One of the key challenges encountered by companies who are starting to evolve their marketing efforts to incorporate content marketing is creating enough marketing content. Here are some of the ways we and our users have found useful to help create enough content to engage your target market.
1. Have a Strategic Framework
When you have a well defined strategy it is much easier to come up with ideas for content that are going to attract your target market, because you quickly realize that you need specific types and titles of content to fill out that strategy. It also helps avoid veering off course when you get distracted by short term developments in your industry or responding to what could very well be missteps by your competitors. Once you have developed an agreed-upon strategy, consisting of themes and personas, mapped to buyer cycle stages, you can begin creating your content and collecting assets to fill the gaps in your content architecture. This is the reason we built strategic objects such as themes, personas, and buyer cycle stages into the very core of our content marketing software, and made them completely customizable so that you each of our customers can build the content marketing framework that matches how they want to build their architecture.
2. Audit Your Existing Content
Part and parcel of that strategic exercise is identifying gaps in the conversion architecture defined by your content strategy. You can’t fully know those gaps though until you audit your existing content. It’s difficult and possibly even self-defeating to embark on a mission to create new content if you don’t yet have a firm grasp on the content you currently possess. To perform an audit, you need some form of content audit software to pull in all of your assets and provide you with a way of labeling them with the appropriate metadata and comments. You then need an appropriate reporting and analysis tool to show you aggregate information from your audit. An example of such as tool is our Theme-Cycle™ which handles both the planning and reporting and analysis of content within the context of your strategic framework. Out of this exercise will emerge the gaps that currently exist in your content. Ideas will then naturally start tumbling out to fill those gaps. And you will know how much content is enough to fill your strategic needs.
3. Document Your Ideas
Everybody loves a good brainstorming session at the whiteboard, but you need to start documenting all of your ideas where they are easily accessible when it comes to planning out your content creation. And while collaborative ideation is great, there is some thought-provoking ideation research that suggest that some of the best ideas happen when people are by themselves. In any case, you need a place where ideas can be put for future reference. This should be a place where others on the team can review those ideas. And the ideas should be quickly accessible from and connected to the planning and production workflows. This is why the Ideation tool is a key part of the Marketing.AI content marketing software. It allows your users to add ideas asynchronously from when the idea will be used; the tool is accessible throughout the system – whenever and idea strikes, a new idea can be added, and ideas can be pushed quickly and easily into the Editorial Calendar and ultimately be used to trigger collaborative production workflows.
4. Marshall Your Resources and Line Them Up Into Repeatable Processes
Take stock of the resources you will have at your disposal to create content. Who are the different team members going to be, both from within the marketing department and elsewhere throughout the organization? Think of the different types of content you will be using in your mix and who can best participate in the creation of those types? Also consider what the roles in the workflow will be for the different team members? Approvals coordination are another factor. Is approval required from the legal department for instance? How many levels of approval? Another consideration when it comes to conducting a census of your resources is how much you want to leverage external resources in addition to your internal ones.
Ultimately this process should roll-up into a planned workflow by content type and groups of content in campaigns. This saves having to change business processes around ad-hoc when you are trying to accomplish a high-velocity production workflow, saving a lot of time – time which you can apply to producing more and better content. This is why Marketing.AI’s content workflow system supports the planning and creation of these workflow templates that just work the way you need it when you need it – including multiple levels of approval if needed, coordination with and role-based access for external resources, and even parallel workflows with complex messaging architectures.
5. Get Everyone on the Same Page
If you’re going to be collaborating with a team, especially if it is large and distributed in many locations, it’s critical to have everyone on the same page regarding strategy, guidelines, context, goals, workflow and timing.
For strategy, it’s not enough to simply create strategic documents and then store them away on a drive somewhere collecting proverbial dust. You need to have your strategic objects resident where you do your work and they need to pervade your entire execution workflow so that they are consistently understood and help frame your content production, helping you produce content that is better aligned to your strategy and at the same time saving considerable time chasing around details.
When it comes to keeping everyone on the same page and on task with the execution workflow, nothing beats working with an online Editorial Calendar. With an Editorial Calendar the whole team can visually understand what is planned and quickly drill-down to see context and instructions. The many filters and views of a proper Editorial Calendar system allow for quick retrieval and sorting of planned and published content to see what’s being done, been done, and needs to be done.
Start by planning the first month ahead, but ideally you should be looking to get at least the structure of a 90-day calendar planned out to ensure that you will have a regular flow of new content.
6. Use an Efficient Workflow Tool
It’s not enough to plan your content production workflows, you actually need to execute on them. To do that you need a system that delivers on its workflow promises. A good collaborative content workflow production tool should have an Editorial Calendar at its center, but also combine integrated drafting and versioning, workflow notifications, approvals and multiple views of the production workflow, such as an individualized task to-do view, planning and production calendars, list and activity views. It should also integrate with parts of the workflow that exist outside the tool itself such as content management systems, support forums, asset stores, and marketing automation systems.
Incorporating an efficient workflow tool such as Marketing.AI’s collaborative content workflow software into your content marketing efforts will increase the effectiveness of your execution plan as it will allow you to assign tasks, draft, edit and comment on content in a smooth and seamless way. You can then manage multiple levels of approval workflows from within a collaborative editorial calendar to maintain a high quality of content with a consistent message. Ultimately putting this workflow system in place will help you create better aligned content that will perform better and take less time to create.
7. Stay on Track
Most importantly you need to stay on track with your content marketing. Like most things in life you can start off with the best of intentions, but those can wane as you proceed. Consistently reviewing your updated calendar and receiving workflow notifications will keep you and your content creators engaged. Having an individualized My Calendar view of your upcoming tasks helps you to stay on top of everything that needs to get done and retains your motivation to excel with your content marketing strategy.
In a world where everyone else has also woken up to the value and necessity of doing solid content marketing, it is not enough to just produce a lot of content and hope it penetrates the clutter. The good news is that the best way to produce enough marketing content is well aligned with the best way to produce quality content, namely: have a strategy, audit your resources and assets, determine gaps, and build efficient execution workflows to fill those gaps, using an editorial calendar to keep everyone on track and on the same page. Even better news is that there is software that is built specifically to help you do all that, and you can sign-up for a 30-day free trial to get started today.