Up to this point, the work consisted of tasks in defining and explaining the content creation work. This step will move from essentially “meta” work to working on the actual content. This step bridges the two type of tasks. Using a workflow essentially divides most of the casual content creators from the steady, more serious ones.
This step may seem to many as “too formal” or “just for big organizations”. Yet, my experience is different. Large organizations, or large projects (in medium size organizations), seem not to have a problem in creating a flow of fresh content. The problem is usually in what to write, what to select from a large pool of material. Large organizations also don’t have a problem with brainstorming for new topic ideas, or finding new sources of ideas. Actually, small organizations and individuals tend to have a problem in keeping a fresh flow at a steady rate. After new ideas, comes the task of turning them into written content. Here a workflow system is extremely useful for individuals and small projects. Finally, keeping the momentum going over a long period of time, while the writing and creative quality is at top level is even harder. A process of creating content from idea to promotion and then maintenance does not have to be complex. But it does help in starting projects quickly and making the product manager aware of what can be done. First a workflow process enables one to judge quickly how much work is done and how quickly it gets results. In the mid-term, statistics on the work done versus the results gives everyone the idea on how to navigate in the market. Finally, when a project is going at a steady rate, a real ROI (Return On Investment) can be gathered and comparison to other forms of marketing (PPC, direct email campaigns) can be used to verify expectations and set overall business strategies. All this may sound complicated, especially for the single contributor. Yet, without clear statistics and results, especially in small projects, the content creator is doomed. I have seen countless cases where working “free form” and just rely on energy, confidence, experience in a field, or another form of self drive does not work. Remember, content creation is nothing much more than a great deal of work in a new medium. Usually in a new format (blog, wiki, newsletter), and with great deal of exposure and almost unlimited competition. Continue reading →
At this point in time, you are ready to describe, develop a plan, or diagram the actual content to be written. Describing in more detail usually looks like a business or project plan. Graphic diagrams are also useful. Diagramming the process of writing, editing, publishing, promoting, and improving the content is also useful. Diagramming with names for each step, step length (how long does it take), which step is necessary to complete before another is started, etc. Diagrams seem to make people not only think clearly, but also simplify the process of explaining. Usually you can come up with a linear “flow” to some steps. Ideas and plans presented in graphics are also much easier to discuss and improve. Going one step further, a series of graphics, even in a short video clip, is probably the most useful format in today’s YouTube centric world. Continue reading →
Now with some understanding of how to present your material, and what role you are going to take: editor, writer, promoter, site manager and acquisition specialist; take the work from the marketing step and apply it to the web formats work. An example is taking a message or positioning statement and creating articles as the core content. You can start with a list of topics or titles and sketch briefly each article. You can collect a few images (or videos) if you have products or services with something to show. A brief description of what will be developed by an outside service is also a good way to start.
This is the second step in the methodology of creating and managing content marketing operations. This step assumes some domain expertise. If you read the last post, than you have some idea on how to approach marketing content. You may choose to use one or more marketing concepts such as positioning or sales channel support. In that case, you have a strategy and an approach to create your content. A positioning approach will have elements such as product comparison, elements of branding, features and benefits points, product use examples, or a number of other techniques. This background preparation will help you put a plan on paper. You could also define all the specifics of style, tone, content, topics of discussion, and other key elements. Eventually I will put together lists and worksheets with examples on how to organize your thoughts and communicate them to others. There is also value to this background work if you are going to be just one content creator and work solo. Continue reading →
If you are a skilled marketer, P/R wiz, sales funnel expert, or have expertise in your field, skip this article (section). Essentially we will start with a project with a definition, in this case a marketing project. In marketing, there are a few terms and a few techniques which will define the work. We are going to look at marketing and product management as an example. If you are a domain expert in a different area, you may want to skim the marketing description simply to get an idea about the example in later sections. We will try to keep each section independent so the information will be useful even one section at a time.
In traditional corporate (product) marketing, the role of marketing is to take a product from the production side (sometimes engineering, creative, product design, etc.) to the sales and market realm. In simple terms, it is translating product specific description (features and benefits) into customer or market specific language. Essentially telling an average buyer what the product does. Further, it is also “selling” the benefits of the product: better, cheaper, faster, bigger, sexier, nicer… etc… Essentially, getting interest in the product. Sometimes, marketing is the creator of advertising, direct sales campaigns (i.e. junk mail), catalogs or sales promotion flyers, sales collateral, trade show displays, etc. Marketing in most organizations is responsible for the “stuff” the is needed to sell a product. Sales is responsible for the “activities” of selling the product: meeting customers, training sales people (i.e. indirect sales people in stores or “channels”), and tracking sales results. Marketing also helps and is sometimes responsible for setting prices, keeping an eye on competitors, tracking market behavior, and other strategic tasks. Marketing in many organizations is considered strategic while sales is considered tactical. Continue reading →
Caution! This is a long post… it is a basis to a system (methodology) in creating useful content for marketing, branding and sales sites. ENJOY!
In the beginning: Its been six years in the making. After the first year of writing content for blogs and web sites, I started looking for a method to use. A year later (five years ago) I started looking for a method to sell or use as a framework with customers. I needed first to explain content marketing. Why does a marketing manager need content on the web? What will this content look like? Without simply saying “buy this product, it’s the best!” (fastest, cheapest, easiest to use, more productive, etc.) Then make the full differentiation between marketing and straight sales content (i.e. landing pages). Then came the effort to explain the use of blogs and blogging as a steady stream of content for marketing. Eventually, I gave up. I could not find one source that will fit exactly what I was needed. I tried two approaches, both helped but were not enough. The first approach was to use and teach customers traditional marketing methods. Essentially what you would learn in business school or from recent books. The second approach was to use internet publication methods. More specifically blogging and promotion methods. Then I tried to combine the two. Eventually, I created a “work-flow”: a way of breaking down the work into a linear process. This is what I describe here. Continue reading →
The question of how much work you should do in each area of your site is a common one. Even if you are experienced in a certain field, a new site (or blog) can be a totally different experience. If you are a marketer, you want people to buy, or at least be interested, from the first blog post, first web page, first tweet, first Facebook “like“. From the writer, editor, marketer, technologist, essentially “site owner”, every word should be understood, in context, and truly something that will make an impression. That is clearly not the case. The internet is too broad of a platform which serves many people. It is hard to make every page exactly in the context for everyone. That means writing, drawing, and recording more material that you need. Maybe not more than you “need”, but at least more than just a few pages or posts. There are different reasons to why people read and respond, So:
How much content do you need?
What minimal amount of work do you need to see results?
When and where do you need to promote (or advertise)?