THREE FIRST STEPS FOR Operationalizing Your Content

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THREE FIRST STEPS FOROperationalizingYour ContentMarketingA Publication of Lionbridgewith contributions from Aha Media, LLCGlobal Marketing OperationsLocallyOptimized.GloballyConsistent.

Executive SummaryIntroductionCommon ObstaclesUnconvinced LeadershipScattershot LeadershipWeak ExecutionGetting StartedSet Your GoalsDevelop Your StrategyAround AudiencesBaseline: Where You AreConclusionAbout the AuthorsShare this eBookThree First Steps for Operationalizing your Content Marketing Strategywww.globalmarketingops.com2

INTRODUCTIONYou invest time, money and resources in developing, creatingand curating content for your digital presence, but for reasonsunbeknownst to you, your content is inconsistent, off-message,out-of-date, and poorly targeted. Your website has become agraveyard of failed initiatives. If markets are conversations, yourorganization has a stutter. It is time to learn that short term initiativessuch as task forces and website redesigns do not produce longterm results.Content is one of your most strategic assets.Are you treating it that way?Success with content marketing lies in the ability to develop and deliverthe right message to right audience at the right time. Falling into thecommon trap of focusing too heavily on the creative process at theexpense of effective execution can be a lethal injection for any contentmarketing program.The demands on the marketing organization are rapidly changing andthe pressure has never been greater. An unprecedented array of skillsand activities now stand between the development of content and itsconsumption by an audience. To be successful in today’s global, digitaleconomy and reach multiple audiences across multiple channels, you,and your organization, must do more than simply adapt - you musttransform - and operate like a publisher.Transforming your marketing operational capability means aligningoperational capacity with strategy and establishing metrics to supportcontinual improvement, accountability and transparency. Initiativessuch as tagging for targeting, search engine optimization, localization,instrumentation for analytics, and performance measurement are a start,but to excel against your competitors content development needs toevolve from an episodic project to a continuous program.Share this eBookThree First Steps for Operationalizing your Content Marketing Strategywww.globalmarketingops.com3

COMMON OBSTACLESMost companies see the value of having an effective marketingprogram, but few have implemented the organizational changenecessary to develop one.New skills and capabilities need to be acquired. Roles need to beexpanded with new responsibilities. Content development needsto evolve from an episodic project to a continuous program.There are a number of organizational attitudes that obstructchange. Here are a few scenarios that may sound familiar.“We are not in thecontent business”Unconvinced LeadershipContent marketing strategy has never emerged as a topic worthfocusing on. Higher levels of management doubt the effectiveness ofcontent to grow the business and prefer to rely on trusted activitieslike face-to-face sales. Executives wrongly think that content wastaken care of two years ago when the website was re-designed. Adbuys on trade magazines are automatic now and don’t require asecond thought. Even if the effectiveness of these channels is steadilydeclining, they feel safer than committing to a new strategy.While this attitude is becoming extinct, you still see it from time totime. In these cases, the most compelling argument is usually searchresults placement. No executive wants to see her competitors listedahead of her company. The initial reaction will be an order to buy adwords or bring in a search engine guy to fix it. Look for a reputableexpert who will tell the truth: SEO is a long process that requiresdeveloping content that people genuinely find useful. You can’t trickGoogle over the long term or tell it what to do. If you develop thekind of content that your audience wants, Google will send traffic toyou. The best way to do that is by developing and executing a contentmarketing strategy.Share this eBookThree First Steps for Operationalizing your Content Marketing Strategywww.globalmarketingops.com4

COMMON OBSTACLES“We need a blog. An app.We have to get on.No,. No,.”Unconvinced LeadershipContent marketing strategy has never emerged as a topic worthfocusing on. Higher levels of management doubt the effectiveness ofcontent to grow the business and prefer to rely on trusted activitieslike face-to-face sales. Executives wrongly think that content wastaken care of two years ago when the website was re-designed. Adbuys on trade magazines are automatic now and don’t require asecond thought. Even if the effectiveness of these channels is steadilydeclining, they feel safer than committing to a new strategy.While this attitude is becoming extinct, you still see it from time to time.In these cases, the most compelling argument is usually search resultsplacement. No executive wants to see her competitors listed aheadof her company. The initial reaction will be an order to buy ad wordsor bring in a search engine guy to fix it. Look for a reputable expertwho will tell the truth: SEO is a long process that requires developingcontent that people genuinely find useful. You can’t trick Google overthe long term or tell it what to do. If you develop the kind of contentthat your audience wants, Google will send traffic to you. The best wayto do that is by developing and executing a content marketing strategy.Share this eBookThree First Steps for Operationalizing your Content Marketing Strategywww.globalmarketingops.com5

COMMON OBSTACLES“We never getanything done.”Scattershot LeadershipWhile non-supportive leadership is bad, scattershot leadership isworse. These leaders are attracted to the latest shiny object with noregard for strategic value or attention to results. Simply getting thereis considered enough; there is no thought to maximizing the value ofbeing there. These leaders leave behind a trail of dead blogs and brandpages that embarrass more than enhance their corporate image.A content marketing strategy will help you decide if there is a worthwhilereason to justify the sustained effort of maintaining and leveraging thatpresence. Going in, you will know what kind of execution is requiredfor success. Execution capabilities will help you achieve operationalefficiency to sustain programs past the time when the novelty wearsoff. Continuous measurement will identify failure so you can eitheradjust or gracefully terminate the initiative.Weak ExecutionYour organization may have a content marketing strategy or perhapsthe seeds of one, but fail to execute it. There are a number of causes,but they all boil down to resources. You may not have enough peopleor everyone may be too busy with other things. Available resourcesmay not have the right skills.The resource problem occurs when the content marketing strategyis too ambitious for the budget; or when people are not fullycommitted to the strategy and don’t follow through when it is time toexecute. Assuming that you accepted your real constraints when youdeveloped your strategy, you will be able to execute if people expectthe outcomes to outweigh the investment.If you are just getting started, this is quite a leap of faith. And ifpeople don’t fully make that leap, the failure that results will justifythe hesitation. To succeed, you need to make the initial commitmentas small as possible and be able to show outsized results. Choose aninitiative with a high likelihood of success and measurable results thatmatter. When people start to see success, they will build habits torepeat it.Share this eBookThree First Steps for Operationalizing your Content Marketing Strategywww.globalmarketingops.com6

