Is there a common denominator in successful content campaigns? Yes. Producing high-quality, audience-focused, converting content starts with architecting predefined elements in a content campaign. Like any other form of marketing, your effort prior to dispatching content assignments sets you up for content success down the line. Why? It creates a blueprint for producing and scaling high-quality content.
Internal and external contributors adhere to the same standards, thus producing similar content; your brand’s voice remains consistent and unyielding. Creating campaigns also saves you time. In fact, you can enter editorial guidelines, keywords, publication targets, tones, personas, and team members only once, rather than filling out the information each time you dispatch an assignment. They automatically populate into every assignment within ClearVoice. (And, remember, you can edit fields on the assignment as necessary.)
Content failure strikes when brands shoot from the hip and miss the setup/strategy phase. Creating sporadic content pieces is an immediate customer turnoff because they create a jarring journey and inconsistent brand message.
Complete the following elements to create structure for executing a great content campaign with ClearVoice.
Step 1: Create a Name
Simple as it is, denote the name of your campaign. A campaign can be separated by content type, theme, destination, season, product launch, or anything that makes sense for your brand.
Step 2: Make Your Campaign Time-Bound
Set a start and end date to your campaign. Time-bound campaigns allow you to reach attainable content goals with more ease. (Remember, your start and end times should encompass all areas: strategy, writing, editing, routing, and publishing.)
Step 3: Define Your Team
Whether you are a small shop or a big content powerhouse, the next step is defining your content team. Knowing who does what within your content team is one of the easiest, yet most overlooked steps in the process. First, designate a point content strategist, or “team strategist” (who will develop the content strategy, brainstorm content ideas, etc.), to your campaign, then select a content editor who will copyedit the submitted content assets. The content editor has editorial oversight and is the go-to for content approvals. They should review content for grammar, brand consistency, structure, format, and quality, and make sure it’s on the mark.\
Step 4: Define Your Editorial Guidelines
Creating consistent editorial guidelines allows you to define desired word counts, how to show numbers, how to capitalize headers and spell out numbers, use punctuation, avoid competitor names, reveal tone, speak to audience, takeaways, linking strategies, and even keyword mapping. Point blank: Editorial guidelines create consistent rules for all content contributors to adhere to. In this day and age, you will likely have both internal (staffed) and outsourced (freelance) contributors on your content team, so completing this “fixed” document on your content’s must-haves is essential for content consistency. You can never assume a content contributor has context about an assignment.
Here’s an example from ClearVoice’s blog:
This post will appear on the ClearVoice blog.
The audience is people on midsize marketing teams (3-10 people) at midsize companies (those with revenue from $10 million to $1 billion annually). These are content strategists, editors, digital marketers and community managers, all the way up to the director of content, chief marketing officer and CEO. They’re looking for ways to improve and optimize their content production and distribution. They don’t need 101-level content; they already know the 101 stuff. Think more advanced, mid-level content.
Our voice is smart, confident and helpful. Our tone is friendly, familiar and approachable. Show us your personality. Give us your passion.
[Need help creating editorial guidelines? Read Hubspot’s “11 Editorial Guidelines Every Business Blog Needs” post.]
Step 5: Add Keywords
Content and SEO are complementary: Your keyword strategy is a critical part of the content process. Include keywords you want mentioned in content assignments. If you need a place to start, use the Keyword Tool within Google Adwords, Moz’s Keyword Explorer, or Wordstream’s keyword planner. While you don’t want to cannibalize each page’s primary keyword target, you can direct contributors to include high-level supporting keywords to include in your copy to support your main-level page’s ranking success.
Step 6: Define the Target Publication(s):
This element offers clarity on where the contributed content will appear. Will the content assignments be hosted on your enterprise’s website, or externally? This helps define this so the content contributors understand where the home for their content is. Here’s an example from ClearVoice’s campaign:
Step 7: Determine the Editorial Tone
Editorial tone is the guide to communicating your brand personality and vocabulary. Your tone depends on your audience, products or services offered, and industry. For example, while some industries can get away with humor and informality, others require a more formal tone (think retailer versus law firm). Here are some tones from the pre-populated list within ClearVoice. (Select anywhere between three and five descriptors.)
Here is a great example of a tone statement from Santa Clara University:
Santa Clara is a respected institution of learning, so people listen to what we have to say. If the way that we express ourselves is intelligent, interesting, and consistent, we continue to build trust and inspire our audiences to engage with what we do.
Step 8: Develop Personas
Audience data is the most important element that should form the foundation of your content strategy. This element defines whom your brand targets. Fill out general demographics like age, gender, race, marital status, education level, job, geographic location, income range, and even digital usage, then streamline the data to define who your ideal customers would be through a custom persona. Developing personas is critical because it helps you visualize your reader’s values, interests, challenges, and pain points.
For example, at ClearVoice, we target the following three personas:
These personas are developed within the ClearVoice platform, by filling out the following information:
For more on the topic, read our great post about personas: How to Create Buyer Personas for Your B2B Marketing.
You need to put strategy before tactics in order to have a successful content campaign. Thankfully content workflow technology like ClearVoice exists to assist you in this process. So, put down those Excel worksheets or pen and paper and get to it!