Building a Content Marketing Program

A marketing agency asked Who’s to help them transform their e-newsletter content development efforts into a marketable and scalable content marketing program. What they had in place was a number of expert writers churning out content and a content management system (CMS) that helped them store, manage and distribute customizable e-newsletter content. As they increased their client base, they found the foundation they had in place when they were small was no longer scalable. They needed a way to meet their client needs while still remaining efficient and profitable.

Who’s started with a series of client discussions to understand the underlying vision, goals and operational processes in place. We found the client already had the resources and the knowledge capital in place. What they lacked was an organizing structure and tools that would help them scale.

Our solution included development of the following:

Module development – While hundreds of articles around a centralized theme had already been written, the content needed to be organized and packaged for sales. What we discovered during our initial discussions was that the agency’s primary audiences were in three different buyer stages. We segmented the articles by stage, then developed thematic modules. These modules could be sold individually or packaged together based on client need.

Program guidelines – Our agency client had been selling content for years. But with the new modular approach, he needed materials to both support his sales efforts and his internal operational processes. Who’s developed two versions of the program guidelines – one with background, value and pricing, and one that acted as a brief to onboard staff to the new source of truth.

Templates – Now that we understood what we were selling, it was time to create some repeatable processes for efficiency and scale. As part of our program guidelines, we had identified content elements that needed to be captured for every article. These elements included background and process information useful for project managers and writers, meta data that could be easily placed in the CMS, and coding for storage purposes in our knowledge library. All of these elements were captured on a page table that would be used for every article.

Knowledge Library – Because we already had hundreds of articles and were starting to build up additional artifacts, we decided to look into building a digital library. We evaluated a few different asset management programs and created a simple information architecture so that all documentation could be easily found. We also applied a consistent naming convention to support search and re-labeled the articles accordingly. Now everything we had could be found easily by anyone who needed access.

Editorial calendar – The old editorial calendar was general and not focused toward the specific modules that we had identified. A new editorial calendar was developed with a workflow that included quarterly updates. Analytics are captured on all content to help refine existing topics and one staff member is charged with research on new topics. An editorial team is in place to review and approve the calendar.

Now and in the Future

Once the foundation was set, Who’s helped the client evangelize this new system to staff. Who’s now serves as a resource for questions and also provides ongoing content development support for the articles.

In the future, we plan to modify our page table to support social media efforts. We’ll also incorporate a more formal process around headline testing and analytics. It’s been great fun to work alongside this client, and to see his success with his own clients. He’s taken this foundational program to the next level by pitching to new verticals and refining some of the processes we built to accommodate staff needs.