|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.
Cloud computing is changing the way we look at IT costs, according to industry experts on a recent Cloud Luminary Fireside Chat panel discussion. Enterprise IT, traditionally viewed as a cost center, now plays a central role in the delivery of software-driven goods and services. Therefore, companies need to understand their cloud utilization and resulting costs in order to ensure profitability on their business offerings. Led by Bernard Golden, this fireside chat offers valuable insights on ho...
Mar. 27, 2015 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 425
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cisco, the worldwide leader in IT that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cisco makes amazing things happen by connecting the unconnected. Cisco has shaped the future of the Internet by becoming the worldwide leader in transforming how people connect, communicate and collaborat...
Mar. 27, 2015 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 5,098
OmniTI has expanded its services to help customers automate their processes to deliver high quality applications to market faster. Consistent with its focus on IT agility and quality, OmniTI operates under DevOps principles, exploring the flow of value through the IT delivery process, identifying opportunities to eliminate waste, realign misaligned incentives, and open bottlenecks. OmniTI takes a unique, value-centric approach by plotting each opportunity in an effort-payoff quadrant, then work...
Mar. 27, 2015 06:45 PM EDT Reads: 608
Modern Systems announced completion of a successful project with its new Rapid Program Modernization (eavRPMa"c) software. The eavRPMa"c technology architecturally transforms legacy applications, enabling faster feature development and reducing time-to-market for critical software updates. Working with Modern Systems, the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) leveraged eavRPMa"c to transform its Student Information System from Software AG's Natural syntax to a modern application lev...
Mar. 27, 2015 05:45 PM EDT Reads: 611
Hosted PaaS providers have given independent developers and startups huge advantages in efficiency and reduced time-to-market over their more process-bound counterparts in enterprises. Software frameworks are now available that allow enterprise IT departments to provide these same advantages for developers in their own organization. In his workshop session at DevOps Summit, Troy Topnik, ActiveState’s Technical Product Manager, will show how on-prem or cloud-hosted Private PaaS can enable organ...
Mar. 27, 2015 04:45 PM EDT Reads: 874
In today's digital world, change is the one constant. Disruptive innovations like cloud, mobility, social media, and the Internet of Things have reshaped the market and set new standards in customer expectations. To remain competitive, businesses must tap the potential of emerging technologies and markets through the rapid release of new products and services. However, the rigid and siloed structures of traditional IT platforms and processes are slowing them down – resulting in lengthy delivery ...
Mar. 27, 2015 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,605
SYS-CON Events announced today that Akana, formerly SOA Software, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Akana’s comprehensive suite of API Management, API Security, Integrated SOA Governance, and Cloud Integration solutions helps businesses accelerate digital transformation by securely extending their reach across multiple channels – mobile, cloud and Internet of Thi...
Mar. 27, 2015 03:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,378
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY., and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides private all-in-one social intranets allowing workers to securely collaborate from anywhere in the world and from any device. Social, mobile, and eas...
Mar. 27, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,940
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional S...
Mar. 27, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,662
SYS-CON Events announced today Sematext Group, Inc., a Brooklyn-based Performance Monitoring and Log Management solution provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Sematext is a globally distributed organization that builds innovative Cloud and On Premises solutions for performance monitoring, alerting and anomaly detection (SPM), log management and analytics (Logsene), search analytics (S...
Mar. 27, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,311
In the midst of the widespread popularity and adoption of cloud computing, it seems like everything is being offered “as a Service” these days: Infrastructure? Check. Platform? You bet. Software? Absolutely. Toaster? It’s only a matter of time. With service providers positioning vastly differing offerings under a generic “cloud” umbrella, it’s all too easy to get confused about what’s actually being offered. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Kevin Hazard, Director of Digital Content for SoftL...
Mar. 27, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,310
When it comes to microservices there are myths and uncertainty about the journey ahead. Deploying a “Hello World” app on Docker is a long way from making microservices work in real enterprises with large applications, complex environments and existing organizational structures. February 19, 2015 10:00am PT / 1:00pm ET → 45 Minutes Join our four experts: Special host Gene Kim, Gary Gruver, Randy Shoup and XebiaLabs’ Andrew Phillips as they explore the realities of microservices in today’s IT worl...
Mar. 27, 2015 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,714
The world's leading Cloud event, Cloud Expo has launched Microservices Journal on the SYS-CON.com portal, featuring over 19,000 original articles, news stories, features, and blog entries. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. Microservices Journal offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. Follow new article posts on T...
Mar. 27, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,314
SYS-CON Events announced today that Site24x7, the cloud infrastructure monitoring service, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Site24x7 is a cloud infrastructure monitoring service that helps monitor the uptime and performance of websites, online applications, servers, mobile websites and custom APIs. The monitoring is done from 50+ locations across the world and from various wireless carr...
Mar. 27, 2015 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,616
Even though it’s now Microservices Journal, long-time fans of SOA World Magazine can take comfort in the fact that the URL – soa.sys-con.com – remains unchanged. And that’s no mistake, as microservices are really nothing more than a new and improved take on the Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) best practices we struggled to hammer out over the last decade. Skeptics, however, might say that this change is nothing more than an exercise in buzzword-hopping. SOA is passé, and now that people are ...
Mar. 27, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,098
For those of us that have been practicing SOA for over a decade, it's surprising that there's so much interest in microservices. In fairness microservices don't look like the vendor play that was early SOA in the early noughties. But experienced SOA practitioners everywhere will be wondering if microservices is actually a good thing. You see microservices is basically an SOA pattern that inherits all the well-known SOA principles and adds characteristics that address the use of SOA for distribut...
Mar. 27, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 912
Microservice architectures are the new hotness, even though they aren't really all that different (in principle) from the paradigm described by SOA (which is dead, or not dead, depending on whom you ask). One of the things this decompositional approach to application architecture does is encourage developers and operations (some might even say DevOps) to re-evaluate scaling strategies. In particular, the notion is forwarded that an application should be built to scale and then infrastructure sho...
Mar. 27, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,313
Microservices are the result of decomposing applications. That may sound a lot like SOA, but SOA was based on an object-oriented (noun) premise; that is, services were built around an object - like a customer - with all the necessary operations (functions) that go along with it. SOA was also founded on a variety of standards (most of them coming out of OASIS) like SOAP, WSDL, XML and UDDI. Microservices have no standards (at least none deriving from a standards body or organization) and can be b...
Mar. 27, 2015 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,052
Our guest on the podcast this week is Jason Bloomberg, President at Intellyx. When we build services we want them to be lightweight, stateless and scalable while doing one thing really well. In today's cloud world, we're revisiting what to takes to make a good service in the first place. Listen in to learn why following "the book" doesn't necessarily mean that you're solving key business problems.
Mar. 27, 2015 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,133
Exelon Corporation employs technology and process improvements to optimize their IT operations, manage a merger and acquisition transition, and to bring outsourced IT operations back in-house. To learn more about how this leading energy provider in the US, with a family of companies having $23.5 billion in annual revenue, accomplishes these goals we're joined by Jason Thomas, Manager of Service, Asset and Release Management at Exelon. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal A...
Mar. 27, 2015 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 632