Don’t Create ‘Black Cat’ Content Without Doing This 1 Thing First

(*1*)Updated Oct. 24, 2022

You’ve nailed your voice and tone. The most popular codecs and channels are documented. The content material concepts are confirmed. It’s all on a calendar so everybody can see the place your content material advertising and marketing goes within the subsequent quarter and even yr.

You assume you’re all set, however you’ll be unsuitable. All these particulars are nice, however they’re a part of an editorial plan, not a content material technique. That important lacking part is the muse on which to construct your editorial plan.

Without a content material technique, your content material plans don’t have any definitive strategic goal inside your group.

What is content material technique?

Here’s how I outline content material technique:

Content technique helps organizations present the proper content material, to the proper folks, on the proper occasions, for the proper causes.

When one in every of these strategic elements is lacking, the editorial plan doubtless received’t get you the wanted outcomes. Examples:

  • Not the proper content material. Content that isn’t proper (not helpful or irrelevant) to your audience received’t get learn – not to mention acted on – by these folks.
  • Not the proper folks. Without a outlined and prioritized viewers, the proper folks aren’t prone to see it since you don’t know who they’re or the place to seek out them. (Hint: The normal public is nobody’s viewers.)
  • Not the proper occasions. Without understanding your audiences’ questions or duties, you don’t know after they want your content material.
  • Not the proper causes. Failing to articulate measurable enterprise objectives as causes for producing or sharing content material doubtless wastes your finances (Hint: Engagement alone isn’t any purpose to provide content material; it’s hardly ever outlined properly sufficient to tie to significant enterprise objectives.)

At Brain Traffic, we take into account these 4 points of a content material technique, as proven within the picture beneath:

4 elements of your #ContentStrategy: substance, structure, workflow, governance, says @meghscase via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

  • Substance: What is the content material about?
  • Structure: How is the content material organized and displayed?
  • Workflow: What folks and processes are wanted to help content material creation and administration?
  • Governance: Who will determine what content material to maintain and for the way lengthy?

All 4 points of this framework are anchored in a core content material technique assertion – a press release that helps your content material crew decide the place to focus its efforts. A core content material technique assertion solutions these questions:

  • What is the group’s mission?
  • Who is the audience?
  • What are the enterprise objectives?
  • What are the content material goals?

You don’t want a core content material technique assertion to give you good content material concepts, but it surely certain helps. (Do you want for an instance of a core content material technique assertion proper about now? Patience. I’ve my causes for holding again. I’ll get there.)

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Black cat: An search engine marketing story

A yr in the past, I interviewed a consumer stakeholder throughout a undertaking’s discovery part. His crew was answerable for search engine marketing, together with creating content material to drive search visitors to the corporate’s web site. The retail enterprise bought pet meals, amongst different issues. I requested a query about search engine marketing. This (paraphrased) dialog ensued:

Client: Our search engine marketing advisor recommends that we publish content material in October to attempt to rank for the time period ‘black cat’ as a result of it’s one thing folks Google so much earlier than Halloween.

Me: When these folks get to your web page, what’s your name to motion?

Client: Buy our cat meals.

Me: Can you set some spin on black-cat folklore that will inspire these folks to purchase cat meals?

Client: No.

Me: So …

Client: We simply need them to purchase our cat meals.

Me: People who seek for “black cat” at Halloween most likely don’t care about cat meals.

Client: I suppose not.

Henry Ford as soon as stated, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.” Sadly, that search engine marketing advisor wasn’t pondering. They most likely wasted hundreds of the pet meals firm’s {dollars}. That “black cat” search engine marketing technique might need quickly boosted search rankings, but it surely most likely didn’t enhance cat-food gross sales or trigger black-cat searchers to purchase the corporate’s cat meals sooner or later.

If a core content material technique assertion had guided the search engine marketing effort, the pet meals firm may have created significant content material that was extra prone to enhance its search rankings and assist promote extra cat meals.

A core #ContentStrategy statement helps you create meaningful, effective content, says @meghscase via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet


Put technique earlier than techniques

A content material technique, typically, and a core content material technique assertion particularly assist organizations say no to content material concepts that fail to serve the viewers or the enterprise.

Let’s stroll by way of an instance that places technique earlier than techniques and creates a core content material technique assertion.

I’ll use Origin Meals, a meal service I exploit, because the model. It sells fresh-cooked meals based mostly on the paleo weight loss plan. Since I don’t have a core content material technique assertion to information content material concepts and refinement, I’ll bump alongside one query at a time.

Here’s the duty:

  • Generate content material concepts based mostly on the Origin Meals mission.
  • Narrow the checklist based mostly on the audience.
  • Further slim the checklist based mostly on the enterprise objectives.
  • Refine the checklist based mostly on the content material goals.
  • This course of can assist you admire the worth of a core content material technique assertion (and the assertion instance once I lastly get to it.)


    1. Generate content material concepts based mostly on the group’s mission

    The Origin Meals mission: “We believe a healthy diet should be full of real food, packed with nutrients, and free of potentially irritating ingredients that don’t serve the functions of your body (in short, a paleo diet).”

