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3 Steps Marketers Should Take To Keep Their Content Strategy Under Control

3 Steps Marketers Should Take To Keep Their Content Strategy Under Control

Most small and medium-sized businesses start out with a web site, an e-mail newsletter and some social media accounts. Before you know it, though, your digital footprint might start to look too big for your company’s own good.

Most small and medium-sized businesses start out with a web site, an e-mail newsletter and some social media accounts. Before you know it, though, your digital footprint might start to look too big for your company’s own good.

Does that sound hard to believe? Even if you have a small marketing team, it doesn’t take long for many firms to create one or even multiple blogs that deal with different subject matters. They may create landing pages for specific campaigns and customer types. Social media accounts can proliferate based on different audiences you may be trying to reach. Some of this content may not even have been created by the team responsible for marketing, but those in sales, customer service or another area of the business.

In the consumer world, we talk about “information overload.” For marketers, it may be more a case of content overload.

Of course, one of the best things about digital marketing is that it allows a firm to be in many places at once. Companies use Marketing Cloud, for example, to fine-tune the way they attract, nurture and convert customers and prospects through these channels. If managing each one becomes too onerous, however — and if there are aspects in which the quality or effectiveness of your digital properties isn’t consistent — there will be a never-ending struggle to stay on top of it. If you’re in that situation, here’s what you should do:

1. Start With A Content Audit

Obviously a business shouldn’t be creating content, digital or otherwise, if it doesn’t meet a specific organizational need. Before you even get to what the content actually says, however, take the time to conduct as thorough an inventory as you can of all the assets across your company. Look for some of the following areas:

  • Brand — is the version of your company’s logo consistent? What about the colours, size or any other attributes you consider core to your firm’s recognized identity?
  • Platforms — Are you posting or hosting content on multiple services or applications (and perhaps paying hefty prices) when only one would do to support multiple items?
  • Policies — Do you have the same information about how your company handles things like the privacy of customer information, how you deal with returns or similar issues?
  • Status — is the content up to date based on what it’s supposed to convey, or has it laid dormant for a prolonged period of time? Should this content be removed or shut down?

2. Map The Current Process

Sometimes marketing content is produced with a lot of thoughtful planning and strategic direction. On other occasions, landing pages and social media accounts will be set up with what seems like the spontaneity of an impulse purchase, where someone (perhaps a senior executive) asked for someone to create content on the fly.

In discussions with your team — including those in other functions — try to get at some of the following need-to-know areas:

Goals: What kind of purposes drive the creation of various kinds of content? How well can these be articulated?

Expertise: Who gets involved in content creation? Marketers be may at the table, but what about those working in sales, operations, IT? What about third parties like agencies?

Metrics: How is the performance of the content evaluated? Are people being rewarded simply for making more content, or can you tie them to the kind of things that Marketing Cloud can monitor?

3. Establish A Framework For Accountability, Consistency And Effective Execution

No one likes to be bogged down with rules, but digital marketing is too important to be left as an area without some standard ways of doing things. No matter how big or small the company, the marketer needs to outline what the right process should be — and the boss should support it. These are some of the elements you’ll want to include:

Intake: Much in the way IT departments ask staff to set up a “ticket” when they need tech support, there should be a well-understood and easy way for anyone in the company to formally request the creation of new marketing content. This could be everything from a white paper to a new Twitter handle. It could involve filling out a form or merely answering a set of questions and sending it to a common e-mail account.

Review: Once the request has been granted and content has been created, there should be some particular sets of eyes that look at it before it goes live anywhere. In small businesses, this may be the owner, and in larger companies it may be a set of leaders from multiple areas. Make sure there is a standard approach for them to convey feedback or change requests, and that there is a timeline established for sending it to the proper team members, along with another timeline for completing the requests. Besides just ensuring it meets the business objectives, the review should walk through all the areas we discussed earlier in the audit section.

Approval: When content is ready to go, it should be approved with more than a verbal conversation. Again, this could be as simple as an email or something that is managed through a particular form or application.

Launch: As a new site goes live, or a post goes on a blog, consider the metrics associated with it and establish a timeline for reporting back on whether it’s meeting the business objectives or not. This should be considered a follow-up review to ensure the content does what it was supposed to do.

The need for some of these steps may sneak up on you, and going through them will take time and effort. Making sure that they work will require significant enforcement efforts, at least at first. In the long term, through, you’re going to end up with a process for creating, managing and measuring content that will make you far more dynamic and efficient than the knee-jerk approach that might have existed before. And that will only mean better results with tools like Marketing Cloud.

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