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9 Questions to Help You Prioritize Content Creation [Template]

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9 Questions to Help You Prioritize Content Creation [Template]


More. more. more.

At many companies, the demand for content has increased exponentially in recent years. Yet, you can’t just say no. Or can you?

By taking a strategic process to content requests, you can more confidently say no, maybe, and yes to every inquiry received. Here’s some help to make that happen.

Create a content request form

To help prioritize your content requests, consider developing a content request form that you share across all departments that might be asking you for content.

To help prioritize #content requests, consider developing a content request form that’s shared across all departments, says @GBalarin via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Often requestors only have a vague idea of what their needs are when they ask for content to be created. The request form helps them drill down to their most essential needs — which will help you identify possible ways to incorporate them into your existing content plan or to minimize the revision process so that you can free up time in your schedule to produce additional content. Moreover, the improved communication facilitated by the form helps you produce content that is more targeted, more appropriate, and better able to deliver the kind of results its requestor expects. Marketers also would be wise to use the form themselves, to help flesh out and prioritize their own ideas for content creation.

content-creation-request-form-matrix

It’s essential for your organization to have a content marketing mission statement — and for everyone who submits requests to know what this is. For instance, CMI’s mission is to advance the practice of content marketing. If you receive content requests that do not support your mission, it may not be worth your effort and time.

If you receive content requests that do not support your mission, it may not be worth your effort and time, says @GBalarin via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Keep your content request form short — one page at the most, if possible. Here are some questions you should include:

  1. What is your idea/need? Keep it brief and give a catchy title to your content idea/need as soon as possible. It’s likely that your content piece will be known by this name, moving forward — at least internally — regardless of what the final title actually is.
  2. What research have you already done on this topic? Ask requestors to list three sources of research they have already done. Doing this provides two main benefits: First, requestors may already have sources in mind that they would not otherwise have thought to share; and second, it reminds the requestor that the writing process involves research too, which makes for better content.
  3. How long do you think it will take to produce? Often, requestors misunderstand the process and the amount of work involved in creating content. Asking this question provides an opportunity to educate requestors, and starts the negotiation process so both sides can come to an agreement on the expected deadline.
  4. How many leads do you expect this piece will produce? This is particularly helpful for requests that come from sales. Not all content should be expected to generate leads — especially if it’s educational content that sits at the top of the funnel. But if your requestor does have an answer in mind, so much the better to set the right expectations.
  5. How much will the content cost to produce? When calculating the content’s production costs, make sure the requestor is including budget expectations for design and layout costs, as well as printing costs (if applicable) and the writer’s time.
  6. Which core business objectives does this fit with? While it’s great to have content that is fun, or interesting, or engaging, it should also align with business objectives — particularly if the content is being expected to meet key performance indicators (KPIs).
  7. Where does it fit within the sales funnel? Content designed to be used at different stages of the sales funnel should be promoted in different ways. Moreover, the key messages and the level of product (or service) information will differ. It helps to know up front what purpose the content is meant to serve.
  8. What will the impact be if it’s not produced? What will happen if you cannot fulfill the request? Will the world end, will it critically affect a campaign, or will their boss just be unimpressed? This question helps establish whether a given request is for need-to-have content or would simply be nice-to-have.
  9. How will you commit to sharing this content with a wider audience?A piece of content is only valuable if it is consumed and shared. This question lets requestors know that they will be encouraged to spread the word about the content across their own social networks — after all, hopefully they’ll be proud of the final piece and will want to share it, as well.

Work with requestors when they fill out a form for the first time. Help them understand what is involved in creating the content and identify where it should and can be used. For example, they may want to create a white paper when the content would actually be more appropriate for a blog. Explaining the whys and how’s in advance not only helps educate your colleagues, but also helps them understand the value of your expertise and role in the organization.

Use it as a reference doc. That way, everyone knows what to expect of the final content. It keeps you all on the same page, literally.


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Prioritize, but don’t dismiss urgent requests

Developing a content calendar that has the flexibility to include some unexpected activities that add value and are in keeping with the business goals and objectives is a smart way to set your content strategy in motion. But what happens when you receive desperate or last-minute requests to create content that doesn’t fit in your content plan? What is the difference between important content and urgently needed content?

This old phrase comes to mind: “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

This is where you need to learn the art of saying no to content requests that simply don’t fit within your overall business objectives, that aren’t clear enough in their intention, or that are simply requested too late in your publication cycle for you to be able to do a good job with them.