    Knowing solely what it sells and its mission, I brainstormed content material concepts to drive consciousness and promote its merchandise. This picture reveals the ensuing checklist. Among the concepts: consuming paleo and understanding, profiles of people that met well being objectives consuming paleo, an inventory of paleo-friendly eating places, ideas for going paleo, easy-to-make paleo menus, feeding your loved ones paleo-style, advantages of consuming paleo, paleo recipes and procuring lists, methods to show dishes you already make into paleo-compliant meals. It additionally particulars two visitor running a blog companions – CrossFit gyms and other people new to consuming paleo.

    It’s a pleasant little checklist of cool stuff that could possibly be performed. Not all these concepts will attraction to the audience, so now I would like to think about that viewers.

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    2. Narrow the checklist based mostly on the audience

    I do know the folks on this audience are:

    • Single
    • Busy
    • Believe within the paleo philosophy
    • Eat paleo after they have time to prepare dinner and prep meals
    • Work out commonly at a CrossFit or small, locally-owned fitness center

    What does that viewers understanding do to our checklist of concepts? It eliminates the objects that can have little attraction for this viewers. These of us aren’t searching for tips about going paleo, info on feeding a household paleo-style, advantages of consuming paleo, or different info for folks new to consuming paleo.

    This audience will care about these crossed-off subjects about as a lot as folks looking Google for “black cat” at Halloween to care about cat meals.

    Armed with solely these content material concepts with essentially the most potential attraction for the audience, it’s time to think about enterprise goals.

    Narrow your #content ideas to ones relevant to your target audience, says @meghscase via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

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    3. Further slim the checklist based mostly on the enterprise objectives

    Next, let’s think about some enterprise objectives on which Origin Meals may focus:

    • Increase first-time orders from partner-gym members
    • Increase recurring orders from partner-gym members

    Since securing new orders are the model’s goal for the content material, the thought checklist dwindles additional, eradicating an inventory of paleo-friendly eating places, easy-to-make paleo menus, paleo recipes, and procuring lists.

    Now the content material concepts have narrowed to these with essentially the most potential attraction for the first audience that help enterprise objectives. I’m able to layer on content material goals.


    4. Refine the checklist based mostly on the content material goals

    What would you like the content material asset to perform? In the Origin Meals state of affairs, listed below are a few doable content material goals:

    • Demonstrate how Origin Meals helps athletes eat to carry out
    • Help athletes select the meal choices that finest match their lives

    With this extra info, the content material concepts are refined to those three:

    • Choosing a paleo plan that matches your exercises
    • Profiles of people that met their health objectives consuming Origin Meals
    • Guest blogger collection partnership with CrossFit gyms about consuming to carry out

    Bummer, you may assume. All that effort and solely three concepts to indicate for it. In truth, the three strategically sound concepts will beat a slew of concepts that fail to attach along with your audience, enterprise objectives, and content material goals.

    Still, it did take a whole lot of work to reach at these three concepts. Fortunately, you may minimize down that concept refinement time by making a core content material technique assertion.

    Shortcut to refining content material concepts

    Having a core content material technique assertion from the beginning might need helped the preliminary concept checklist look extra like the ultimate concept checklist. That’s as a result of a core content material technique assertion solutions these 4 questions:

    • What is the group’s mission?
    • Who is the audience?
    • What are the enterprise objectives?
    • What are the content material goals?

    In the Origin Meals instance, the solutions may appear like this:

    • Mission: to advertise the paleo life-style
    • Target viewers: busy, single paleo-minded athletes
    • Business objectives: to extend new and recurring orders
    • Content goals: to inspire folks to eat paleo and present them how this manner of consuming suits into their existence

    So for Origin Meals, what would a core content material technique assertion appear like? Here, lastly, is the instance you’ve been ready for:

    At Origin Meals, we assist enhance new and recurring orders by creating, distributing, and managing motivating content material that reveals busy, single, paleo-minded athletes how Origin Meals suits into their existence.

    Try it for your self. Brainstorm some content material concepts based mostly on this core content material technique assertion.

    When you begin with a core content material technique assertion like this, your content material concepts usually tend to:

    • Make strategic sense for the corporate
    • Make higher use of the corporate’s money and time
    • Provide info the audience can use
    • Positively affect consumer acquisition and retention (make more cash)
    • Give content material producers higher course after they’re creating content material


    Of course, the process-of-elimination brainstorming train helps you give you good content material concepts that help a company’s mission assertion, enterprise objectives, audience, and content material goals.

    However, I discover distilling these elementary bits of knowledge right into a memorable core content material technique assertion helps in a few methods:

  • Stakeholders can function on the identical web page
  • Content creators have a simple approach to bear in mind what sort of content material they wish to create and why
  • For extra instruments that will help you develop a core technique assertion and use it to make content material choices, see Keep Your Content On-Strategy With This Single Statement [Templates].


    Do one or the opposite

    Next time you’re brainstorming content material concepts, stroll by way of the four-step course of outlined right here to reach at centered concepts. Or take a stab at making a core technique assertion to information your brainstorming. Either manner, put technique earlier than techniques. You’ll get higher outcomes for the enterprise – and to your viewers.

    I’d love to listen to the way you brainstorm your content material concepts. Please share within the feedback.

    Want extra content material advertising and marketing ideas, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

    Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute