Is content creation a challenge in your company?
It is for one-third of all B2B companies, according to the B2B Content Marketing: 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends study from the Content Marketing Institute. Creating content may sound easy in theory, but it actually can be overwhelming for organizations to develop quality assets that add business value and are aligned with organizational priorities.
Additionally, speed-to-market and on-time completion of projects also are top content success metrics and challenges for marketers according to our research with Forbes.
So how do you begin developing great content– or enriching the content already have? Just like other with business processes, such as developing architecture or even opening a pizza restaurant, marketers can create successful content by breaking it down step-by-step.
Start with a content plan
Organizations need to think big picture and develop a comprehensive business plan for their content—not just a content calendar. You’ve heard the phrase form follows function, right? Well, you need to first determine the function you want your content to serve before you create it.
Your content plan needs to follow your organizational business plan. Just like you can’t create a menu before you know what kind of food you’re going to serve when opening a restaurant, you need to understand your go-to-market strategy before you create your content plan.
That might sound simple but imagine if you got a bunch of chefs in a room and asked them to come up with a theme for a new restaurant. They all have different specialties and backgrounds. It’s not going to be easy to get them to agree on a concept and work together to develop a menu. You know what happens if there’s too many cooks in the kitchen!
But if you came in with information about the target market, what kind of food they like, and what other restaurants are already in the area, you’ll have a much better chance of getting them to agree on the business strategy. Let’s say your target market loves pizza and there’s not a good pizza restaurant in the area. Now you have some valid criteria for a business plan and can start building the right pieces to support it. This will allow you to develop your menu so to speak.
Create a recipe for good content
With a business plan in place, how would you go about making the perfect pizza? You can’t just try something new every time – you wouldn’t even know what worked or didn’t work.
A recipe offers proper direction—whether that’s for a pizza or good content. It provides a list of the ingredients you need, how much of each to put in, and how long it’s going to take to make and serve. It also lets you know how much it’s going to cost and how many people are needed to make it.
Think of the ingredients in a recipe as the pieces of information you need at your fingertips as you create the work, your creative team as a restaurant staff that needs to have time scheduled, and the menu as your deliverables that have deadlines.
But to you have to have a way to document and track your content to know what to adjust and how much to make it better. And for that, you need a single source of truth--a central place that captures all your ideas, budgets, schedules, and workflows.
Once you know what you’re up against, you can determine how to get it all done. With increasing consumer demand and technology options, there’s a lot to take into consideration.
Check out this guide to help determine where you have gaps and how to get started solving for them.
You also need to think about scale. What if your restaurant—or content--takes off? Are you putting in an infrastructure that can expand with you? Make sure all parts are working together to meet your objectives today and set up for success in the future. If you can’t see where the bottlenecks are, don’t know what’s next in the process, or are unsure how much time and money it actually cost to make your pizza (I mean content) then you’re not going to have a sustainable business model.
37% of marketers’ measure success by evaluating the ability to get to market faster. Make sure your plan is repeatable and scalable.
Plan for your content menu to expand
Not everyone likes sausage and cheese pizza. It’s a good staple, but to attract a bigger audience you need to have the everything pizza, maybe a Hawaiian style, and of course a gluten-free option – the list goes on and on.
Expanding beyond the content basics will help you reach more people. Experiment and see what works--what people like and don’t like. For example, if there’s not an audience for the Hawaiian pizza maybe you should try a vegetarian option.
That doesn’t mean you start offering hamburgers, just because your audience likes hamburgers too. If you’re good at pizza - stick to pizza! Maybe in the future you can expand to breadsticks and cinnamon sticks using your famous dough – but don’t try and be something you’re not.
Once you know what type of pizza your audience likes, you can find the right mix, and serve it by the slice, franchise it, and get it in the local grocery store. Just like when you discover what type of content resonates with your audience, you can repurpose it and send it through your channel partners.
But first you have to build the audience by making pizza—or content--they love. And before you can create great pizza, you have to get your kitchen in order! Align your plan with your business strategy, create a recipe to work from and build your menu from there.
Automating the processes involved in creation will create efficiencies across your organization and allow you to scale as your business grows.
Now you’re cookin’!
Aprimo can help – learn more about streamlining your content creation here.
About the Author
Lisa Sharapata is the Senior Director of Brand Experience at Aprimo. For over 20 years she has been helping brands of all sizes transform their image and messaging beyond “features and functions,” as well as identify and discuss true differentiators that have meaning to their audience at every touch point.More Content by Lisa Sharapata