It can be easy to forget the big picture and the need to have a management plan when it comes to content marketing. That’s often because content marketing is so data driven, and there are so many variables in the mix to manage. These variables range from schedules, budgets, and analytics to workflow, audience, and design. Some of them are more macro in nature, while others are micro, but all are important.
All the different variables, and the need to generate a steady stream of content can make it easy to lose control over content marketing. That’s why it’s important for brands to have a content marketing management plan in place from the get-go.
Content management systems are software programs like WordPress and HubSpot that can help you streamline the process. They’re tools that can help you do things like edit, test, and post content and can make collaboration easier. But it’s key that you have an overview of your content marketing management plan before you start.
It’s also crucial to know what your content strategy is before you put your content marketing management plan in place. Because there are so many moving parts to both content strategy and a content marketing management plan, it’s a good idea to outline what both include.
The key elements of a content strategy include:
Research and Define Your Target Market
While some brands research their target markets in-house, others opt to work with content marketing agencies if their own in-house bandwidth falls short. It’s to your benefit to define your target market to avoid wasting resources. Researching and defining your target market will also help you tailor your content to their needs and interests.
After you’ve defined your target market, look for the content formats they’re most responsive to. Do they respond to blog posts on your website or e-newsletters? Do posts on social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, videos on YouTube, or podcasts get the results you need? What types of posts are your competitors’ customers responding to?
Create a Mission Statement
A mission statement defines your target market, the message you’ll send and why it will be valuable to your audience. It’s the result of your brand’s in-depth research of your audience, their content needs and what makes you stand apart from the competition. When everyone on the content team knows what your brand’s mission is, it prevents confusion and saves time and money.
Before you create one word of content, know what your goals are. Be specific. Do you want to increase awareness, engagement, leads, site traffic, and/or conversions? Is the plan to accomplish all of these goals when introducing a new product?
If these are your goals, by how much do you want to boost each metric? Auditing how your current content is doing before you get started can give you the benchmark you need for comparison. Clarity about the goals of the content in advance of the campaign will save you from headaches once it kicks off.
Content Marketing Management Plan
Content strategy tells you where you’re headed with your content marketing. However, your content marketing management plan lays out how your team members will get you there. It spells out more of the nitty-gritty details than a content marketing strategy does. The key components of a content marketing management plan include:
If you’re not a one-person show, you’ll want to delegate responsibility for jobs like SEO, content creation, editing and design, budgeting, and analytics. If your brand will be working with influencers to create content, designate the team members who will reach out to, select and manage them.
It’s a given that things will run more smoothly when you know who’s doing what in your content marketing campaign. It also means team members will be more likely to take ownership of their work and aim higher.
Create a Workflow Plan
Establish what the content creation process will be by creating a workflow plan, with a starting point and an ending point. Make it clear what the order of the different workflow tasks will be, who will perform them and who has the final sign-off on content.
Create an Editorial Calendar for Content
Establish timeframes for content campaigns and put an editorial calendar in place for content. Include the topics that will deliver the most benefit to your customers. Note dates that will require specialized content, such as for holidays, special events, and sales.
Make sure that the calendar includes the different channels where your content will be posted and the formats it will take.
Track and Measure Analytics
Establish a schedule for assessing the analytics that tell you how your content is doing. Ask how your content is measuring up against your goals. That way you can determine whether your content needs tweaking, your goals need to be adjusted, or both. Have a system in place to measure that all-important metric, ROI.
Promote Your Content
When it comes to content, it’s not a matter of “If you build it, they will come.” Your content isn’t doing your brand much good if consumers don’t know where to find it. For example, a major travel-booking site might have created a separate online travel magazine to help drive bookings. It’s a beautiful magazine, with compelling, informative content and gorgeous visuals.
But if the brand doesn’t promote the magazine, most consumers won’t see the content that could get them excited about booking a trip. It’s easy for a team to be enthusiastic about the engaging content they’ve created. But the brand has to promote it to their target audience. That promotion could be on the website, in an e-newsletter, on social media or in some other way that reaches their ideal consumer.
Otherwise, the site, brand and the products it offers appear to be no different from the competition. The target audience members don’t know that the brand has created useful content for them. The brand misses out on all the benefits that come from great content, and the money spent on it has gone down the drain.
Establish a Content Marketing Budget
Make sure a budget is in place before you’re off and running with your content marketing. It’s easier to rein in costs up front rather than after your content marketing campaign is underway. Get familiar with the nuts and bolts of the content creation process and what their average costs are. Factor in everything you know that needs to be included and include a buffer for the surprises that might spring up.
If you run a small business, get quotes from freelancers for content creation, and make sure that they’re itemized. If you’re creating content in-house, assess the capabilities of your staff to see if you need to hire more people to run the campaign. If you’d rather hand a lot of the legwork over to a content marketing agency, check out your options online.