|By Mike Sweeney||
|April 4, 2014 08:52 AM EDT||
“Can’t we just plan as we go?”
“Why do we need a plan? I can give you some ideas right now.”
“Is a plan really going to help?”
No. Whatever. Yes. In that order.
I hear a lot of objections to doing content marketing planning the right way, and these represent a few of the most common.
The fear of planning, or what I call planophobia, is fairly common. It’s closely linked with commitmentphobia, or the fear of losing options.
For a moment, though, forget about why certain people or organizations are scared of making concrete plans, and let’s focus on what’s likely to happen in the absence of a content marketing plan.
Your editorial calendar will fall apart within 30 days
Sure, everyone is ALL fired up when you begin this content marketing “thing.” Your marketing manager is going to write, your customer service person is going to write … heck, even your controller has volunteered to write (she’ll need an editor or two, just a heads up).
You may even sit in a room and come up with dozens of topics to write about. You’ll fill up multiple whiteboards, you’ll take photos of those whiteboards, and people might even submit a few pieces in the first few weeks.
And then … poof! The content disappearing act begins. The thrill wears off, you feel like you’re out of new content ideas, and you have an empty calendar and no concept of where to turn.
Instead: Be systematic. Try to build all those topics around ideas, themes, and messages. Then, fill every space on that whiteboard and load everything into a calendar. And don’t just include the topic and the author but also things like when the first draft is due, and when you’ll actually publish and promote.
You won’t find the “big idea”
In every content marketing plan, we land on one or two big ideas — things that offer enough promise that they might serve as the focal point of large chunks of your content marketing program. That big idea may be a campaign structure, or a new type of content, or a unique way of presenting a certain set of key messages.
I’ve never seen those big ideas fall into place using an on-the-fly content marketing planning approach. Here’s why: when you dedicate the time to content marketing planning, that’s all you do. You actually have the time to think. You’re not worried about cranking out the next bylined article, or conceptualizing the eBook that needs to get published in three weeks. Even if you land on a big idea when the content marketing train is already in motion, it’s very difficult to make it your focal point when there’s a bunch of material already in produce-publish-and-market mode.
Instead: Don’t settle for a generic content marketing plan. If you don’t walk out of the planning process with a few big ideas, your team is not thinking hard enough. Given that just about every market is becoming saturated with content, you’re going to need some big ideas — and the remarkable content to match — in order to achieve greatness.
Your subject matter experts and internal writers will lose interest
Let’s face it. We all attend too many meetings. Sit in enough meetings in a given day, and unless you’re leading each one, you’re bound to lose interest in a few. Your mind wanders thinking about the Sam Adams you’re going to drink at 6 p.m. or the CrossFit workout you’re going to end your day with.
Some of those Boston lager drinkers or exercise enthusiasts are your subject matter experts or internal writers. They have a lot of stuff to do outside of your fancy content marketing initiative; all they need is a reason to ignore something, and your lack of a plan may be that perfect reason.
Instead: Show them a plan, complete with goals and objectives that address the organization’s bottom line, and put their names next to some specific deliverables. Tell them about how many times their original thinking will be shared with others. Help them add authored content to their social media profiles so they recognize both a personal and corporate impact.
Your internal stakeholders (or investors) will stop buying in
In order to get your content marketing initiative off the ground, you’re going to need a bunch of people to buy in – everyone from your marketing staff to your subject matter experts to your “investors,” the folks who support and approve your budget.
In the absence of immediate results or proof of major progress — and this is often the case with content marketing initiatives — your stakeholders will get a little antsy. They’ll grill you on what you’re doing after two to three months, they’ll grill you on metrics that are meaningless to the program, they’ll grill you on why you’re occupying so many resources.
Instead: Let them grill you during the planning process and explain to them how progress will be measured and how long it takes. Then, make sure the plan includes regular check-ins with stakeholders to brief them on progress. If those check-ins are built into the plan, you’ll know they’re coming, and you’ll make sure you are fully prepared, right?
You’ll lose the opportunity to educate your team on content marketing’s myriad benefits
My own research tells me that the average businessperson, even the really bright ones, has no idea what content marketing is. Going through the planning process gives you the perfect excuse to include a heavy dose of education as part of the process. An educated stakeholder will always be a better stakeholder.
Instead: Include education in every facet of the planning process. Make it part of initial discovery, make it part of brainstorming ideas, and make it part of presenting the final plan. Remember, for some people, it may be three months between their participation in an initial meeting and the final presentation, and they’re likely not thinking about content marketing during that time. Give them a refresher course.
Still think you can bypass the planning?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 84 percent of marketers who say they are ineffective at content marketing say they have no documented strategy. That doesn’t bode well for those of you who have chosen to let your planophobia win out.
Keep in mind that plans come in all shapes and sizes. Some organizations need giant, well-documented, 75-page plans. Other organizations can get away with addressing some basic research, goals and objectives, and ideas, messages and themes.
In the absence of a plan, though, you better create some kind of a strategy for what you’re going to do when these problems actually start wreaking havoc with your content marketing initiative.
If you need some help figuring out how to get your content marketing planning process off the ground, get in touch.
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Sep. 27, 2016 06:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,581
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Sep. 27, 2016 05:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,145
SYS-CON Events announced today that Roundee / LinearHub will exhibit at the WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LinearHub provides Roundee Service, a smart platform for enterprise video conferencing with enhanced features such as automatic recording and transcription service. Slack users can integrate Roundee to their team via Slack’s App Directory, and '/roundee' command lets your video conference ...
Sep. 27, 2016 05:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,443
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
Sep. 27, 2016 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,569
Digital transformation is too big and important for our future success to not understand the rules that apply to it. The first three rules for winning in this age of hyper-digital transformation are: Advantages in speed, analytics and operational tempos must be captured by implementing an optimized information logistics system (OILS) Real-time operational tempos (IT, people and business processes) must be achieved Businesses that can "analyze data and act and with speed" will dominate those t...
Sep. 27, 2016 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,138
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, will compare the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, e...
Sep. 27, 2016 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,964
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
Sep. 27, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,073
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Sep. 27, 2016 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,771
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
Sep. 27, 2016 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,802
SYS-CON Events announced today that ReadyTalk, a leading provider of online conferencing and webinar services, has been named Vendor Presentation Sponsor at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ReadyTalk delivers audio and web conferencing services that inspire collaboration and enable the Future of Work for today’s increasingly digital and mobile workforce. By combining intuitive, innovative tec...
Sep. 27, 2016 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,937
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
Sep. 27, 2016 02:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,048
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Sep. 27, 2016 02:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,603
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
Sep. 27, 2016 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,733
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
Sep. 27, 2016 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,728
I'm a lonely sensor. I spend all day telling the world how I'm feeling, but none of the other sensors seem to care. I want to be connected. I want to build relationships with other sensors to be more useful for my human. I want my human to understand that when my friends next door are too hot for a while, I'll soon be flaming. And when all my friends go outside without me, I may be left behind. Don't just log my data; use the relationship graph. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Boyd, Engi...
Sep. 27, 2016 01:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,296
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
Sep. 27, 2016 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,856
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...
Sep. 27, 2016 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,004
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
Sep. 27, 2016 12:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,638
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
Sep. 27, 2016 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,055
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...
Sep. 27, 2016 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,543