Content marketing has many faces and can manifest itself in many ways. When starting out with content marketing I took a simple approach that revolved around an ebook or guide designed to educate an audience.
The process was:
- Initial idea
- Scope the document (# of pages, resources needed)
- Create a draft
- Get feedback and iterate
- Produce final product
That was it in a nutshell. That model served me well for a while. The problem was that each project was done in a silo. Once it was started, it was all that was worked on until it was complete, then the process started over again. Even though there was consistency on a base level, the content didn’t necessarily build off of each other.
Over the years I’ve adjusted my process a lot, I still find myself adjusting it. The one thing that has stuck with me and been a gold mine has been my backlog.
I learned about the concept of a backlog from some developer friends that used SCRUM for software development. They practiced an agile approach and I wondered if it could be applied to my work. The first thing I took from them was the idea of a backlog that in their case was features to be built. They would create or curate a large group of user stories that would determine product enhancements on post-it notes and then they would prioritize and work them from there.
The user story is: As a <type of user>, I want <some goal> so that <some reason>
How do you create a backlog for content marketing?
This is a simplified version that can get you started.
- Go to your nearest supply closet and grab a handful of post-it notes and some pens.
- Start with the framework of As a <type of user>, I want <some goal> so that <some reason>.
- Start filling out as many post-its as you can. If you are honestly thinking of your customers first there are no bad ideas. just write them all down on paper.
- Do this for anything that has been a customer issue or a hypothetical issue you can envision a customer having.
- Put all of these post-its on a wall
- Group the post-its into any natural categories that they fall into. ie. product focused, educational…
- Prioritize the vertical categories into a list of post-its determined by the potential impact of being able to tell that specific story.
Once you have these lists, you have a backlog, potentially hundreds of pieces of content < stories > that you can work on, dig deeper into and develop.
The content marketing backlog should be able to address customer needs and your desires to educate them on how to use your product/service.
That’s when the real work begins and you can start creating, repurposing and building the content library.