Case Study: Creating an Annual Content Plan

messIs your content team jumping from one piece to the next with no plan?

Challenge:

A large-company marketing team needed a solid plan for a wide mix of content. This team was lucky to have a reliable volume of high-quality content. But it wasn’t working that content flow effectively. Instead, the team was creating and disseminating content haphazardly, guided by more by the “loudest voice in the room” and current trends than by a long-term, business-goal-focused strategy.

This team had great resources for effective execution, it simply needed a smart strategy to follow.

Solution:

First, we divided the content “year” into segments, in order to build some flexibility into the strategy. We chose quarterly segments, based on the team’s research calendar (one large report each quarter). That way the plan could be revisited and tweaked as necessary each quarter.

We then mapped each quarter on a spreadsheet, further segmenting it by week and by channel. Channels included blog posts, website stories, eNewsletter, LinkedIn and other social media.

For each channel, we worked with the team to identify a lead generation or branding business goal. For example, LinkedIn content should drive shares, comments and website visits; gated website content should drive high levels of information capture; blog should drive reader engagement via comments; eNewsletter should drive website visits, etc.

Given those goals, for each week we then identified both A-level and B-level content to share via each target channel:

  • A-level content focused on that quarter’s primary research
  • B-level content included shares of partner content, archived company content and opportunistic “newsy” or trend content.

Results:

Armed with the strategy, the team immediately faced fewer challenges with content scheduling requests from various stakeholders. With clear business goals highlighted, pieces could be scheduled without discussion, which placed content management back with the content team.

In addition, the team was able to establish clear metrics based on the business goals spelled out in the content strategy.

A well-planned content strategy like this helps a company focus on the overall business goals, rather than simply chasing shiny objects and hoping for the best. Arm your content team with the plan that helps them focus on smart execution rather than making it up as they go along.

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