Document Your Content Marketing Strategy: Here’s How

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, we talked to Nicole Bump with Bump Inbound about how to document your content marketing strategy.

We learned:

• What the most critical parts of a content marketing plan are

• What most companies get wrong about their plan

• Tips on how to keep your plan current in an ever changing marketing world

Yeah, welcome back to BB growth. My name is James Carberry and I'm joined today by dan Sanchez and Nicole bump. Uh Nicole is the founder of bump inbound and she is a content enthusiast and we're gonna be talking to Nicole today about documenting your content strategy. We're going to get into what actually should be documented. We're going to talk about some of the mistakes that a lot of companies make as it relates to documenting their content strategy and Nicole to dive in. Why is content strategy and making sure it's documented something that you are so passionate about. So I started off, well, thank you first of all, thanks for having me on the show. I appreciate it. When I started off my business, I was mostly just doing content writing and that's all well and good when you get a really good brief from a client and they know exactly what they want, but a lot of people don't have a clear idea of what they want, they say, well I know I need to cover off on this topic. Here's a general idea of who I want to reach. Can you go write something for me and you know, sure I can do that, but it is maybe going to hit the mark. It's maybe not. We might need to go through a ton of rounds of revisions because we just don't have those inputs there. So if you've got the foundational inputs ready up front to inform your marketing, then all of your content, your calendar and then all of your subsequent content. Pieces can just flow so much easily and then, you know that they're much more likely to help you hit off on your goals as well. That makes a lot of sense. So Nicole what being in the business of content, you're probably working with a variety of different customers clients. What are some of the biggest mistakes that you see companies making as it relates to documenting their content strategy? Well, I'd say a lot of the biggest mistake is that a lot of people just aren't doing it at all. I mean, I think most of us know that we should, I mean Content Marketing Institute puts out that to be research report every year, right? That shows how important it is and how much more successful you are if you've got one. But people just still don't do it. And I, you know, I've got a few thoughts on why. I mean there's no one right way to do a content strategy. So I think that people can't get paralyzed with just not knowing how to do it and what should be in there. And then it can also be a little bit, it can be a little bit time intensive if you're going to put a lot of work into it. So that's why I think people just aren't doing it period. But then some of the other mistakes, I notice one of them being just not enough insight on the audience. It's not the same as an ideal customer profile, right? Like you might know, okay, I'm targeting manufacturers and this size and I want to hit the VP of marketing or, you know, whatever your your audiences, but you need more than that in your audience for content strategy, you really need to have some actionable insights that tell you what they want to hear about as it relates to what you're offering and thats a big area that I see people coming up short right now. How do you go about? Is it just a matter of as a marketer getting on the phone and talking to customers to extract that? Yeah, I would say that if you don't already have some good personas with actionable information from your wider marketing efforts, that that is the best way to go about doing it. Just get on the phone with a few of your prospects, or your customers sales can sometimes be a little protective of them, but, you know, bring them in the loop if you have to uh and if you absolutely can't get on the phone with someone for some reason, just find another way to really try to see the world through their eyes a little better. So, it was david ogilvy that provided some really great advice about, like, read the stuff they're reading. Uh check out their trade publications, check out the forums and groups that they're in online. I mean, I get a lot of information for my own stuff from being in the D GMG group, date their hearts group. Those are all people that could be clients of mine, it's some stage of the game. So I love just listening to their conversations, you...

