The 3-Step Checklist to Plan the Ultimate Content Strategy

6 minute read

Upland Admin

Marketers, pat yourself on the back. Since just last year, tagging content based on personas has increased over 100%!

As marketers, a data point like this certainly catches your attention—but let’s not stop there. Why is tagging becoming more popular? Furthermore, how is it changing the way marketers are thinking about their content strategy?

Here’s the simple answer: tagging content allows for better strategic understanding. Each piece of content can immediately be identified as appropriate for a specific context: the exact persona its meant for, at a specific buying stage, in the right language, etc.

And that’s great, don’t get me wrong. But if you’re just tagging content and not using those tags to develop a marketing strategy that’s informed by the content you already have, you’re letting all that tagging time go to waste.

Recommended for you: Editable Marketing Templates for Strategic Planning

At Kapost, we use matrix boards and timelines that lay out key information about content in terms of strategic context, schedule, and alignment to core objectives.

Full transparency: because we’re able to use our own tool, the Kapost platform, these boards are dynamic and automatically populated, meaning they’re always up-to-date and relevant. They’re so powerful for our marketing team that we wanted to share exactly how to build your own matrices and timelines, whether or not you’re using Kapost.

Let’s look at how to best inform your strategy with these boards to complete the ultimate content strategy checklist: 1) prepare, 2) execute, and 3) monitor all things content in your organization.

Step 1: Prepare and Visualize Your Marketing Strategy

**Disclaimer: this checklist assumes your organization has solid buyer personas, a taxonomy of tagging, and strategically planned content organized around specific campaigns or initiatives. If your organization lacks in any of these key areas, start here. Otherwise, let’s jump into how to build your strategy!

First off, identify where your previous strategies have left gaps. The best way to do this is to break down your campaigns by goal. Here’s what it looks like in Kapost:

One caveat to the above is that this board is not one-size-fits-all. I’ve broken it down based on how it makes sense for Kapost, but your organization isn’t the same! (Unless you’re a Kaposter checking out our company’s cool blog, in which case, oh hi).

Customizing this matrix is as simple as identifying what’s important to your business. Here, I’ve broken down the initiatives by type, but that’s not necessarily what your strategy needs. If your organization offers multiple products, break the columns down by product, or if you’re divided into regions, by region. You get the idea.

Once you can see how your campaigns fit into the specific strategic contexts most valuable to your business, there are a couple of different insights you can make.

The most obvious is where you need to fill holes, of course. If your newest product lacks content targeted for a particular segment, guess where your next campaign should go!

But beyond seeing the areas that lack coverage is evaluating what campaigns have been most effective and why. For example, if your top campaign is for Product A targeted for Persona C, how can you take those findings and repurpose the campaign to appeal to Persona E?

These findings often get lost in large organizations with multiple teams running exponentially more campaigns, leading to valuable information slipping through the cracks.

Step 2: Mapping the Execution of the Strategy

Once you have an idea of what strategic contexts need to be addressed, it’s time to allocate time and resources. There are two primary timeline views you’ll want to make:

  1. Executive view: Within this view, group campaigns and initiatives by the responsible teams across your quarter
  2. Channel view: For the channel view, instead of separating marketing efforts by campaigns, break it down by the channel (web, email, social, events, etc.)

Check it out in Kapost:

One notable aspect is the status update—it’s a super simple way to see the progress of any given campaign.

This view is an excellent way to determine how to allocate resources on your team, of course. But a slightly less obvious use is to guide the customer journey from a timeline perspective.

Let me explain. No matter your ideal customer profile, all have one thing in common: their attention is a finite resource for you to purchase with valuable, engaging content.

If you’re creating twice the amount of content that they have time to engage with, is that a productive use of your team’s resources? Your organization will have to decide the line of what exactly is too much content, and to do that, creating a balanced and achievable calendar is necessary.

While we’re talking about customer attention as a finite resource, let’s explore how this timeline view can help you maximize that attention. See the flags? Those are key events—product launches, trade shows, conventions, etc. Having these events visible in the context of all campaigns running allows you to coordinate when customer attention will peak and how to best support those moments.

This is also useful in a channel timeline so you can address the appropriate channels for each key event. Check out Kapost’s channel timelines:

With timelines, balance is key. For not only your internal team but also your customer, consistency in the amount of content created contributes to a much smoother customer experience. Of course, it makes sense that there will be an ebb and flow, particularly around B2B budget season when businesses are more likely to be looking for your organization’s service or solution, but don’t bite off more than your customer can chew.

Step 3: Staying on Track for Success

Of course, the perfect marketing plan doesn’t mean much if team members aren’t held accountable for their roles. And as any marketer will tell you, it truly takes a village to keep content relevant and aligned at scale.

To keep everyone coordinated, you’ll want to build a board that tracks the progress of your marketing strategy as a whole. That means breaking down initiatives by team (or owner, depending on the size of your organization) and content by owner. Maintaining a bird’s eye view of the overall progress of your campaigns and, more granularly, each piece of content, allows you to address roadblocks before they become issues.

Check out how Kapost does it:

Apart from campaign management, these views give insight into what projects are ahead of time. This helps with resourcing and allocating project managers not only to the projects that best suit them for maximum efficiency but also when reassigning particularly effective workers to unplanned projects that come up.

Key Takeaways

Planning a strategy means nothing if you can’t make sure it stays on track. With these boards in mind, you’ll be able to maintain a solid strategy, which is the key to comparing marketing efforts year-over-year. So set yourself up for success not only in 2018 but each year after that.

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