticky notes on your computer. Share them with your team. Say them out loud each morning if you need to! Keep them top of mind if you want to reach them. 

3. Do Your Research

With your revenue and customer goals in mind, it’s time to do a little research. Since digital marketing trends have changed a lot since the pandemic, look for the most up-to-date statistics to help guide you. 

  • Audience Research: Now that you’ve identified your ideal customers, learn as much as you possibly can about your target audience. What platforms and content types do they prefer? What are their values? What do they care about? What are they interested in? Knowing your audience on the deepest level is crucial for any marketing plan. 
  • Power Partner Research: Who already has your audience’s attention? How can you work together to share that audience? Are there ways you can support each other in your marketing efforts – so everyone wins? 
  • Marketing Research: What strategies are other marketers successfully using in your industry? What tools and resources can help you achieve your goals? What content types perform the best, and what is the best way to create them? What do you need to learn in order to feel comfortable executing your plan? 

Action Step 

Grab a pen and take some notes on any kind of information or statistics that stand out to you.

Then make a list of ideas for marketing strategies that might work for your specific goals and audience. At this stage, write down everything that seems useful. Hold onto this list, since you may want to revisit it throughout the year or even in future years. 

4. Choose Projects With Purpose 

Content marketing plan content marketing small business content marketing plan content marketing plan for small businesses santa clarita small business new year marketing series schlickart new year marketing series 2023 marketing plan for small businesses 2023 santa claritaOnce you have your revenue and customer goals in place – and you’re up-to-date on the current research – it’s time to select the best marketing strategies and projects to help you reach those customers. 

This is where all your previous work comes together: who you want to reach, the best channels to reach them, the strategies that converted your high-quality leads into long-term customers, what worked last year, what didn’t work, and the research-backed strategies that could be beneficial to you moving forward. 

With this information in mind, review your list of ideas. Try to hone in on 2-3 marketing strategies or projects that will help you reach your target market with the most ease and efficiency this year. 

Having trouble? Here are a few simple ways to approach this process. 

  • Select your projects based on what’s doable: Choose one strategy/project based on what worked best last year. Choose one strategy/project based on what needs to be improved or updated within your business to create some fresh attention for your brand. Then choose one strategy/project based on what needs to be added to your marketing lineup, according to current research. 
  • Select your projects based on the client lifecycle: Choose one strategy/project that builds awareness with a new audience. Choose one strategy/project designed to convert leads into clients. And choose one strategy/project that nurtures your current client base to maximize your repeat customers. 
  • Select your projects based on your audience behaviors: Choose one strategy/project based on the digital marketing channel/platform your audience likes best. Choose one strategy/project based on the traditional forms of marketing that work best for your audience, such as a print newsletter or direct mail campaign. And choose one strategy/project based on the power partners that will help you reach new people in a shared/adjacent audience. 

Action Step

Choose the strategies and projects that best serve your goals and your audience. Try to stick to three at the most. Grab a sheet of notebook paper or a giant Post-It note and create one page for each project. You’ll need this for the next step. 

5. Define Your Success

Once you’ve identified your goals for the year, you’ll want to make sure you know what it looks like to achieve them, too. This step is all about getting clear on your desired results. In order to define your success, it’s time to break down each strategy or project into the smaller, achievable goals that will get you there. 

Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, are benchmarks you can set to make sure you’ve accomplished your goal. For example, if your goal is to drive more traffic to your website, then a KPI might be the number of new visitors on your website, as well as the average time users spend on your website. On the other hand, if your goal is to improve your customer experience, then your KPI might be the number of five-star reviews or repeat customers you have each month. 

The key is not only to set specific goals – but also to make sure you know what it looks like to achieve them, too. 

Action Step 

For each strategy or project you set in the new year, make sure you break it down into measurable KPIs, or smaller goals that allow you to objectively gauge your success. Keep these performance indicators handy, and set monthly or quarterly checkpoints when you intend to review your progress throughout the year. 

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6. Identify & Assign Tasks

At this point, you’ve done a lot of the big-picture planning. Now it’s time to figure out the details by identifying the list of tasks required to implement your goals with success. Create a “master list” of tasks for each strategy/project. Assign a person and a deadline to each task. If you really feel like getting organized, you can create a timeline or calendar dedicated to tracking your progress, too. 

This is also a good opportunity to take another look at delegation and resources. Is this list of tasks realistic? How can you streamline it by hiring someone, asking for help, or looking into a new piece of technology? The easier you make these strategies to implement, the more likely you are to stick to them. 

Action Step

Create your master task lists, and actually write them out. Do not skip this step! Then keep them visible and create a process or habit to check in with your progress regularly. 

7. Gather Your Resources

At this point, your goals are set. Your research is in. Now it’s time to gather your resources, so you can see what you have and what you need for the year ahead. One of the most often overlooked resources is support, but the more support you get, the more you can achieve this year! So dig in and ask for help where you need it. 

