Content marketing… I find that most business leaders either love it or they hate it. I think few business leaders actually understand what content marketing it is yet alone understand the power and benefits it can provide for their business.

I wrote several articles recently to help you better understand content marketing. The purpose of this post is not to educate you on what content marketing is, but instead to help you organize it, prioritize it and maximize the investment you have already made in content marketing to date.

Most businesses have more content than they realize. Content can come in the form of presentations, vision statements, value propositions, corporate collateral, annual shareholder reports, videos, email newsletters, research reports, event materials, flyers, customer letters,  and the list goes on.

What happens, particularly in a matrixed organization with several or numerous departments, each department tends to go off and create content in their own little world. This is not good if they are not communicating to understand what the other departments are doing and what content they are developing.

What happens is that you create content and each department creates content. Yet the problem is none of you usually know what content the other department has developed, where it lives or what the status of it is.

As a result when it comes time to launch a new campaign, setup a blog or website, get ready for an event or send out a newsletter, you start from scratch. You do this not knowing there may be a piece of content already written that would be absolutely perfect for your efforts and project.

So what is a savvy business leader to do in this scenario? I have some answers that will help you make progress this week!

Step 1: Know What Ya' Got! 

First thing you need to do is understand what ya' have! Maximize to monetize is what I teach our customers. You can read an entire post I wrote on the topic here–> Maximize to Monetize Leverage What Ya' Got for Social Business Success! 

You must get your arms around what content you have, who it is written for and the status of each piece of content. Is it good to go to market as it is? Does it need updated? Or does it need simply thrown out?

1. Who is the intended audience?
Who is it written for?  What market segment, user persona?  What other audiences could it provide value for?

2. What products does it align to?
What products and services does it align to within your company? Is it a corporate overview? Or is it a piece of content specific to a product or services? Could even be a set or family of services.

3. Is it relevant and up to date?
Is it something that provides value to your audience or is it simply a waste of words and space? When was it written? Is it still accurate? If not, why not? What will it take to get it up to date?

4. Is it a competitive overview or comparison? 
Can it help you better compete? Does it offer benchmark data you can use to your advantage to prove your product is higher performing, delivers better results?

5. Who is the original owner?
Who wrote it? What person? What department? This may be important if you want to update it.

6. Do you have the source file?
If you hired an outside agency or consultant to create a presentation or nice slick piece of collateral, do you own the source file? If not, do you at minimum have the content for the file in a source document? If not, you'll want to note such and at minimum ensure you get the hard copies of this category organized into a folder or set of folders so you can easily find at a later time.


Step 2: Put a status on it!

Is it In, Out, or Need Updated?

This part is easy. Based on the above combined with a good scientific gut feeling you are going to assign one of three statuses to each piece of content. Simply put it is either in, out or updated. Not too hard, heh! You can do this!

1. In: It is in like a good piece of chocolate. You are going to keep it in the arsenal and use it.

3. Out:  It's out like the bath water from yesterday. It is gone, history, outta here!

4. Updated:  It is in but needs a facelift, refresh and updating to make it to the real world again.

*Download a worksheet here to help you organize every piece of content you have into these 3 categories!


Step 3: Know What ya' DON'T Got! 

social media what not to do listNow that you know what you have, you also know what you don't have. Spend a good amount of time on step 1 and step 2 so you know what you have and the current status on each piece of content.

Then you need to take out that awesome business, marketing and integrated social media plan you hopefully have and determine how your content is going to help you meet the goals and objectives in the plan. How will you be leverage the content you have to satisfy the content needs.

This is where you may realize your plan is either ready to rock or can not be feasibly implemented on your current budget and resources.

If you realize your plan can not be easily implemented with your current content, don't freak out. Take a deep breath. It may be time to go back to the drawing board with the business plan and make a few tweaks. Many business leaders develop a plan without realizing what it is really going to take. They often times don't understand until they get their feet wet into social marketing how much content is really required to inspire audience, engage and build community.

If this is the case with you and feel that your plan is not feasible given your current budget and resources, the best thing you can do is acknowledge such.Go back to the drawing board if you have to and develop a plan you can implement that leverages the content you already have invested in. At minimum if you have followed the steps above you will know what you have and can start to lay out a plan to develop the content you need but don't yet have.

It's Not Rocket Science

social media is not rocket scienceDon't over complicate content marketing. You don't need a PHD in writing or marketing to get your arms around your existing content.

You may need help in writing, setting goals and objectives, developing and executing a plan to drive results. If you need assistance, we can help and start out with a simple audit and assessment of your existing content. Particularly if you are in a matrixed organization, there can be much benefit to bringing in a third party to serve as a neutral source to help you determine what ya' got, what ya' don't got and what you need.

This is the approach I used for more than 15 years in corporate America. I am teaching you a system and processes that I know work and helped me survive 13 layoffs at one company alone in the middle of a tough economic downturn.

Content is king, queen, jack, spades, and even the joker. If you can use content to your advantage you can get a leg up on your competition and they won't know what hit them.

Leverage Content Marketing Today, Not Next Week!

Don't put content off on the back burner thinking you'll deal with it next month or next year. Deal with it right now, this week. Learn how to leverage content to connect with your target market, build relationships with your community and partners and grow your business.

A business without content marketing is missing out. It's similar to a business without a business and marketing plan. A Facebook page without a strategy. It's like a fish without water, a dart without a dart board. Content marketing is a must have in today's connected, online, 24/7 communicating world.

Tap into the 24/7 conversation and use it to your advantage. Life and business is all how you look at it. The social business glass is either half full or half empty. Which do you choose? I choose half full. I'll figure out how to fill up the rest. You can do the same!


Your Turn?

So how organized is your content marketing? Are you leveraging the investment you have made in content to the maximum? Do you have a good grip on what content you have, the current status and where the gaps are? If not, now is the time to start. If you have went thru a recent analysis and came out the other end with great results, please share them here. What tips can you offer others? We are all better as a team helping one another than as individual silos doing it on our own!

content marketing strategyAdditional resources: 

Worksheet: Download Content Inventory Worksheet to maximize to monetize your content!

Worksheet: Download our POST audience analysis worksheet to help you identify and prioritize your top audiences. It is based upon the Forrester POST methodology.

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