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So, you’ve developed a content marketing strategy your competitors would envy, but will you be able to carry it out? Creating a content strategy or an inbound marketing plan will provide a solid direction, but it’s what comes next – planning your content – that will determine how well you implement.
If you don’t have a comprehensive plan, don’t jump in an attempt immediate implementation. Your strategy is only the what and why. Now you’ll need to plan the who and how. It’s this planning phase that will allow you to streamline your activities for the best chance of consistent implementation.
Perhaps your strategy involves:
- Researching to ensure you choose topics of greatest interest to your buyer personas
- Publishing high quality content consistently
- Optimising your content for discoverability
- Being highly active on the social media channels most relevant to you
- Curating outstanding content your audience will appreciate
- Regularly repurposing your own content assets into eBooks or other material
Topic and keyword research – taking the time to undertake keyword research not only helps you identify popular search terms and long tail keywords with potential, it helps to identify the type of information your prospective clients are looking for. The person most suitable for this task might be your content strategist, or any other team member from a writer to a marketing assistant who has a thorough understanding of your audience, and familiarity with the tools used to undertake keyword research.
Writing – there are several potential solutions for the writing. Some companies have one or more in-house writers; others ask staff members with particular expertise to contribute content regularly. Another option is to engage an external content writer, or a content marketing agency. Sometimes the answer is a combination – calling on staff to contribute some of the more technical content, and having additional writers available for other material.
Editing/reviewing – no matter how good your writers are, it pays to have an editing or review process. In addition to an extra pair of eyes to pick up errors, someone needs to ensure that the content continues to be aligned with the strategic approach chosen. If you don’t have a professional editor on your team, you’ll need to identify the person on your team who has the best ability to do this – and the time to do it, because things won’t go to plan if there’s a lengthy hold up while content is reviewed.
Optimising the content – experienced content writers usually have this skill, as do SEO people. There are also some marketing automation platforms and other tools that can guide someone through the process. Who will do this best? Your writer or another team member? (If you’re outsourcing the writing to a content agency, then keyword research and optimisation can usually be included in your service.)
Distributing and promoting the content – if you already have someone looking after your social media, it will only be a matter of ensuring they know about the new plan! However, if you’re not currently active on social platforms, it’s time to find someone who can dedicate some hours each week to doing this – because content that’s published and not distributed or promoted, isn’t going to give you great ROI.
Content curation – while your social media person might seem the obvious choice for this task, that’s not always so. Content curation of external material involves a lot of research and readingto identify the most suitable and highest quality pieces of content to share with your audiences. Internal curation involves identifying which of your content assets can be redistributed or repurposed into other types of content.
The best person for this role is someone who will enjoy the research, and has the patience to sift through a mountain of rubble for the occasional gem. It’s vital to have the right person in that role. Anyone who doesn’t enjoy it might take short cuts, and if you are sharing mediocre material it will defeat the purpose and waste your resources.
The how – planning for consistency
The only way our content agency is able to operate efficiently and get regular client work out on time consistently, is by scheduling virtually everything we do. Things need to happen consistently – at the same time of the day/week/month/quarter/year. It just wouldn’t work any other way!
We deal with numerous content calendars and articles, but you can apply the same principles to your approach:
- Set up a content calendar to plan exactly what you will publish when. (See how to create a content calendar here)
- Ensure that everyone in the chain knows what they are expected to do and by when, and has sufficient time in their schedule to do the task comfortably.
- If you’re managing the show, establish patterns and routines – e.g. on Mondays we do this, on Wednesdays we do this, on the last day of the month we do this.
- Enforce the routines until they become habit – make sure team members put those tasks on their calendars, remind people, and make it clear that everyone is expected to do their bit by the deadline every time. Once they’re in the habit, you won’t need to remind them.
If you’re doing your own social media, you’re probably familiar with the option to schedule posts in advance. That saves time because you’re able to do it once a week, instead of daily. The same principle applies to some of the other tasks too.
Researching topics and keywords for an entire month’s worth of topics in the same time frame will be more efficient that doing just one or two at a time. Content curation is another task where it’s more efficient to spend several hours on it at a time, than to do it in short bursts.
However, there are limitations – if you do everything in advance, you can miss out on highly relevant news that your company should be commenting on or sharing. Allow yourself the flexibility to insert additional content or juggle things around on the schedule, and encourage team members to keep their eyes open for those opportunities.
Always have a back-up plan
As far as possible, ensure that more than one person knows how to do each task that you do in-house, even if they only know it well enough to do it in an emergency. And never have just one content writer at hand, even if you only publish twice a week.
It’s inevitable that at some stage, someone will be sick, unavailable, or will move on unexpectedly at short notice – and you don’t want your entire publishing plan to grind to a halt because one person isn’t available and nobody is ready to step in.
Which components can you outsource if you don’t have the time or people to do it in-house? Just about everything if you wish. It’s really a matter of deciding what can be done more cost effectively in-house.
As with many things, if you don’t have team members who can do these tasks well and without spending an unreasonable amount of time on them, it can be more cost effective and less stressful to outsource to a content agency. However, in some cases the solution might be engaging someone with the right skills, or allowing an existing employee who is interested undertake relevant training.
Whichever way you approach it, there’s one thing you can be certain of – even if you’ve created a great content strategy, things won’t always go to plan when human beings are involved!
If you’re yet to create or document your content strategy, feel free to speak with us. In addition to our blog writing services, we offer a range of content strategy services, and an initial phone consultation with our strategist is free.