Content Marketing Planning
The most effective thing you can do is to plan your content creation to prevent duplicate efforts, supplying information where it’s needed, ensure there’s sufficient content and maximizing its ability to achieve your business objectives. Here are seven steps to help you streamline your content marketing creation. (Here’s a full content marketing checklist.)
- Assess existing content within your business. Before you jump in to create content, determine where you have content across your organization. While much of this content may be written in sanitized corporate-speak, it’s a great starting point. Often companies find they have a treasure trove of information. Further, there’s duplicate effort that no one realized. Among the places to look for existing content are product information, company history, annual reports, user manuals (these may be part of your product information or they may be different), catalogs, websites, customer service, investor relations, human resources, government filings, press releases, articles, social media (including blogs and videos) and third party media. Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Analyze this content to determine where you’ve got overlapping efforts and which information could be adapted for other target audiences. Track the content that you’ve rounded up including where it resides, who created it, and what it was used for.
- Determine where content marketing is needed. Particularly when it comes to the purchase process, document the type of information needed at each step. Actionable Content Marketing Tip: As you detail the content required at each step of the purchase process and other business needs such as regulatory and investor relations, note the format and length as well as any other special needs since this can have an impact on the content and quantity needed.
- Establish content timing, sequencing and seasonality. Determine when content is needed and in what order does it need to be presented. Think in terms of the purchase cycle and specific needs. This can have a big impact on the type of information you present and the devices you target. For example, consumers may be checking prices on their smartphone while they’re in a store. Actionable Content Marketing Tip: If content needs to be seen in a specific order, then you’ll need to be able to track where prospects and customers are in the process. For seasonal content, it may be useful annually, for example Halloween or tax preparation content. It’s important to have the individuals who created the content and who understand your business, engaged in your planning.
- Ensure branding guidelines apply to content marketing. The challenge is that, while many organizations have branding standards, they haven’t thought through how their brand should be used beyond logo, colors and text presentation. Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Work with your branding department and/or agency to consider how you’ll extend your brand in terms of how your content looks and sounds. What’s the location like? Who’s the spokesperson for your brand? How are the spokespeople dressed?
- Recruit content creators. Start with determining who created the content you collected (See Step 1 above.) Ask employees to volunteer to create content across your organization. Also, consider content from customers, agencies and third party media such as bloggers. Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Provide copyediting support to ensure that content has a consistent voice. Further, this removes fear from employees and others who are concerned about their spelling and grammar.
- Select keywords and phrases to incorporate into content marketing. One of the major reasons to develop content marketing is to support your search optimization. By incorporating these words into your content, you’re making your information findable by your prospects and customers. Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Focus each piece of content on one or more keyword phrases. Ensure that all related content such as photographs and videos also contain these search terms.
- Incorporate a call-to-action. Even the best content marketing won’t yield optimal results if readers aren’t guided to take the next step towards buying. Bear in mind that what’s obvious to you, isn’t necessarily obvious to your prospects. Actionable Content Marketing Tip: Add a contextually relevant call to action into each piece of content. Go one step further and include a unique trackable promotion code so you can measure your results.
Before jumping into content marketing creation, assess the value of the information you already have. You then need to determine what content is useful as is, what can be given new life and what’s irrelevant. In the process, you should be able to uncover content which can be repurposed to be more effective and indentify where you have resources that you may not have considered.
Do you have any other recommendations to streamline content marketing creation to make it more effective?
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