Effectively "in-sourcing" and managing content marketing at your organization is a great way to utilize existing resources, but it's not always the easiest. If you're thinking of implementing a content marketing process for your business, here are a few things to consider and some tips to ensure your success and sanity from the start.
Coordinate with department leaders and establish an "editorial board"
Let's start out by getting the people who are already generating content on board. This includes marketing, PR, advertising, social media, and community management, of course. But think beyond those traditional areas as well, to technical writers, contributing bloggers, executives, and others in the organization who have already established a voice. Getting an appointed spokesperson from each group gives you a basic editorial board that you can call on when needed.
A few tips:
- Set expectations with the group about what the person is agreeing to be responsible for or to contribute and how frequently. People perform better when they know what they're accountable for.
- Develop a shared editorial content calendar so people don't post content at the same time on the same channels. This prevents "feast and famine" problems where tons of content is released at once followed by a lapse of new material for a long time.
- Reiterate who owns each channel and be sure to coordinate with their existing business goals and releases. This includes your website, blog, social media campaigns, advertising and promotions, etc.
- It generally helps to create an email alias for this group and use it solely for content marketing purposes. You should be able to sort conversations with this group quickly and follow threads back to origination.
Know your organization's existing SEO plans
Knowing what topics your company already conducts SEO for is a smart move. Equally as important is letting your SEO team know if you're going to go on a content generation binge around a topic. The team members will probably have insight into how your content is performing, or if they aren't already tracking the topic you're generating content around, they might want to start tracking it now. Keeping them in the loop and then working together to track progress will mean better content generation strategies moving forward and the ability to show others in the organization how your efforts have contributed.
A few tips:
- Knowing what topics and keywords you're currently optimizing for does not mean those words should be scattered throughout each post mandatorily. Use those words as a guideline and suggestion set, not a "must have" list.
- Know and adhere to company and department content guidelines. If your company doesn't have content guidelines, consider bringing that up at your first editorial board meeting.
- You might have to start out as a pilot program to get buy-in from your executive team. Don't worry: Working with your analytics and SEO team to prove that content marketing moves the needle will often get you all the support you need.
Measure everything -- often
Because we're talking about using organic content to drive traffic to your site(s), you'll probably need more than one way to measure efficacy. Make sure you're set up to track not only on-site traffic changes and conversions, but also social media involvement, blog interactions, new conversations, and community building.
A few tips:
- Absolutely everything is measurable.
- Work with your existing departmental resources. Chances are if someone is using a channel for your business, they're responsible for measuring it and have something in place.
- Find a way to aggregate your results on a regular basis. Tracking changes weekly will give you time to course-correct if needed or maximize on content that's performing well.
These tips should provide a good starting point for content marketing in your organization. Keep in mind that any new process takes time to get established and become routine. Setting aside some time to establish the right ground rules and measurements initially will save you time and struggles down the road.
Erin Robbins O'Brien is the head of strategy for GinzaMetrics.
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