Building an Effective Content Process: A Case Study

Content-MarketingI’m currently working with a marketing manager whose primary role is the oversight of her company’s social media strategy. In one of our sessions, I asked her what her goals were, what resources she had at her disposal, and how she was going to use those resources to achieve her goals.  Her assignment was to contemplate a response, then share it with me the next week. I was pleasantly surprised when she arrived at our next session, not just because she did the assignment, but because she far exceeded my expectations. Her response to the assignment was an outline of a process that virtually any marketing manager, director etc. can use for developing content for a marketing program.

Here’s what she came up with…

  1. Contact the Sales Team
    The social media campaigns she works on are localized, so the first thing she thought to do was contact the sales reps in the target territories. The goal was to find out what conversations they were having with prospects and customers.  What did buyers like?  What didn’t they like?  What issues were they having?  What needs do they currently have?  By speaking to the sales reps, she accomplished two things: She obtained insight on the mind of the buyer, and she endeared herself to the sales team, paving the way to get their cooperation down the road on other initiatives.

  2. Review Customer Satisfaction Surveys
    Knowing that the insight given from the sales team was somewhat one sided, she added to her discovery process a review of the hundreds of recent customer satisfaction surveys the company had obtained.  This additional research, which included many open ended comments, gave further depth and clarity to the issues that were most important to the customer and prospect base.

  3. Developed Content Concepts
    Armed with this new level of data and customer insight, she went to work developing concepts for content.  This included messaging concepts, headline ideas, etc. What she noticed was that the concepts she developed were somewhat different that the concepts she had developed “in a vacuum” previous to obtaining the prospect and customer insight. Now that she had the insight, she was able to align content much more closely to  buyer stated needs and wants

  4. Collaborated with In-house Creative
    Another realization that she had during our coaching process was that she’s not a copywriter.  Yet, she had been forcing herself to come up with catchy, pithy headlines and content. This was creating stress, and inefficiency.  So, once she had the concepts down, she asked the in-house creative team for their help and advice on the best way to create the needed content.  The creative team  told her that within a week, they’d have 2 months worth of social media content, all based on the research and content she provided. This was an “Aha Moment for her”. She realized that leveraging other resources saved her hours of effort, and gave her confidence that the creative approach would be more effective.

  5. Test. Review. Repeat
    Once she got the content back from the creative team, she was ready to post it.  However, she also knew that even though she had gone through a solid process of research and buyer centered content creation, nothing can be counted on until you see it live.  So, the plan was to post content, wait, review the response, tweak where necessary, then roll out.  Testing and reviewing is now a regular part of her overall process, and is leading to increased engagement among the target buying community.

Although this is just one case study for a specific company, the principles developed by this marketing manager provide a framework for those who have the responsibility for managing programs and content.  That framework includes researching the buyer, creating content based on that research, leveraging resources, and testing.  It will be tough to go wrong if you apply these principles to creating content for your demand generation programs.