Too many times as marketers, we get pulled in several directions without a clear strategy or plan. Marketing planning is the key for marketers to not lose your mind in chaos. By developing a logical and systematic marketing process for developing content, then using that content as pieces of your overall marketing communications program will reduce stress, anxiety, and missed opportunities while remaining focused and in support of your marketing strategy.
As I recently talked with a colleague who’s juggling multiple company’s marketing strategies and programs under the same corporate umbrella, I first asked if they were organized with their projects. To my delight, the answer was “yes.” Phew… as a marketing guide and mentor, organization is one of my sticking points. We then talked through the importance of content development then packaging it into multiple forms.
Also, part of the conversation was to develop not only a schedule but a system for implementation. This all needs to tie up to the brand and brand assets and deliver consistent and repetitive messaging.
Boiling it all down, and assuming your brand, brand assets and marketing strategy is identified (i.e., your marketing shit is together).
To develop your content in alignment with your marketing strategy I follow the following steps
- Research – Gather documents, white papers, case studies, articles from trade journals. In addition, talk to experts within your organization. Interview them to pull the content out of them (don’t be afraid to record conversations if they know you’re doing it).
- Develop a list of topics to get you through the year (11 to be exact with 1 being an end-of-year wrap up/next year looking forward). Don’t forget your target market – who you are talking to, how they take in information and where do they get their information from.
- Draft your content – Start piecing together the story based on the topics and headlines you’ve identified. Keep focused on education and use-case scenarios as opposed to features and benefits.
- Review and edit it with your internal expert.
- Final approval from your internal expert.
- Use and repurpose that beautiful piece of content you just wrote as a blog post, email campaign (3x minimum), article download, customer webinar
This is the basic process I use and have used in developing content where I’m not the content expert. Several times this internal expert is someone in product management, sales, applications, or leadership. Find that person or those people within your organization and work to get them on board.
To do this be sure to explain your process, what you’ll be doing with the content (repurposing it), and how working this marketing strategy and marketing plan will bring value, credibility, awareness, leads, and most of all sales to the organization.
If you can get them on board, you’ve just added a new champion to your efforts, congratulations!
The goal is to get ahead of things… build up a content library and develop elements that you can easily schedule for future posting or emailing. This will help your marketing efforts and department run more smoothly and to be able to be more proactive.
I’m not sure what tools you have but primarily for planning and documents, I use Microsoft Office. On developing a marketing calendar, metrics tracking and project management, I use monday.com. For several clients on email marketing, landing pages and social posting/scheduling I use Constant Contact. For larger, enterprise-type applications I’m a believer in Pardot and Salesforce.com.
No matter what tools you use, make sure they work for you in terms of efficiencies and automation. The last thing marketers need are more manual processes to deal with.
Planning and working an efficient system are key to a successful marketing department and program. Having a process in place will help ensure your marketing efforts are focused and in support of your overall marketing strategy. By taking the time to research and develop content, you can create valuable resources that can be used across multiple channels. Additionally, having internal experts on board to help with the technical details will help keep your marketing efforts on track. Use tools that work best for you to automate tasks and maximize efficiency. Marketing planning ensures your marketing department runs like a well-oiled machine and helps generate leads and sales!