How to perfect content marketing strategy with process management

Improve content marketing strategy with process management

Every company is now a publisher, or at least it can be. When you work with content marketing, you publish on a blog, on Twitter, Facebook, on so on. Technology has allowed us to do this. But the main problem is that although it seems pretty easy, it's not as simple as it looks. And a recent study from the Curata proves that.

According to it, the main challenges of the field are limited budget, producing enough content on a regular basis, finding the best sources to create them, measuring its impact, promoting it and building an organizational culture.

Which leads us to the main question: how to build a good content marketing strategy on a limited budget? A good way to overcome these challenges is to create a content marketing process. A good process provides the company with standards, definitions, and best practices for the entire content lifecycle.

With a well-designed process, it becomes easier to produce higher quality content by specifying best practices that lead to great results.

If you are facing problems with content production, such as not creating enough material or difficulty in promoting it and so on, chances are you might need to adjust (or even create) a content marketing process.

Reasons why you might be having problems with your content marketing strategy

There are a number of reasons why your content marketing strategy might not be giving you the results you want. Lack of process management, poor internal communication, personas not properly defined, goals not well established, etc.

Lack of process management: if you think about it, technology has given us the capability to publish anything anywhere, but it also has taken away the necessity of strategic planning (in a way). For example: fifty years ago, every advertisement or marketing brochure had to be strategic because it took weeks or months to create one creative asset.

The democratization of content production has created a sort of disorganized "content factory", where anyone can produce and promote content at any time with no more than a copy/paste/save routine.

Poor internal communication: this is a very common problem for companies, since as bigger the team, higher are the chances of communication issues. This can be a killer for your content marketing strategy. In fact, to any strategy. Internal communication is the glue that holds an organization together and should not be treated as trivial. Without it, a team is just a collection of individuals, each one working alone on his or her own demands.

Personas not properly defined: each and every content created by your team is aimed to one or more personas. Who are they? What do they do? What solutions are they looking for? If you don't have your personas precisely defined, you won't be able to produce relevant content for them.

Goals not well established: what are your content marketing goals? Do you have them clearly in your mind? Does your team know exactly what are you aiming for and what do they need to do to get there? If you don't know where you want to go, how will you know what you have to do?

Other problems? Your content is not optimized for SEO or social media, you're selling instead of sharing knowledge, your content is not relevant, etc. There are tons of issues that certainly can be solved with one little word: process management (two words, sorry!).

When done properly, content marketing is one of the most effective — as well as cost-effective — ways to market your products or services, so don't overlook it.

How to develop your content marketing strategy

Organizations typically use content marketing to build an audience, a contact base, nurture leads and eventually increase revenue.

So why do you need a perfectly well-designed marketing strategy? Let me list a few reasons: drive traffic, generate leads, convert them into customers, educate clients, branding, improve social media presence and decrease customer acquisition costs. And these are just some of them. I could go for a while, but let's be honest. You already know the benefits of a content marketing strategy. The one thing that you might know is that you need to document it to achieve better results.

85% of B2B marketers said lead generation was their most important content marketing goal in 2016

Don't worry, you're not alone. According to the Content Marketing Institute, only 32% of B2B marketers had a documented content marketing strategy until not too long ago.

Think of it as an outline of your key business and customer needs, plus a detailed plan for how you will use content to address them.

Although there is no definitive template for a content marketing strategy or content marketing process management, there a few components that should be part of it:

Goals: what is your goal with the content marketing plan? Be specific. Do you want to acquire leads? How many in what period of time? Are you looking for increasing traffic? What is your dream number?

Planning: what is your plan to actually get there? Will you focus on social media, blog posts, link baits, link building, e-books, podcasts, all of them? What type of content will you create? Brainstorm your ideas. Plan an editorial calendar. You need to draw your plan very carefully to be able to execute it properly.

Management: have a tool to manage all the content that you create. Who will create it and when? When will it be published? How is going to be distributed? Who is going to be responsible for that? Organize your content production with the help of the right tool.

Analysis: how well is your strategy performing? Are you managing to acquire the leads you want? Do you need to increase your traffic? Convert as many leads as you have to. You need to closely analyze the results of your content marketing strategy to ensure that you are on the right path.

Adjust: Even if the results are as good as you want them to be, adjustments are always welcome. Nothing is so good that can't be improved. Always aim for perfection.

Once you have all of your content marketing strategy designed and documented, remember to give everyone access to it. Especially if you work in a large organization. Sharing your strategy is a good practice for businesses that are just starting out with content marketing, for content teams that rely on external experts or for companies that outsource any part of the creation or distribution.

Consider revisiting your channel strategy, core topics, and team processes on a regular basis.

The importance of overviewing the process and workflows

Processes and workflows create a foundation on top of which business activities can happen more efficiently. The result is the ability to view, operate, manage, analyze and improve your business.

By mapping the steps of your processes you can understand, evaluate, and improve them. You'll have a reference point and a better view of how things get done. From there, you can analyze the process and determine whether some activities can be automated, or even removed from it.

To help you visualize the benefits, we have listed them:

Identify bottlenecks: at what point of the process something went wrong? The only way to find that out is if you know exactly what is going on, who's responsible for what and so on.

Find out the production capacity: is it enough producing two blog posts per week and one ebook per month? Can you create more? By mapping the process, you will find that out.

Better view of the process to plan goals: are you close to your quarterly goals? Sure you can discover this by analyzing your results with a business intelligence feature, but with the help of process management you can see the bigger picture and plan your next strategies more easily.

Quicker view of the tasks "to do, doing and done": what needs to be done, what is already been done and what is being executed at the moment? With this knowledge you can manage tasks and priorities, improving productivity and achieving better results.

Quicker view of the tasks "to do, doing and done": what needs to be done, what is already been done and what is being executed at the moment? With this knowledge you can manage tasks and priorities, improving productivity and achieving better results.

Example of a content marketing process with the help of a kanban board

If you are wondering how to create a content marketing process template, we are going to give you some tips.

To start, how about creating a content production workflow? To help us visualize the process we've chosen our Kanban feature. The first step is to do define the columns. In our case, we've opted for the following:

  • Briefing ideas
  • Briefing production
  • Briefing evaluation
  • Briefing approval
  • Content being produced
  • Content being revised
  • Content being edited
  • Ready to publish
  • Published

I believe that they are all self-explanatory.

As you can see, there is a logical process that every content goes through before it can be ready to be published.

Kanban board example

For each and every stage there are criteria that need to be met so that the card goes to next one (conditions). With a tool like this, all the team can access each other's tasks and know what everyone else is doing. And the manager can control priorities, demands and the entire content marketing strategy.

A content marketing strategy identify different ways to use content across the buyer’s journey, the customer life cycle and/or the different customer (experience) touchpoints to ensure that the marketing and sales goals are achieved.

By mapping not only the strategy, but also the processes and workflows, it becomes easier to control results and prevent pitfalls.

What about you? Do you map your processes? Do you use any platform to help you out? Let us know!

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