1. What am I trying to accomplish? Determine your core strategy, your unifying principles to follow. This is more critical than it might appear. Are you selling albums to adults? Soliciting donations for Dalmatians? With an honest evaluation of what you are trying to accomplish, only then should you begin down the path of content creation, delivery, and marketing.
2. What are my competitors doing? Or not doing? Put on your detective hat and figure out where you stand in the marketplace. Though you shouldn’t necessarily copy what they are doing (or not), observing your peers / competitors will give you a benchmark of current market and user expectations.
3. What do I already have? Complete an audit of your content. Audits uncover what you have, and what shape it is in. (Is it up-to-date? Accurate? Trivial?) Due to silo-filled work environments, many organizations are unaware of the value already in-house. The unrealized potential of ongoing initiatives may give you a head start on upcoming content marketing plans.
4. Do I have the capacity to create content sustainably? Honestly evaluate your organization’s human resource capacity and budget for content creation. Many plans look great on paper. At the start, enthusiasm is high. As campaigns and initiatives wear on, it becomes clear that they are unsustainable. Any content marketing plan should be based on an organization’s true ability to sustain it.
5. How will the content be cared for throughout its lifecycle? To remain effective, content needs to be maintained. Rather than implementing the “set it and forget it” mentality, content should enjoy regular, scheduled check-ups to ensure that it is still relevant, accurate, and supports the organization’s core strategy.
This material first appeared on a post I co-authored on the Coherent Social Media blog. (Minus the Talkiing Heads video.)