Content marketing sits at the intersection of social media, search engine optimization (SEO), CRM, media, creative design and copywriting. It requires an integrated approach that weaves together each of these practices. This series will help you develop a content marketing strategy in three stages: content planning, content creation and content promotion.
Part 1: Content Marketing Roadmap
A content marketing strategy determines how to tell a brand story to your target audiences and identifies a strategic mix of time, place, channels and media. Developing a strategy is the first step; these questions will help you get started:
- How will content marketing achieve our business goals?
- What is our brand truth or main message that every piece of communication much represent?
- Who is our target audience?
- What does our target audience care about?
- What problem does our brand/product solve for our target audience?
- What emotional need-state does it meet for them?
- How does our target audience find and consume content?
- What can we offer our audience at each stage of the sales funnel or lifecycle?
- At the end of the day, what do we want our audience to always think about the brand?
- What are the content gaps? What is my audience searching for that I can deliver?
- What are my content resources? What existing content do I have to repurpose?
- Where and when will we publish?
- What is my budget for content promotion and how will we promote? What do we consider success?
Now, turn these answers into a content marketing roadmap and you’re ready to begin!
Part 2: Editorial Calendar
One of the most obvious, yet often skipped, steps is planning out your content ahead of time. Embracing the Five P’s (Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance) also keeps ideas on- strategy, on brand and on schedule. At Red Door Interactive, we prefer to plan content on a quarterly basis with our clients. This allows a short enough window to include marketing initiatives and timely topics with a long enough period for execution before the planning cycle begins again. Here’s a solid process for planning a quarterly editorial calendar:
Research: Compile search trends for the three upcoming months (based on previous year performance), social listening trends, industry trends, customer service questions, upcoming holidays and pop culture events that appeal to your audience and past content performance.
Brainstorm: Invite creative teams and stakeholders to brainstorm content ideas based on the research from number one, above.
Create: Time to weed through the ideas and determine which topics and content you’d like to move forward with on your calendar. Remember to make sure they align with your content marketing roadmap.
In part two of this series, we’ll focus on content creation, optimizing shareable content for the most popular social media channels, with the goal of maximizing reach, engagement and clicks back to your site.