|By Mike Sweeney||
|January 10, 2013 04:48 PM EST||
Putting together a content marketing plan is no walk in the park. While there is no such thing as a standard content marketing plan, our particular process typically involves hours of discovery and research, a 40 – 70 page written document, a 20 – 30 slide presentation, and then delivery and discussion. This is a 20 – 30 day process for most.
So what should you do if you are forced to simplify and expedite that planning process to meet some type of deadline? Or what if you are experiencing planner’s block, or having trouble getting started with your content marketing planning process?
First, be very afraid. Done right, content marketing planning should not be condensed.
Now, take a deep breath and start addressing the following topics.
Answer the 12 questions that should guide your content marketing plan.
These 12 questions will warm up your planning brain. Some of these should be very easy to answer, providing some layups to get your confidence up.
For instance, don’t overthink a question like “What’s the goal?” Start simple with something like “Increase lead generation using content marketing.” That goal is certainly not specific enough for the final plan, but you can come back to it and refine it later. Remember, we’re just getting things down on paper now to help you overcome planner’s block.
Put together your core business themes.
What are some of the things you want your audiences to think about your company and its products and/or services?
A simple example: We want our audiences to think that we employ the most talented people in the data and analytics space.
Start with 3-5 themes, and move on.
Build out your content pecking order.
There are hundreds of types of content to consider, but since we’re simplifying and expediting, take a look at the Content Marketing Playbook. Decide which forms of content are relevant to you, and then rank them in order of priority.
One tip: Consider splitting up your priority list into anchor content (very important, but more difficult to produce) and supporting content (also very important, but less difficult to produce). Most companies need a mix in order to truly succeed with content marketing.
Create a quick editorial calendar schedule.
Editorial calendars can be scary. Necessary, but scary.
To alleviate that initial fear, swap out “calendar” for “schedule” and make a list that looks something like this:
- Blog posts – 1x/week
- Case studies – 1x/quarter
- eNewsletters – 1x/quarter
- White papers – 1x/year
That list will provide a nice starting point – you can come back and turn it into a full-blown calendar later.
Determine who your primary and secondary writers are.
Your primary writers are the ones you can count for frequent, solid content. Your secondary writers are the ones you can count on for infrequent, solid content.
Be brutally honest with yourself here. You don’t have to configure your content marketing dream team just yet, but you need to know who you can count on to help.
Decide which keywords you’d like to own.
One benefit of content marketing is its ability to make a significant impact on search engine optimization (SEO). Based on the list of themes you made above, use a keyword research tool like Google AdWords to research and compile a list of keywords you’d like to own. These may be product or service-oriented keywords, category-oriented keywords, or theme-oriented keywords.
With 78% of B2B buyers starting their buying process with a web search, you will want to make sure your content is optimized to rank on these target keywords.
Come up with a simple tracking system.
Alert! This is a topic that lends itself to overthinking.
Remember, we’re simplifying and expediting. Don’t start building out complex reporting structures for your content, or licensing tools that you may never use.
Decide how you want to measure the success of a blog post against another blog post, a webinar against another webinar, or a white paper against another white paper.
If you’re not sure what you should be tracking in the first place, check out the Field Guide to the Four Types of Content Marketing Metrics.
Brainstorm a master list of topics.
This should be the fun part. You have your themes and your target keywords. Now sit down and start creating the list of potential topics to cover. You’re still in the “no bad idea” stage, so make the list exhaustive and whittle it down later.
A few ideas on getting started:
- Spend some time reading material from companies and individuals you admire – this always inspires content ideas.
- Ask salespeople what their top 10 prospect questions/issues are (and how they respond to those questions/issues); those questions and answers make for excellent content.
- Ask your customer service people what their top 10 customer questions/issues are (and how they respond to those questions/issues); those questions and answers make for excellent content.
Consider this merely a starting point.
These eight steps will get you through planner’s block, and may help you build a quick and simple plan, but they should not be viewed as a replacement for a full-blown content marketing plan. A complete content marketing plan involves exhaustive coverage of planning, creation, optimization, distribution, social media, reporting/analysis and more.
For more on this topic from Right Source and other industry experts, download our free content marketing eBook: How to Grow Your Business with Content Marketing.
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Nov. 29, 2015 09:45 AM EST Reads: 448
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Nov. 29, 2015 09:15 AM EST Reads: 340
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Nov. 29, 2015 08:45 AM EST Reads: 211
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
Nov. 29, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 265
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Nov. 29, 2015 07:00 AM EST Reads: 493
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Nov. 29, 2015 06:45 AM EST Reads: 739
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Nov. 29, 2015 06:00 AM EST Reads: 552
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Nov. 29, 2015 06:00 AM EST Reads: 373
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
Nov. 29, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 459
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Nov. 29, 2015 04:30 AM EST Reads: 483
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at Built.io, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Nov. 29, 2015 04:00 AM EST Reads: 376
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
Nov. 29, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 595
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Nov. 29, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 338
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
Nov. 29, 2015 02:45 AM EST Reads: 423
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Nov. 29, 2015 01:00 AM EST Reads: 436
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
Nov. 28, 2015 08:00 PM EST Reads: 435
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Nov. 28, 2015 01:00 PM EST Reads: 480
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Nov. 28, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 343
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound cha...
Nov. 28, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 556
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
Nov. 28, 2015 11:45 AM EST Reads: 410