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The Ultimate Content Strategist Playbook No. 3: Stafﬁng and Launching Your Content Marketing Program
2 Stafﬁng and Launching Your Content Marketing Program z —Joe Lazauskas, Contently Editor-in-Chief
3 Webinar Agenda z 1. How to craft your brand's voice 2. How to determine your content marketing mission statement 3. How to identify your story types and requirements 4. How to build an editorial calendar with accountability and consistency 5. How to think about stafﬁng your content team 6. How to design approval workﬂows that newsrooms would envy
4 But ﬁrst, a story about us. z In February 2015, Contently's ﬂagship publication The Content Strategist (TCS) broke the 200,000 reader mark for the ﬁrst time. We must have done something great, right? Nope. By and large, it was the result of work we'd done months before.
5 3 Keys to the Compounding Returns of TCS z • Quantity: We published content with a steady cadence, so our returns grew quickly. • Quality: We promised to create content good enough to stand out against the sea of crappy posts that pollute the web. • Constant improvement: Since our competition is getting ﬁercer every day, we need to continuously improve and evolve to stand out.
6 “The ﬁrst step is you have to say that you can.” —Will Smith
7 Step 1: Crafting a Brand Voice
8 • Think about your brand voice more as a person, not as a company. • The personality of your company should be a prioritized set of traits that make up your identity to your target audience.
9 Exercise: Who is your brand? z Are you: • The gadget freak who snagged an iPhone 6 a week before they went on sale? • The honest and kind friend you'd consult while getting dressed for a date? • The mad scientist determined to ﬁnd a way to make fuel out of pencil shavings?
10 Contently's interpretation of other brand personalities: z The smart, inquisitive, clever science nerd who blows your mind. The death-defying rock star you want to hang out with. The inbound marketing genius who wants to help you get that promotion. The wizard of SEO with secrets that will fundamentally change the way people discover your company.
11 Step 2: Creating Your Mission Statement
12 • Creating a mission statement is one of the most difﬁcult yet enjoyable stages of the content marketing journey. • Your mission statement will be your guiding light, the document that keeps you in check, inspires you, and protects your content from marketing's shadow.
13 “[Content is] part of our DNA. We believe in sharing and being transparent in putting out there the things that we've learned. … We want to try and help marketers ﬁrst. That's our underlying goal. We really don't think about content marketing as being part of our funnel. It's part of our mission." —Rand Fishkin, founder, MOZ
14 “Here we are. We're 130 years old. We were founded by Thomas Edison, and guess what? We are still working on really hard problems that the entire planet has to be dealing with, whether it’s the future of energy or whether it's the future of electricity or whether it's new propulsion for planes that will get you from New York to Tokyo in four hours." —Tomas Kellner, Managing Editor, GE Reports
15 Brand Voice: Have a personality Mission Statement: Include our passion and goals What am I going to create???
16 Step 3: Identifying Story Types and Topics
17 Contently Example: Our Story Types z • QUICK HITTER: 250–500 words to introduce breaking news, research, or a cool visual component like an infographic or video. • WEB-SOURCED IN-DEPTH: 500–1,200 words based on web sources; includes a complex level of analysis. • BASIC REPORTED STORY: 400–800 words with between one and three sources. • LONGFORM FEATURE STORY: 1,000+ words with a compelling narrative focus and multiple primary sources. • INFOGRAPHIC: Graphic visual representation of information, data, or knowledge that communicates key industry topics.
18 • VIDEO: A story up to ﬁve minutes long about storytelling, including interviews with thought leaders and/or brief news updates. • COMIC: Illustrations lampooning the content marketing industry. • E-BOOK: 3,000–10,000-word guides and industry reports, usually downloadable in exchange for an email address. • BRANDS: News, trends, and analysis of the branded content movement. • MEDIA: Journalism, native advertising, and the future of the media business. • ROI: Best practices for tying content to business results. • SOCIAL: Strategies, tools, and tips for spreading content through the social web. • VOICES: Thought leadership, opinions, and perspectives on the future of content.
