Operationalize Your Content Marketing Strategy

Operationalize Your Content Marketing Strategy

I read a lot of posts about content marketing. It’s really the heart of what we do at Edelman Digital.  We use content to grow communities, be more visible in search, engage with influencers and advocates and more importantly to change behaviors. Truth is, everything we do as communicators and marketers revolves around content across paid, earned and owned media channels. Content is the lifeline of the social ecosystem.

Much of what I have been reading online for several years now shows us the types of content to create – blog posts, tweets, status updates, videos, whitepapers, webinars, infographics, reports, Slideshare presentations, case studies, press releases and the list goes on.

And then there are the posts that tell us how to create good content – interview people, curate and aggregate, ask the community for ideas, top ten lists (I hate these), review a product or service, and I can’t even think anymore.

And we can’t forget the posts that outline characteristics of good content – human voice, put the audience first, ensure it’s optimized for search, keep it simple, keep the facts straight and that good content must entertain, provoke thought, educates and informs and that word we all love and often over use … relevant.

And lastly, I love reading the posts about “The top 10 content marketing mistakes” and it’s usually the common themes of having no plan, wrong purpose, plagiarizing, recycling old content and I am sure there are a hundred more that I can’t remember.

It’s not hard to create good content. It can surely get expensive and there is a level of expertise needed … but it can be taught and learned.  The challenge, especially for larger companies, are the operational elements of content marketing. Hopefully this will provide some clarity.

Narrative Development

Understanding internal brand messaging is important but it’s only half of the equation.  Combining external insights from research, community feedback, data, media & customer feedback and search behavior will give more insight as to what the editorial strategy needed for the social ecosystem.  To reach this level, companies must adapt their way of thinking and realize that customers don’t want to read about brand messaging points, or what the brand stands for, it’s vision, etc.  It’s still possible to use brand messaging coupled with the factors below to reach an editorial strategy that provides customer value and at the same time, consistency with the brand. Narrative development cannot be done in a silo by the brand team or a branding agency. It’s an initiative that requires a multitude of stakeholders, various levels of expertise and an organization that exemplifies enterprise collaboration.

Assigning Roles & Responsibilities

Understanding who is in charge of what is vital to the success of any marketing program. If you have several employees, marketing teams and regional leads engaging in social media, the last thing you want is disjointed content (i.e. multiple postings each day, multiple/un-managed communities, no strategic thought behind time/day of sharing, zero consistency.) This scenario is common in many organizations and is a natural result of having multiple Facebook page admins, no clear content direction, minimal collaboration, lack of internal processes/governance and/or technology that doesn’t support workflows and approvals. Here is an example of one way to assign roles & responsibilities:

Building Workflows, Approval Processes & Crisis Communications Protocols

Once the roles and responsibilities are assigned and mutually agreed upon, it’s imperative to create a process for content creation, approval and publishing.  Here is an example of what that may look like (model slightly revised from DivvyHQ) and of course deploying a technology solution with built in controls is imperative:

Building a collaboration infrastructure is important to ensure consistency and that everyone involved in the content strategy (from ideation to creation to distribution and measurement) understand the business and marketing goals; and proactively share knowledge and best practices. This is more than just a conference call. It must be a collaborative working session. Otherwise, it will be like most conference calls – useless and a waste of time.

As with most content marketing and community management initiatives, there is always the possibility of running into disgruntled customers or a potential crisis. It will happen and these issues cannot be ignored. Having a crisis escalation plan is  important to ensure that all contributors and community managers understand the process to escalate conversations and to whom they should escalate them to.

Many times, these operational elements are overlooked with most content marketing strategies.  It’s situations like this where social business planning can help. Oh, and a new book coming out that talks about this topic – click below.

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About Michael Brito

Michael Brito has been making things happen online since 1996 with a legit hustle. He gets mad when the 49ers lose, really mad. Feel free to follow him on Twitter.

  • http://twitter.com/raydennis Ray Dennis

    Awesome post! Thx!

  • http://www.britopian.com Michael Brito

    Thanks man!! Appreciate it.

  • http://twitter.com/lcsharp Lisa Sharp

    Great post.  I think too many brands operate their entire content strategy in either broadcast or crisis mode.  Having a crisis escalation plan would save them a lot of anguish.

  • http://www.margieclayman.com Marjorie Clayman

    Oh, you have made my day!

    It seems like “content marketing” has almost taken over the throne from “engagement,” “transparency,” and “authenticity” as the most overused, least understood word/phrase in the online world. What is content marketing? Does anyone even know anymore?

    Unfortunately, as you reflect on the types of posts that float around, many people simply reiterate the same information about content marketing. Write good stuff. Don’t write bad stuff. Here’s ten ways to do that.

    Your post has real actionable advice that digs below the surface. Now, the only thing I’m worried about is that your picture clearly shows a left-handed person. That’s not meant to make us suspicious, right? :)

  • http://twitter.com/Mr_Madness Amar Trivedi

    Another knock-out post, Michael. Hit it right out of the park. You’ve nailed the flow & process. I’ve got a piece coming up on CM (not as detailed). Will share it for your review. Best, A

  • http://twitter.com/Lia_James Lia James

    Thank you so much for this post, Michael! This post is something that everyone who has a hand in an organization’s marketing should read. You explain with such clarity in ways that other recycled information can’t come close to touching on. I always look forward to reading your posts!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Manoj-Alwis/100001350596697 Manoj Alwis

    the social media engagement is very effective way of engaging with all stakeholders in any business.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chen.lavonia Chen Lavonia

    I always look forward to reading your posts!

  • http://www.facebook.com/harry.liu.739 Harry Liu

    What a great post. But how can a new company achieve this goal? It seems “good content” is so hard to reach if there is not enough audience. We are a junior achievement company and we have made interesting post in these months but not a lot of fans give us feedback. Can you give us some suggestion? https://www.facebook.com/absolutezeroiceaway

  • http://www.buraq-technologies.com/ ambreen11

    Writing a blog can be very exciting. However, it can prove difficult
    because you might not know what to write about, the style to use, or how
    to market it. I agree with your article. Your post is as astounding. Thanks

  • http://www.ternarycollective.com/ Niall O’Malley

    Hi Michael – I thought this was a really interesting read. Could you point me to the latest Edelman paper / SlideShare which reflects this thinking? Thanks.

  • http://www.britopian.com Michael Brito

    @nomkt3:disqus yes, a lot. Shoot me over an email Britopian @ gmail