Building on last week’s post on setting goals, this is Step 2 of the Cadence9® 7 Step Content Marketing Lifecycle.

Strategy is a deliberate plan, or blueprint, for how to meet your defined goals. It’s the whole infrastructure that supports your social media and content marketing initiatives, most likely involving multiple departments or teams in your company.

Important Questions to Ask First
Are stakeholders committed and budget in place to maintain a content marketing initiative?
Is there sufficient staff in place or will we need to outsource some production or hire new people?
Do we have the technology/expertise to manage everything we want to do?

Each of these questions is an issue unto itself and must be addressed as they definitely impact the strategies you develop. You don’t want to spend time planning a course of action and then ask, “Can we do this?” A clear understanding of all resources available (financial, creative and technical) is necessary for developing a strong content strategy.

The Blueprint or Playbook

It’s obvious by now that a content marketing strategy is much more than just a blog or company page on Facebook. (Even if these two types of platforms are ultimately the only two you choose to work with, there is still strategy and planning needed to make them successful!)

A written plan will consolidate everything and help to maintain integrity and focus as strategies are developed. The following documents help to fine tune important elements of how content is created and distributed, resulting in maximum benefit for achieving your goals.
  • Content Marketing Mission Statement– keeps all content focused on your brand’s ultimate purpose; it’s what you stand for as a company. Your mission statement should define your core audience, explain your promise to this audience, and delineate what benefit the audience will experience. Here is the mission statement for Domino’s Pizza: Exceptional people, all with a shared goal–to be the best pizza delivery company in the world. That’s Domino’s Pizza’s vision.

  • Buyer Persona/s – what brings people to your website? What are their questions and needs? Where do they live online, what types of content do they read, view and share, and how can you most effectively deliver this content to them? What are their “triggers,” along the buyer journey? What are the stumbling blocks? As a franchisor, you will have at least two separate buyer personas, one for franchise sales prospects and one on the consumer side.

  • Style Guide – maintains brand integrity by clarifying permissible content creation parameters: logos, images, colors, fonts, language, brand voice, keywords, etc. Content types should be structured around the social media channels where your audiences reside.

  • Social Media Policy – outlines what is legal and allowable when using social media. Key to establishing this document is whether or not corporate will manage social media, or if individual franchisees will have their own social media accounts. A clearly defined policy can go far in eliminating conflicts and misunderstandings regarding social media use.
Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Well

Discussing strategy is much easier than actually creating a strategic plan. Putting in the time and effort to work thoughtfully through all the issues of a structured strategy will result in a solid, repeatable action steps for your social media and content marketing efforts.

Figuring out the synergy between all your online and social platforms will allow you to maximize every piece of content you publish, and with a precise strategy in place, you can maintain a consistent brand message across all channels.

Has your company been creating content based on a planned strategy, or are you committing “random acts of publishing” to fuel your digital marketing?

Next week: The Editorial Calendar, the tactical framework to manage your strategy.