Are you trying to practice content marketing, but can’t seem to do it consistently? Are you just not sure that your efforts are bringing a worthwhile return? If that sounds familiar, ask yourself this key question: do I have a written content marketing strategy? Let’s see why that matters, and look at a practical solution to your dilemma.
Three facts to ponder
- Among small-to-medium businesses, 88% report that they practice content marketing.
- Among those companies, fewer than one-third have a written content strategy.
- Among the 88%, 48% of the most effective have a written plan.
Our conclusion suggested by these stats — taken from an annual survey published by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) — is that content marketing works best when it’s based on a written strategic plan. Of course, that makes a lot of sense.
Unfortunately, small-to-medium-sized businesses and organizations often lack the resources to create the kind of comprehensive strategic plan usually recommended by content marketing experts. What to do? Well…
Relax and Simplify
A recent article by George Stenitzer on Content Marketing Institute’s website offers a proposal that allows small-to-medium businesses a pathway to structuring their content marketing efforts right now, with significant gain and little pain. The article’s title summarizes Stenitzer’s solution: “Simplify Your Content Marketing Strategy with a One-Page Plan.”
A one-page plan?!? Really? Haven’t we been bombarded with calls for a comprehensive content strategy as the surest pathway to success?
Of course we have. But, given the time and resource constraints faced by most smaller businesses and organizations, a comprehensive approach is just not realistic; better yet, it may be unnecessary. A manageable one-page content marketing plan can get you started and keep you going.
And I’d suggest that — even if you already have a more comprehensive written strategy — a clear, concise one-page summary can help you focus on and achieve your goals.
Some key benefits of a one-page content strategy to consider:
It’s A Starting Point
It’s a great way to get started on a more comprehensive strategy document if you don’t have already have one. And it contains the seeds of an essential component of a more comprehensive strategy: the editorial calendar.
It’s A Quick, Easy Overview
- It’s an easy-to-share way to communicate to your team the essence of your strategy.
- It’s handy to keep prominently displayed so that you can frequently remind yourself of the things you need to be doing to stay on track strategically.
- Down the road, it can serve as an executive summary, attached as a front page to your more comprehensive strategy document.
It Might Be All You Need
Best of all, for smaller businesses and organizations, it may be all you need to get and keep on track with effective content marketing.
Example One-Page Content Marketing Strategy
I’ve taken Stenitzer’s original example and done some judicious pruning, further simplifying it without undermining its essential value.
Content Marketing — One-Page Strategy Summary
- Increase revenue from a product or service by XX% over the next 12 months.
- Build buyer awareness by XX% to position product in industry.
- Become the best resource on customer problems and/or product categories.
- Deliver useful information and thought-provoking insights.
- Educate buyers:
- B2B — Address and resolve key technology and business challenges; e.g., generating revenue, reducing expenses, improving user experiences.
- B2C — Solve frequently encountered issues; meet expressed needs; share value and limitations of our products or services and competitive comparisons.
- Increase website traffic XX% over one year, converting XX% of website users.
- Acquire X marketing-qualified leads per year.
- Generate revenues of $X.
Who we serve
- One-line capsulized list of identified buyer personas
Sample Content Topics
- Customer testimonial tweet
- Curated blog post offering a solution to an issue frequently reported by customers
- Original blog post describing a customer success story
- News release announcing new product or service
Published Content Size, Frequency, and Type
|7 seconds||23||Headline, tweet, sound bite, cartoon|
|2 minutes (2X/week)||400||Web page, blog post, news release, short video, infographic|
|5 minutes (monthly)||1,000||Magazine article, contributed articles, long video|
|20+ minutes (quarterly)||4,000+||White paper, eBook, speech, webinar|
Calls to Action
Soft: Watch video. Read blog, article, or white paper. Sign up for email list or newsletter.
Hard: Read gated white paper. Sign up for webinar. Qualify at trade show or event.
Join the Ranks of Effective Content Marketers
So, with thanks to George Stenitzer, and with just a little friendly massage of his plan, we’ve arrived at a template with which anyone, at any sized organization, can create a simple but practical content strategy document to guide their efforts, and can put it to work immediately.
It’s a pathway not just to joining the 48% of “more effective” content marketers. It’s a pathway to success that will expand that percentage as more and more small-to-medium businesses — like yours — join the ranks of the “effective.”