19 Tips for Better Story Types and Topics z 1. Try a little bit of everything out—your audience is ﬁckle. 2. Prioritize quality over quantity—your audience will thank you. 3. Describe your story types in detail—your content team can execute with much more impact.
20 Brand Voice: Have a personality Mission Statement: Include our passion and goals What am I going to create??? Diversiﬁed quality content at scale When and how often should I create content?
21 Step 4: Building an Editorial Calendar
22 An editorial calendar will give you a clear picture of what types of stories you'll publish on a daily basis and who you may need to add to your team. z
23 Make sure you are tagging and tracking the important details! z • Author • Due date • Publish date • Intended audience • Format or type • Topic • URL • Target keywords (optional) • These tags will be critical to analyze what content works and what doesn't. For Contently, tags like CMO, ROI, Social, Joe Lazauskas, and Shane Snow RULE.
24 Brand Voice: Have a personality Mission Statement: Include our passion and goals What am I going to create??? Diversiﬁed quality content at scale When and how often should I create content? Errrday and ASAP Who should be on my team to produce great content?
25 Step 5: Stafﬁng Your Content Team
26 The idea of stafﬁng a content team and building a “brand newsroom" is enough to give some marketers a panic attack. But it's less complex than you think. z
27 Best Practice: The Hybrid Content Team z Most successful brand publishers take a hybrid approach to their content marketing efforts: • A: A core in-house team serves as the protector of the brand voice, distributes and measures content, and optimizes editorial strategy. • B: Freelancers add subject matter expertise, scale, storytelling ﬁrepower, and timeliness to the mix.
28 Contently's Hybrid Newsroom z
29 Coca-Cola Journey uses a small core team of internal editors and designers, complementing that through Contently with a staff of freelance storytellers to publish 12–15 pieces per week. “We've really tried to carve out a beat system with our Contently writers. It's nice to know who we can go to for certain stories." —Jay Moye, Managing Editor, Coca-Cola Journey
30 Brand Voice: Have a personality Mission Statement: Include our passion and goals What am I going to create??? Diversiﬁed quality content at scale When and how often should I create content? Errrday and ASAP Who should be on my team to produce great content? A hybrid team of internal content marketers and external freelancers Who should approve all of this great content? How should they do it?
31 Step 6: Creating an Approval Workﬂow
32 Key questions to ask with approval workﬂows: z Whose job is it to generate story ideas? • Who turns those story ideas into assignments, so that you don't blow your entire budget on 50 cat listicles? • Who edits those stories? • Who presses publish?
33 Tips for streamlining your publishing infrastructure z Place only ONE key stakeholder in charge of ﬁnal decisions to ensure editorial quality and avoid “too many chefs in the kitchen.” Get lawyers and superﬂuous brand managers out of the approval process as much as possible by setting and documenting clear legal and compliance guidelines.
34 “In the beginning, it was a difﬁcult practice for me to learn. I didn't know who these people were and how to get the copy through efﬁciently. It often got stuck. It's like building a house. You have to put in the plumbing. Once you know who these people are, you don't have to go through the various gatekeepers—you can go directly to them and check on your story and see how it’s moving." —Tomas Kellner, Managing Editor, GE Reports
35 Conclusion z Stafﬁng, launching, and coordinating a content marketing machine is hard work, and it's a process that takes time to perfect. You should start now. Once your team is in a groove, it's a beautiful thing to behold. You make each other better, and it’s a foregone conclusion that your success will keep building over time.
36 Checklist z 1. Craft a brand voice. 2. Determine your content marketing mission statement. 3. Identify your story types and requirements so you know what to create. 4. Build an editorial calendar to hold yourself accountable to a consistent publishing schedule. 5. Staff your content team so you can begin creating awesome content. 6. Build the approval workﬂows that streamline content publishing efforts. 7. Make The New York Times worry.
Want more insights into the state of content marketing? For daily tips and trends, subscribe to our online magazine, The Content Strategist. If you’d like to talk to someone abut Contently’s services, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit contently.com. contently.com