We’re strong proponents of a documented content marketing plan. Don’t have a plan? Then you don’t have a prayer.
Fortunately, your content marketing plan is fairly straightforward. It should look something like this.
Step One: Brainstorming
You need to schedule brainstorming and have deadlines for ideas? Absolutely. At any newspaper, magazine, or TV station around the world, schedules will revolve around morning pitch meetings. If you’re going to be a successful content marketer, you and your team need to approach idea generation with the same seriousness (although you certainly don’t have to do it in the same way as a pitch meeting). Remember two things: one, brainstorming needs to be on your schedule, and two, it must have a recurring spot.
Step Two: Content Creation
Understand that your content creation deadline will in reality be a series of deadlines entirely depending on what kind of content you’re creating. If it’s a YouTube series, you’ll have deadlines for scripts, equipment rentals, casting, crew hiring, location scouting, shooting, editing, corrections, and more. Obviously that’s just an example. A series of articles will have different sorts of deadlines. So will a video game. The point we’re making is deadlines need to be built into your plan at every step of the way.
Step Three: Editing
Don’t be the person who doesn’t factor editing into the schedule. If you plan on skipping editing, you will miss something of catastrophic importance and it will ruin your content. If you plan on editing but don’t think it will take any amount of time, you will blow your deadline.
Step Four: Final Content Approval
Pursuant to our last point: just as the content creators need to know when is enough, the manager or leader in charge of the project must have a deadline by which the content should receive final approval. It takes time to review content—make sure you work that time into your schedule.
Step Five: Publishing
If you’re publishing on an owned media platform, your publishing deadline is entirely up to you. Do it whenever you want.
However, if you’re paying for your content to be in someone else’s platform—in their magazine, on their channel, or whatever—they set the publishing deadlines and this discussion becomes a lot more complicated. Your content needs to be completely done and ready to go when they’re ready to publish, and if you’re new to content creation, the lead time will almost certainly surprise you.
Step Six: Promotion
Once you publish content you promote it. Your schedule does not end with publishing. After you’ve published, you’ll be promoting the hell out of your content on social media. Things like Facebook posts and tweets should be scheduled (sometimes). Promoting content is time-intensive. It’s a mistake to forgo scheduling time for promotion.
Step Seven: Analyze Your Content Marketing Plan
Some people like to read all the readership statistics they can as they’re available. That’s okay in moderation, but it’s still necessary to build in some time for analysis into your schedule. Here’s why: snacking on statistics might help you react to small things quickly, but it takes time to gather and analyze enough data to get a big-picture look at how well your content marketing plan is doing. And obviously, that kind of information is necessary for future content creation.
Step Eight: Repackaging
Your content is out in the wild, your audience is enjoying it, and you’re learning some interesting stuff about them through your analysis. Done, right?
Well, not necessarily. You paid to create content, and if it’s good, you should figure out a way to re-use it.
Sometimes this will just mean re-promoting content. After all, your article “7 Ways to Correct Bad Posture at the Office” is as true now as when you published it six months ago. Maybe it’s time to re-share that piece on social media.
Sometimes you’ll do a lot more, though. Maybe that article was pretty well received, so you and your team decide it’s time to turn it into a video or infographic. Schedule some time at the end of your publishing run to work out what you can do with your content after it’s out there.