[VIDEO] Future Proof Your Enterprise Content Program with Advice From Citrix’s Justin Levy
If you close your eyes and say the word “process” out loud, what comes to mind? Happy employees performing trust falls at a corporate retreat? Orange juice and copious amounts of free donuts in the conference room? A euphoric, agreeable group of entrepreneurs high-fiving in front of their boss?
In fact, process is a real pain in the back side for most marketers. But whether you love it or hate it, process is also essential to success in content. Our recent content planning research proves this, with 72% of the most effective marketers reporting they have a thoroughly documented content planning process.
We get it. Being on the creative side of content means you want to spend your time crafting incredible experiences that amaze customers. The politics of process feels far from that calling. But avoiding process altogether usually means none of your brilliant content ever makes it to your customers. To get past your organizational silos and future proof your content in today’s complex landscape of 3D, VR, video and social media content, there’s simply no avoiding the need for a sound strategy and planning process.
For more on this topic, we recently interviewed Justin Levy, Head of Global Social Media at Citrix. He weighed in on how to break down organizational silos, adapt to audience needs, test new content types, and balance real-time with long-term content creation efforts. Enjoy!
Ready to roll up your sleeves and dig into more content planning and strategy advice? We just published a free content marketing strategy guide featuring insights from 12 top content professionals. If you’re looking to build out your content process, this is the perfect place to start.
For those of you who didn’t get enough of Justin in his video interviews, here are 4 additional takeaways from our time with him.
Break Your Editorial Plan Into Bite-sized Chunks
“Break it down into it’s smaller bits and pieces so everyone’s clear what role they play in the editorial plan.”
Filling a content calendar with bright ideas is just half the battle when it comes to content planning and strategy. Whether you’re a video editor, blog writer, or social media professional, the world at your fingertips is moving faster than ever.
Which means in addition to drafting content that resonates with your target audience, your team needs to be organized, educated and ready to pivot. But even a high quality editorial plan might not be immediately applicable to your broader team. As Justin points out, making your editorial plan actionable means breaking it down into smaller component parts. Here are a few ideas for doing just that:
- Get visual – Find a way to color-code different content types. Use icons to indicate post types. Draw pictures to jog your memory. Whatever you do, get out of those spreadsheets and get into being visual.
- Map your content physically – We live nearly all our lives in front of a screen, especially at the office. But our brains are more powerfully wired to respond to smells, touch, and real-life experiences. When content gets complex, consider mapping select pieces or workflows out on a whiteboard, wall, or office door with post-it notes. This tactile approach might just keep you (and your team) on track.
- Use software – When editorial needs balloon, offline methods for keeping everyone organized get cumbersome. Building a content marketing software stack to simplify takes time, but it can significantly streamline your process.
Leverage New Formats to Their Full Potential
“There’s a big difference between doing video well and how a lot of video is produced today. Video should take advantage of emotions across the spectrum.”
While new content types and formats should be adopted, marketers must also be keen on using new formats appropriately. Whitepaper content doesn’t translate well into a podcast. Likewise, a video doesn’t deliver the same experience as an infographic.
But all too often, marketers rush into silver bullet tactics and trending content types without taking full stock of how different the rules might be within any format. Here’s how to wade into new content types and leverage each to its full potential.
Identify your strengths & weaknesses
When it comes to various formats, every team has strengths and weaknesses. The first step is being brutally honest about what you’re good at, and not so good at. If your team has been writing nothing but blog posts for five years, narrative video scripts will take time and training. Take stock of why you’re good at specific formats. Be prepared to master new skills in order to own new content types.
Understand your audience
It’s easy (and free) to find out what your audience is sharing. If you’re thinking of getting into a new content type, take a hard look at what your target audience is sharing, when it comes to that specific format. Does the content answer specific questions? Is it delivering an emotional experience? Does it make them laugh? Know what your audience expects from the format before delivering in that medium.
This literally might be your first rodeo, so you’re going to fall off the horse at some point. Whether you’re creating Gifs, memes, videos, or even a 3D experience, you’ll need to get it out there, collect data and refine your approach. Log analytics that are specifically relevant to your new medium and use them to make changes to content as fast as possible. Are your viewers watching the entire YouTube video you produced? Just half? Are they spending more time on your website after you spiced things up? Clicking around more? No? Ask tough questions and you’ll get insightful answers.
Be Purposeful with Real-time Social Media Content
“You have to be careful and not be too quick to jump. With some companies, I’ve witnessed social media folks who don’t think about the broader impact to the company.
Creating content for today’s real-time social media landscape requires tenacity and grit. The rules are constantly changing. Algorithms shift overnight. Entire social networks – while are popular one year – can bomb the next.
In an attempt to keep up, many content professionals try to be everywhere in real-time. Take advice from Justin Levy and don’t be too quick to jump on news, channels, or trending real-time social media opportunities. If you’re participating in real-time social channels without being able to demonstrate how this activity is linked to business objectives or customer needs, you shouldn’t bother.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you jump on the next trending hashtag, real-time conversation, news story, or any other tasty trending digital nugget
Will your content enhance or distract focus?
Whether it’s a product announcement, Webinar, twitter chat or trending social media story, there will be key players online that enhance and focus the dialogue in real-time, while many others will add nothing but noise. Being in the noise category can seriously damage your brand and turn off an audience.
Do you have something valuable, unique, and relevant to add to the dialogue? Or are you just trying to piggyback on the pop culture for a spike in vanity metrics? Be honest about this. There are conversations your brand belongs in, others not so much.
Are your customers there?
This one is a simple gut check. Take a look at who is sharing, what they are saying, and where the real-time content is going. Are your customers a part of the dialogue? If they aren’t, you shouldn’t either.
Can you tie it back to business objectives?
Let’s say you’re a green energy company providing newsworthy social media coverage of a solar energy conference. The business case is pretty clear in this scenario. But for many companies, aligning real-time actions to broad business objectives isn’t easy. If you see trending content or real-time opportunities and can’t immediately see how participating will support your core business objectives, don’t even go near it.
Stop Trying to “Go Viral”
“We absolutely have to stop talking about making things go viral.”
Here’s one final plug from Justin that we absolutely had to share. When we asked what his least favorite buzzword was, he was quick to share that even talking about going viral is a huge waste of everyone’s time. Red Bull aside, most brands have no need for viral success.
We have specific audiences seeking to solve highly targeted problems. Going viral is – in theory – the opposite of highly targeted. Creating a piece of entertainment for a mass audience will do no more than entertain. Will it educate, help, engage, retain, or train your audience? Probably not. So forget about going viral, and shoot for relevancy instead. Oh, and you’ll save a bundle of money too.
Tune In Next Week for Amisha Gandhi
Wondering how influencer marketing can help future proof your content planning? Next week we’ll be featuring advice from Amisha Gandhi, Senior Director of Influencer Marketing at SAP. She brings a wealth of knowledge on building influencers into your content, and delivering on storytelling.
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