How are you starting your content marketing strategy for 2015?

You’re going back to your desk in the New Year, full of energy for new marketing initiatives, one of which is your content strategy. Here are some pointers and resources to get started with your planning.

The essential plan

Understand the purpose of your content plan. Your content should be helping achieve your organization’s business goals, not your content goals. So be very clear and get agreement on this from the start. Your business goal may be selling products or services; creating leads for sales teams; encouraging engagement and frequent visits; helping users find what they need; or driving awareness, engagement or loyalty.

Your planning framework might, therefore, begin with a content mission statement, or a business case. For example: ‘Build multi-channel content that establishes/underscores my organization as the leader in the ABC economy/market/space.’ Or ‘Build multi-channel content that delivers qualified leads to the sales channel.’ Very different statements, requiring very different tactical plans. With your defined goal, you must also be looking at where your customers are appearing, and what message you want them to hear, with your content, at whatever point in the experience.

The customer is at the center of this at all times.

A good plan must:

  • Be mission clear
  • Reflect a clear understanding of your audience(s) — where they are, where they appear, who they are, what they are looking for
  • Show an understanding of your brand story
  • Analyze the available channels, and those that are needed to be built and/or changed
  • Show your process, including resources, people and tools required
  • Show how success is measured

Here’s a useful resource from The Content Marketing Institute: ‘7 Steps to Creating Your Content Marketing Channel Plan.’ A couple of things that need discussion as you build the plan: The ‘turkey’ principle — if you’ve built some really great, in depth content, how can you ‘slice it up’ and re-purpose it with good effect? The multi-channel discussion — what resonates for your corporate blog may not work as long-form content on LinkedIn. Your plan must reflect this. You can’t expect to produce one piece of content, and just share it everywhere and consider it job done. It’s likely a more nuanced approach is needed. Get agreement Getting agreement from the right members of your organization may be challenging. So building the business case is the first and most critical step. If the plan reflects critical business goals, then it’ll be a (somewhat) easier sell. In getting agreement, pointing to great examples is also valuable. There might be great case studies done by companies in totally different industries; or adjacent industries; or even by your most admirable competitors. Find them. Learn from them.