Do you feel like you are killing yourself by working too hard with inadequate results that leave your own needs and aspirations on the sidelines? Whether you are in a corporate setting writing for others or in-house writing content for other departments, you can still keep your own content marketing goals on track. You just need to have a plan.
Having a plan for your content marketing strategy will get you back on track and empower you to reach your goals for the future. The first thing you need to do is determine your goals. Then you need to align the content with your goals for the future of your business. Here is a sample list of practical goals for improving your content marketing.
1. Generate leads for future content.
2. Keep the sales cycle to a minimum.
3. Keep your customers.
4. Develop your brand.
5. Show off your talents
Future content is found through customer needs and referrals. By being on the same page with the customer, you will keep them happy and receive the benefit of a referral. Each customer has a life cycle in their needs and your content needs to be synchronized with this life cycle. You need to hit the customer with the right message at the right time. It needs to have a positive impact to have a positive effect on your business.
The next step is to determine and evaluate your resources. You have to be smart on time management and people management. Do you have a small internal content team? What are they assigned to create as far as content? Blog entries, scripts, informational content are all different and need to be handled by the team best suited. Match technical writers with the customers needing technical articles and posts for products and services. You wouldn’t assign a team that specializes in animated cartoons to develop a content marketing strategy for surgical instruments used in open heart surgery.
Look at the size of your team. Determine their strengths. How much can you invest in the business?
Create a list of what you want to create and what you require in order to find the compromise to realistically create your content marketing strategy without putting a strain on your resources.
Once you understand your abilities and limitations, you need to understand your customers. It is not enough to know the basic information about your customers. They have specific needs and goals for their company too. Develop relationships with your customers by getting to know their persona’s and creating content based on different criteria. You need to know their goals, their personalities, their views on their market and what they expect from you and your team. By understanding all this about your customers, you will understand you and your goals and needs.
Making your content marketing successful requires developing a base to generate your content. Do this by doing research , interviews, surveys, and analyzing your audiences and customers. Success comes through work and without doing this work your content will seem as if you grabbed it out of the air without any basis. It will not be relate able to your customers.
You have a story to tell, not just your customers. Which ones are relevant and would interest people? Do your personal ideals matter to your customers? Are shipping options influence your audience? Do customers remember the attention to detail shown in the content you submitted or the customer service received during the service time? The answers will help you identify your brand stories and your marketing venue.
The past is still relevant. The content marketing strategy for 2014 can be a combination of the old and the new. Go through your archives. What was successful and just needs to be revamped for a new year? What is currently working? And what is in your content catalog that can be reused? A customer might even like something that worked years ago that can be modernized with just a few tweaks. Did you send out direct mail pieces or newsletters to current and prospective customers? Why not pull out some old ones and create a nostalgic look back by scanning them to your website or blog?
Host a panel discussion on a topic that caused some controversy a year ago. Invite some of the followers to join the discussion. This is free advertising for your writing skills. Take an article that was interesting and make it into an info graphic. Is there anything that didn’t get the promotional push it should have received like some evergreen content created a year or two ago. Use what you have in your archives. This reduces the amount of fresh content you need and can stimulate those creative juices. Take what you have and can improve and record or catalog it for future content.
Now you are beginning to think about what content you can create. Are you missing stories or not meeting all your customer’s needs? Look at what you have and combine it with customer stories. By creating an editorial calendar, you can organize your content for the future. Google spreadsheets are a great format for this. Remember what your resources are, the strengths of your team, and the quantity of content you can create. Be realistic. Don’t take on projects that will strain your resources and create discouragement among team members. This is not the time to wear rose colored glasses.
Your team has to be held accountable to be successful in carrying out your content marketing strategy. There should be a list of draft due dates, final version due dates, who is the writer, the content themes, the type of format, and so on. The editorial calendar should be available to everyone on the team for easy reference. These deadlines should be meshed with the other work deadlines of the company.
Find a member of the team to become the content cheerleader. Everybody likes to be recognized and encouraged. This promotes team unity and pride. It makes people work harder and nurtures creativity. It will create professional respect among your team members and develop a culture of consistently great content in your company. Celebrating internal success keeps people happy and focused. The person in charge of team moral and encouragement should also keep track of developments and enlist improvements when needed.
Do you remember the story of the two children that had to walk up the hill in the deep snow with no shoes? The cobbler was so busy taking care of other things that he did not provide shoes for his own children. This would be like a doctor neglecting his health or a painter allowing his home to become faded. The world of writing content is a large one and can be very cold. Making plans, encouraging teamwork, and being accountable for your success will guarantee your success. Take the steps to make sure you and your team are wearing the shoes you need to ensure your future.