Is the content you’re creating for a B2B audience relevant, original and informative? Do you think it is less self-serving and more useful? If not, there’s no point producing and planning content that doesn’t deliver value for your audience or you. You might be needlessly wasting your time and resources.
Even though there’s more need to produce it than ever before it can get overwhelming thinking about content when it’s just a part of what you do. Don’t make it hard on yourself. If you can, create from scratch and if you can’t, take what you have already and work it. That means stretching existing pieces to get more value from them. Get good at growing core topics into sub topics and deep diving to extend them further. Are you truly making the most of the existing content you own?
Before you start creating content
Before creating any content, define your editorial mission. When you produce content you’re effectively a media company of sorts. And as a media company it’s good practice to have a defined editorial mission to guide your effort. You’re responsible for what you produce and have a commitment to deliver to your audience according to your editorial mission. It serves you and it serves them so there’s no reason to avoid creating one.
Any creative project whether it’s words, video or a design piece requires a solid brief to set the direction and make very clear what’s required in order to achieve the expected outcome. Without the brief your project can go wobbly in the process and you won’t have the ability to rain it in, or it might waste a lot of your time going down the wrong track. Is that a good use of your time?
What should you cover in your editorial mission?
These are the questions you need to answer in your editorial mission:
- What’s your objective? Why are you producing the content? Be very clear. Ask why until you can’t ask why anymore.
- What’s the main point you want to make? Make sure you know what it is overall and what it is for each piece of content you create.
- Who specifically do you want to read, hear or see it? Be clear and tailor that content to them only. Keep your audience top of mind and imagine them in front of you.
- What formats do you want your content appear in/or as? For example, blog post, article in newsletter, a video, webinar, an event, social media, etc……
- Can the content extend into a variety of other formats? That is, can it stretch across a variety of mediums? Make it work hard to make your effort worthwhile.
- How will you share it? Think about your internal and external channels (social media, newsletters, events, etc…) and use all of them that are relevant.
- Is this a one hit wonder or can you commit to a plan to regularly produce content? Decide on a timetable and stick to it. Your audience loves consistency. You’ll get better at it the more regular you are too.
- How are you going to measure the result? Work out what you’re expecting and track your content against this. Your measurement needs to relate to your objective otherwise it doesn’t count. Don’t measure statistics that have no relevance or you’ll be distracted and potentially disenchanted.
The best way to start is to choose three main topic areas that you want to be known for and then drill down into them to come up with 6–7 satellite topics that relate to your main piece. The logic is that you should only need to create three hero pieces (don’t quote me on the exact number as I believe it can vary depending on the complexity of your business) and then create 6–7 related ideas based on the same core topics. The related ideas are otherwise known as micro content and designed to point back to your main hero content. You can then spend more time circulating quality hero pieces using your satellite topics to help you. For example, if your hero piece is ‘How to create more leads’, your satellite topics might be related to lead funnels, lead capture, marketing automation, Google advertising, etc… It’s important that the satellite topic relates to the hero piece otherwise people will click through to your article and find it isn’t what they expected. And if this content is on your website, it will make your bounce rate increase because you failed to provide what your audience expected.
You can also pair micro content with visuals and then add the link to your hero content. The role of the micro content is to create interest and stimulate curiosity in your main piece.
Does your content have stretch?
Once you’re clear on your core topic areas it’s best to check how stretch worthy the topics are. Do the stretch test to find out. Ask these questions to check their elasticity:
- Does the topic have arms and legs, as in other related tangents, I can explore? Use a mind map to test how the topic can extend.
- Does the topic have sufficient complexity to allow me to go deeper into the area and provide more value to my audience?
- Does this topic have a use by date? Or will it be relevant beyond today?
- Do I envisage updates or new developments in the topic area that will require me to revisit and update the material?
- How does the topic benefit my clients? Can you break this down into parts?
- Can I involve professionals from a variety of practice areas or business units to make the topic richer?
The deeper you can explore your topic the greater you can leverage your material and make your effort last longer. Make it your intent to deliver your audience your best information and thinking. Provide them with the best value you can. Have the topics address their problem areas.
Remember if you’re stretched, it’s best to make a few topics work long and deep, rather than feature many topics that run shallow and have little relevance after their first outing. If you can create evergreen content then it will work even better for you. So create content that doesn’t have a use by date, isn’t specific to a certain period in time, and it can live on long.
The value of content today
In an interview, Evan Greene, CMO, The Recording Academy/Grammys “ I think content is so important in making sure that you have a dynamic mix across the board, from editorial to video to having the right voice, tone, and spirit to your posts, to what photos you distribute and share.” And he thought it was important to “engage with our audience across platforms rather than trying to force fans all to go to a single destination” and thought the aim is to “make content discoverable and shareable in a really easy and streamlined fashion”. Good advice.
Ted Rubin, Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker, Brand Evangelist and Acting CMO of Brand Innovators , said “content drives engagement, engagement drives advocacy, and advocacy correlates directly to increased sales”. After all, it pays to remember that content is a vehicle to get the cash register to sing at the right time.