...know, so um just you need to figure out how to better understand their day to day and what they're going through and their challenges as it relates to what you offer. That makes a lot of sense. So my last question for you, Nicole, before I handed over to dan is around the specifics of what actually needs you alluded to a couple of things, but what actually needs to be included in that documented content strategy. Yeah, so I can hit off on this at a really high level and then if anybody wants to dive into something specific, got some tips and things written down. So the first thing really is that the why, why are you creating content in the first place? And that should definitely ladder up to what you're trying to accomplish and marketing and ultimately in your business at large, um to help you meet business objectives, if you don't know why you're creating content, you probably shouldn't be doing it audience insights. I already mentioned a little bit about this and it's arguably the most important part is having those actionable audience nuggets um, from there. I also like to figure out what some of the key word opportunities are. So most people when they're doing content do have some sort of organic goals associated with it. If you don't, if you're really just using it for, you know, sales enablement or something like that, then maybe this doesn't belong there for you. But I find that most people would, would like to see where they can optimize for search. And then another thing actually that I see people confused about a little bit is your content mission statement. So really, what is your unique value? So outside of your products and services, what do you want to offer to people through your content? That's different than what they can get somewhere else? It's really important to define who you want to be in that way through your content. Um and then you can use that mission statement to really um run everything by. So you have a question. Well, should I be doing X? Well, does it fit with your mission statement? Okay. You're just about to share some of them from Andy. But I was going to ask Nicole, do you have any examples of brands that have really nailed it with that mission statement? That's a good question. I don't um I don't have anything off the top of my head about someone that's nailed it, but I was going to share an example of one that I'm working on right now for a client. They're in the quality quality management space, they have a SAS solution and right now they're, they're blog just says, you know, like news and perspective on quality, you know, like that, that's not really a mission. So what I'm, what I'm helping or suggesting that they move to is something more along the lines of, you know, we are where you can wear quality champions can come to learn how to transform their quality organization from a cost center to a profit center. So that's something they're really passionate about and their whole product helps people do that. But now they can also teach people about that through their content. And as, as a reader or somebody that shows up on their site, I know exactly what I'm getting in, the value that I'm going to get from it while I'm there. So the content mission is really about defining who you're creating content for what they're going to get from it and why that is a benefit for them. And that helps you align all your marketing around that. What so beyond beyond the content mission, what comes next and that documented content strategy? Yeah. So once you have those things like your goals, your audience insights, you've got some keyword opportunities, You have your content mission, it starts to look really a lot more clear what you should be producing for your content. So this is where you start actually outlining at a high level what you want to produce, like what sort of content initiatives, what sort of content types, maybe some pillar topics are going to help you start to serve that audience in those ways to help you reach your goals. And then the final piece, arguably the final pieces how you going to distribute it. Right? So a lot of people forget this part to instill this mentality. If you build it, they will come and that's just not usually the case with content, unless you've got a...

...giant audience already waiting, most of us don't. Uh so you really do need to figure out how you're going to get it out there, whether that's through some owned channels, possibly with some paid distribution as well. So I guess one thing I attack on that I'm still trying to work through and it's really just very different with everybody that was governance as well. Um it's kind of a big, you know, annoying kind of a word, but you just think about like what, what resources and processes do you need to actually execute on this stuff. There was a good conversation, I think it was in the D GMG group the other day about I really am having trouble. I want to do this podcast, but I really need my subject matter experts and they're too busy and I can't get them and work with me. Well, if your subject matter experts are not bought in, they don't have time to work with you, then you need to find another way to do it or find another approach right? You need to have the right resources on board or you're never going to be able to execute on your strategy. Fantastic point. I would also argue that I was not a subject matter expert at all in the area of B two B marketing. When we first started GDP Growth, I just started interviewing B two B marketing practitioners who also happened to be our buyers and I just started asking them questions out of curiosity. And I remember talking to Anthony Canada, he was the CMO of gain site at the time and I had no idea what he was talking about when he kept talking about building a category. It just went completely over my head but was fortunately able to win it and kind of curiously asked question enough questions to be able to move the interview along. But to that point I I think so many people get and B two B marketing isn't necessarily a technical skill so there might be instances where it's much harder than the road that I had that I had to pave whenever I was first starting to be to be growth. But that's a that's a great point. Nicole dan, what are your thoughts around what Nicole just shared? I just want to start off with the fact that I used to be like long ago, the person that's not plans were stupid because nobody read them and things change too fast. And then I started running into problems, right? There's problems when you don't have a plan, when you actually don't document things and write them down usually because you're winging it, you don't even know what the document which leads to less predictability in your outcomes and generally you're operating under massive assumptions that everybody even understands where you're trying to get to in the long term, both your employees and your senior leaders and your peers, Like nobody really even knows exactly what the end goal looks like. So I become a big fan of planning from business plans to marketing plans shoot a week ago, we did like a whole episode on just podcast marketing plans. So I'm a huge fan of this Nicole and some of the things you brought up already. I'm like I don't have that part of my content plants. I kind of just pull it all out from my marketing plan. I don't have them necessarily. I have an S. E. O. Plan and a podcast plan, but I don't have a holistic content marketing plan that kind of ties everything together. And so I have a few pieces missing. So it's been insightful. It helps. It's hard. They're hard. They're I think people don't think to write them because they don't think about the benefits of them. Um so they're undersold. They just seemed like busy work that nobody reads and I have had enough of the pain yet. I don't know. But I found it to be massively helpful, especially when you can remove yourself from a situation, because you can just refer to the plan all the time. Yeah. You know, it's something to that. It don't just create it and let it sit there, right? Like revisit this, at least I would say a recorder. So the way I like to recommend people use these as you create your content strategy. And then once this is done, it flows so easily into your editorial plan, which I realize some people think of these things interchangeably and they're really not right? So, the way I consider an editorial plan is the what you're going to produce and win. So you you may have defined your pillar content and your strategy, your pillar topics now. What are you gonna create...

