"The most difficult and complicated part of the writing process is the beginning."
Why Your Content Needs a Plan
– Let’s face it. Great content takes time and effort to produce. And the last thing you want to do is spend your money on content that doesn’t produce the intended action by the reader. But if you don’t plan for it – it won’t.
Planning leads to better content. The better it is, the more likely it is to be consumed. The more often it’s consumed, the more impact it will have and the better your results. So, planning maximizes your return on investment.
To create a plan that produces compelling content, it must be specific. It must be designed for a specific audience and contain relevant information to get the results you want. This result is usually part of a domino effect created by marketing campaign.
If you don’t specify exactly what the intended result is for a piece of content, then your odds of getting that result is highly unlikely. So, what can you do? You must develop a Creative Brief. A Creative Brief is a set of instructions, or guide on how to create the content. Based on the Creative Brief, you can create compelling content.
So, It’s the job of the person directing and planning the marketing to produce this document.
The 4 Parts of a Creative Brief
Written instructions (or a clear example) of what content needs to be produced enables the content creator to focus their limited creative energy on getting the intended result. Yes, it takes more time and effort to produce a Creative Brief. But your odds of getting the content you want increase dramatically.
A Creative Brief may contain a variety of details specific to the type of content you are creating. But here are the four essential parts that apply to any type of content:
Buyer’s Journey Strategy
1. Your Distribution Strategy
Your distribution strategy determines where your content will be read, seen or heard. Channels are where your audience consumes content. The channels you choose will influence who your audience is and how your content will be perceived. Some of the most useful channels for marketing are social media sites. But there are other good ones that should not be ignored, like associations.
Are you using the most effective channels for reaching your buyers?
Are you sharing content that is appropriate for each channel?
Will your content be able to stand out from other content in a given channel?
2. Your Audience Strategy
Your audience strategy determines how you uncover the changing needs of your audience. What information should you include in your content that they will respond best to? Should you be focusing on your audiences' problems, or how they'll benefit from the unique features of your product or service?
Who specifically is your target audience?
What questions are your prospects asking that your content can answer?
What stage in the buying process is the recipient of your content at?
What are their goals and motivations?
How will you gather any needed research on your target audience?
3. Your Buyer's Journey Strategy
Your content strategy determines the role of your content in your overall marketing and sales process. Each piece of content must play its unique role to make a successful outcome possible. The three fundamental jobs to be done to create awareness, educate, and persuade.
What job must your piece of content do within the overall framework of your marketing strategy? Build authority, increase awareness, educate, or persuade?
How does the piece of copy or content serve your sales process? Market research, demand generation, lead generation, lead nurturing, lead conversion, or customer service?
How does this piece of content link to the next step in the prospect's buyers journey?
4. Your Results Strategy
Your results strategy determines what you want your audience to think, feel, and/or do after consuming a piece of your content. Should they start analyzing their priorities? Should they feel a sense of urgency to solve their problem? Should they be motivated to download a free report to learn more? Should they be motivated to schedule a meeting with you? How will you content motivate them to do this?
What do you want the reader to think after reading the content?
What do you want the reader to feel after reading the content?
What do you want the reader to do after viewing the content?
Take the Next Step...
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