Is Your Content Planning Process Chaotic? Let’s Fix That!
You did all the right things, you thought. You read somewhere that your business needed to publish content that helped your customers solve some of their most challenging problems.
So, you started publishing content. A blog post here and there, maybe a how-to video or two. You didn’t even know you needed a formal content planning process.
Sometimes, like just before the holidays, you publish a slew of social media and blog posts. Other times, the well runs dry.
Then, the end of the year came. You took a good look at your content and how it performed.
The first word that came to your mind was “sporadic.” Random topics – all related to your business, of course – but with no logical order. One month, you published ten blog posts, and the next one, a big fat zero.
Though you cringed at the thought of looking at your numbers, you did. They, too, confirmed the fact that your content performed as chaotic as your planning schedule looked.
You made it your New Year’s resolution to do better. Much better.
And so, here you are. Let’s get to work to turn that chaos into an organized content plan.
First, Know You’re Not Alone
About 70 percent of marketers surveyed cannot say with assurance that their content marketing is effective, points out Business2Community’s Kevin Joyce. Even worse, more than half of them don’t even have a clear idea of what content marketing success looks like.
Next, Plan to Document Your Content Strategy
Joyce rightly points out that only about a third of marketers document their content marketing strategy. Big mistake.
Even if you’re the only one producing content, you need to write down your content strategy. After all, you have a business to run. You don’t have time to review all your past content every time you post something on social media or your company blog.
Instead, start your plan with the right strategy. Be sure to write it down. If you have more people on your team besides yourself, make sure that all of them get a copy of your overarching strategy.
Put the Customer in the Center of Your Strategy
Take a hard look at your ideal customers. Chances are, they’ll fall into a few select categories, grouped by demographics, goals, and problems they face.
Look at what each of those groups’ needs are all along their buyers’ journey. List them.
Next, create customer personas for each of these groups. Customer personas are fictional people that help jog your and your teams’ memories about who these customer groups are, what they need, and when they need it.
Instead of putting your products and services front and center, you’ll put their needs on center stage. When you do that, you lose the chaos and focus on meeting those needs.
Create a Repository for Your Strategy and Other Content Planning Tools
Even if you haven’t anyone else creating content, you soon will if you have the right content strategy. Get in the habit of keeping everything on at one central location.
Many companies use Slack, Basecamp, or even better, a specialized content marketing platform, to organize all the content materials in one location. When someone joins your content creation team, provide them with login credentials so they can have access to the master content strategy and plan, your content calendar, your idea “box,” and a list of briefs for each content project.
- Master content strategy document: Use this document to keep content creators focused on your content goals. Keep it in digital form so you can tweak it as needed during the next year.
- Content plan: Write down how you plan to put your strategy into action over the coming year. For example, if you are a jewelry store and one of your target customer groups is young, single males in college or recent graduates, hash out what kind of content you’ll need to keep them interested over a year’s time. Perhaps you might brainstorm content about how to select the right engagement rings around graduation time and the winter holidays and how to help your future spouse plan your wedding during the spring months. Somewhere along the line, you might want to post a video on how to choose a great haircut for the big day. That’s just an example, but you get the picture. Write down how you plan to reach each of your customer personas with content that will help them solve problems – not glowing advertorials about your products. Once customers recognize your authority in your field, they’ll turn to you for advice – and give you their business.
- Idea box: To encourage more brainstorming and content collaboration, provide your teams with a place that they can add ideas for future content.
- Content calendar: Once you have your general plan, it’s time to pencil in what content you want to publish on which dates. Having such a calendar gives both you and your teams more accountability. Set reminders to make sure you don’t forget until the day before it’s due. Plan to publish regularly.
- Briefs: A brief is a list of instructions for a single piece of content. Make them specific and as detailed as possible, particularly if others in your organization or outsourced talent will create the content. Include a few keywords (important words that indicate what your content is about) that you want to mention to help people searching for content like the piece can find yours.
Measure the Reach of Your Content Often
A critical component of an effective content strategy is to measure the results of each piece of content, as well as your reach overall. Decide what metrics are important (clicks to your website, email addresses submitted, content downloaded, or actual sales) and see how each piece achieves your goals.
When you find a piece of content that performs exceptionally well, find a way to repurpose it. Repurpose a blog article into a video or expand a blog article into a full-blown white paper or e-book to provide to loyal customers or newsletter subscribers.
If a piece of content doesn’t perform well, find out what went wrong, tweak it, and see if you can improve its metrics. Make it a point to follow up regularly, and you’ll have a more organized, better-performing content strategy.
When you make your strategy a data-driven, malleable model instead of a static one, you’ll be better able to get the right content into the right customers’ hands. Not only that, but such a strategy will adapt better to change, allowing you to stay on the leading edge of new developments, both in your industry and in technology as a whole.
Make life easier when it comes to content planning during the coming year. We can help you transform your content planning process from chaotic to uber-organized. Request your demo today.