Sure, marketing has always built plans leveraging the traditional 4Ps–Product, Price, Place, Promotion. But have you ever thought of building a content plan around some key goals? Here are some that I propose, and would be delighted to invite your contribution to it:
- Purpose: many times, we launch into a content development plan lacking purpose, and this leads to severe content blocks along the way. If we clearly identify our content goals and purposes, it would be a lot easier to measure the assets we develop against the purposes: thought leadership, informative, sales-driven, project-centric, customer-centric, industry-specific. Most marketing thinks of content only for prospecting and new sales, but there is a huge opportunity in creating content for existing clients who DON’T know us better than our current engagements with them. Do we ever think of selling to existing clients and does marketing even recognize how to build content for this most powerful lead-base?
- Plan: As they say, the devil (or God) is in the details, and planning your content roadmap well helps in the long run. Obviously, situations and thus plans change, but launching into a content project without planning is more dangerous than helpful. Why?
- Predictable: With planning comes predictability. Audiences come to expect to consume your content (assuming it is of good quality and interest), and if you run dry on content, you will lose your audience very quickly. Not just that, they may make assumptions that your business isn’t doing well (the first sign is when marketing dollars dry up), or you are going out of business.
- Pedigree: Content IS king. Content works where your sales cannot enter. Content creates long tail branding at a low cost. Content builds customer confidence in your product or service. A recent report by Aberdeen (http://v1.aberdeen.com/launch/report/perspective/8641-AI-content-marketing-transformation.asp) (and here again, @linkedin breaks up because I cannot add a link to a word) outlines that when companies get it right with content marketing, they see a 7x rise in leads and conversions. 7X! My kingdom for that 🙂
- Publish: Great content on your website isn’t enough. You need to build a publishing plan that doesn’t involve spamming your email lists. Today, there are publishing tools that allow you to tweet even segments of long content, post on external portals (unless they gate you for spamming with sale-sy material), and social channels (you need to build your own channel). Building a publishing plan also helps you define the type of content you should be developing.
- Product: Content today takes on many shapes–videos, infographics, demos, self-guided sandboxes, print, digital, and so on. A product plan helps us to take an idea and deliver it through multiple content products, and suddenly, we are in business.
- Participative: This is the biggest challenge in content planning. I have seen client situations where sales teams have hacked together bad pieces of content for their use on social media (no less) simply because marketing held content creation as a closely-guarded secret. If we make the creation process participative, we can easily get sales, delivery, and management on our side, and shine.
Please feel welcome to add to this list. I’d be delighted to hear about your success stories in content marketing, and share it with our folks out here.