[VIDEO] Future Proof Your Content Planning with Advice from LinkedIn’s Megan Golden

 In Content Marketing, Editorial Planning

If you had to guess, what percentage of marketers would you say are testing various content types, channels or strategies?

According to a recent TrackMaven study, just 28% use benchmarking and testing to continually adjust their strategy. That’s a whopping 72% who don’t use testing and measurement to improve performance of an ongoing campaign.

While the majority reported they do, in fact, use data to analyze campaigns upon completion, that’s simply too late to make an impact. According to Megan Golden, Group Manager of Global Content Marketing at LinkedIn, those 72% are what we should all call, “lazy marketers.”

With the insane amount of data at our fingertips, there’s simply no excuse to be ignoring it. Especially as the way customers access content continues to shift drastically each year. Without a healthy amount of testing, how can anyone learn how to reach, and continue to engage their customers? 

We had the joy of interviewing Megan recently to get her thoughts on data-driven content, future proof content planning techniques, and also to learn how she motivates and manages her global team at LinkedIn.

Enjoy!

In addition, we recently published a free content marketing strategy guide featuring insights from 12 leading content thinkers. This guide was made to help brands embrace emerging technologies and prepare for the changing media landscape of the future.

Download the eBook here!

If you don’t have access to a speedy internet connection, or just prefer to read – we plucked some lessons out of our interview with LinkedIn’s Megan Golden. 

1. Find your Content North Star  

“At LinkedIn we have company-wide strategic pillars that dictate tactics to drive the business forward. Those are our north star with content planning.”

In content planning and content writ large, we are constantly coming up with ideas that engage and retain the attention of our target audience. For some, this can get exhausting. Others thrive on the challenge. But in either scenario, developing content ideas and building out an editorial calendar are  highly subjective activities.

For example, let’s say you poll your blog subscribers and find out the majority are Game of Thrones fanatics. Do you go all Khaleesi and transform your brand publishing into nothing but dragon-tongued flame-throwing middle ages fantasy lore? Probably not.  

Knowing which bits of entertainment delight your target audience is useful, but it doesn’t mean your organization has any business trying to become an entertainment provider. Take advice from Megan and use your company’s mission as a north star for your content planning.

Going to your customers with a consistent message will provide clarity in your content.

Here are a 3 ways to find your content north star:

  • Open a Dialogue With Leadership – Ask your leadership team to share your organization’s priorities, brand positioning and future goals.
  • Synthesize – Edit these business goals into an actionable set of content priorities.
  • Write a Content Mission Statement – Write a singular mission statement that describes exactly what problem or challenge your content will help your one audience overcome. Whenever you are coming up with content, advertising, or marketing ideas, ask yourself, “will this solve the specific problem for the specific audience identified in our mission statement?”

Perform Promotion Planning Alongside Editorial Planning

“Make sure the promotion of your content is discussed at the very beginning of your project. Marketers need to be keen on not just producing content, but also on how to keep that content alive.”

Many teams make the mistake of adopting a, “build it and they will come” mentality. In today’s online landscape, that simply doesn’t work. If the best piece of content ever crafted is buried on page 9 of search engine results, nobody’s gonna see it. Nobody.

Which means you need to get creative about not just creating, but also delivering content to your audience.

Your social media content, paid advertising, and email marketing should be discussed up front alongside your editorial planning. Too lazy for that? In that case…

Remember, you’re competing with an entire industry of advertising pros, many of whom spend their entire day writing nothing but headlines. Releasing another whitepaper with a lackluster headline? Goodnight sweetheart.

Take a tip from Megan and don’t wait until you hit “PUBLISH” to think about a promotion strategy. Here are a few quick tips for getting started on a promotion plan.

Find your audience

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn all have one thing in common; you can run demographically targeted ads. No matter where you choose to promote your content, do a bit of research. Even if you spend $20, you can get in front of hundreds of targeted customers.

Test

Don’t let the biggest campaign of the year be the first time you run a Sponsored Content campaign on LinkedIn. Pick a few audiences and test the waters beforehand. Take stock of who clicks and who doesn’t. Come up with some creative ideas. Never stop testing.

Refine & scale

Once you find an audience or demographic that is engaging with your content, reallocate funds from underperforming ads or groups. Same goes for creative. If a certain headline really reels in your audience, figure out why it’s working and scale it across the rest of your ads.

Always Be Testing New Formats

“Every marketer should be testing new formats. If you’re not, that’s what we like to call a lazy marketer. At the same time, you don’t measure the success of a video in the same fashion as a whitepaper. So ask yourself; what’s the goal, and how will we measure success?”

The way consumers accessed content from brands or media companies was incredibly different twenty years ago than it is today. Remember driving all the way to Blockbuster to rent a single movie? Now we have millions of shows, movies and content at our fingertips via Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and YouTube.

If your means of delivering content hasn’t changed much in the last few years, news flash; you’ll end up just like Blockbuster.

In our interview, Megan described a program at LinkedIn called Intelligent Risks in which employees dedicate 15-20% of their working time on a hunch, theory, new content type or pet project. According to Megan, some of the most important and groundbreaking projects have come out of the Intelligent Risks initiative at LinkedIn.  

So maybe it’s time for a similar program at your organization. You may already know which content types, channels, apps, and services your customers prefer. But what if you took just 15% of your time to test new opportunities and push the boundaries? Your efforts might fail disastrously and that’s okay.

If even one hunch, test, or pet project turns out to be a success you’ve already proven and paid for the testing.  

Tune in Next Week for Justin Levy of Citrix

Do you like to nerd out over content process? Next week we’ll be featuring advice from Justin Levy, Director of Social Marketing at Citrix. He weighs in on how to break down silos, plan for impactful content, and he even reveals a hidden secret, but unfulfilled career path previously unknown to the world at large.

Subscribe to the DivvyHQ blog today and get exclusive access to this video series.

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