How to plan and run the perfect content marketing project!

Content is King

August 15, 2017

Content Marketing – more than just a Facebook post

“Content is king!” – If you’ve never heard that phrase then you’ve probably had nothing to do with online marketing for the past five years. It’s the reason why pretty much every agency and online business claims to engage in content marketing nowadays. But just because you once published a blog post or wrote something on Facebook doesn’t mean you’ve implemented a successful content marketing project.

Successful content marketing projects are complex and involve the whole business. It’s the only way optimize the synergy between different departments in a company. But what’s more, only with one co-ordinated project can a business’s multiple aims be achieved.

In this article, I aim to demonstrate the key aspects of planning and implementing a successful content marketing project.

Preparation! Prepare well and you’re halfway there.

Any project’s chances of success hinge on preparation and planning – and content marketing projects are no different. So, first things first.
The first thing you need is a project leader who will drive the project forward and be responsible for its success or failure. Good project leaders are:

  • Decision-makers
  • Communicative
  • Organized and structured
  • Able to accept responsibility

Next, you need to evaluate what resources are available for your project. The most important resources are personnel (copywriters, graphics, SEOs, etc), time (How long should the project last? Are there deadlines to meet?) and budget (for service hire, competitions, advertising, etc).

Now you need a plan – ideally a convincing one in order to sell the project internally! Tasks and duties need to be assigned and regular meetings called. Evaluate carefully what responsibilities and aims each department has and how these fit into the overall concept.

Some typical content marketing project aims:

  • Boosting company or brand visibility
  • Link-building and SEO
  • Increasing newsletter subscriptions
  • Lead generation
  • Profit boosting

Once you have satisfactory answers to these points, you’ll have the basic framework of your content marketing project. Now, before this article drifts off into a lecture on project management, let’s leave the planning at that.

“Everyone loves cats!” – how to determine good content

“Cats! Everyone loves cats on the internet! Let’s do something with cats!” Imagine hearing the head of an insurance company come out with a comment like that. When it comes to identifying topics and themes for your content marketing project, there’s a lot more to it. An appropriate topic fulfils the following criteria:

  • The topic fits your company and your brand
  • The topic fits your target audience and/or is of interest to your target audience
  • The topic is of general interest to the industry

You now have the criteria to determine a topic which is right for you. But how to you decide which one? Here, you can take a data-driven approach. Analyse old blog articles, social media posts and newsletters and study the performance figures. Find out what has worked well in the past. Which blog articles were most-read? Which post got the most likes and shares? Which newsletter had the highest click rates?

If you haven’t yet produced a great number of blog articles or social media posts, not to worry! You can always start with some classic brainstorming. Here, I recommend setting up a little test project to test the water. Create a blog article or social media post on a topic and see how it performs and how your target audience reacts.

And if, having considered all these aspects carefully, you decide that internet cats are the most appropriate topic for your business, then why not? Go for it!

Time to get serious – project implementation

Right then, you’ve settled on a topic and your is organized and ready. Now it’s time to put your content marketing project into practise. To avoid over-complicating things, I suggest dividing your project into two sub-phases: content creation and content seeding.

As the name suggests, content creation is all about developing content which your target audience will like but which also fulfils specific project aims. This is where it’s important to get the best out of your different online marketing departments. For example, blog articles and be advertised in company newsletter.

Perhaps the PR department already has contact to other influencers or businesses and could suggest a co-operation? Get all the departments together and talk about how they can all support each other.

Here are a few examples of content formats which could work within your topic:

  • Blog articles
  • Guest articles
  • Newsletter texts
  • Surveys/questionnaires
  • Interviews (with topic experts/influencers)
  • White papers
  • Infographics
  • Studies
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Tutorials
  • Competitions
  • Presentations (e.g., via SlideShare)
  • Reviews/product tests
  • Webinars
  • Press releases
  • User-generated content (UGC)

So, your content is ready, your fingers are raw from typing and the newsletter is automatically being sent out to your customers. Finished? Oh no, not quite. An essential aspect of a good content marketing project is still to come: content seeding. This part of the job is all too frequently neglected or forgotten and then people wonder why their project didn’t work! Another common mistake is to only begin seeding once the content is finished.

But, you may be asking yourself, how can I share content which isn’t yet finished? Well, seeding is about more than just posting finished content on your various communication channels (email, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc).

Seeding begins with research into potential guest authors, link providers, experts, influencers and other businesses who are likely to engage with your topic. Once your research is complete, it’s all about outreach – in other words, contacting the relevant people to present your project and investigate options for co-operation or support. This can help get guest authors or influencers on board and generate links for your project, all of which boost exposure.

At this point, I should mention that such co-operation usually involves a budget. Many bloggers and influencers will expect to be paid for their work, so make sure you offer them value. Perhaps particular benefits or discounts on your products, or – if it’s possible – the chance to benefit from your social reach.

Project evaluation – if it’s not in an Excel table, it didn’t happen!

High-res graphics, Pulitzer Prize nominated articles, co-operation with the biggest industry names … none of that interests your boss. They need fact.

The same applies to content marketing projects: it’s only successful if the numbers are right. Make sure early on that you have a clear tracking instruments to measure the performance of relevant KPIs. Use tracking links in newsletters, guest articles and social media posts.

But just as, and perhaps even more, important: what have you learnt? What has this project taught you about your team, your brand, your audience – and yourself? What worked well and what could you improve on next time? What new contacts can be maintained and intensified?

Conclusion

Content marketing projects differ according to the means and requirements of each company. But one thing remains the same: the perfect content marketing project is about more than just the odd blog or Facebook post! Done properly, a well-planned and co-ordinated project brings together all aspects of your business, building team synergy and achieving common goals together.

Author Dominik Strzoda

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