Sunday is the new Monday here at EXHALE HQ. Getting ahead on admin and diary planning takes the pain and procrastination out of the start of the working week, and creates space for more joyful things like lunch dates. What we’re getting at here is planning, and how much easier it can be to manage the execution of your content marketing strategy if you’ve prepared a bunch of content in advance.
Business as usual
Business as usual can mean coordinated and it can mean chaos. Whatever’s the norm for your brand is effectively BAU. So, how are you currently delivering against your content marketing strategy? Do you have one at all, is it a work in progress, or is it in the archives somewhere? Don’t be tempted to offload this piece of work to the enthusiastic grad on your team, and don’t be surprised when they do a better job than you would have. Your content marketing strategy should be dynamic and have room to flex with new developments, but it really does pay off to have a plan written down somewhere. It enables you to measure performance and report on results, if nothing else.
Why to plan
Content marketing is demanding, you’ll always feel like you could and should be doing more. But remember how important it is to let go of the low quality stuff that adds no value, and not to rush to fill any space you’ve created as a result of ditching what isn’t serving you. See Setting your brand’s intention. Less is more. Less enables you to perform better. But even with less, we still need a plan. Otherwise, we’ll inevitably become ‘busy’ with something else and neglect to deliver on what we bravely promised in our brand + content marketing strategies. And there’s bound to be a CMO involved somewhere who likes a plan.
How to plan
Start small and work your way towards a world in which you can justifiably say ‘here’s one I prepared earlier’. Map out the next three, six or 12 months. Drop in your core campaigns. Identify the gaps. Include your brand values or your company’s strategic objectives and ensure everything is procured, produced or published with these in mind. Your content marketing strategy is about reinforcing your brand in some shape or form, nearly every day, so your values or ‘what you stand for’ should shine through in what you’re saying and the way you’re doing things. Define a workflow process that tells you when you need your first draft ready in order to publish your content on time. Figure out who your stakeholders are and suggest an efficient sign off process to them early. This gives them the chance to facilitate the delivery of your plan, rather than delay it.
more proactive, less pressured
Forget fooling the consumer or end-user into thinking you’re always six months ahead (a handful of the big players really are). But be realistic. Aim to be somewhere like six weeks ahead. Keep referring back to the plan, change the plan when you need to, but first question why you’re changing it and ensure it’s always anchored back to core values or commercial objectives.
A rushed, reactive campaign needs resource and as a result, is an inefficient and expensive habit. Plan ahead, and the outside world will keep wondering how you stay so relevant and real-time. You’ll know it’s because you wrote and scheduled your Monday Motivation post on the previous Sunday. Or something like that.
Another pair of hands and eyes might be all you need to turn your content marketing plan into a proactive, procrastination-free piece of brilliance. Talk to firstname.lastname@example.org for more content marketing motivation, any day of the week.