“A content war is taking place, and you will win the war with customer-focused content delivered consistently in various formats, by various authors and to a wide range of online destinations.”

-Rich Tehrani

Organizations that excel in their market space tend to remain consistent and concise with everything they do … including the delivery of their content. As expressed in previous interviews, the editorial calendar remains the primary vehicle to plan the development and production of broadcasted content. It also ensures that adequate time is allocated to publish content on a regular and consistent basis. The calendar is the third phase of the content marketing lifecycle and is preceded by the goals and strategic planning phases.

Consistency

editorial_calendar_cmxConsistency is not a function of the biggest budgets, the most people on a marketing team or the best technology. It’s the discipline of defining the broader objectives for the team, keeping those goals in view while producing content on a planned, regular basis as determined by the editorial calendar.

Content marketing is not a sprint; it’s not an exercise for a few weeks or months. It’s for the long haul, and everyone within the organization needs to realize that the content marketing initiative is an endeavor that needs to continue, even when results are not seen immediately. It needs nurturing at first, but over time it evolves into a self-sustained activity that holds exponential growth. It’s not merely an expense; it’s an investment in new leads, customers and awareness. There must be committed assets to content marketing so that the required input meets the expected goals.

To break things down, Rich explains that, “The company needs to, number one, make sure the content they are providing is of tremendous value to the customer that they’re targeting. But they should also find a way to ensure that the content they are providing ties into what they do in order to sell more of their products or increase familiarity.”

A consistent, fresh and value-based online presence will provide a comfort level with your existing customers and drive potential customers into your sales funnel. Making a big splash but then disappearing will not promote growth. Steady, consistent communication with your audience/s is where the growth potential lies. Frequent use of keywords, phrases and long-tail keywords within your content will also help your site climb the organic search rankings. Be sure to use keywords that relate to your goods/services, or the frequently asked questions people pose about and within your industry.

Challenges

Consistency can seem elusive if CMOs and marketing department personnel are ever changing. Having dedicated assets and a formalized content marketing strategy will help to overcome such problems. As new people are introduced into the company, agreement to and compliance with the existing program will contribute to maintaining consistency. Every new CMO or CEO doesn’t need to bring in a new strategy if your established plan is giving the result you want.

Content production has its own challenges tied to smarter search engine activity and author rank. If you have a known and well-respected author associated with the publishing of your blog or other content, you’ll receive higher search engine rank. If that author leaves, you may lose the Google rank, or they could go to a competitor (which would be bad for your company). Using anonymous posts, you may not gain the same level of search rank as you might if you have someone who is a well-respected author, but having multiple writers or authors could prevent a dramatic upset if one or more leaves. There are pros and cons to both approaches; bottom line is to have a consistency in your content production.

What does this mean for the Content Marketers?

The idea that “every company is a media company” is not comfortable for some businesses. This opens the way to outsourcing content production, if not the management of the entire content marketing strategy. Every business must decide for itself what will be most effective, either finding an outside partner for some or all of the marketing activities, or building an in-house team for content marketing.

First step is to work with your team—that can be your management team, financial team or outside agency—and set up your long term goals in terms of customer acquisition and retention. Starting any blogging or posting before goals are set up is a mistake. You don’t want to jump the gun by publishing content that does not fit with your goal’s message and theme or is a tactic that will not continue.

Content marketing is about knowing your audience, who your prospects and customers are and what types of content they prefer to consume. This information will shape and dictate the various forms of multi-media you include in your content and the timely distribution laid out in the editorial calendar.

Start with the basic social media accounts: from the simplest 140 characters for Twitter, to joining LinkedIn and/or creating a Facebook company page. From there you should be considering blogging, creating videos, and posting podcasts, because there are a lot of consumers that enjoy video content and some of them prefer podcasts as opposed to just reading.

By consistently using various types of content, text, images, infographics, video, etc., that is specifically tailored for your target audience, you will be able to keep your viewers engaged while breathing life into your company’s message.

Join the Conversation:

  • Do you use an editorial calendar to plan and execute your content marketing initiative and does this enable you to stay on track?
  • What steps can you institute to improve the consistent production and distribution of content?
  • Is your content marketing initiative tied to set goals and outcomes you hope to achieve or is your content production random?
This article highlights selected excerpts from CMX’s interview with Rich Tehrani, of TMCnet, and Martin van der Roest of the Examiner on the topic of Content Marketing, Editorial Calendars and Consistency – June 14, 2013.