What’s your purpose?
That’s a big question to consider. A business’s success, and the content it builds out, is dependent on the answer to that question. Anvil Media’s President and Founder, Kent Lewis, hosted a workshop for his team to nail down their purpose, which renewed their drive for and understanding of their daily contribution. Kent used what he and his team learned from the productive workshop to share his insights with a group in our digital marketing community.
An Effective Content Strategy Depends Upon a Clear Understanding of a Company’s PVMV
One commonality among this group was clarity on the owner’s company purpose, vision, mission, and core values (PVMV), perhaps informed by multiple EO workshops over the years. Regardless, I figured this was a great place to start. Your company’s PVMV should be more than words…[it should be the] framework and guideline for inspiring concepts and informing content voice, format and frequency.
For example, Anvil’s Purpose is “Creating meaningful impact for our clients, community and ourselves through creative problem-solving, making and leveraging connections and education.” As a result, we focus our content around educating and informing not just our clients and prospects on digital marketing, but the greater business community. We leverage our network to share our message with those that may be impacted by our insights.
At Anvil, we also reference our Vision: “To earn a reputation as the most innovative, creative and effective digital marketing consultancy on the planet to motivate our team to read, learn and share on a regular basis.”
Our Mission: “Amplifying You” also informs our content strategy, as we focus on creating and sharing content that centers more on content amplification than content creation, since most of our clients have design, copywriting and development resources in-house.
Lastly, our three Core Values: Commitment, Passion and Growth-Mindedness help us hire and support a self-motivated team of content creators.
Developing a Content Strategy Should Be Purpose-Driven
With a purpose-driven content framework in place, the next step is developing a formal content marketing plan. While the framework is helpful in terms of inspiring the team and providing guidelines, a more detailed action plan will be necessary for your content strategy to take wing. The first and, arguably, most important step in the content strategy planning process is to set objectives that support both the business and marketing initiatives. Most plans have a one to two-year lifespan, as businesses tend to evolve quickly in the digital age.
Regardless of your objectives, it’s important to set goals with supporting metrics. Define what success looks like with content that generates awareness, interest and sales and make sure to break down the supporting strategies and tactics into smaller, actionable goals with owners and timelines.
One of the greatest challenges I’ve experienced consistently over the years as an agency marketer, is helping clients determine what content should be created. I heartily recommend sourcing content ideas, creative, and messaging from the experts: your best customers and prospects. Understand what your prospects want and need from you and use those insights to bridge the gap between internal and external constituents. Another excellent resource that can inform your content strategy is your competitors and industry publications.
Mapping-Out your Content Strategy
After triangulating content topics, the next step is to map the intersection of company goals with prospective customer wants and needs. The best content immediately resonates with prospects, allowing you to infuse your desired message or action into the narrative.
With content mapped out to your target customers, the next step is to identify existing content and assets that can be utilized immediately. It is also important to identify gaps in content and determine the necessary resources to create the desired content. The gaps may be filled by existing employees, strategic partners, vendors, and even software platforms.
Before ramping up content production, a process should first be established. Your team should agree on workflow, from initial creation and proofing to optimization and distribution. The remaining, but very important, final step is to measure, learn and refine future content. All aspects of content should be thoroughly and consistently tested: format, frequency, length, creative, messaging, calls-to-action, and distribution channels.
A successful content strategy is rooted in a company’s purpose and mapped back to business and marketing objectives. Inspiring the entire team provides an opportunity to create the most authentic and intelligent content possible, at the lowest cost. Informing your content strategy with industry, competitive, and keyword insights further maximize potential reach, engagement, and overall return-on-investment. Make sure your content marketing is purpose-driven in 2020 and beyond.
Lewis has a wealth of knowledge on content strategy and team management. We pared down his insights. To read more of what he had to say on the subject of content strategy, view the full article here. As Kent says, “take your own team through a similar exercise: sit in a room for a few hours to ensure everyone has clarity on your company’s PVMV and start brainstorming content that is relevant, consistent and compelling.”