GETTING STARTEDOnce you have found your way around those organizationalobstacles and are committed to creating a high-performingdigital marketing program, you may be wondering where to start.Here are three recommended first steps.STEP 1: Set Your GoalsStart with the most basic question: “why?” Why doyou have a website? Why do you want to engage yourcustomers? Your answers should be very closely alignedwith your business goals. For example, you may think thatyou have a superior product that people would buy if theyunderstood its benefits. Perhaps you are creating a newproduct category that your market doesn’t understandyet. You might be trying to retain customers by helpingthem be more successful with your product. You mightbe trying to improve efficiency by introducing self-servicesupport. Most likely, you want to achieve all of theseresults, but you need to prioritize what to focus on first.When thinking of goals, consider how you will measuresuccess. Key performance indicators will be differentdepending on the goal. For example, success in marketeducation may be measured by traffic to resources thatdescribe the product category and by market adoption(number of search engine results) of a term that you create.Share this eBookThree First Steps for Operationalizing your Content Marketing Strategywww.globalmarketingops.com7

GETTING STARTEDSTEP 2: Develop Your StrategyAround AudiencesMost business goals cannot be achieved without thecooperation of the prospects, customers, and otherinfluencers that make up your audience. Segment andtarget audiences that are the most crucial to your specificgoals. Take a little while to get to know these segments.What do individuals within these segments have incommon? Developing personas is a useful exercise to helpyou understand and target the right audience segments.A persona is a fictitious character that represents anaudience segment. Personas help you predict how anaudience segment will respond to what you do. Take whatyou learn from actual performance data to refine yourpersonas.Once you have your target audiences in your sights,develop a content marketing strategy to reach them. Thereare several elements to a content marketing strategy:Message:the types of information, themes,and topics you want to express.Format:article, whitepaper, newsletter,infographic, video, etc.Channels:your website, media website,Facebook, Twitter, emailnewsletter, app, etc.Markets:countries and languages that youwill publish intoA successful content marketing strategy will get usefuland compelling content to the audience segments thatmatter most to your business.Share this eBookThree First Steps for Operationalizing your Content Marketing Strategywww.globalmarketingops.com8

GETTING STARTEDSTEP 3: Baseline: Where You AreBefore taking the first steps to operationalizing a contentmarketing strategy, you should have a baseline of how youare performing right now. This baseline will expose areasthat you need to address first and help you measure yourprogress along the way. There are a number of benchmarksyou can do, including the following:Search Engine BenchmarkUsability StudyA Search Engine Benchmark will tell youthe keywords that are important to yourindustry and how your websites performagainst those keywords. Despite thegrowing importance of social marketing,a majority of traffic still comes throughsearch engines. Most companies shouldconsider extending search engine analysisto a Global Search Engine Benchmarkthat measures performance outside ofyour home market. In today’s globaleconomy, multi-market reach is becomingincreasingly important. Most companiesneglect their global presence and missgreat opportunity.A usability study will identify obstaclesthat stand in the way of your customersworking with you. The study should focuson the personas and tasks identified in yourcontent marketing strategy and shouldaccount for differences in language,culture, and platform. If your targetaudience is on the move, you better makesure you have interfaces that are optimizedfor mobile platforms. If you are trying toreach customers in different countries,you need to support the languages andcultural norms they prefer. Any kind oftransactional functionality must accountfor regional differences.Website Governanceand Compliance AuditConversion RatesWhile many companies have a styleguide and policies for accessibility, thesedocuments are often out-of-date andtypically ignored. Websites read like agenetic record of evolving brand guidelinesand rogue initiatives. This is particularlyproblematic for global companies thatstruggle to balance global consistency andlocal relevance. A compliance audit willuncover and quantify the inconsistenciesthat weaken your brand and confuse yourcustomers.Have an analytics expert review the datayou have collected thus far. See whatconversion information you can infer.Most likely, you will learn that you are notcollecting the type of data you need. Thinkthrough the analytics story you want to beable to tell and identify metrics that willhelp you tell it.Share this eBookThree First Steps for Operationalizing your Content Marketing Strategywww.globalmarketingops.com9

CONCLUSIONWithout a marketing operations program toleverage it, creative work is wasted and caneven be counter-productive.We see evidence of this syndrome all over the Internet, with muddledand neglected websites and inconsistent messaging. The good newsis that there is great potential for companies to stand out if they canmaster the execution side of their marketing programs.Get in touchTo learn how Lionbridge can help optimize yourcontent and marketing operations, visit us online atwww.globalmarketingops.comor, contact us.Share this eBookThree First Steps for Operationalizing your Content Marketing Strategywww.globalmarketingops.com10

ABOUT THE AUTHORSSeth Gottlieb has 15 years of experience using, implementing, andreviewing content technologies. As an integrator and consultant, hehas helped businesses large and small improve the efficiency andeffectiveness of their content management and publishing. As anindustry an