Six Questions To Jump-Start Your Content Marketing Plan

by Jason Falls |

Funny how all the social media pundits were screaming, “Content is King!” from rooftops as far back as there were social media pundits. If you heard that line once in advice, conference talks or webinars from 2005-2008, you heard it 10,000 times. Unfortunately, most of those very content-as-king promoters never put the words “content” and “strategy” together in the same sentence and businesses suffered as a result.

“Ya know … just, like, ummmm … write cool stuff, ya know?”

Fast forward to 2010 and you’d better come to bat with more than just “Content is King” or clients will laugh you out of the building. Many brands and businesses don’t know anything about content, wouldn’t know good content if it bit them in the ass, have no idea how to generate or where to buy good content and no clue how much it’s really worth. As a digital marketing (or, I would argue marketing marketing) consultant or practitioner, understanding content strategy needs to be among your chief professional assets.

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That’s why the Social Media Club Louisville and International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) in Louisville are again partnering to make anyone interested smarter about content strategy. We’ll present the IABC/SMC Louisville Content Marketing Summit next Tuesday, Sept. 21, at the Crown Plaza in Louisville. The lineup is, in my humble opinion, an all-star team of content marketing experts. Those attending will walk away with not just great ideas about content, but an actual blueprint for their own content strategy.

You can read more about the event at the IABC Kentucky website, where you can also register. Members of either organization get access to the one-day event for just $149. Non-members, just $199. And if you want to join IABC Kentucky, you can do so for just $100 extra.

While the highlights of the day will most certainly be Joe Pulizzi of Junta42 and the Content Marketing Institute talking about content marketing strategy and Michael Schechter of Honora Pearls giving brand-side perspective, or content talks from the perspective of search marketing (Chris Baggott from Compendium Blogware), email marketing (Greg Cangialosi of Blue Sky Factory), media relations (Amy Mengel from readMedia), social media channels (Mike Lewis from Awareness) or even building the foundation of content marketing success with strong social media policies (Susan Gosselin from Vest Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations), I’ll be adding a unique spin to the day. My part of the festivities will be to walk attendees through a content blueprint exercise, specific to their business, that will give them a direction to head in as soon as they get back to the office on Wednesday.

To provide that blueprint, I’ll have attendees answer a litany of questions. The ones that I start with may be helpful to you in thinking about a content strategy for your organization. Those questions are below. I’d be happy to hear your suggestions for additional ones in the comments.

Six Questions To Jump-Start Your Content Marketing Plan

  1. What do we know?
    Generally speaking, what knowledge do you have that others don’t? There’s value in that. Perhaps it’s expertise within your industry or a different take on an existing product or service that your company evangelizes. You have knowledge as a company and individuals within your walls have even more specific knowledge that is most definitely worth sharing.
  2. What can we give?
    Yeah, we can all give away product, but think about the expertise you can give away. Teach your audience how to do things. Share the how-tos and the what-thens and become a trusted resource for doing so.
  3. What can we explain?
    You know what would make me read content from an accountant? Content that explained that world to me in bite-sized chunks I could understand. I hate math, but am fascinated to know why taxes apply to some companies and not others, why outstanding invoices count as revenue and why my accountant wasn’t smoking crack when she told me having a few more items charged on my credit card may help me come year’s end.
  4. What can we share?
    What other companies, media outlets or blogs can we share with our audience to make the audience smarter? Do any of them offer their content under Creative Commons in a fashion that allows us to republish it?
  5. Who can we interview?
    Whether it’s clients, vendors, partners, friends or even people who come to your booth at a trade show, a Flip cam and some interesting questions go a long way.
  6. What can we have fun with?
    Whether it’s the company softball team or the quirky old guy in the building with the funny sayings, there’s something about your business that gives you a chuckle or needed relief from the seriousness of work. Identifying it and sharing it with your audience makes you much more fun.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg for what we’ll do and discuss next Tuesday. If you’re within a decent drive from Louisville, we’d love to have you at the Content Marketing Summit. Register and join us!

In the meantime, what questions would you add? The comments, as always, are yours.

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About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).