At the core of everything we do as digital marketing professionals is findability. Whether it’s a product, feature, service, information, or education offered, we need the message to reach our audience and inspire them to make a choice. Whether the choice is a a purchase, email signup, or something else, the first step is getting our message in front of the right audience at the right time. The goal of content writing is to get our brand found, create conversions, and generate revenue.
Many disciplines stem from this need in our industry. Marketing, advertising, public relations, merchandising, and others have the same goal: to get found and create action. At DemandSphere we are working on the science of findability every day, across multiple marketing channels, content types, and platforms. Keeping the best practices of search, social, email, and content marketing in mind, we analyze the content writing processes and now identify several common issues faced by many organizations. You may be experiencing some of these as well.
Current Content Writing Hurdles
In working with a wide variety of customers over the years, we see a variety of content writing workflows. There are customers developing workflows for content writing that don’t stick, or aren’t as effective as they like. Several common issues we observe include:
- Ideation isn’t data driven
- The workflow structure doesn’t account for real analysis
- The workflow is inflexible to organization changes or resources
- It becomes overly siloed
- Workflows have too many dependents
- The workflow isn’t a closed-loop system
Content writing doesn’t have to be a complex process that is difficult to follow. Addressing these issues is pretty straightforward and helps you create content that gets you found, generates conversions, and increases revenue. Let’s take a look at how to overcome these issues.
In many cases, ideation isn’t data driven even though it appears that it is. Often, the whole marketing ecosystem isn’t being considered, only a specific department or channel. This leads to only a sliver of data or moment in time being used to make important decisions. Many people we speak to say it’s impossible to get their entire organization on the same page or to use the same workflow. We use the Get Found workflow to bypass those issues. It works by using our Segment Mapping technology to gather information about the market, competitors, products, features, campaigns, messages, and more – without involving every department.
Another issue in data-driven ideation is looking at data that has been grouped together incorrectly. That’s where the SegmentMap comes in. If you look at email data, search data, or other information together as one group you are missing the details that help you create great content. That data includes the subtle difference in performance between the marketing channel, marketing platform, and content type. It also includes campaign messaging across various locations, as well as differences in keyword research by audience or funnel stage.
Ensuring data is driving the ideation portion of the content writing process is crucial to creating content that will get you found. Not allowing data to drive the process means you’re operating on a “best guess.” Don’t guess!
Sometimes the structure of a workflow doesn’t allow for deep analysis. This happens when the content writing process isn’t set up to be segmented, recombined, and understood across an organization. A good understanding of what content is already out there and who is creating it is important to your marketing decisions. This helps you identify gaps that may exist in messaging, content type, or other areas. Filling gaps with new and unique content is a great way to improve findablity.
You also want to understand of which content types perform well for your target audience. Creating content in a format that resonates with your audience may mean trying new tactics such as video or a slide deck. It may mean changes to your social media or email strategy. The only way to understand if it is the campaign / message, video as a content type, or Facebook as a platform that resonates is to segment each aspect of the marketing this way and compare them equally.
Creating a Segment Map will help you uncover these opportunities. To create a Segment Map, you can contact us – or start by making a chart of the following:
- Content types
- Marketing channels
- Marketing platforms
- Funnel stages
From here, you’ll want to tag relevant content with the associated group names. Once you have completed that, you’ll assign keywords and phrases to each group as well. Need a hand? Let us know!
Communicating and reporting this information throughout your organization effectively is essential for an efficient process. Duplicating efforts within different teams in your organization slows down the process, and while many organizations may separate efforts, your knowledge of the market is valuable to all teams. You need a content writing process that enables you to produce content the best content quickly and understand why it worked and how to do it again.
Create Workflow Flexibility
Change in business is a given. It occurs regularly and can happen quickly. Lack of flexibility in a workflow is another common issue with content writing processes. Changes to team structure, budget, tools, new marketing channels, or other shifts may not integrate with your current workflow. An effective content writing process enables seamless collaboration among all teams within an organization.
A flexible content marketing workflow also facilitates quicker responses to changes in market and competitor conditions. Your organization must be able to identify opportunities and act on them quickly to stay ahead. The Get Found workflow scales up and down throughout an organization, so you can grow or maneuver through changes without losing a process that generates content.
Another issue we see are content writing workflows that are in silos or have too many dependents. These are opposite issues. However, it is possible for organizations to have both at the same time. Silos occur when a workflow and its data are specific to one marketing group or team, preventing the organization from seeing the full picture and developing content intelligently.
Workflows also often have too many dependents. Too many people involved in each decision or step of a process slows things down and causes second guessing of what the data may be blatantly telling us. This gives competitors time to take the lead and generate the content that attracts our audience. It is important to make accurate decisions free from organizational politics data silos.
One way the Get Found workflow addresses this is gathering data from across the marketing ecosystem on its own, instead of requiring teams send data or “hook up” platforms and analytics tools. Whether the entire organization uses this approach or not, your team leverages the insights to make the best possible choices, and then shares results as proof of the impact of the workflow.
Use a Closed-Loop Process
Close-loop content writing processes make it difficult for smooth transitions from one campaign or marketing decision to the next. Creating a truly closed loop process means you’ll be constantly iterating on the campaigns currently in market for content you’re working on now.
An example is being able to move from your Segment Map to market analysis and competitor discovery, then to content ideation and creation, straight to analysis and optimization – using the lessons from this process to begin the next immediately.
A closed loop process accurately measures the impact of the process both as a whole and within individual sections. You need a process that is easily repeatable, as well as highlights learnings clearly and seamlessly added to current efforts.
Create Custom Content Simply
If the idea of leveraging a workflow for content writing on a regular basis sounds daunting, it doesn’t need to be. The content creation step of the Get Found workflow includes the concept of “foundation content” and content amplification to make it easy.
Choose foundation content topics from the Segment Map and a content origin based on your organization. What that means is choose a single piece of content that is easy for you to start with, such as a video or phone call brain storm. From there, additional content like blog posts, SlideShares, emails, white papers, and more being.
Our full and detailed presentation from PubCon on custom content creation is available here.
Improve Your Content Writing Process
If you don’t have a content writing process, consider the above issues when developing one. Having a process that accounts for these issues will help you quickly develop content that performs well. If you do already have a process, assess whether or not you’re facing the issues identified. Addressing these issues helps you improve any existing process.
Your process should be flexible and without silos. Address these considerations and your content will flow more smoothly and have a greater impact on your marketing efforts across your organization.
If you have questions about these suggestions or would like to see a demo of the Get Found workflow and DemandSphere platform, feel free to contact us for more information or schedule a discovery call here.