Developing a content marketing program is a significant undertaking for any company. Not only does it require the creation of new content resources and the implementation of new marketing tactics, it also involves a fundamental shift in the philosophical approach to marketing.
When I'm talking with clients about implementing a content marketing program, one question that always comes up early in the conversation is: "How do I get started?" I always answer this question by saying that the first step is to develop a content marketing strategy and plan for the business. That answer usually leads to a second question: "What should be included in a content strategy/plan?"
A complete content marketing plan will address numerous issues and contain significant detail, but at the most basic level, a content plan must answer three fundamental questions:
- What issues or topics will the content resources address, and how will the resources be made relevant for potential buyers?
- What digital and/or physical formats will be used for marketing content resources?
- When and how will content resources be published, distributed, or otherwise brought to the market, and how will they be promoted?
Of these three questions, the first is by far the most important. One of the biggest content marketing mistakes that I see companies make is allowing format, rather than message, to drive the content development process. Marketers sometimes say, "We need a white paper [or an eBook or a Webinar]," rather than, "We need a content resource that communicates message X to audience Y." If you want to create an effective content marketing program, think messaging first, and then format and distribution.
I've published several posts here that discuss how to make content messaging more effective. In case you missed those posts, here are the links: