How to plan your written content

So you have grand plans to become a publisher. But do you know exactly what you need to consider before creating some successful blogs, articles or reports? Our Content Editor, Lachlan Searle, will describe the process of commissioning and creating content, as well as the things you need to know about your brand and objectives. Plus, find out what’s working right now in brand publishing. 

The following is an excerpt from the Brand Storytelling podcast. Available on iTunes,  Soundcloud, and selected Android apps


Lachlan: What I’m really excited about in the media landscape more generally is the power of the consumer. We see this influence everywhere, for instance on websites where eyeballs dictate essentially what is the top ranking article at any given hour, that’s how quickly they rearrange those websites. Also, the power of the consumer in terms of being able to provide comments, and immediate feedback, emailing journalists, and that sort of thing. Also the power of the consumer in the amount they can seek out, both in Australia and internationally.

I don’t think people are as tied to one source or two sources as they were previously. I think that’s really helpful for the media landscape because it means that we have to be providing what the consumer wants and we have to ensure that we’re better than the competition, which can be a challenge in ever shrinking newsrooms and smaller budgets, but it’s a challenge. I think on the whole, the media’s embracing it and is doing a really good job at. I’m excited on my level for the consumer.

On the other level, and this is more relevant to what we do on a daily basis here, I’m excited for what brands can do to get their own message out there. We see brands becoming their own newsroom, which is great, I think, for again the consumer because it means there’s more sources of information and great storytelling for them, but also for the brand because it provides them an opportunity to establish credibility in their field and importantly, connect with their audience. That’s where storytelling comes in and that’s what we really try to do here at Newsmodo is tell great stories.

Rakhal: We sure do. I think you’ve answered in part my next question, which was going to go to the point about why we’re seeing brands wanting to create quality digital content and become great publishers in their own right. Do you think it’s because of their own direction or do you think they’re trying to take part of that market share from the diminishing editorial publishers?

Lachlan: I think a bit of both, but I think overall the main reason is that people have become savvier about marketing. People won’t be sold to so easily anymore, so we need more subtle approaches. I like to think of it as a brand becoming your friend, so it’s someone you can trust, someone that provides great information that you get excited about receiving their EDM on a daily basis because you want to learn about developments in their field, and in things that you’re interested in. Often those can be quite niche areas that won’t be covered in the mainstream area and also that can be covered better by brand newsrooms than they might be in the news media because these are the experts.

Rakhal: Great point. We work across so many different clients, so many different verticals here at Newsmodo now, but I guess one thing that they all have in common is that the strategy needs to be there before they dive into content marketing. What are some of the key things that you think brands need to think about before they approach someone or start creating their own content?

The most integral thing is planning, as you’ve just touched on, Rakhal, and I think this should be quite a wholesale approach. You need to consider obviously the purpose of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, the best way of doing it, so that encompasses a whole variety of different contexts and subject matter. You need to think very, very deeply about what your audience is, who they are, what interests them, and then how you’re going to make sure that you direct content in the right manner so they will enjoy it, keep on reading it, and gain value out of it.

It’s really important that you have great analytics and also that everyone across the company is involved because these are going to be broad campaigns, and you need to get buying from everyone that is associated with your department, and also in the broader company context, so that people can understand why you’re doing what you’re doing because one of the challenges for us that we confront on a daily basis is people that haven’t necessarily been close to the project coming in at a later date after we’ve delivered content and saying, “Hey, why isn’t my company mentioned in this article?” Well, that’s been done quite deliberately because we’re doing content marketing. Obviously that particular person wasn’t brought in at an early date. I think one of the most important things that brands should do when they’re coming up with their content marketing strategy is ensure that it’s a holistic company-wide approach.

Rakhal: I love it. Great advice and that’s something that we, as you mention, we discuss with our clients every day, particularly when we’re starting that initial deep dive in the strategy. How about the mistakes, in terms of the mistakes that we see most regularly made by brands out there in their own content marketing processes, where have they failed? What are the challenges that perhaps we can give our listeners some advice around to help them navigate and hopefully avoid making those mistakes themselves?

Lachlan: Again, I think it’s all about a plan. Make sure you have a plan, firstly. Secondly, make sure you stick to it. I think it was Arnie Kuenn that was discussing in a previous podcast the need to stick out for at least 12 months before you can see ROI. That’s really pivotal because any media organisation could say you need time to be able to establish a connection with your audience. You need to make sure you are talking to your audience in the right manner, so again that comes down to knowing who they are and how to speak to them. In terms of mistakes to avoid I would say rushing into it. Make sure that you’ve actually sat down, considered what you need to do, and obviously we’re here to help with that, and we are as excited to be able to give that advice, so I think overall rushing into it is the biggest problems.

If you want to find out more about how content marketing can help your brand, get in touch via our homepage.