Are you a content marketer struggling to strike a balance between quality and consistency? Despite outlining a concrete content marketing strategy, is it becoming difficult to maintain coordination between various members of your content team? Or maybe you want to effectively monitor your content marketing strategy and determine whether you’ve successfully achieved your goals?
Here’s the thing – developing a strategy in your head can only take you so far. It works when you’re starting out as a content creator and want to garner traction. However, if you’re with a team, you need to put that strategy on paper and let others have access to it. This also helps you achieve specific goals such as lead generation, increased sales, etc.
In other words, you need a content marketing playbook. In this blog, we’ll discuss how you can create a content marketing playbook as a key part of your Inbound Marketing strategy.
The Importance of Content Marketing in 2021
If you’re familiar with content marketing, you already know about some of its impeccable benefits. It’s a great way to strengthen your online reputation, build brand awareness, and establish your authority. It boosts audience engagement and helps your website gain more visibility on search engines. When executed correctly, a content marketing campaign helps generate and nurture leads and convert them into paying customers.
41% of B2B marketers use a content marketing strategy. Moreover, 69% of the most successful B2B marketers have a documented content strategy. Therefore, if you want your content marketing efforts to yield the desired results, it’s crucial to outline a solid strategy.
Image via Content Marketing Institute
Moreover, the rise of smartphones and tablets has made it easier for consumers to access a wide variety of content. According to a study by HubSpot, 44% of the respondents access websites and online content using mobile devices. This further emphasizes the need for brands and website owners to focus on content marketing.
Image via HubSpot
Understanding Content Marketing Playbook
A content marketing playbook is a quick-reference guide that helps execute your marketing strategy perform more effectively. The term is derived from the traditional playbook used in sports to outline a team’s strategies and moves. It comprises various chapters describing different steps, from goal setting and keyword research to content creation and monitoring. Think of it as a document that anyone from your content team can pick up to understand the campaign.
Image via Find A Way Media
The most obvious benefit of a content marketing playbook is that it steers your efforts in the right direction. It lets you plan and develop high-quality content before a deadline approaches. Moreover, you can create and publish the right type of content that will grab eyeballs and help you achieve your marketing objectives. It also lets you identify the right distribution channels to maximize traction.
The biggest advantage, however, is that a marketing playbook facilitates teamwork. It helps assign specific responsibilities to every team member and ensures they work in tandem. Moreover, the playbook makes it easier to onboard new team members. It also helps you monitor your content, measure its ROI, and tweak your strategy further to improve its efficiency.
Creating Your Content Marketing Playbook
The simplest way of developing your playbook is to divide your content cycle into various stages, namely:
- Research – Set your goals and identify your audience
- Creation – Select your focus keywords and identify the most popular and relevant content formats
- Distribution – Outline an editorial calendar and identify the most effective distribution channels
- Tracking – Monitor your content and measure its ROI
Each stage involves a series of comprehensive steps. It’s also worth mentioning that there isn’t a universal formula to create a content marketing playbook. It depends on the needs of your team. However, here are a few things that you should include in the playbook:
It could be a simple spreadsheet containing links to all the content you’ve created. It helps your team members understand what assets are readily available. This, in turn, prevents them from losing time trying to recreate assets that already exist. All they have to do is search the spreadsheet and include relevant links in their blog posts, videos, social media posts, etc.
Goals, KPIs & Target Audience
Your marketing objectives dictate the type of content you’ll create and the distribution channels you’ll use. Typically, you can list goals such as:
- Increase audience engagement
- Generate leads
- Drive conversions
- Boost organic website traffic
Next, you have to assign measurable KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to each goal. It’ll help you monitor your strategy and measure ROI. Lastly, you must have a deep understanding of your target audience including their hopes, aspirations, spending habits, online behavior, struggles, and pain points.
Keywords form the foundation of your content strategy. Identify the most relevant and popular keywords in your niche. Understand your audience’s psyche and identify the terms and phrases they’ll likely use when searching for your product/service. You can also use various tools such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs, etc. to get more keywords ideas and validate the selected keywords.
Content Creation Pipeline
The next step is to select the topics and subjects that you’ll be working on. It’s recommended that you identify various pillar topics and assign subtopics under each. It’s also essential to select the right formats that’ll immediately grab eyeballs.
Think of it as a visual workflow outlining your overarching content strategy. It defines the themes, topics, formats, etc. you’ll work on. It also outlines a long-term publishing schedule and identifies the distribution channels you’ll be using to promote your content.
Make a list of all the metrics that must be tracked to measure your ROI. You should also include the tools that can be used for tracking and monitoring.
A content marketing playbook can be instrumental in giving direction and aim to your content strategy. It should include your goals, target audience, and focus keywords. It also outlines the topics, themes, formats, distribution channels, and publishing schedule you’ll work with.
Get your free content marketing playbook from WriteForMe today.