Why does a football manager sometimes get sacked when it was the players that performed poorly?
Well, the answer is because he’s the one responsible for planning the strategy and instructing the players in the field.
In other words, he’s in charge of the team’s playbook, and the content of a playbook usually determines the performance that will play out. Poor content usually produces poor results.
The content marketer’s playbook isn’t different.
It’s the resource base for marketing efforts, detailing the strategic process for media planning, management, and optimization.
With a content playbook:
- You have guidelines to promote consistency across markets and provide a roadmap for team members
- You save time and energy for your teams since everyone has a document to consult and refer to
- You have a database of best practices and results of web analyses to improve the marketing of your products or services
If you want your content playbook to play out successfully, there are a few strategies to include.
Creating a buyer persona gives insight into your marketing approach. Doing in-depth research about your ideal customer is important. You want to get to know your customers to better understand why and how they use your product and service.
Having access to this kind of information helps you tailor your marketing message to the right audience. Eventually, you get to attract more buyers just like the ones you already have.
In case you need help creating a basic buyer persona for your business, you can find a free template online.
Once you’ve understood the wants and needs of your ideal customer, it’s time to formulate some goals that align with their requirements. Let your goals reflect what your content marketing strategy is looking to accomplish.
For example, saying you want to rank #1 on search engines isn’t a bad idea; however, this accomplishment depends more on other factors in addition to your content marketing strategy.
Examples of content-focused goals include:
- Increase brand awareness
- Generate new leads
- Drive more traffic to the website
- Boost sales
- Penetrate new markets
- Launch new products or services
- Enhance customer relationships
It’s always a good idea to set SMART goals to create a more successful marketing strategy. SMART goals are used to qualify goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. An example is ‘we want to increase brand awareness by 20% at the end of 15 months.’
Go ahead with your team and get creative with content ideas. Find relevant topics that will both interest your target audience and best communicate your brand’s message.
Great ideas are a good motivation for content creation and audience loyalty. They can drive traffic fast and increase conversion. Bad ideas on their own waste your resources, increase the bounce rate and send the wrong signal about your brand. You don’t want that.
That’s why you should get creative and come up with fantastic ideas to boost your strategy. Generating good ideas isn’t particularly tricky, but it definitely requires a lot of effort. Eventually, you will discover that the outcome is usually worth the process.
Your ideation process isn’t complete without selecting the best format for your content. For this reason, you need to get to know your target audience because they may vary in terms of how they consume information.
For instance, does your persona prefer visuals or do they prefer to read blog posts? Would infographic content catch their attention or would a video better deliver the message?
Answering questions like these help you reach your audience naturally and helps align your message with what your target audience is looking to achieve.
In your plans, consider repurposing some formats so they could serve other purposes. A vlog can be converted to an ebook, and you can even create a template from it. Repurposing content also comes with its own host of benefits including possibly improving engagement and reaching a wider audience base.
Distribution & Promotion
Distribution strategies outline how you plan to promote the content to your audience. Various channels exist for content marketing–social media, for example, is one of the biggest channels.
The best strategy is to promote your content through the trio of Owned, Earned and Paid media. What are they?
- Owned Media means distributing content through your own media platforms like your website, blog, email newsletter and social media pages
- Paid Media means you pay for content distribution on sites like Facebook and Twitter. You can also choose to pay influencers to drive traffic to your owned media
- Earned Media means other people are distributing or sharing your content. Some ways to earn content promotion include organic ranking, guest blogging, and social media sharing or retweets
Use Editorial Calendars
We’ve discussed content ideation, delivery format, and distribution channels as strategies to include in your playbook. An editorial calendar is basically a schedule of when to implement those strategies and who’s responsible for what.
An editorial calendar sometimes is all you have to show when team members ask you for the next line of action. It’s an invaluable resource for managing your day-to-day marketing activities.
How much information to include in an editorial calendar depends on whether you are going to use a simple design or would like to opt for other tools and templates.
Keep It Adaptable
As you publish your content and engage your target audience, you will soon start to observe some discrepancies between your plans and real-world experience. Most of the guesses and earlier assumptions about your personas may end up not working out. Once you observe this, it may be about time you changed your strategy.
Therefore, you should make your initial marketing plan flexible, so when you discover that your prospects change their tastes and preferences, it won’t be as difficult or time-consuming for you to quickly and efficiently adapt your content to their current needs.
A flexible culture allows room for frequent reviews of your content strategy. It also brings freshness and relevance to your content, and your audience will appreciate you for it.
When in doubt, consult your Content Playbook and watch how your success plays out.