So you’ve just gotten the green light from the leadership team to launch a content marketing program. Congrats! But there’s a problem: they want you to do this within the next month or so.
If you’re sitting at your desk panicking and scratching your head, and wondering how you could possibly deliver a strategy in such a short period of time, don’t worry! If you start right now, you can create and launch a successful content marketing plan in exactly six weeks.
Here’s what you need to do over the next month, according to Yvonne Yons, the VP of Content Marketing at the consulting firm Right Source:
Task #1: Build Your Team
Content marketing is not a one-person job. It’s why building a great team is key to your content marketing success.
You need content creators who can help write and develop engaging content, strategists who are skilled with building, executing and managing your content marketing strategy and deliverables, data specialists and marketing technology experts who can give you the data and technical knowledge you need to drive your content marketing plan.
These individuals need to be fully on board with your vision and passionate about championing your content marketing plan throughout the planning and execution process. As their leader, you need to engage, inspire and give them the support and resources they need to be successful.
Task #2: Conduct Interviews
Yes, you’ve gotten approval from your leadership team on your content marketing program, but are you absolutely certain you’re all aligned on what your strategy will deliver and achieve? How success will be measured? Or how other organizations, such as the sales team, will be involved?
It’s extremely important to talk to all your internal stakeholders to get agreement and alignment on expectations, responsibilities and roles each individual person and team will play.
Task #1: Conduct A Content Audit
A content audit will give you a true sense of how your current content marketing efforts are performing as well as the gaps and areas you could improve on. It’ll also help you identify the content types and topics that are resonating with your audience for content repurposing opportunities.
Here is a content audit template that I share with companies and marketers who are looking to conduct a content audit.
Task #2: Research Your Competitors
If you want to beat your competitors, you need to know what they’re doing first. What types of content are they creating? What topics do they cover? What search keywords are they using? How is their social media performing?
By studying your competition, you can find out what they are (and aren’t) doing well, and what is and isn’t working for them. And any content gaps you find are your opportunities to better connect and engage audiences who may be underserved by your competitors.
Someone on your team can actually start working on this while you’re doing your internal interviews, since this research will take some time to complete if you want it done thoroughly.
Here are some additional tips and strategies on how to conduct your competitive research and analysis.
Task #3: Research The Industry
Just as important as your competitive research, you’ll also want to find out what your industry is doing in the content marketing space. Even better, also look outside your market to see what companies are doing in other industries. There may be content marketing ideas or trends that your competitors haven’t caught on yet, which becomes an opportunity for you to lead and establish your brand as a thought leader in your space.
This research should be an ongoing task for you and your team so you’re up-to-date on the latest and emerging trends in content marketing to inspire your strategy and plan.
Here is a collection of my favorite 99 content marketing destinations from both B2B and Consumer brands that are worth checking out and following.
Task #1: Define Your Goals And Objectives
If you can’t measure your content marketing program, you won’t know if it’s actually successful and what you can do to improve it. Your goal or objective needs to be more than just getting more sales. You need to really think through it. Be specific and make sure your objectives are measurable.
For example, to generate more sales, one of your goals may be to increase the number of leads. How many quality leads would be considered as successful?
By setting up clear, specific and measurable goals and objectives, you can more accurately evaluate how your content marketing program is performing and demonstrate your ROI.
Task #2: Define Your Target Audience
Based on your internal interviews, content audit and market research, who is your target audience? You’ll want to be as specific as you can here. Try to understand their biggest pain points, triggers, motivators and goals.
Find out what their content preferences are, such as the channels and platforms they are spending their time and the content topics and types they’re most interested in.
Task #3: Define Your Performance Metrics
How will you measure success? How do you determine if you’ve achieved your goals and objectives or not? Did your prospects actually act on your content and convert into customers for your business?
Make sure you develop your measurement criteria with your leadership and any other teams and stakeholders who will be involved in executing your content marketing plan. You need to make sure everyone is in agreement with what success looks like and how it will be measured.
Task #1: Develop Messaging, Themes And Topics
Work with your team to develop the key messaging of your content marketing. Do these messages represent your brand and align with your corporate messaging? Make sure everyone agrees with the key messaging you’ve developed before you create your themes and topics.
Task #2: Determine Your Content Types And Frequency
Based on your budget and resources, what types of content and how frequently can your team deliver it? Make sure your topics align with the content types you’ll produce, based on the customer insights you’ve gathered in previous steps.
Task #3: Define Your Distribution Channels
When new content is created, how will you get the word out so your target audience actually sees it? Your plan needs to go beyond distributing to your own owned social media channels, think about other platforms and social media properties where your target audience spends time online, and target those channels as well.
Task #1: Build Your Execution Team
The team executing your content marketing plan may be your own team at large, but think about others who could support your efforts. Are there influencers you could work with to co-create content? Will you need freelancers and external agencies to help produce content?
Task #2: Select Your Tools
What tools do you need to successfully execute and measure your content marketing efforts? Do you have a marketing automation platform and CRM system? Does your team need an editorial calendar or project management software?
Think about what you currently have, what you need (versus want), and what you actually will use before you make any investments.
Task #3: Create Your Editorial Calendar
Now that you have your key messaging, themes, topics and content types, it’s time to build them into your editorial calendar. It’s important to take time to build it out so you are consistently publishing and delivering relevant, valuable content to your audience, and to keep your team and other contributors on the same page.
It’s go time! Prioritize your top 10 action items you need to complete first. Don’t mix this up with your editorial calendar because some of these action items may not be editorial-related activities, such as getting your marketing automation or CRM system implemented.
And that’s it! By following this schedule, you can successfully create and execute on your content marketing plan in six weeks!
Are there any other tips or tasks you would include when launching a content marketing plan? Please share your thoughts below!
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