Here are a few places to start gathering your resources: 

  • Brand Information: Gather everything you’ve written or created for your brand. This could include buyer persona guides, style guides, core values, policy and procedure documents, bios, key stories, marketing copy, and more. Anything that defines and explains your brand or your value should be gathered in one place. 
  • Completed Content: Next, you’ll want to gather all the content you’ve already created. This could include photos, videos, podcasts, interviews, media coverage, landing pages, websites, print marketing materials, business cards, and more. Get everything in one place, even if you feel like it’s outdated. That way, you’ll know how long it’s been since you last updated your content, as well as what’s still current. You can even do an audit of your materials at this point, so you know exactly what you need and don’t need. 
  • Tools & Technology: Think about the tasks ahead. What can you delegate to a piece of software or technology? What tools will help you get this work done faster? Do you need a content management system? Maybe you need equipment to ensure quality content creation. Whatever you need, consider what you can delegate or automate with technology. 
  • People & Partnerships: The final step in your research is to figure out who you might need to support you along the way. Think about experts and skilled professionals, such as a social media marketer or photo/video team. But also consider who will cheer you on and help share your content. You could even assemble a group of peers who share each other’s content, like a digital networking group. Consider power partnerships here, too. 

Action Step 

Create a folder for all your branding content including written, visual, audio, video, print and digital content. Next, make a list of all the tools, technology, equipment, people and partnerships that can help you accomplish your goals along the way. 

8. Create New Content

Content marketing plan content marketing small business content marketing plan content marketing plan for small businesses santa clarita small business new year marketing series schlickart new year marketing series 2023 marketing plan for small businesses 2023 santa claritaOnce you know what content and resources you already have, it’s time to look at the types of content you’ll need to update or create in order to execute the tasks on your master lists. 

For example, if your plan includes a new landing page, think about what that might include: a headshot, images of your team, a video to increase engagement, writing to entice the reader, etc. If you want more engagement on social media, then you might consider creating enough fresh images and short-form videos for a month-long campaign. Look at each step to see what kind of content you’ll need moving forward. 

This is also where your audience research comes into play. Consider the types of content your audience likes best. Do they respond better to video? Maybe your audience prefers Instagram over Facebook. Think about these details as you choose your content types. 

Action Step 

Make a list of all the content you’re going to need for each strategy/project. Then make note of which content pieces you already have, and which ones you need to create. Finally, schedule time to create the needed content, such as video or photography shoots and concentrated writing time for marketing copy. 

9. Create & Publish

Now for the fun part! It’s time to start creating. If your plan includes ongoing content needs – such as 10 social media posts per month – then the first thing you’ll need to do is create a list of topic ideas. Creating this list will prevent roadblocks down the road, when you can’t think of something to talk about. That’s why it’s important to write down as many ideas as possible. When we do this at SchlickArt, we create a list of 100+ ideas, and that’s just a starting point. 

You may also need a content calendar. We suggest creating a written or digital timeline of what’s being published, where, when and by who. This will help you avoid confusion and keep everyone accountable. 

Finally, it’s time to start creating! The trick here is to remember that done is better than perfect. Everyone starts somewhere, but you have to start

Action Step

If you have ongoing content creation as part of your plan, make a list of 100+ topic ideas and prompts. Make sure everyone has access to this list and can update it throughout the year. Next, create a shared calendar that clearly defines what’s being published, when it’s being, where it’s being published, and by who. Then start!

10. Monitor & Course Correct 

Time to celebrate! The hard part is done, and your content marketing plan should be humming along nicely. However, while the bulk of the work is over – it’s not done. Keep creating content, and continue to monitor its performance. 

This is where you can begin to see what works and what doesn’t. So don’t forget to course correct whenever necessary. You might also want to schedule time to review your plan and progress. At SchlickArt, we do this quarterly, but find a pace that works for you. 

And don’t forget to celebrate your small (and big) wins! 

Action Step

Decide on a cadence to check in and monitor your progress, such as a monthly team meeting or a quarterly strategic planning session – or both! Pull out your master lists and KPIs to address whether you’re on track toward meeting your goals, and don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy if needed. As an added bonus, plan a team outing or reward if you meet your goals at the end of the year!

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About SchlickArt Photography and Video

SchlickArt, a boutique photo and video studio in Santa Clarita, started in March 2012 with the simple idea that empowerment creates a kind of beauty and authenticity that shines through every camera lens. Built on a philosophy — rather than a product, service or person — SchlickArt has rapidly evolved, meeting professional portraiture, business photo and business video needs as diverse as the community we capture. It’s the desire to take care of you, the client, that drives us at SchlickArt.

author avatar
Kirsten Quinn
A lover of strong coffee and yellowed pages, Kirsten Quinn-Smith is a professional content writer and owner of WordSmith Content Marketing here in Santa Clarita. She believes great content can forge a loyal, authentic and beneficial relationship between you and your audience – and grow your business. With each piece of writing, Kirsten's goal is to position you in the content spotlight through audience-centered, strategy-based writing that actually sounds like you. Why? Everyone has a story, and every story deserves to be heard.

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