...around each of those pillars? You know what you're working title? What's your primary keyword? What's your, you know, persona you're hitting? When are you going to publish it? So that's your editorial calendar and it flows so much more easily if you've got the foundational elements in peace before it, right, you're always trying to come up with ideas and whatnot for what to write. But if you've got the content strategy be done, it's easier. And then, so if you use that strategy to create your calendar, probably are living in your calendar pretty often updating at least, you know, monthly, every quarter. Go back to your strategy and look at this and say, OK, what has worked? What hasn't worked? What metrics do we maybe need to adjust? What, what do we need to adjust a little bit as we move forward into the next quarter and adjust our next calendar? Or create our next calendar as a marketer, you're probably brainstorming outside the box ideas to engage your prospects and customers working remotely. And you've probably thought about sending them direct mail to break through the zoom fatigue. But how do you ship personalized gifts to remote decision makers When you have no idea where they're sitting at B two B growth, we use the craft and platform to send hyper personalized gifts to anyone. Working from anywhere. Crafting makes it easy for your prospects and customers to pick and personalize their own gift in real time and offers highly secured data capture. So decision makers feel comfortable submitting their home addresses for shipping purposes to get your own personalized craft and gift. Go to craft um dot io slash growth to schedule a demo and receive a complimentary personalized gift from craft um to claim your personalized gift, go to craft um dot io slash growth. Absolutely. I kind of think of it as like a playbook or even the whole marketing department is like an engine, right? An engine. An engine needs to be consistent so that you can have consistent growth, right? If you don't have it documented. So that is performing in the same way every time. And how do you know how to tweak things in order to make, bring consistent growth and the documents? One part of that that piece question I have for you is um how do you, when it comes to dealing with the document? How do you deal with? Like I find that I'm constantly bombarded with like just new ideas deviations from the plan and just opportunities mostly. How do you account for that in your marketing plan? That's a good question. Well, I'm not always included on the execution of these plants, but I guess what I would recommend in this case is that you check your idea or your opportunity against that content mission, Right? Like does it have the opportunity to help us be more of what we said, we'd be for our audiences. If not, then maybe you scratch it. If it does, then I guess you're gonna have to look at your your priorities. Do you have the budget and the resources human and otherwise to execute on something in addition to what's already planned? If you do great, I mean give it go and just make sure you measure it and see how it goes. But if you don't, then you're going to have to prioritize it over something else. So that's I guess where all the metrics come in, right? You can say, okay, well this isn't working that well, maybe we could pause it for a couple months and try something new when you're first building plans. Do you often build in like how to balance the objectives? I find that sometimes I'm trying to achieve too much with a single piece of content. So how do you go about documented in such a way that you have objectives assigned to the types of content that you're producing, interesting? Um, so the way I typically think about it is that you want to make sure that you're covering off on these primary pain points of your audience, right? At least as you can serve them and then think about it in the lens of the buyer's journey as well. Right, So no one piece of content is typically going to achieve your goals. I mean, it could help you get there if you're looking for conversions. A really great piece of content might get you a bunch...