Learn the art of saying no to #content requests that don’t fit within your overall business objectives, says @GBalarin via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

When it comes to “urgent” requests from other parts of the business that demand content resources, the key is to keep ego and emotion out of it. At the end of the day, content creation is a business function that should help get clear, trustworthy, and valuable messages out to customers and prospects. Don’t dismiss a request just because you’re having a tiff with that employee, or your business groups have differing objectives.

Sometimes there’s value in pulling a content rabbit out of a hat to meet an urgent need — not only does it make you a valuable content creation resource, it also builds cross-functional relationships. And, you never know, it might even result in that huge sale that keeps your content team in work — and in demand — for another year, while boosting your reputation: a win-win situation.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute





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The Ultimate Guide to Storytelling

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The Ultimate Guide to Storytelling


Storytelling is an art.

Not a process, method, or technique. And — like art — it requires creativity, vision, skill, and practice. Storytelling isn’t something you can grasp in one sitting, after one course. It’s a trial-and-error process of mastery.

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How to Blog When You Have No Time

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How to Blog When You Have No Time


Finding the time to blog is a frequent challenge for many marketers. Marketers often wear many hats and it can be difficult to focus long enough to churn out quality articles when you’re pressed for time.

How to blog when you have no time? We spoke with author and marketing expert David Meerman Scotton how to avoid common time management mistakes by developing a routine.

No matter what you’ve got on your marketing plate, it won’t get done without proper time management. Learning how to make the most of your time will greatly affect your productivity and overall success as a blogger.

Why is blogging time management important?

When it comes to creating content, maintaining consistency is key. This is why blogging time management is so important. You may not always feel motivated to create on a regular basis, but establishing a schedule will help you to stay consistent with your blog output.

For example, you may find that you’re better at writing in the mornings. So you can set aside 2 to 3 hours each morning to work on writing based on how many articles you’d like to produce each week.

Create a content calendar to help you plan your content in advance and set reasonable deadlines. Make note of holidays or seasonal events that may impact your content schedule.

Getting organized will help you set and achieve goals for your blog. If you’re starting from scratch, check out our guide to starting a blog.

How to Blog When You Have No Time

1. Use blog templates.

An easy way to jump-startyour creative process is to start with a template. Why suffer through writer’s block staring at a blank document if you don’t have to? HubSpot’s free blog post templatescan help you format your article and get started writing faster than starting from scratch.

[Include screenshot]

Templates function as an easy to follow outline where you can organize your thoughts and start to flesh out your content. HubSpot’s offer includes six templates ranging from how-to posts to pillar pages and infographics.

2. Develop a blogging routine.

In many ways blogging reminds David of exercising. In order to be successful at it, you will need to develop a routine. “It is programmed in,” David says. “It is about building it into your life and making it a second nature, like running in the mornings or doing yoga after work.”

Dedicate time each day to writing or allocate one to two designated writing days per week. Block time off on your calendar and turn off messaging apps to avoid interruptions while you write.

Once you’ve gotten organized and created a routine, you may find you had more time to write than previously thought.

3. Keep a list of ideas.

One way to save time coming up with content is to make sure you always have a running list of fresh ideas to work with. That way you’re not scrambling at the last minute for worthy topics.

Creating topic clusterscan help you flesh out your blog content strategy. A topic clusteris multiplearticles grouped by a shared topic or related topic. For example, you may have one pillar page that gives a broad overview of a topic. From there, you can create more in-depth, specific articles on related subtopics.

This will not only help you plan content but organize your site architecture as well.

4. Perform research prior to writing.

It’s much easier to write when you have all the pertinent information you want to include in one place. Research your chosen topic before sitting down to write and organize the information in a quick outline.

Include any keyword researchin this process so you can ensure your content aligns with what readers are searching for online. This way when you sit down to write, your only job is to write — not look up new facts.

5. Don’t edit while writing.

When writing it’s very tempting to want to stop and make corrections. Don’t do this. It breaks your writing flow.

Instead, write a rough draft withjust pops into your mind first. Follow your train of thought without stopping to fix typos or edit. The goal is to just get your thoughts on the page. Once your initial draft is written, you can always go back and make changes.

6. Perform article updates.

Another strategy is to build upon existing content by performing an article update. Giving your older content a refresh is not only good for SEO and your readers, but it can be a quick win for adding new content in a time crunch.

With older content, you may need to include additional research and update it for accuracy, but it generally takes less time than writing a new article from scratch. Review your existing content. Are there articles you can do a deeper dive on? Have there been industry advancements you can include? Is there a new angle to explore?

