In this 3Q4 addition, we have three questions for Jayme Thomason, CEO of DivvyHQ, a cloud-based editorial calendar application, about the most common bottleneck in the content marketing process, advice for becoming more disciplined and consistent in our approach, and how to balance editorial planning for both long-form and short-form content.
1) Effective content marketing relies just as much on planning and strategy as it does on successful execution (developing and distributing the content). Where are the most common pitfalls – on the planning/strategy side or on the execution/distribution side – or somewhere in between?
In my experience, the real bottleneck in the content marketing process is the content planning and strategy part. Content marketing isn’t about just sitting down to your computer and blindly pounding out keyword-optimized blog posts. To do it well, you need to spend some time up front. Organizations are feeling pressure to churn out content, but they take little time to thoughtfully figure out who they’re talking to, what they’re going to say that matters to their audience, and where they’re going to say it that will give them the best bang for their buck. We believe that success or failure of your content marketing initiative happens in the planning stage, long before anyone ever see a word you write.
2) You’ve mentioned before that discipline (or consistency) is necessary for content marketing success. What are some of the ways individuals or departments and organizations can build discipline or consistency into their workflow?
The answer to this is easy to say, not as easy to execute because it comes down to changing the way we see our marketing departments. We MUST get in the mindset of a publisher if we are going to establish a consistent, habitual (read: effective) content marketing initiative. We tell people to start with a frequency they KNOW they can handle, you can always add more. Going the other way will lose you fans. Think about the consequences if the daily newspaper doesn’t show up, or if you don’t receive the monthly magazine you subscribe to. That’s how seriously we (marketers) need to take our deadlines.
Second, develop a new, more “publisher-like” team. Assign a Managing Editor, Associate Editors, Contributing Writers, Bloggers, Tech Writers, etc. Establish the chain of command, the processes each content piece needs to adhere to, and set up weekly meetings to discuss what’s on your writers’ plates and new content ideas. To really take content marketing to the level we need it to be to reach our goals, we must take our blog, email newsletter, print newsletter and video series as seriously as a print magazine takes next month’s issue.
3) There is a lot of talk about original, long form content making a comeback, due in large part to the popularity of the iPad and ebooks. What advice do you have on how to balance editorial planning for both long form and short form content (blogs, articles, social engagement), as well as multimedia types (video, podcasts, etc.)
Long form content is great and can be a very powerful marketing tool. If we do our strategy and planning right, we’ll have a pretty good idea about the kinds of content our audiences prefer. So if your audience will find ebooks and reports valuable, then the key to getting them done is to plan for them well in advance. We encourage organizations to plan their content at least 6 months in advance, especially if they plan to do some longer form content. This way, you can plan out the entire process and timeline; from outline, to interviews, to drafts, layout, approvals and launch messaging. With the process for long form content nailed down, you can then balance that production process with the production of the shorter, more frequent, content you produce.
Jayme is a speaker at the upcoming Content Marketing Retreat, January 26-27.