...of conversions, but it's not your content program, right? Um, if you want to eventually that will run out of legs and you'll need something else. So I think about um okay, what are, what are people going to need from, from each stage of? I've never heard of you before, I don't even know what the challenges that you're saying I'm having too. Okay, I am kind of familiar that I might need something. What what kind of options are there out there to, you know, the buyer's journey? And if you can create content at each stage of that journey and then create clear paths through it. Right? So it's easy for people to find logical next content, then it all works together as a whole program rather than just overly relying on one piece. Is that the question? I think so. I have a follow up question is do you, I'm almost wondering, do you create a document that essentially informs the direction of the content? Or do you create a planning document of like these are the gaps essentially that we have. Like, you might look at if you're going to craft it to the journey, you might say like, oh, here's, here's the gaps we have in top of the funnel, middle of the funnel and bottom of the funnel, even just based on the five most asked questions at each part of the funnel, and we don't have a piece of content that addresses each one of those questions. And then do you, and then go create backfill it? Or do you just kind of create the strategic document that kind of gives the general overall direction that we're going? Yeah, I think it's a combination of both. So if you start with the overall strategic direction, then you can look at, you know, Yes, you maybe have gaps in the buyer's journey, but what are your goals first? So if you're really struggling with getting people to enter your journey, then it doesn't really make sense to start on your mid to lower funnel Nicole. I want to go back to the mission that you mentioned earlier. It's something that I've been thinking a lot about just with me to be growth. We started the show with our premise being that we talked to B two B marketing practitioners, not authors and consultants and thought leaders and people that have great content, but are there not necessarily in the house B two B marketers? And so that was our, that was our premise. We're starting to shift or this this year with Dan at the helm of GDP growth, we've started to shift that a little bit to say every other month, we're now doing a deep dive on a specific B2B marketing discipline. So last month we did account based marketing next month, we're doing demand shin, but it still feels like where that's uh to me seems like a solid premise. I don't feel like we necessarily have articulated a compelling mission for me to be growth that can get people excited at a deeper level beyond just like that, you know who we're talking to or the types of content we're sharing if you were on our team and helping us think through like what a compelling mission could be. Like how would you try to guide the conversation well? So I don't, I know a ton about your your efforts, but from what I do know, I see the value as this is where people were we to be, marketers come to learn almost best practices from their peers, which isn't necessarily something you just articulated, but it's it's what I find interesting about this show, right? Like you might not be a huge thought leader in the space, but you still have learned some cool stuff that other people might like to try out, and that's where I find value and listening to these sorts of interviews. So I guess I go back and ask you like, really, who do you want to be? Who do you want, what you want this podcast to be for your audience? Really, what is the unique value that you're providing that they can't go get somewhere else? Yeah, I think for me, I keep spinning...

...around, I've been jamming with dan on this, um I keep spinning around this idea that we don't use the word friendship in business enough. And we we've started DeBose actually on on the call, we just hired Debo on monday to start leading mastermind groups for in house B two B marketers and so far they've gone, they've gone really well, we just kicked off our fourth group And so B2B growth as a content engine and what we're doing on clubhouse, what we're doing on the podcast and how we re purpose that content on linkedin. I think that that allows us to maybe like top of funnel, I guess, to build what I think is the more compelling reason to be connected to BB growth, which is the friendships that come deeper in the funnel. Like I don't, I almost want to think about it like a relationship funnel, like the content hearing from your peers is how you get exposure to them and then the deeper you get into the community, you can actually start building friendships, but it feels a little messy and it doesn't feel like I love that. I mean, you're not hearing anybody say come make some marketing friends, especially, especially right now where so many of us are disconnected from everybody else. I mean, and you know me, I'm always remote, but I can't even go to a coffee shop anymore. Right? So being able to connect and make some friendships if you're actually providing that, That's amazing. Yeah. And I was it's funny you said come make some marketing friends because I was literally thinking about calling. Like, and I don't know how to do that. You know from a branding perspective, I really like what we've done with BB growth in the brand that we've built with GDP Growth. But I was thinking some sort of subset called marketing friends. Whether that's like that's what we call our our mastermind groups or you know, I don't know how to work it in. But so hearing you say come make some marketing friends. My God, well there's your there's your new tagline for I love that. Yeah, I mean so maybe your value really is the connection part of the equation and I think it makes a lot of sense because the whole premise behind our business model is using podcasting to build genuine relationships with your ideal buyers and with other people in your industry by inviting them to be a guest on your show that kicks off the relationship. And and so I I just I see a lot of alignment there, but I'd be curious dance since you're I mean we've been jamming on this like what are your thoughts on it? It gets harder and harder the closer I get to it, right? But generally it's been hard because BTB growth is actually trying to achieve so many objectives with one podcast where a daily show we're producing a mountain of content, so trying to organize it in such a way to like align the mission has been has been a challenge, we at least have some things going for us and that we're very crystal clear on who our audience is, like the kinds of insights we try to get out of our show for that audience, so it's not like we're it's totally murky, like we have some insights into what we're doing, but it's a challenge and how many things we're trying to achieve with a building relationships and producing good content and establishing some thought leadership and trying to create pillar content that can be trickled out across other social media channels, in building relationships, you know, those are kind of like the three main things, but so I would say maybe there's one overarching mission that's a little more general around you know, peer to peer connections something or other, but then each of your major initiatives could have its own sort of like mini mission of what you're trying to accomplish as it ladders up to the other broader mission like that. All right, so just a reminder for those in the audience, if anybody is new, we are talking to Nicole bump, she's the founder of bump inbound and we are chatting about content strategy. If anybody in the audience has any questions, feel free to raise your hand will bring up on stage, maybe it's a question, maybe it's a comment or you just want to tell Nicole kind of what your content mission is or a story about how you've documented your content strategy, feel free to raise...

