Are you a marketer? Have you been lumped with marketing type functions like communications, pr, social media and content at your work because someone in c-suite thought it was the most logical thing for you to do? Are you stuck?
Having built and managed a number of our client's content schedules, and having been fortunate to study under the content master, Gini Dietrich for a while now, there's a couple of things I've learned along the way.
1) No one cares about your blog - tell your C-suite that.
2) If you don't plan your content out in advance, it'll never get done. At least not on time.
The first one, I'm, super sorry to say it. Before I met Gini, I'd always thought that blogs were the be all and end all to content. Actually, on their own, with no other content related friends to hang out with, they suck. If you have a company blog and you update it with boring news that no one is interested in, it will end up becoming a giant, dusty time-suck instead of something purposeful, profitable, and fun.
The second point. You have to plan your content. You have to know in advance what you'll be writing, illustrating, videoing about. You also have to know why you are doing those things and what the goal is at the end of it. If you are absent of a content plan that informs the why, you're at risk of wasting a lot of time and cash.
I get that not every company has the means and the ability to hire a full time comms person, let alone a content specialist. The marketing function of a business is as important as its sales team and if there is only a vague support of marketing as a whole, it'll probably take some time to get buy in for modern marketing roles such as a content strategist that have been and continue to crop up.
However, the show must go on, and so here's how you can nail your KPI's in an area you might not fully understand.
1) Get a content strategy. This is actually the hardest part of content developent because it requires a tonne of brain time and time in general to get this done properly. It doesn't need to be a 50 page best seller, but it does need to have your content goals (make 'em SMART ones), your environment - what you're selling and who your competitors are, an audit of existing content and what gaps you have, and who will be responsible for creating the content. If this piece of work is too big to do yourself, just about any agency in town can help you do this. Us included.
2) Get a content plan. From your audit of existing content, you'll see what gaps are evident. You'll also need to do some research on things your customers are searching for, and what your company can rank in Google for. The goal is for your content to get found by people searching for it, so there's almost no point in producing content that a) no one is looking for and b) that will only turn up on page 11 of results. Our content plans are thorough and offer ranked ideas based on your domain authority and what you can compete for on page one of results.
3) Set a benchmark for metrics, so you can show your boss how your work is contributing to leads, sales, and brand awareness. Your metrics dashboard needs to include your domain authority, as well as a marker for all the ways people can get to your website. Social media for instance, should be measured independently of search as they are two completely different things. You also need metrics to give you an insight in to what content is working towards achieving your goals and what is not so you can axe that idea and move on to something else.
4) Determine the purpose behind your offsite content and include this activity in your overall content plan. Offsite content is all the things that don't live on your website, such as a newsletter to your clients, any printed material, and media relations - particularly in print that doesn't have an easy push back. Flight Coffee here in Wellington uses their coffee tags with engaging messages and because they are all different, it's kinda cool for us as customers to see which one we get with our coffee delivery.
5) Feed back to your c-suite what your work is resulting in. Even if it's only micro level changes, give them a regular report of what's happening. You don't need to go too granualar with this information, but include any activity that's happened as a result of content like list numbers, increase in domain authority, and customer acquisition cost which you can get a cheat sheet of here.
Content strategy and planning is part of our bread and butter at DCG. If you get stuck on this or need a bit more help, come see us to get it sorted. In the meantime, here is a fantastic resource to get you started on your content journey from Velocity Partners in London.
Lou Draper is Managing Partner of Draper Cormack Group and a public relations veteran. Originally from Auckland, she is now living, working and breathing public relations, personal brand and content curation in Wellington City.