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What It Takes to Effectively Manage Content Marketing for Your Business

As we take a collective breath before we head to Cleveland to experience how content, marketing strategy, Rock & Roll, and more orange than we ever knew existed can be mixed together, Joe Pulizzi and I wanted to offer up a little surprise.

Before I get to the surprise, let’s talk a little about how we can make content marketing real in our organizations.

At this point, you’re no doubt convinced of the “why” of content marketing; it’s now a question of “how”: How do we make it a reality in our organization? We know that the ideas in content marketing aren’t new — we’ve all been doing it for years, in varying ways. But really, there’s been no standardized way to create repeatable, manageable, and measurable processes to manage content marketing.

As we’ve worked with some of the biggest brands in the world on creating content marketing strategies, we’ve see some of the same things coming up again and again, including certain challenges, tools, solutions, and processes that just simply work. And, they are reflected in the themes that we see repeated throughout the amazing content from CMI contributors. The big issues to address all seem to boil down to a great Top-10 list…

10. How do we build the business case?

Remember: A business case is not ROI; ROI is a goal that the business case addresses. Sometimes, before we can build a business case in our organization, we have to build a case for innovation itself, to prepare for this new way of thinking. As I mentioned, content marketing itself isn’t new; but implementing it as a regular practice in a company very often is an unfamiliar prospect that requires some guidance. You can find some of that guidance in Tom Pisello’s article, Is Your Content Marketing Relevant to Buyers, or Arnie Kuenn’s Developing Your Content Marketing Mindset.

9. Who are our buyer personas?

We need a process for identifying our buyers — the people who will be passionate subscribers to our brand — and mapping them to a content marketing strategy that will support our business case. I recommend Barbara Gago’s 4 Questions about Buyer Personas to get you started on this task.

8. What are our pillars of content?

What’s our story really about? Whether it’s one blog, a small white paper program, or a holistically integrated strategy, we have to tell a complete story. I discuss how to do this in my recent piece on What Content Marketing Is Really About.

7. What channels do we use?

Should we use print? Do we have a social media strategy? How do we create a channel strategy that makes sense and can be repeated? If you are looking for answers to these questions, take a look at Joe Chernov’s excellent post on how Content Marketing Is a Force Multiplier.

6. What workflow should we use, and how do I set up an editorial calendar?

How do we align content on all the available channels into a calendar and other process tools? Take a look at Kathy Hanbury’s wonderful post on creating a Content Marketing Toolkit or Michele Linn’s post on How to Put Together an Editorial Calendar for some ideas.

5. What tools do we need?

Of course, a great process is facilitated and made easier with the tools we use. From content management to lead generation to social media, choosing the right tool can mean the difference between struggle and success. My post on How to Choose a CMS for Content Marketing offers just one example of this.

4. How do we get our choir to sing?

It’s a safe bet that any given organization might not necessarily be filled with skilled writers and other content producers. We need to align our best content resources so we know when and where we might need to outsource. A number of CMI contributors tackled this issue in the great roundup post, How to Hire the Right Consultant.

3. What is the best way to listen?

Of course, one of the biggest changes in our strategies is that it’s not just content we’re publishing — it’s conversation. And, as part of any good conversation, we need to listen first — to both the conversations we’re generating and those happening outside of our organizations. Joe Pulizzi’s post on setting up and managing Listening Posts provides an excellent discussion on how to make this happen.

2. How do we measure success?

Perhaps the most popular topic in content marketing is how to effectively create a measurement process that can justify the time and effort it takes. Tom Pisello’s post on How to Calculate the ROI of Social Media Marketing has some great measurement tips that can help.

1. How do we put it all together?

Here’s where I get to the surprise that Joe and I have for ya’ll:

We are very proud to announce that we’ve spent the last six months taking all of the experience we have gained over the last few years of working with REAL clients with REAL content marketing challenges and have distilled it into what we think can be your owner’s manual for content marketing.

Our new book, Managing Content Marketing – The Real-World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand, is designed to tell marketers exactly how to put content marketing to work with a structured, repeatable process. In fact, it covers the processes of the Top-10 list that you just read.

As Jeffrey Hayzlett, the former CMO of Kodak and author of the bestselling book, The Mirror Test: Is Your Business Really Breathing, said in his very kind forward:

What gets me fired up about this book is that these guys have it so right. Their book provides the vital steps required to navigate this new path called content marketing.

You can certainly learn more about the book here. But we’re very proud to announce that, due to the herculean efforts of Newt Barrett and the editing team at CMI Books, we will have a limited supply of preview copies for sale at Content Marketing World, and online sales will follow very shortly in mid-September.

At Content Marketing World, we’ll have four full days of talking content marketing. We’ll learn so much about how the power of story can work for our business. The process is new. We need to be okay with that. The budget allotted for new content creation is going to become a significant part of our “new media” budget. And subject matter experts in our organizations are going to have new responsibilities. It’s a transformative new process, and it won’t happen overnight. But it can, and should, happen.

Get Content Get Customers, showed us the light, but there’s been no book to show us the way.

Until now.

See you in Cleveland.