How is it you don’t already have a content marketing plan in place, Grasshopper? Perhaps you didn’t get the memo – content is king. The good news is it’s not that difficult or time consuming to generate a workable plan to offer clients, so you don’t look like an Internet caveman. Start with a simple project management template and customize it to suit your needs. Ready, set, go!
On Your Marks
At the starting block, you want to figure out what the goal of your project is and why it matters. Content Marketing Institute suggests you break this initial step down into two distinct tasks.
1. Establish goals for this specific project – The cereal manufacturer client and the tile store client have very different end games.
2. Develop a mission statement – A per project mission statement gets your creative juices flowing and makes sure everyone is working towards a common goal. You might consider asking your client to write a brief mission statement, so you can see the game through their eyes.
Pick Your Starting Lineup
If you are big agency, you might have a big staff of people to choose from. If you don’t have a team together, now is the time.
If you are small, you may be a one man or woman show. That’s great, but consider outsourcing some of the work, so you can focus on other things. The writing, for example, is a practical task to farm out. A content management service like WriterAccess can help you pick a few writers to keep around for help on various projects.
Set the Clock
Establish a timeline with clear and obtainable milestones. This gives your client a game plan to follow and creates a project framework for the team.
Use the timeline to assign key tasks, create accountability and allocate resources to your production team, as well. That way Jane and Dick are not competing for the same lane. Everyone has a job to do and clear direction to get it done.
A couple notes about milestones:
- Use them sensibly – If there are too few, your team lacks the motivation to win, but if there are too many, you just overwhelm the masses. Find a good balance and stick with it.
- Time them sensibly, too – Timing is just as important as frequency. Make them challenging, but achievable.
- Sometimes, it doesn’t work out – You can take the “failure is not an option approach” with the team, but make sure your inner voice understands that possibility exists. Make sure your plan is flexible.
Review the Tapes
Once the project is complete, sit down and go over everything. What worked and what didn’t? What made you shine for this client? What could use a little tweaking? Learn from the experience, Grasshopper. Even a perfect project has something to show you.
Simple project management by definition is, well, simple, especially if you have a winning content plan in place.
Darla F is a full-time freelance writer who specializes in helping agencies meet their goals by developing creative and engaging content.