I recently returned from the Intelligent Content Conference in Las Vegas, where the agenda was chalk full of direction from numerous practitioners and consultants, and some great learning by all in attendance. Then like every conference, I get back to my office, and the real work (ie. madness!!) begins- translating the learning and networking with like-minded colleagues into an action plan. My action plan is all about following up on numerous conversations with potential customers, and your action plan likely involves how-to translate a few key nuggets of insight into a solid content marketing plan.
Based on this inherent fire-hose of possibilities flying at all of us, and the conversations I have talking with potential and current customers every day I’ll share where I think it makes the most sense to start bringing the madness under control. Why? I find many presentations and discussions focus on the “what” should be done, but few discussions focus on the “how”.
What Matters Most?
I think there are 3 key efforts Content Marketers are beginning to tackle: Content Audit, Metadata, and Gap Planning.
Where are you now with your content? Do you have an audit of available materials? Seemingly an easy enough question to answer, but typically the answer is buried deep within the organization. Sometimes, a list of content is captured in a spreadsheet. More often, it just “exists” on the company website, or in files located in murky shared drives, or hidden away on the laptops of current employees and sometimes those who have departed- in which case that content is effectively orphaned.
Would I suggest sinking hours and hours into cataloging everything historic? It’s a nice thought, but I’d expect if your days look like mine, the past matters- but not as much as we think. If you are like the majority of our customers- you have spreadsheets listing all sorts of content items, where they exist, and you have a good idea of how that content might be categorized or tagged. What should you do with these lists? Well, if you’re working with Marketing.AI, you can dump this content into one place- so you can at least begin assembling a loose collection of what you know you have, and where the potential gaps may be in covering your bases. Maybe, you’ll already have content available to cover the gaps, or maybe you don’t. At least you’ll know more now than you did yesterday.
Now that you’ve completed a rough audit of your content –how is that content connected with what matters in your organization? And how do you define what really matters?
Here’s where we encourage our customers to think about the data tags or metadata you want to associate with each piece of content. Metadata is the collection of building blocks your organization uses to connect content to strategy. What type of content is it? What audience or buyer persona is being targeted with each piece of content? What industry, or sector, or vertical, or geography has a piece of content been created for? Are there particular themes, campaigns, strategies, or other crucial factors linking a piece of content?
Metadata helps you and your organization label and catalog all of your available resources in an easily searchable, filterable way. Will this eliminate rework and waste in the creation of an ever growing array of available content types, channels, and people eager and willing to create it? Of course not, but it does allow you to make more educated decisions about where you and your team put effort, and which initiatives deserve more resources, and which are easily handled in repurposing or localizing what already exists.
Knowing where you stand, what you have, and how it all relates to your business enables you to be creative again. What new ideas for content do you have to better reach your audience? How do you fill the gaps you identified? Who can tackle these efforts? Are they internal to the organization, or do you have an agency or other partner already in place?
Marketing.AI enables you to link the content you’ve audited, and tagged with your metadata or other variables- so you can identify gaps in your strategy and content. Creative madness in closing those gaps is where your efforts should be focused, ensuring all customer touch points as they progress through their own journeys- are covered. Otherwise, duplicate or conflicting efforts may arise- which typically doesn’t do much to move them forward.
Here’s to stopping the madness….and maybe starting some!