The volume of “helpful tools” for content marketing is getting to tsunami proportions. I used to be touched; now I am overwhelmed. Today, I have just one criterion for choosing templates: will this tool help me get my job done faster? Writes Kath Walters.
Marketers everywhere are struggling with under-resourced content marketing programs, according to the latest survey by marketing peak body, ADMA.
Producing engaging content is the most pressing problem that marketers (50%) face, closely followed by lack of budget (48%), the survey found.
Time-saving strategies make limited budgets go further
While some marketers are busy cutting their budget of editors and writers (not a good idea if you need engaging content), the smartest marketers are trying a different tack.
They are streamlining their publishing, editing and briefing processes, and focusing on strategy and quality.
For smart marketers, the following three tools are all you need for success.
Content strategy template
Want more money and a better ROI for your content marketing program? Document your strategy. Organisations with a documented strategy are able to allocate their programs more resources (31% of their marketing budget compared to 25% for those with a verbal strategy).
Documenting your strategy brings a higher ROI. Only 20% of marketers believe their content marketing strategy is successful, out of 33% of those who have a written strategy.
I love this one by Skyword, but if you’d like it all in one page (which is faster), this one by Uncommonly Social is very similar. By the way, don’t forget to include a content calendar in your strategy – the simpler the better. This one, by Hubspot is great, and you can always simplify it because it’s an Excel doc.
Content marketing is all about reader-focussed content; so detailed, well-thought out personas are a must for each audience in your content marketing program. Journalists are skilled at writing customer-focused content for your program because media outlets are specialists in building audiences (and selling access to them). If you include a detailed persona when briefing writers and editors, you’ll get better results, faster.
Limit your audiences to three: two in your existing group of customers, and one in an aspirational (target) group. Name your persona after a customer that you actually know, or a person you would love to work with. The best persona template I have found was behind the paywall of the company Marketing Ai, a company with an online editorial calendar that integrates with your strategy. They give you a free trial.
Story brief template
This last is most certainly not the least. A good story brief is the foundation of every brilliant story. I never write a story without developing my own story brief, and if you are commissioning writers, or briefing editors, a story brief is an essential tool to get clarity, to save time and avoid mistakes that can lead to missed deadlines.
The only problem is that I can’t find any online that I think are good. This one from ArticulateMarketing is okay, if a bit long overcomplicated. It would be much better much to get inspiration from sites that tell you about pitching a story. Why? Because they are focused on story quality. Quality must be at the centre of our content marketing program.
Here’s a nice one from Generation Process. Public radio broadcast, This American Life, has a good guide. I love this story in The Guardian about pitching. Gather some inspiration and make your own template!
If you would like a copy of my own story brief template that I received in a training course, feel free to contact me. It's been my guide for over a decade.
To find out how Newsmodo can assist you with content marketing strategies such as content calendars, click here.
KATH WALTERS IS A JOURNALIST, EDITOR AND BLOG DOCTOR. VIEW HER WEBSITE HERE.
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