[Video] Future Proof Your Content Planning: Advice from Amanda Todorovich
If you had to guess, how would rate an average marketing team when it comes to content planning?
In our recent content planning research, just 7% of respondents reported meeting all their content planning objectives. Whew! Not great, huh?
We believe the root cause of this low number to be the near-constant technological and behavioral change we face today. In this most turbulent of times, the way we get information, communicate with each other, and build trust with brands grows more complex by the day. So while 7% might look real bad, it should also come as no surprise.
In response to this trend, we have introduced a new video series titled, Future Proof Your Content Planning, in which six leading brand marketers share how they create content, motivate their teams, overcome today’s media challenges, and ultimately future proof their content programs.
In addition, we have been building an all-in-one toolkit for marketers looking to future proof their content programs that includes free resources ranging from content planning research and content marketing strategy, to content planning advice and a performance measurement playbook.
Today’s video interview features Amanda Todorovich; an award-winning marketing leader and Director of Content Marketing at Cleveland Clinic. Enjoy!
For those of you keen on reading, here are 5 essential takeaways from Amanda’s interview on how to future proof your content planning.
1. Strategy First, Planning Second
“How do you truly future-proof your content marketing efforts? It’s about the strategy and being consistent with that.”
Strategy is a funny word. Much like a football, it gets thrown around a heck of a lot, but relatively few folks can actually use it to effectively score a touchdown. In her interview, Amanda points out how many teams make the mistake of getting planning and strategy mixed up. They fill up an editorial calendar and start firing off blog posts, tweets, videos, and a bunch of random stuff that they aren’t really sure will have an impact, or drive a specific business objective. Most of the time, the target audience doesn’t give a rip.
The key is to slow down, and build a rock solid content marketing strategy first. As Amanda reminds us, we must use that solid base to to drive all of our planning efforts; from monthly calendar reviews, to writing individual pieces of content. Here are some questions you can ask to jump-start your strategy:
- Who is my audience and what content are they already paying attention to?
- What is the desired organizational goal for creating content?
- What specific topics will you cover, and why?
2. Do Real-time Content for The Right Reasons
“Being selective with content that requires super-quick turnaround is key. There’s content that you should really tinker with and iterate on to create something special. And that takes time.”
Brands often fall into the trap of thinking they must create real-time content to survive. With networks like Snapchat dominating social trends, and tools like Facebook Live rolling out, many of us are succumbing to creating real-time content simply for the sake of saying we do it.
In her interview, Amanda brings up key points about real-time content and also asks some tough questions about why we should or shouldn’t do it in the first place. According to Amanda, the purpose of real-time content is either to deliver newsworthy content, or to engage an audience in a real-time experience that they otherwise would miss. If an evergreen piece or video could deliver the same value to your audience, there’s really no need to livestream that same content.
Here are some common situations that real-time content could be used:
- A performance, speech, or breaking announcement from your brand
- A Q&A with your customers about a product, idea, or program
- When you want to collaborate with customers
- Share fun experiences
3. Be Where Your Audience Is
“You don’t have to jump on new channels once they come out. It’s really about being where your audience is, and understanding the channels that matter to your brand and audience.”
Each month, it can feel like there are a dozen new ways to distribute your content. There are new native social advertising opportunities, YouTube pre-roll to consider, search engines, blogging, and even virtual reality ads via video game consoles are now rolling out.
But do you have any business making a VR experience just because you can? Probably not. Well maybe you do if your target market are bleeding edge console gamers.
In her interview, Amanda takes the pressure off by reminding us that just because a new channel is available, we don’t always have to use it. In fact, we most definitely shouldn’t use distribution channels that our audience isn’t using. That’s just a big waste of time and resources.
Instead, do some audience research. Find out where your audience lives and what kind of content they expect to receive in that channel. Abide by the rules they follow in each channel and be respectful of their behavior and expectations.
4. Build Your Formats Around Your Story
“I don’t think you can commit to one particular format or channel. The format or channel is determined by the story and information you are trying to share.”
Can you slap an infographic in a video, drop some background music behind it and put it on YouTube? Sure. Will anyone watch it? Probably not.
In Amanda’s interview, she reminds us that our channels, content formats and everything else must be determined by the tale we are trying to tell. Is your content heavy on statistics and proof points? Make an infographic. Is it a customer success story? A video, or audio interview might be the ticket. Are you developing a Wiki and FAQ database for your customers? A long-form blog post with lots of bullet points is in order.
The point she makes is we must balance the story we are telling, the channel it’s being distributed in, and the customer desire in order to deliver a just-right content experience. Your customers are used to getting top-notch audio, video, gaming, and web experiences. If you wade into a new content format or channel, be sure you are doing it because it supports your story, message, and customer need.
5. Invest in Tools That Make Your Team Better
“I only invest in tools that have a real value to my team. Either it’s going to make us a lot more efficient, or give us data we can’t otherwise get on a platform for free.”
Most of us with a corporate email account are bombarded on a daily basis with promotions and alerts about new tools that promise to optimize our funnels, generate instant leads, and create brand awesomeness at the flip of a switch. Just plug it in and all of your marketing problems are solved!
This might be true. Or as Wayne of Wayne’s World likes to point out, it might also be true that monkeys fly out of people’s butts.
Like most savvy marketers, Amanda is selective with the tools she invests in for her team. Admittedly, if a tool doesn’t provide immense value beyond what she could get for free, there’s no sense pulling the trigger.
The same should go for your team. Map some of your top pain points, biggest struggles, and major areas that need improvement. Then look for tools that can help you streamline in those areas.
Struggling with process? Project management software might be the first step. Can’t keep your team focused on consistent delivery? Consider content planning software. Not sure how your content is stacking up? Time to roll out an analytics package.
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