“Let’s just set up a blog and do some of that social media stuff and see what happens.” Many of us have heard this cringe-worthy statement or something like it, and it reeks of a tactics before strategy approach, one that we consistently advise against. Content marketing is no different. Strategy first, execution second, relentless execution third, fourth and fifth.
Planning – Your Content Marketing Map
Last month, Mike laid out the right approach to developing a content marketing map in 12 Questions That Should Guide Your Content Marketing Plan. Creating the plan is incredibly important and the place where many companies fall down right out of the gate – but what you do with the plan is just as critical. When you set off on a trip to a new destination, you typically want a map. Whether that’s the old school atlas, a printout from a site like Google Maps, or a GPS in your vehicle, planning your trip with the map ahead of time and watching it as you go makes it a whole lot likelier that you will get to your destination.
Execution – Your Journey
When you prepare for a trip, you may have the best map money can buy – showing every back road and alternate route, and providing voice activated turn-by-turn directions when needed. However, if you don’t have a car, haven’t budgeted for gas, and planned your stops accordingly your map isn’t going to do you a lot of good. Similarly, you can invest in the best content strategy and create a detailed plan, but you need to have the resources and dedication to implement that plan.
Speed Bumps and Detours
Executing on the plan is where the rubber truly meets the road (I’m sticking with the analogy) and where companies most often get stuck. While the plan starts off right, it’s all too easy to backburner a blog post, webinar or eBook that requires input from a subject matter expert to be meaningful. Companies need to keep those experts billable, and justifying that senior level expert’s time to work on “that content for the blog-thingy” can often be a tough sell internally. It’s the reason why you see blogs that haven’t been updated in months, or have sporadic posts, and it’s why quarterly webinars become annual ones, and eBooks languish on the side of the road never to get moving again.
Roll Up Your Sleeves and Relentlessly Execute
Truly effective content marketing requires allocating the resources and making a real dedication to the effort. It often requires having outsourced partners or resources on call for when the effort cannot be sustained internally. Most of all, it requires a continuing commitment to doing things when you “hit the wall” and aren’t sure you have the energy to execute. It may require carving out time at midnight to write a post like this, or closing yourself off in a quiet room to finish it up the next morning…and then doing it again then next day, the next week, and the week after that.
In short – it requires rolling up your sleeves and relentlessly executing. Are you ready?
How do you relentlessly execute your content marketing plan? Please share your experiences in the comments below.
For more about Content Marketing, download our free content marketing webinar: What if You Build It and They Still Don’t Come? – The Anatomy of a Content Marketing Strategy.