In the annual Content Marketing Institute Marketing (CMI) report it was shown that over 70% of respondents did not regularly document their marketing strategy. This figure seems large, but is by no means an anomaly.
There is a sense that companies know that they really ought to have a process, they know that companies who do routinely see better results, but due to fast-paced nature of our working lives, this is considered a ‘non-essential administrative chore’ and isn’t prioritised.
Even though it may seem overwhelming at first, there are so many benefits to committing to the creation and documentation of a strategy. The CMI reported that businesses that have a comprehensive plan are:
- Far more likely to consider themselves effective at content marketing
- Far less challenged with every aspect of content marketing
- Generally more likely to consider themselves more effective with every tactic and social media channel
- Able to justify a higher percentage of the marketing budget to be spent on content marketing
And there are some very simple reasons as to why this is. Having a marketing strategy document (MSD) can help you see the bigger picture, but can also give you the puzzle pieces to put it together. Below are 4 reasons why a MSD can help you reach your aims.
1. Using the data
As analytics is fast becoming a significant part of any marketing plan, it is essential that its applications are used and recorded. As Diginomica suggests:
“I think that we’ve matured enough in content marketing to stop throwing content on the Internet to see what sticks. But to prove that’s true, and show we’ve moved on from thinking it’s some phase that doesn’t deserve a well thought out plan, we kind of need to plan.”
Analytics is teaching us enormously about who the ideal consumer is and what companies need to do to reach them. Recording these processes ensures that everyone on the team has access to the learnings.
Knowing the best platforms to use, when to put content out, and how to maximise the metadata, saves a team having to go through the trial and error process over and over again.
It saves both money and man-power and instead of starting from scratch every time it allows a team to really hone a brand’s identity.
2) Perfecting the Message
If you’ve got all of this wonderful information set out comprehensively and saved in an accessible place, it gives your team an opportunity to expand on their past endeavors and really finesse the activity surrounding a brand, as well as constantly being able to evaluate and keep in mind who their ‘ideal consumer’ is.
The below graph, found here demonstrates ‘the top priorities for content creators.’ Having a documented strategy is one of the easiest ways to fulfill the goals on this list.
Tools such as buyer personas, campaign funnels and editorial calendars are all fantastic ways to paint a picture of a campaign as a whole and its impact.
If there are processes in place, then nobody who is working on a campaign has an excuse to plead ignorance; no accusations that ‘you didn’t email that to me’ or ‘I didn’t know that.’ If there is a central point for important information that is properly updated then everything is there in black and white.
The onus of responsibility is then dispersed through the team. Knowing that there is a central location for correspondence means that people can be empowered to get on with their jobs, without wasting time back-tracking and asking needless questions.
Given that there is more time to work on your actual work rather than figuring out where on earth that brief is, this should create:
Documenting your marketing strategy should create a very positive momentum for your team! An inclusive MSD will allow your team to:
- Track progress during a project
- See the bigger picture
- Set a yardstick for future campaigns
- Access more accurate budgetary information
Having a clear idea of where you are, where you need to be and what your role is within the task is not only an expedient use of everyone’s time, it engenders enthusiasm and motivation.
What should an MSD include?
Just as there is no one way to run a business, a MSD can take on many forms, depending on the aims and the needs of the campaign.
However the Content Marketing Institute have an excellent checklist that include some of the things you need to think about, including a business overview, a company brand identity outline and a comprehensive editorial plan.
Putting this all together may seem like a Herculean task, but if you set time aside for it, you will have a happier, more productive team and campaigns that really hit their mark.