4 Key Secrets to Success

4 Key Secrets to Success

The Gist:

  • Don’t wing it. Randomized or “gut instinct” marketing tactics are often unsuccessful compared to those that are well thought out.
  • Have a distinct goal. A content plan is only efficient if guidelines are clear and a common goal is agreed upon.
  • Know your audience. Understanding consumer wants and needs will help you design a better content plan.

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

This is a quote from one of literature’s most beloved characters, Bilbo Baggins, in J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel “The Fellowship of the Ring.” In this scene, an aged Bilbo reflects on his many past adventures as his nephew Frodo Baggins listens.

In the series, both Hobbits embark on great adventures without much of a plan to guide them. The element of uncertainty makes for great storytelling, but not for great marketing. While the idea of just going with what “feels right” has its appeal, it doesn’t cut it when it comes to high-performing campaigns and brand management. This is why content planning is the secret to creating a detailed (and adventurous!) path to success.

A closeup of a golden ring sits n a flat surface with a blurred background of a sunset.
FantaZune on Adobe Stock Photo

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The Who, What & Why of Content Planning

Content planning refers to the process of creating objectives and workflows for a marketing asset or series of assets. It includes the development of content from ideation through execution and encompasses the creative stakeholders who will create the content. An effective content plan will allow you to prioritize tasks, stay organized, keep your messaging consistent and respond effectively to shifts in a campaign’s performance throughout its lifecycle.

Content planning involves a number of elements, including:

  • Documenting production and content workflows: This ensures everyone is using the same process, which eliminates the risk of doubling work or creating roadblocks.
  • Shared calendar: Much like having a shared map of a geographical region, a shared content calendar with high scheduling visibility across departments keeps everyone in sync and encourages dialogue.
  • Human resources: Effective content planning requires a smooth onboarding and training process for employees. The clearer your process is from the get-go, the less friction you’ll encounter during high-stakes situations that require high levels of collaboration.
  • Analytics and optimization: Tracking and measuring metrics as they evolve throughout a campaign — and in its aftermath — and applying those insights to content creation will allow for more strategic engagement with buyers and their pain points.

Having a clear content plan composed of uncluttered tools and systems keeps content powerful and distinctive. When your process is well-defined, it’s much easier to keep your feet on the ground and avoid getting swept off the path.

In addition to allowing content to shine from a marketing perspective, content planning also optimizes the time, talent and effort of the people generating said content. Workflow efficiencies resulting from distilled processes open space and time for creative brainstorming that would otherwise be eaten up by the inevitable roadblocks created by ambiguity.

But there’s more to having a successful content plan than just wanting one. Beyond the who and the what of content planning, as we’ve just described, we must consider the why.

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