Develop a Strategy + Tell People + Write it Down = Strong Foundation for Success
As I continue to reflect on last month’s experience at Content Marketing World, planning for 2015 couldn’t come at a more perfect time. As I work with clients to put the finishing touches on 2015 plans, lessons learned at this year’s conference remain top of mind – most notably the importance of a quality, integrated content marketing strategy.
Develop a Strategy
Developing a strategy may sound like an easy task, but once you engage in the process it usually proves to be a far greater undertaking than listing an assortment of tactics and ideas because simply engaging with a target audience isn’t a valid strategy. As marketers we must be disciplined enough to achieve focus.
At the conference last month, Kristina Halvorson challenged everyone in the room to apply a more disciplined approach to the development of a focused content marketing strategy. Just because we can create doesn’t always mean we should. Because, inevitably, when we try to be all things to all people, we become nothing to no one.
A clear strategy is important and essential to the creation of an effective and impactful plan. However, as many of us can attest, if the strategy isn’t integrated to support the greater business objectives, we end up with random acts of content creation which don’t really move the needle. And let’s be honest, our industry lives and dies by the needle.
So if we want to be as effective as we can be when it comes to content marketing, we have to share our strategies and ideas across the business. By taking a wider approach, we’re able to see more consistent ROI. By integrating content marketing into all the other elements of the organization (sales, innovation, IT, marketing, R&D) the content created will gain more visibility, yielding better outcomes. For example, if you plan to measure the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy through web analytics, IT should be brought into the loop early. It’s an opportunity to talk through any synergies that might exist as well as how what you’re doing helps contribute to greater business goals.
This type of integration and collaboration is time-intensive on the front end, and it’s tough. It takes discipline and commitment, but in the end, the results are more substantial. Read: Work smarter, not harder.
Write it Down
This last part seems relatively simple right? You’ve already gone through the process of developing an initial strategy and figured out how it will work within the context of your larger organization. Why do you need to write it down? In a recent study by the Content Marketing Institute, though most B2B marketers do claim to have a content marketing strategy, only 35 percent have actually documented that strategy, and it has been proven that people who document their strategies and follow them with consistency are far more likely to realize success. Effective content marketers have an integrated strategy, document that strategy and then follow it closely with consistency and discipline.
So once you’ve developed your strategy worked with your internal partners to integrate it across your organization and documented your plans, keep going. An effective content marketing strategy needs to be continuously nurtured and optimized. And remember, if it were easy, everyone would do it!