The consumer attention span is about the size of a gnat right now. We move on to the next thing super, super quickly. So it’s really important to be topical and relevant. At the same time, our industry has been going down this real-time marketing train. We’re all trying to be more and more real-time, which tends to be, in large measure, sort of chasing whatever is happening and trying to attach yourself to it, which might be topical but not relevant to your brand. So I think it’s the push-pull of, ‘How do I remain agile enough to be topical but at the same time staying relevant and true to what it is you’re trying to communicate and build for our brand?’
If you are involved in content marketing, you can probably relate to this challenge, as stated by Julie Fleischer, Director of Media and Consumer Engagement at Kraft Foods.
In the brief video below, Julie explains how she balances these two competing forces.
Later in the post, I’ll share the model she uses for Kraft Foods — a model that you can customize to suit your organization’s content marketing strategy. (In fact, Julie is doing so many things well that she recently received the Content Marketing Award for Content Marketer of the Year.)
The right mix of content
When Julie spoke at Content Marketing World Sydney this past year, she shared a quadrant chart to help marketers figure out how much money and time should be allocated to any given piece of content. It was such a simple, yet helpful tool that I have referred back to it many times since.
As Julie explained:
We used to want to be perfect, and then we discovered that perfect was the enemy of speed, so the question is how much money and how much time should you spend on any given piece of content, and what is the role of execution?
Looking at the chart in more detail, you’ll find that content types can be separated into four categories:
1. Perishable and produced: These are content pieces that may be pre-planned, and are meant to be dynamic. This is the content you really want to “go viral” and is worth putting a bit of money behind.
A great example of this is the marketing that companies planned around the birth of Great Britain’s Prince William and Kate’s Middleton’s baby. Organizations were able to pre-plan their messaging, so they could put some resources behind their efforts. However, most could only expect their content to have a short shelf life.
2. Produced and evergreen: This is content that is built to last a very long time and, thus, requires a greater investment to produce. For instance, Julie gave the example of Kraft creating a series of cooking videos that features celebrity chefs, which could then be reused every year as seasonal content.
3. Perishable and executional: This content is real-time and opportunistic, but may not have a lot of staying power — though it can be quite impactful at the time of its distribution. A good example of this is Oreo’s Super Bowl tweet — a real-time effort that didn’t require much in the way of advanced planning and execution, as it used Oreo’s existing distribution channels (i.e., Twitter). (Although, it is important to note that to be real-time, you need the right people and processes in place to take advantage of current events and trends.)
4. Executional and evergreen: This is content you continually create to be used in multiple ways, such as the recipes and food ideas Kraft publishes on an ongoing basis. Because of the nature of this type of content, marketers can continually test what’s working and make adjustments when needed. This is not an area where a lot of money needs to be spent, but it’s the best place to keep an eye out for future content ideas.
The right people for the right content
Taking the quadrant a step further, you can determine the resources that will be most effective for each kind of content. According to Julie:
In a lot of cases, a lot of people own content marketing. So I looked also at this framework and who the different owners might be within the framework. The world that you live in might look a bit different.
While this is simply an example, here are some ideas to consider when building your content marketing plan:
- Produced content: In many cases, your produced content — regardless if it is created to be short-lived or long-lasting — is something you may want to outsource to your agency or another skilled professional.
- Perishable, executional content: The quick-hitting, real-time content may be best served by assigning its creation to your social media person/agency, as they are already tracking trends and have the mechanisms in place to act quickly when opportunity strikes.
- Evergreen, executional content: While you can certainly outsource this type of content, it may be best to create it in-house, as it is generally easy to produce and the lessons you can learn from the process can help inform future efforts.
In short, when creating and/or assigning the content that will fit in your content marketing plan, first ask these types of questions:
- Will it be relevant only for a specific moment or period of time, or is it evergreen?
- Is it content that can be revised or repurposed year after year?
- Is it something that can be produced simply, or will it require higher production values to achieve the quality you intend?
Your answers may likely reveal the best ways to assign, create, and execute on your plan.
What do you think? Is this a useful matrix? Are there other ways you organize your content mix?
Julie Fleischer received the Content Marketer of the Year award at Content Marketing World 2013. If you were unable to attend the show, access to a wide range of presentations is still available through our Video on Demand portal.