4 ways to simplify annual content marketing plans
As the fourth quarter begins, most marketers are just starting to work on year-end tasks to prepare for next year. This blog is chock full of ideas for how to make the most out of your annual #contentmarketing planning. You’ll need to:
- Create or update content marketing strategies.
- Optimize the organization for the content marketing team.
- Work to secure a good marketing budget.
- Make sure your marketing message is ready for tomorrow.
1. Put content marketing strategy first
Strategy is the best place to begin this work because it aligns marketing with the needs of the business, defines specific audiences and their content needs, and provides regular measurement.
Yet, years of research by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) show that most marketers lack a written content marketing strategy. If you can only handle one more deliverable, make it next year’s #contentmarketingstrategy.
Why? Because a written strategy makes you 3 times more likely to succeed.
Marketers benefit tremendously from a written content marketing strategy, CMI research shows. You gain better team alignment. It’s easier to determine content types. And it keeps the content team focused on documented priorities.
Co-creating #contentmarketingstrategy helps you win the internal buy-in you need. Here’s how to be effective with strategy:
- Secure internal buy-in by co-creating your strategy with internal clients and leaders.
- Gather buyer insights, including buyer persona research.
- Forget about those fat binders of marketing strategy that sit on a bookshelf all year. Instead, simplify your strategy with our one-page strategy template.
Find more details in our blog, “What are the must-haves when building a content marketing strategy from scratch?”
Here’s a blog to help you “Start implementing a content marketing strategy successfully.”
2. Is your content team designed for success?
Content marketing performs best when the organization is designed for it.
But all too often, I see content marketing teams that underperform because the organization’s design is less than optimal. Here are some of the symptoms:
- The content marketing team lacks a powerful sponsor or advocate at the executive level. So, it lacks a voice at the table.
- Other marketers don’t understand content marketing or how it differs from advertising, creating needless friction. So, the content team works at cross-purposes with other marketing teams, competing for resources and attention. A workshop that includes the whole marketing team can fix this issue.
- The content team has a faulty organization design, instead of being designed for speed, like a newsroom at a newspaper. Speedy information and service generate increased sales and loyalty. Here’s more on content velocity as a competitive advantage.
- The content team needs to tap resources such as an external agency, in-house agency, or consultant.
If these symptoms sound familiar, find out how to address them in our blog, “How do we successfully integrate content throughout the marketing department and functions?”
Check out our blog on how “Content marketing, advertising, and PR work together to win.”
3. Get enough budget to be effective
Since the economy appears to be slowing down, and so are advertising buys, it’s harder to get enough budget for content marketing – unless you produced good results that increased sales, customers, and profits over the past year.
To help you figure out a strategy to get the budget your need, see our blogs on:
- 10 rules of thumb to determine your budget.
- Tips to increase your marketing budget.
- How to squeeze everything into your tight marketing budget.
4. Make sure your marketing message is fresh
We recommend reviewing your marketing message and updating it quarterly. At least once a year, update your message to keep it fresh, relevant, and salient for your buyers.
Here’s how in our blog, “Boost results: refresh or reframe your message.”