Part 3 of a six-part series
Having an effective content strategy and content marketing plan can yield great benefits that reach audiences you might not otherwise reach.
In the previous post, we discussed the first step in the content marketing process: Strategy. Without an effective strategy that is measurable and manageable while also being tied to business goals, our efforts will not be truly successful.
In this article, we’ll cover the next step in the process: Content Creation. Once we have a strategy and marketing plan defined, we need to create the pieces that will ultimately be used in our marketing efforts.
While future articles will talk more about individual marketing and communications channels in depth, at this point we are going to talk at a high level about three important aspects:
- Think modular
- Think forward
- Think realistic
Figure out how to create a larger piece of content that can be broken up into smaller pieces, either to be used across the same channel or in other combinations across multiple channels.
For instance, an infographic could play several roles. It could start as an illustration in a white paper or blog post talking about a topic. Pieces of the infographic could be used as smaller callouts on a website or as short posts on social media. The infographic could also be animated and turned into a short video.
All of these items were made easy by thinking about how the different channels you create content for share many similarities. While they have different requirements, all share enough similarities that creating content as one larger “piece” that all the individual elements can be cut from can save you a lot of time
Plan what you may need in the future, while anticipating things that may disrupt some of your preparations.
Future-proof your assets as possible by making them easy to scale up and down (using vectors or high-resolution images) as different sizes and form factors are often needed. This could be for many reasons, such as increasing sizes of social media profile graphics, to things like retina display resolutions increasing, and many other factors.
Also, in thinking about the future, take into account your schedule and marketing calendar for the rest of the year. How can you take advantage of future events as you plan your content creation? Which overlaps are there between industry events (or even other announcements by your organization) and your content calendar? All of a sudden you may realize that your job is made easier by figuring this out.
Despite all the modularity and forward-thinking you are going to be doing, this final aspect can determine whether your content strategy will fail after a few months or if it will grow and last for the long term.
Take reality into account as you start planning your content creation. If your plan is too ambitious and can’t be implemented, it doesn’t matter how great it “would be.”
First, ensure that you have enough resources, whether that means staff or budget for consultants and agencies.
Next, think about the year ahead and what busy times, events and other things that might be happening throughout the course of the year. Make sure that your content creation schedule takes these times into account.
Finally, be realistic about any other dependencies such as product launches that seem at risk of not happening on schedule, or other items that might fluctuate over time. Your content creation should be able to be able to anticipate at least some calendar adjustment.
To be successful in your content creation efforts, it is essential to find methods that allow the items you generate to be modular, flexible, consistent, and able to be repurposed in a variety of ways across a variety of media. A “less is more” approach to creating individual pieces can work well for smaller organizations or even larger organizations with small marketing and creative teams.
Next Time: Content Marketing
With your plan and creative assets in place, you are now ready for the execution phase of your content marketing strategy.
The channels and methods used to reach your audiences will vary widely depending on the type of organization you are. This part of the process is where all your planning and creation efforts get to see the light of day, and you begin seeing how audiences across channels respond to it. It’s an exciting time as your plan becomes a reality.
About the Series
We take a deep dive into each of the parts necessary to achieve a successful content strategy. This high-level overview of the pieces that make up a successful content strategy will serve as a complete guide.
Also, remember that even if you are mid-way through a set of content marketing efforts, it never hurts to re-evaluate how you got where you are. Sometimes it doesn’t require revisiting the starting point to find a step in the process you might have rushed through. By simply reviewing your planning and creation, you might be able to make a significant improvement to an endeavor that’s underway.
Until next time, may you be intentional, strategic, and ultimately successful in all your marketing efforts!
Originally published on the Carousel 30 blog.
Greg Kihlström, founder and CEO of Carousel30, is a digital strategist and creative director who has worked with top brands on many campaigns, including AOL, AARP, Ben & Jerry’s, Geico Direct, MTV, Starbucks, The Nature Conservancy, Toyota, TV One and the Washington Wizards.