Content Marketing Strategy: 8 Things to Write Down
October 22, 2013 | SnapApp Marketing
Having a content marketing strategy in your head isn’t enough. You need to write it down.
Imagine this scenario: you find yourself marooned, alone, on a desolate island. You have nothing but the clothes on your back, a pen, and a blank sheet of paper. Now, answer this: Could you document your entire content marketing strategy for us?
You can’t truly own a strategy—whether a business plan, a go-to-market plan, a content creation plan, or anything else—unless you can write it down, in detail, from start to finish. The process of documentation will clarify your thoughts and crystalize your strategy’s important elements.
Research supports this. According to CMI, 66% of B2B companies that document their content strategy consider themselves successful—the figure is 11% for those who don’t.
If you haven’t already, your team should set time aside to write down your content marketing strategy. When you do, create an executive summary-style document that captures the essentials below:
State Your Goals
There’s only one place to start—the end. You can’t strategize until you lay out what you intend your content to accomplish. Is it brand awareness, lead generation, thought leadership, or customer retention? Since it’s likely more than one, rank them in order of importance, or break them down by percent.
Take Stock of Your Resources
Make a list of what you’ve got. Start with people: their skill sets, and how much time they will allocate to content. Itemize your budget and list the technology solutions and development resources you have or will acquire.
Also, include a list of existing content, especially long-form content like eBooks, white papers, and videos. That way, you won’t duplicate efforts and you’ll know what’s on hand to repurpose.
Listing your available assets is key as they are the foundation from which you still start.
Identify your Audience(s)
Identify who your content is targeting. Create a profile—job title, personality, interests, concerns—for each target persona and list where they live in the buying cycle. Who are the initiators, influencers, and decision-makers? Think about what content will appeal to them, and when.
Remember: every piece of content should speak to a specific audience and have a desired marketing outcome.
Pick Your Channels and Tactics
Write down the distribution channels on which you will be focusing. It’s challenging to go “omni-channel” immediately so your plan should start with essential channels and the build out from there.
Before committing to a channel or tactic, ask yourself: (1) Will it achieve one of our goals? (2) Are our target personae active in that channel? (3) Is this possible based on resources?
Create a Publication Calendar
After you’ve identified your tactics, write down when and often you will publish them so you’ll have clear deadlines to deliver against. You might write down: “three blogs post per week, published on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday,” or “two white papers and one eBook” per year.”
Commit to Ideation
Devising topics for fresh content can be difficult. What content ideation strategies will you use? Will you just brainstorm internally? Or, will you commit to interviewing industry thought leaders, current and target customers, and/or other departments (like sales, customer support, and product)?
You need to evaluate your progress. Are you achieving your content goals? If not, you may need to tweak your strategy.
So, measuring success along the way is key. Write down the content metrics you will evaluate—clicks, engagement rate, leads generated, downloads, etc.—and what constitutes success.
Also, how will you acquire this data? And, if lead generation is a content goal, how will that data integrate with your existing marketing infrastructure?
Clearly delineate responsibility. After reading, each team member should understand their responsibilities at each stage of the process. Write down who owns (1) strategy (2) ideation (3) research/writing/editorial (4) design/production (5) editing/testing/vetting and (6) managing content-generated data, like metrics and leads.
According to CMI, one person should oversee execution of the entire strategy. But managing the strategy does not mean doing all the work by yourself.
Finally, be realistic about what you can achieve. Take stock of resources and timeline and pick aggressive but achievable goals. A good strategy will grow over time.
Let us know what you think. What would you add to this list?