New to content marketing and not sure where or how to implement a successful strategy? Our rundown of the 6 P’s – plan, produce, publish, push, perform and police – can help.
Content marketing isn’t just a buzz phrase, it’s a proven approach to meeting an organization’s overall business goals. But success doesn’t happen overnight. Effective content marketing efforts are the fruits of careful planning, strategic execution, solid management and detailed measurement.
Our clients often ask us for a high-level overview of what good content marketing looks like – and what it entails in terms of staffing and resources. We designed our 6 P’s checklist to give them an idea of the nuts and bolts of a strategy.
The 6 P’s are:
Note: While you can follow the 6 P’s from start to finish for your first foray into content marketing, you’ll find that most of these phases are ongoing and cyclical.
1. Plan Your Content Marketing Effort
Thorough, thoughtful planning is a must for any successful content marketing strategy. The key outcomes of this phase are the definition of which types of content you will publish for which target audiences, which delivery systems you will use to promote your content (social media, email newsletters, mobile app, etc.), the identification of key staff members and the definition of processes and operations.
A time consuming – but necessary – key task during this phase is the creation of buyer personas. Identify your target audiences and brainstorm the types of questions a member of each would ask you about your brand or offerings. How do your customers consume content? Why and how do they engage with your brand or use your products? What do they do for a living? Where do they live? Who are their friends? Those details are critical to creating content that is relevant to your audience, appears in search results and is shared by your customers.
- Review brand platform, target audiences, business objectives and key messages.
- Review key data:
- Keywords and most-viewed pages (Google Analytics)
- Facebook Insights and other social media metrics
- Referral and “how did you hear?” reports
- Identify existing content (assets) and new content opportunities (needs).
- Create buyer personas for each of your target audiences.
- Match target audience personas with topics from your assets and needs.
- Determine which delivery applications (blog, e-newsletter, social channel, etc.) are appropriate for each target audience.
- Consider using a third-party syndication service to place your content on other websites. Note that some services are pay per click while others might generate revenue for your organization.
- Determine guidelines for content curation. For example, which types of third-party content will you promote, if any?
- Create a content calendar that is easy to use, easy to edit and accessible to all appropriate staff members.
- Assign roles and duties; create process maps to outline who does what, approval chains and other functions.
Planning for the Police Phase
It’s essential to lay the groundwork for how your content marketing operations will be governed, the main theme of the police phase.
- Draft and approve social media policies for end users, employees and other key audiences.
- Determine the approval chains for all phases of the content marketing strategy.
- Determine who has the access and authority to publish, push and police content.
- Involve key departments for operations (IT, legal) or to respond to interactions (customer service).
2. Produce Your Content
The production phase is where the real fun begins as content is written, designed, recorded and/or filmed. Be sure to avoid “content creep” and stick to the topic and audience guidelines you set during the planning phase.
- Create new content that expands or leverages your assets.
- Create new content that fulfills your needs.
- Edit, update or otherwise re-purpose assets.
- Match each piece of content to search keywords to support inbound marketing efforts.
- Determine which delivery applications (blog, e-newsletter, Facebook) are appropriate for each piece of content (article, event notice, photo).
- Curate existing third-party content as appropriate.
- If using a third-party syndication service, be sure that your copy and images meet any of its specified guidelines.
- Review, edit and revise.
- Submit for final approval.
3. Publish Your Content
Your approved, final content is now ready for primetime! In most content marketing efforts, you are continually publishing content that meets your overall business goals to a primary content hub (usually, a website, blog or online store). The publishing phase, then, is ongoing.
- Post to website or blog.
- Print within a publication (newsletter, brochure annual report).
- Produce the final cut (video, podcast).
- Select final, finished artwork (photographs, graphics, other images).
- Pass to influencers and stakeholders (news releases, policy reviews, white papers).
- Keep content calendar up to date.
4. Push Your Content to Audiences
Once content is published, it needs to be promoted, or pushed, to audiences, drawing them inbound to your primary content hub. Like the publishing phase, the push phase is ongoing. Content that was published months ago can be re-purposed and re-pushed to your audiences today, as could fresh content you just published this morning.
A benefit of pushing content via social media is the consumer engagement it can generate. Be sure to monitor social media accounts for comments, questions and customer service issues – and to follow the procedures you set in the planning phase (and enforce in the police phase) for responding to those items.
- Deploy to social media accounts.
- Link to from e-newsletter or special e-blast.
- Re-purpose print content for digital tactics and vice versa.
- Cross-purpose content that may appeal to more than one audience or meet more than one need.
- Release content to your third-party syndication service, if applicable.
- Keep content calendar up to date.
5. Perform: Measure Your Content
Measurement is the key theme of the performance phase. This is where you look at your return on investment (ROI) of the overall content marketing strategy. When measuring the performance of social media, be sure that you do not get caught up in vanity metrics, such as Facebook likes and Twitter favorites. ROI should link back to your overall business goals: increase sales, increase (measurable) brand awareness, etc.
If the ROI of your social media efforts cannot directly link to sales at this point, assign a dollar amount to it somehow. For example, if your weekly social reach was 25,000 users, equate that to the value of a direct mail piece (in terms of creative, design, printing and mailing costs) that was sent to the same number of people. Then, compare the conversions of the two tactics: How many phone calls did that card generate versus how many lead-capture forms were completed by social visitors? Which tactic cost less to execute, and which yielded more leads?
- Measure results:
- Conversions other than sales
- Click-throughs to your primary content hub or sales site
- Search traffic and referral traffic
- Facebook Insights, YouTube Analytics and other social media metrics as appropriate
- Completed lead capture forms
- Downloads or views
- Emails or phone calls
- All other completed “events” (add to cart, add to wishlist, bookmark for later, etc.)
- Length and depth of website visit
- Analyze results. Set date for weekly or monthly reporting and data collection.
During this phase, be sure to review results against existing measurements for other pieces of content or against the same content re-purposed for different tactics. Here are some examples:
- Topic X received more inbound web traffic to the blog than Topic Y.
- The e-newsletter story on Topic X was the most-clicked article, but the Facebook post on Topic X didn’t receive much interaction.
After each data-reporting period (weekly, monthly, quarterly), formulate your results into a big-picture key findings slide deck or executive summary. This document should be geared toward a chief decision-maker, communicating all need-to-know data pertinent to measuring ROI.
Data should be put into some sort of context, making complicated charts and tables accessible for a busy executive who might be unfamiliar with the ins and outs of measurement – particularly those of digital tactics.
6. Police Your Content Marketing Operations
Ensuring high quality operations that benefit your organization and your customers are the overall goals of the somewhat authoritative-sounding policing phase. Essentially, policing enforces the groundwork you laid out during the planning phase to allow for smooth, successful operations throughout your content marketing effort.
- Set and follow approval chains for publishing, pushing and policing.
- Enforce social media policies for end users, employees and other key audiences.
- Enforce ownership and copyright; grant permission to third-parties to use your assets.
- Revisit policies and procedures to determine if those items need to be updated.
- Inform internal stakeholders about the content marketing strategy.
- Ensure other touch points are in line with the content marketing strategy.
- Example: If a Google ad lists a phone number, does the voice mail greeting reflect what the end user might expect to hear? What happens if an end user calls at 3 a.m.?
- Example: Determine how lead capture forms are submitted, processed and managed
Monitor and Manage Interactions
- Develop response strategy for both positive and negative interactions.
- Create canned responses for common interactions.
- Monitor for social media comments, email replies and other interactions 24/7.
Archive and Update
- Determine how outdated assets are managed (unpublished and archived or updated and re-posted?)
Prefer Personalized Planning from the Pros?
Contact The Fairmount Group today. We can tailor a content marketing strategy unique to your overall business goals, audience and staffing.