At this point we have talked through strategy and team and you may be wondering how you will practically implement a content creation initiative. It is first important to note that there is no magic bullet for content creation. Of the marketers who claim they experienced more content marketing success this year compared to last, they attribute the success to creating higher quality content, having a strategy, making it a greater priority and spending more time on the effort.*
It takes time. It takes commitment. And it takes a good process.
The process below is an example of how it can work for your team internally. Most teams create their own approach but the key is to have a repeatable process that all contributing team members invest in.
Step One: Setting Objectives
In a previous post about strategy, we talk about the importance of having a defined and documented strategy before you begin any content marketing initiative. Within this process, your team should set objectives. Are you trying to form a new relationship aka prospect? Are you trying to solidify an existing relationship aka enhance the loyalty loop? Your goal for each content marketing initiative (and you may have more than one initiative and more than one goal) should be clear, actionable, and measurable.
Step Two: Customer Profiling
Companies have various levels of sophistication when it comes to customer profiling. Some have data and understand purchasing cycles, propensity to purchase, correlations between products, and the details about who purchases right down to the color of their customer’s hair (not likely, but you get the picture). Other companies simply have name, email, city and state. No matter the level of sophistication, it is important to create personas around prospects and customers. It need not be complicated.
Let’s use an example of a kitchen appliance brand. Customer segments include those who purchase the product because they are getting married (perfect time for a blender), because they moved into a new home (need a spiffy toaster), because they are upgrading (espresso machine!), or perhaps for gifting (who doesn’t love a waffle maker?). This is enough information to start to create behavioral personas.
The way the brand speaks to each of these customer segments is unique and should be reflected in their content marketing initiatives. Do not create demographic profiles. It is not helpful to create a persona for “women, 35-55 years old, with household income of $100K+”. This does not help to create an actionable strategy. Start thinking about behaviors to define segments and then create content accordingly.
Step Three: Content Creation
Finally! Start producing content. Creating content entails many different elements and here is the process we suggest for our clients and for you.
Once a quarter, hold a pitch meeting lead by the Chief Content Officer. Discuss big ideas. Discuss themes. Determine how to capitalize on upcoming product launches or trade shows. Outline 12 weeks of content. Assign roles to the content creators and set expectations.
Write Themes and Outlines
After the pitch meeting, content creators take the outline developed in the pitch meeting and more thoroughly flesh out how they contribute to that outline. For each piece of content, the assigned content creator writes a headline and sub-heads that map out the piece (if this is video, still create the outline). This mapping process helps to bring to light any obstacles the creator may face and also highlights the subject matter experts who need to be included in the creation process.
There are three calendars needed for content marketing initiatives:
- Delivery. This tracks all internal content deadlines from draft through to final, including proofing. We suggest working at least 2 weeks ahead of publishing dates so you have a bit of lead time and breathing room. If it is a very timely piece, obviously the lead time can be less.
- Editorial. This tracks the dates for publishing the content across the various channels.
- Promotional. This tracks the promotion and distribution efforts for the content. For example, a piece is published on May 1, but the Promotions Manager plans to tease the piece on April 25 and 30, promote it on May 1 and 5, and re-promote it on May 30. This calendar tracks those activities.
With the outlines in place and calendars created, the content creation can begin in earnest. Write. Produce. Edit. Design. Proof. Review.
Once a month, hold a quick pre-launch meeting to discuss all the materials going live in the upcoming month and review the stats of the materials that went live in the previous month. This helps the team stay focused and on track. The meeting also should serve as a litmus test to see what content is working and what last-minute tweaks need to be made to upcoming content to ensure it is successful.
Step Four: Distribution
The content is live! It is time to promote and distribute. The promotions manager uses their calendar to share the materials on the chosen social channels and platforms.
Step Five: Review and Repeat
Content is a living breathing initiative. Part of the process needs to include reviewing the stats, determining what is working, and collaborating on how to improve. This can be discussed in the Pre-Launch meeting as outlined above, but this review and analysis should be an ongoing piece of the content marketing puzzle.
Wrapping it up
As mentioned, there is no magic bullet for creating successful content marketing initiatives. You can be assured though, that without a process you will not find ongoing success. Creating content willy-nilly will not yield the same results as if there is an approach and a formula that all team members can rely upon and contribute to.
All of this came out of a presentation we recently gave at the In-House Agency Forum’s Annual Conference focused on “Game Changers”.
Want a copy of the full presentation? Email me, Rebecca Garnick Ast, at rgast – at – tippingpointlabs dot com.
*Stats above attributed to: B2B Content Marketing 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America