Establishing a robust content process as part of your overall marketing plan is a perennial pain point for marketing and business leaders everywhere.
Your content process should be a core component of your business marketing plan, not an afterthought. How well you "do content" can strongly influence the success trajectory of your business.
The reality is that most companies struggle with the strategic and practical management of content. This is no surprise: content is a many-headed proposition, with multiple approaches and multiple considerations. But core practices and precepts exist in determining your content process.
A Checklist for Success
- Continually revisit and refine your target audience. Exactly who are you seeking to address?
- Ensure your marketing goals are clearly aligned with your business objectives. Exactly how "Marketing Goal A" maps to the business' macro objectives will likely require explanation. Don't avoid this conversation, however, or you miss a chance to secure senior buy-in.
- Establish a content calendar within your marketing plan. Not having a content schedule in place is a fast path to disarray.
- Ascertain the process by which the content will be produced, and what resource you will assign.
- Set clear editorial parameters for content creation, including guidance around brand voice and house style. Make sure these parameters are clearly communicated across the organization.
- Delineate between content collateral (product descriptions, sale decks, etc) and content marketing assets. Content marketing assets are generally several degrees of separation from your products and services, and are critical components in high-value audience development. Neglect these assets at your peril. A content calendar without a strong commitment to audience development through content marketing is a massive missed opportunity.
- Determine what is the objective of each type of content in your content plan. Where does it fit into the customer acquisition/retention pathway? How might it contribute to a positive customer experience?
- Double check your team is selecting and creating content with your target audience in mind, and that everyone involved in the content creation process is crystal clear about who your audience is and is undertaking the appropriate research on content titles and types.
- Institute robust quality control checks. These checks shouldn't slow down the momentum of your content operation if you build them smartly into your content schedule. Keep things moving along but don't be afraid to exert strong discipline along the way.
- Ensure rigorous training around the operation of whatever publication platform you use.
- Have a calendared approach to promotion and distribution of content assets. Discuss the strategic approach for distributing and promoting each asset in advance.
- Instill a disciplined approach to content asset management. All contributors must categorize and store content in a predictable and retrievable way, with appropriate training and oversight.
- Take a healthy approach to repurposing your content. If it is worth saying once, it is worth saying again.
- Ensure content performance data is regularly analyzed and informs the content process cycle moving forward. This is a forward-feeding mechanism.
- Rinse and repeat.
Avoiding Half Measures
There's little doubt that committing your business to content requires a psychological and resource investment. Going in half-hearted won't work. Apply these practices smartly and assiduously in your business, and they will set you up for long-term success.
“It’s more important to do what is strategically right than what is immediately profitable,” marketing expert Philip Kotler said. Wise words worth heeding when devising and implementing your content process.
Think of it as a labor of love. The hard work and discipline will pay off.