Welcome to Part I of our series on Content Marketing Strategy.
This will only be available for free for a limited time.
Let’s start at the top.
Activity without purpose is meaningless
Whenever we first engage with a client, we begin by talking about their mission and purpose as an organization, similar to what Jim Collins would call a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). A company’s content marketing strategy must be aligned with that mission.
It is always important to keep in mind where you want to go in the long run. If you’re going to plan, do it right and think further ahead than next week.
While most people want to start by talking about how many Twitter followers they’ll need, how many Facebook posts they’ll need to post per day, and if hashtags are appropriate for their Instagram activity, those nitty gritty tactics that make up your day-to-day activity should be reserved for later on in the process.
It also helps to know how aggressively you want to chase that mission. This information will help to inform budget conversations.
A good rule is, the shorter the period of time you set to achieve your goals, the larger budget you will likely need.
Turning your mission into objectives within reach
Once you have identified where you want to go as an organization, you can begin devising a plan to get there. The plan will start with measurable goals.
It starts with a single question:
“What do we need to accomplish in order to become the company we want to be?”
Then another question:
“What else do we need to accomplish in order to become the company we want to be?”
Continue this exercise until you have a list of objectives to accomplish in order to become the company you envision in the future.
To be most effective, these objectives should be as specific as possible, measurable, attainable, relevant to the company’s mission and purpose, and should have a built-in time frame. These are often referred to as S.M.A.R.T. goals.
To ensure your goals meet these criteria, take your list of objectives and ask the following additional questions:
“How will we know if we’ve accomplished this goal?”
“Is this goal ambitious or completely unrealistic?”
“Will accomplishing these goals move us towards our ultimate goal?”
“When do we need to reach these milestones?”
Before getting into the the actual content strategy, it’s important to stop for a moment and reflect on your goals. Most importantly, whether or not you are adequately prepared from a resource perspective to accomplish these goals.
Many companies will set ambitious plans under the false assumption that “Social Media Marketing is free.” Neither Social Media, Content, nor time are “free.” Every action has an opportunity cost and often times a real dollar-value cost.
If the goal is to become a thought leader, and one of the goals is to receive attention in a major publication like the NY Times within the first 6 months of the year , the question becomes “do we have the people to accomplish this goal,” or “do we have the budget to hire an outside consultant or agency who can assist in completing this objective?”
Before deciding how content fits, and long before deciding what to do, you need to understand why you are doing it in the first place, and what you hope to accomplish.
Stay tuned for Part II.