7. Find content ideas wherever you go.

By making blogging a life routine, you will come across creative content ideas much more frequently. Keep an open mind, observe new things that interest you personally and find ways to turn them into fodder for a blog post. By noticing world dynamics that get you excited and relating them to your audience, the process of blogging becomes a lot more natural and fun.

Accumulate content ideas from different situations in life and find ways to apply them to your industry.

8. Hire a freelancer.

Sometimes your workload is just too heavy and your efforts can be better used elsewhere. If you have the resources and budget to do it, hiring outside help may also be a great option.

Sites like Upwork, Contenta, and MediaBistro make it easy to find writing professionals. If looking to generate content on a larger scale, consider working with a content agency.

Blog Like A Pro

Creating content with a consistent cadence is an obstacle busy marketers frequently struggle with. Creating a schedule and mastering blogging time management will allow you to create even when you’re short on time.

This article was originally published in December 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How clean, organized and actionable is your data?

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90% of marketers say their CDP doesn't meet current business needs


A customer data platform (CDP) centralizes an organization’s customer data, providing a single 360-view of each consumer that engages with the company. Yet there are still data-related considerations that organizations have to make beyond what the CDP does.

“[CDPs] were designed to fill a need – to enable a marketer to easily get to the data they need to create their segmentation and then go on and mark it from that point,” said George Corugedo, CTO of data management company Redpoint Global, at The MarTech Conference. “But the issue is that CDPs really don’t take care of the quality aspects of the data.”

Maintaining data quality also impacts segmentation, campaigns and privacy compliance challenges for marketing teams that use this data.

Data quality

The data in a CDP depends on the quality of where it came from. Therefore, an organization using a CDP must also consider the quality of the data sources and reference files used to build out the CDP.

“The inevitable question is going to be, how good is this data?” said Corugedo. “How much can I trust it to make a bold decision?”

This is something that has to be on every organization’s radar. For instance, when identity resolution is used, the issue depends on the quality of the third-party reference files. If they are provided by a telecommunications company or credit bureau as the data partner, those files might only be updated quarterly.

“It’s just not an optimal solution, but every single CDP on the market uses some form of reference file,” Corugedo stated.

It’s up to the data scientists and other team members working within the organization to own the accuracy of these data sources.

Read next: What is a CDP?

Segmentation and other actions

The quality of the data using specific reference files and sources will vary and will impact the confidence that marketers have in creating segments and using them when deploying campaigns.

Marketers have to make this decision at a granular level, based on the trustworthiness of data from a particular lineage.

“If they have a campaign that is reliant on suspect data, they can actually delay that campaign and say maybe we wait until that data gets refreshed,” said Corugedo.

Otherwise, marketers are just “spraying and praying.”

Using rules instead of lists

The advantage of having a CDP is unification of all data. But the data is being updated all the time. Instead of deploying campaigns based on a fixed list of customers, the use of rules to define segments allows marketers to update who they engage in the campaign.

“A list, as soon as it’s detached from the database, starts to decay because it doesn’t get any updates anymore,” Corugedo, adding that using lists takes longer to execute a campaign.

Lower quality from data that isn’t updated can have serious implications for healthcare and other industries, where accuracy is essential. 

“Instead, rules are passed through the campaign just like they would be with a list, but those rules reevaluate every time there’s a decision point to make sure that only the qualified people get the particular content at that point,” Corugedo explained.


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Privacy and regulatory compliance

Maintaining data quality through a Redpoint Global dashboard, or a similar combination of tools and data personnel, will also help an organization manage privacy.

The crucial point is that people on the team know where the data came from and how it’s being used in campaigns. The stakes for sending out relevant messaging are high. Privacy and compliance issues raise the bar even higher.

If you’re using a CDP, you can save headaches and extra labor by using a tool that has compliance and privacy baked in, so to speak.

“What we’ve done is embrace some of this complexity and absorb it into the environment, so the marketer never even sees it,” said Corugedo. “What we do is with every implementation, we will implement a PII vault that keeps PII data super secure, and we can anonymize the marketing database.”

This way, personal information of individual customers (PII) is never violated.

“Marketers ultimately don’t necessarily need to have visibility to PII,” Corugedo explained “They like to see it for testing purposes and making sure that it looks right and everything, but the truth is we can do that in other ways without revealing PII.”

Having a handle on data quality adds to the confidence marketing teams have in creating segments and executing campaigns, and it can also help protect the customer’s privacy and guard against regulatory infringements.

Facts not fiction: Beyond the CDP from Third Door Media on Vimeo.


About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.



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