...your hand and we'll bring you up dan any any other questions. And we've got we've got five more minutes with Nicole before we need to close it down when it comes to planning content, How many like categories of like objectives are usually looking at with the company, so many companies just kind of spewing all these ideas. How do you, do you have like a taxonomy or kind of like a list that usually go off of when trying to create? Don't know strategic objectives for the content plan. Good question. So I am working on one now, we're basically I asked them their top priorities and they gave me a different objective for like every stage of the funnel and it's one content person on their team to they have a larger marketing team but this person has to be in charge of all of it. And so what I suggested to him was that we try to whittle it down to what are your top few priorities? You know, let's start there with what, where are you struggling with most in your funnel is a good place to look when you're trying to figure out what to do first. And so what are your top priorities? And then, I mean we can we can bring more priorities in as we evolve the content strategy and revisit it. Um but let's start there. Um I also encourage people to focus on primary audiences as well, so you might have some secondary audiences that you want to bring in. But if there's a primary decision maker, like let's make sure that they are front and center and their needs are front and center in the content strategy as well. Fantastic for people listening right now. What would you recommend if they were gonna like? It's one of those things where you probably can knock out the whole thing today. So like what one thing can they do today to get the thing moving? And then in a month and then over the course of the year, what should they expect to have with a content marketing plan? That's a good question. Um I would say one thing you can do really easily is um get a report of your search visibility online and some in some S. E. O recommendations. So I just recently came across a company called inbound back office that can run these reports for you. Like within a few days, it's not expensive, it's like $100 or something and you will get an overview of how your ranking. Now, the areas where your ranking but not well. And so if you did a little improvement, you could be ranking much better. And then they'll do a quick gaffe analysis against some of your competitors to see where you have some opportunities there. So that's a quick way to say, okay, here's 5, 10 pieces of content I can create and optimize well and start doing better. That's one thing you can do is go to visit inbound back office dot com. Yes, I believe it like a certain service they need to sign up for or is it like a software? No, it's actually a service, but you, you have to do like a little onboarding meeting and tell them what you're looking for and then they just connect you and They charge you monthly. It's all hourly, but there's no minimums. So if you do your to our search visibility report, you get charged for two hours and it's like $100. So that's an easy one for today. What can people expect to do in a month in a month? I would suggest that you start getting some interviews lined up with some customers. So it might take a couple weeks to get someone on the phone. So start start now reaching out, figure out, you know, maybe ask your sales team, your customer service team, whoever it might be to connect you with some people that might be willing to chat and get some of those interviews on the calendar and 30, 60 minutes just interview them all about all about their challenges around your product, how they're using it, what they're using before or currently. If they don't have your product yet, start getting some customer insights. Fantastic. And then I assume over the course of the year, they could probably unpack the full thing that we've been talking about. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. You don't need a year to do a content strategy. I think that nobody would ever do it if you did. But yeah, just gradually start working through the rest of it. And I am going to be trying to put out some materials that document...

...all this stuff a little more completely, maybe a quarter. You should put out like a, a form that with questions. People can just fill in the questions and then bam it spits out the I'm building broadcasting. So I know it's possible like that would be, well, I might need to become marketing friends with you and I'm awesome nickel for those of us that are in the club house call right now, but also for the folks listening on the podcast when this goes live in a week or so what's the best way that, that our, our audience and our listeners can stay connected with you? I would say, come connect on linkedin. I always like to connect there. That's probably the best way to get in touch. Wonderful. Alright, Nicola, thank you so much for your time. Thank you to everyone here. That's, that's joined us live for joining us and we'll be back again tomorrow at 12 Eastern for the marketing at noon room here on clubhouse. If you're not already following dan and myself at Sanchez and James Carberry, you can also follow the GDP Growth club and then make sure to follow at Nicole bump as well. She is obviously in clubhouse because she's joining us today, so make sure to follow her as well. Thank you so much for listening. And uh, we will talk to you soon. Mm is the decision maker for your product or service. Abebe marketer, Are you looking to reach those buyers through the medium of podcasting? Considered becoming a co host of GDP growth. This show is consistently ranked as a top 100 podcast in the marketing category of apple podcasts, and the show gets more than 130,000 downloads each month. We've already done the work of building the audience so you can focus on delivering incredible content to our listeners if you're interested, email Logan at Sweet Fish Media dot com.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (1774)