Over the course of the last several years there have been countless blog posts, videos and other material shared by various experts (both real and otherwise) on how to effectively create and and manage an online content marketing program. Just recently there was a post that crossed my RSS feed that boiled developing such a program down to three simple steps:

  1. Define goals
  2. Obtain shareholder approval
  3. Define success and measure results

Those steps are, of course, overly simplistic and vague. There’s almost nothing actionable in there.

What that kind of thinking shows is how the concept of content marketing has become reduced to the lowest, most basic ideas without an idea of how to dive deeper. It shows the kind of “everyone/anyone can do it” mindset that has been common for a few years now as the standards for how and when to manage such programs were lowered.

These programs aren’t easy. They aren’t something everyone can do. At the risk of sounding haughty, it takes a particular kind of skill set to not only launch them but also continue managing them and achieve significant business results through them.

Allow me to add a bit to that initial list:

  1. Develop a program framework
  2. Create a program styleguide
  3. Obtain stakeholder approval
  4. Determine content types
  5. Build a program team
  6. Develop a content workflow
  7. Create community engagement guidelines
  8. Report on program metrics
  9. Offer analysis and recommendations
  10. Repeat at regular intervals

Over the course of the next several weeks I’ll go in-depth on each one of those points, offering insights and opinions based on the experience I’ve gained in the nearly 20 years I’ve been running and participating in programs like this.