How a lot did you spend on content material final yr? How a lot must you spend on content material this yr?
You can’t know.
Outside of essentially the most summary of estimates, you’ll be able to’t know the solutions to each questions.
As I’ve shared, “content” is a large phrase. I describe it because the working system of a enterprise and the water you swim in. It’s the whole lot that encompasses communication.
So when somebody asks you, “How much did we spend on content,” they’re actually asking, “How much money did we spend communicating?” You can argue the reply is “everything in the company’s total budget.”
Now, I get it. That clarification of communication bills is clearly hyperbole. My level is that this: You can’t ever know the way a lot your organization spent on the whole lot of “content.” Further, you haven’t any approach to predict how a lot you’ll ever spend as a result of the reply is all the time “more.”
Knowing the reply to the whole content material expense query isn’t something aside from trivial. Ironically, that very conundrum makes a content material technique necessary to your corporation.
Defining your content material technique
I labored with a world know-how firm final month. During the stakeholder interviews with each practitioners and senior management, we talked by means of their views on how content material might be extra strategic within the enterprise.
The head of selling had a frequent remark and query: “I don’t think our business has a good handle on what we mean by content. For some, it means every headline, email, and social post. For others, it only means the long-form white papers, brochures, e-books, and videos we do … How is it even possible to get our arms around all of that?”
You gained’t. You can’t. And you don’t must.
Let me borrow from writer and Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter who says in enterprise, “the essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” The essence of any nice content material technique is selecting what NOT to handle and measure.
The essence of a great #ContentStrategy is choosing what NOT to manage and measure, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet
Given the scope of content material within the enterprise, it’s inevitable that you’ll make tradeoffs. Otherwise, you wouldn’t want a technique since you might do the whole lot.
An amazing content material technique creates a clear hyperlink between the actions folks take primarily based on a enterprise’ well-defined set of content material and the monetary outcomes of these actions. It is just a selection.
Making the selection yours
My first and most necessary message for the top of selling was that they have to outline “content.” That definition helps body the mandatory actions to place a technique round it. Then and solely then are you able to make selections about additional actions or new areas of content material to construct into your technique.
This train helps you outline the content material and informs what you’re not going to deal with within the preliminary technique.
Step 1: Define content material varieties
We labored with one firm that saved $500,000 a yr by having a frequent definition of an e-book. Previously, one world area outlined an e-book as a 50-page, designed thought management piece produced as a PDF. Another area used that definition for a analysis report. A product group budgeted for an e-book as an interactive HTML-driven digital expertise, however different teams known as that a microsite. Still, one other outlined an e-book as a three-page article with an infographic. Others known as that a market outlook. Those wide-ranging definitions meant they required a wide-ranging quantity of labor. You can see e-book improvement would result in dramatic price range variations throughout areas and teams.
A company saved $500,000 a year by having a common definition of an e-book, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet
Take the time to outline your content material varieties and codecs. What is a white paper? What is an e-book? What is a weblog put up vs. an article? What is a marketing campaign vs. an initiative vs. a theme? Whether you might be a advertising and marketing division of 1 who studies to the CEO or have 85 folks in a world, cross-functional group of groups, you have to guarantee everyone throughout advertising and marketing and communications makes use of a frequent definition for every content material sort.
Step 2: Identify content material functions
You can’t put a technique round a content material format, so this step focuses in your content material’s goal. I name it the content material class stack.
I strongly encourage you to see these as “content classes” primarily based on enterprise functions (e.g., thought management vs. promoting) slightly than content material codecs (e.g., textual content vs. video). Sort them by precedence – content material that modifications typically and/or has a excessive degree of velocity behind it ought to be on the high. The purpose is to create readability in your main content material lessons, not establish each single factor created.
Common definitions of #content formats and classes are necessary to build a successful #ContentStrategy, says @Robert_Rose. Click To Tweet
Though your content material stack will probably be distinctive, this visualized generic instance could assist in understanding. It begins on the backside with a content material class of information after which strikes as much as application-level content material (account info, inner directions, and many others.), adopted by client-customer-level content material (shopper providers, coaching, emails, invoices, onboarding). Then it strikes to product-level content material, gross sales content material, and customary advertising and marketing content material (campaigns, internet copy, occasions). Premium content material advertising and marketing (displays, weblog posts, infographics, white papers, and many others.), PR/comms content material (press releases, information analyst relations), and social content material spherical out the content material lessons.
Working from the content material class precedence checklist, you’ll be able to start to outline the scope of the primary iteration of the content material technique, the second section, and so forth.
Where do you begin
The tech firm’s head of selling had yet one more query: “What is the best practice for where to start?”
I replied, “Yes.”
In different phrases, make a aware selection about what’s most necessary to your model, not which or what number of content material lessons to deal with first.
Only after you have got settlement and a business-level resolution on what you might be and are usually not going to place a technique round are you able to plot the obligations for creation, administration, movement, and measurement.
With all that in place, subsequent yr, while you hear, “How much did we spend on content last year?” You can have a higher and extra helpful reply as a result of everyone is aware of the alternatives that have been made.
It’s your story. Tell it properly.
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Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute