A Strategic Content Development Framework

For some time now, we have been hearing how important content is to the marketing mix. It is the fuel that drives marketing activity across channels off and online and if done right provides customers with a compelling reason to engage with a brand and ultimately buy that brand’s products and services.

However, like most marketing initiatives and ideas, the peril lies in starting tactically as opposed to starting with a strategic framework that guides the content development process. Today, we would like to take you though Imaginuity’s four-step content development process: Plan, Source, Create and Manage.

Plan:

  • Identify content team (marketing, sales, operations, customer service, legal)
  • What are the brand’s overall business goals and communications objectives?
  • What is the brand’s voice/tone/style and values? How does this affect communication?
  • Who is the target audience demographically and psychographically and what is the buyer journey? What information do they need at each step of the journey? How does the brand story fit in to these information needs?
  • What are the right communications platforms to use to convey this information? (This should be pulled from your communications strategy.)
  • Considering the platforms, what different content formats are needed?
  • Determine calls to action and key performance indicators

Source:

  • Content audit. With the plan in mind:
    • What content already exists?
    • What can be repurposed?
    • Where is it?
    • Who owns it?
    • What format is it in?
    • How do we get it?
    • What content is missing?
    • How do we go about filling these gaps?
  • What is the right mix of proprietary, licensed, curated and community generated content?

Create:

  • Write brand story (if it does not already exist), identify key messages and themes
  • Gather content
  • Develop keyword recommendations
  • Develop editorial and conversation calendars
  • Determine what needs to be created and when
  • Who is responsible for creating, reviewing, editing and approving content?
  • What guidelines and quality control measures are needed?
  • How long will all of this take?

Manage:

  • Execute against the editorial and conversation calendars
  • Determine who is responsible for posting and responding
  • Develop response and crisis communications protocols
  • What happens to content after it is posted?
  • How will we know if content is doing its job?
  • Measure content performance against KPIs

The time and resources required to go through these steps will differ for every company. The key is to start with objectives and goals. Some will be grand while others will be small scale. However, without them it will be most difficult to determine if the time you are spending on content marketing is most appropriately directed.

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