You’ve created your content strategy and are committed to regularly publishing new content. But with all the other marketing projects on your plate, how can you ensure your content marketing stays on track?
Too often, businesses come up with a great plan for creating content and get excited about putting it into action. But when it comes time to execute the strategy, momentum slows down, tasks fall through the cracks and content is published inconsistently (or not at all).
If you want to keep your content marketing strategy on track, the key is to get organized and set your business up for success. Here’s how to do it.
1. Document your content strategy
It’s easy to think, “We set SMART goals, created our personas, conducted a content audit and brainstormed new content ideas. We have all we need, and our content marketing will be successful.”
It’s true – you have all the components of a content strategy. But have you taken the time to document this information somewhere everyone in your organization can see it?
If the answer is no, you need to take the time to document your content strategy.
According to Content Marketing Institute, although 89% of B2B marketers are using content marketing, only 37% have a documented strategy in place.
Having a documented strategy helps your business:
- Determine which types of content to create
- Plan and allocate the resources you’ll need to create content
- Stay on schedule when creating content
- Remain goal-focused by clearly defining what success looks like
Documenting your strategy doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. To get started, create a document (or set of documents) that outlines your entire content strategy including:
- SMART goals
- Buyer personas
- Buyer’s journey
- Brand voice and tone
- Content audit and analysis
- New content ideas and topics
- Types of content you’ll create
This can be in the form of a Word document, Google Doc or Sheet, Evernote or another online platform. Just make sure everyone in your company has access to it.
2. Create an editorial calendar
It’s tough to stick to a publishing schedule when you have tons of other projects going on at any given moment. Creating an editorial calendar is one of the best tools to help you plan, manage and execute your content.
An editorial calendar is a timeline of what content you want to publish and when. Editorial calendars help everyone on your team stay on track with publishing new content and keep everyone on the same page about upcoming projects and deadlines.
Editorial calendars are often used for blogging, but you can also set up an editorial calendar for premium content offers, social media publishing and email newsletters.
Creating an editorial calendar allows you to:
- Publish content consistently
- Strategically plan your content instead of figuring it out last minute
- See the big picture of your content marketing
- Save time and streamline the writing process
- Figure out what topics are – and aren’t – working
3. Set up tasks in a project management tool
If you’re a one-person marketing team, you could get by with just a list of tasks in your notebook – but we don’t recommend it.
And here’s why: Projects rarely go as planned. Deadlines change. New tasks arise when you least expect it. You don’t get a key piece of information you need to move forward, and tasks get put on hold. A technical issue pops up that forces you to rethink your entire approach.
Projects can easily spiral out of control when you’re simply trying to get by with pen and paper or a long email thread with your boss.
Whether you’re a marketing team of one or 20, we highly recommend investing in a project management software. Set up all your projects and tasks within your tool, and use it to manage tasks on a day-to-day basis. You’ll find that a project management tool keeps everyone on the same page, helps you easily manage all your projects and makes it much harder for tasks to fall through the cracks.
There are a ton of great project management tools out there, but some of the more popular ones include Trello, Teamwork, Basecamp, JIRA, Asana and Wrike.
Related Content: 12 Top Online Collaboration Tools for Virtual Teams
4. Set deadlines
Assigning tasks without setting a deadline is the quickest way to ensure projects are never completed.
Content creation is rarely a one-man job and often requires the work of more than one person. You’ll have one person writing it, another editing it, another sourcing images and adding it to your content management system, and so on. With so many moving pieces, it’s important that each task has a deadline so you stay on schedule with publishing new content.
Deadlines create a sense of urgency and help both you and your team prioritize tasks. Make sure all tasks in your project management system have a deadline attached to it – even if it’s flexible.
5. Hold regular meetings to check on a project’s status
You’re busy. Your team is busy. And if we had to guess, it’s because you’re so busy that new projects often get put on the backburner when something more pressing comes along.
But for your content strategy to be effective, everyone needs to be held accountable for their tasks and projects. The best way to do this is to schedule regular meetings (at least once a week) to check in with your team on the status of open projects. You should also use this time to work through any challenges they’re facing and to make sure everyone knows exactly what they’re supposed to be working on.
6. Start small to avoid getting overwhelmed
One of the easiest ways to lose steam and get off track with your content marketing is to jump right in and start creating a bunch of new content at the same time.
Instead, make a list of everything you want to accomplish – like new blog posts, offers, social media posts, email newsletters, lead nurturing, etc. – and rank each tactic from highest to lowest priority.
As you’re ranking tactics, think about what will benefit your personas the most and provide your business with the highest ROI. Those are the tactics you’ll want to start with.
Also, don’t try to implement every new marketing trend you read about. Stay committed to your content strategy by focusing on the tactics your buyer personas are most interested and will help you achieve your goals. Once you’ve generated some great results and have a better idea of what your audience wants, you can incorporate new approaches and try out new tactics.
7. Look to outside resources when you need it
Depending on the size of your team, your background and your bandwidth, you may not be able to handle all your content creation and inbound marketing projects on your own. Working with an inbound marketing agency to plan, create and execute your marketing efforts is beneficial because it takes some of the workload off you and your team – allowing you to do more with your marketing and freeing you up to work on other important business and marketing tasks.
Staying on track and sticking to your content strategy long-term isn’t always easy. But for content marketing to pay off, you need to work at it consistently. By following the tips above and taking small steps to become more organized, you’ll find it easier to keep up with your content marketing efforts and publish new content on a regular basis.
If you haven't yet formalized your own content strategy, fear not ... our Complete B2B Content Strategy Guide provides guidance and lots of helpful tools to get you started!