Hello again – you must be back here because you read part 1 of this blog post a couple of weeks ago. Undoubtedly you will have been waiting patiently to learn about some of the processes we use here at White.net when looking at content creation and strategy, and luckily for you that is exactly what I’ll be talking about today! (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I recommend that you take a short detour to catch up on my first post on this topic, before continuing on here)
Now for the good stuff – let’s talk about preparation, research and reason. Start by asking yourself this question:
Why am I creating a content marketing piece?
If you think you have a good answer, let’s put it to the test by delving a little bit deeper…
What are your goals?
It’s amazing how many people jump straight into the idea generation stage without setting out the reasons for creating a content marketing piece in the first place. If clients had infinite budgets, this might not be such a problem – but this isn’t usually the case! Instead it is important to identify the goals associated with the project; some of these may be broad and others might be more specific.
Here are a few suggestions to get you thinking:
- Grow number of sign-ups or subscriptions
- Reach a target number of downloads
- Increase number of sales
- Boost visits and/or engagement
- Increase number of referring domains to your site
Once you have come up with the most logical goals (which should hopefully align with the overall business and marketing strategies), make sure to identify metrics that you can track to analyse levels of success upon, and after the launch of your content.
Now you will be able to properly answer the question asked above:
Why am I creating a content marketing piece?
Now that you have the “why” solved, it’s time to look at “how” to create great content. It would be amazing if there was some magic formula that worked perfectly for each and every person, but the fact remains that some people have creativity skills on their side, whilst others can boast an analytical mind. This is why teamwork is so important.
Tenacious D know all about teamwork
A team made up of people with different personalities, preferences and skills is really important in my opinion. Having recently done the Myers-Briggs type indicator test, I know much more about my own preferences than I did before. I found out that I tend to look at the ‘big picture’, so I can bring something different to the table than someone who looks at individual elements of a project. That’s why it makes sense to join forces with at least one other person; ideas can be built up more effectively than when tackled alone.
Hold your horses though, there is still another important step to cover before you start thinking of the actual content marketing piece! Don’t worry, it’ll help you to make your actual concept more targeted and successful.
Perform a scan
Here’s the part where you consider a few things to do with your company, your competitors and your customers. A few things to think about include:
- Product truth
- Product pain points
- Main unique selling point
- What competitors are saying
- Customer personas / target market / demographics
How you actually go about documenting this is up to you; it could be anything from a scrawl on a whiteboard to an extensively researched PDF. Whatever you do, just make sure you don’t skip this step as it can remind you of the goals that you thought of at the beginning of the project.
Hurrah, you have reached the creative part of the process! At this point you will want to fetch paper and pens, or at least position yourself in front of a fairly large whiteboard. At White.net we actually have a comfy creative room with the helpful addition of a whiteboard wall; all of our best work is done in there!
We like to start off with a bit of word association by creating a map like the one below. It helps to take one or more steps away from the product offering, which can introduce some interesting content ideas to the mix.
We then take time to look at different categories of content, so we can follow the route that will keep us most aligned to the campaign goals. Here are the ones we take into consideration:
We always endeavor to come up with multiple ideas for each of these categories so we can develop those that have potential, or discount those that clearly don’t fit the brief. In line with this, we also think about how each of the ideas would work within the framework shown below. These go hand-in-hand with the goals that I keep referring back to.
At this stage it is easy to get ahead of yourself and spend hours doing research and design mock-ups, but it can save you a lot of time and money if you wait for ideas to be discussed, analysed and signed off first. Decision makers (whether clients or management) may have something else in mind, or may not have yet disclosed an expected budget with you yet. You need to get this feedback in order to tweak your ideas, or as a cue to head back to the drawing board.
Create, share and analyse
Now that you’ve got your idea and it has been given the green light, go forth and create your vision. Don’t forget to come up with a robust plan when it comes to actually publishing it! When everything is up and running, you will want to revisit those goals that you created originally in order to track how successful your content marketing piece was. It should provide you with food for thought for your next project, as well as helping you to see exactly where the return on investment is in your business or for your clients.