A content playbook is somewhat like an extended campaign brief, it sets the direction and strategy for the content campaign and it’s designed to serve as a resource for the content team members to reference back to as the campaign is executed. Simply put, the content playbook asks these three questions: What have we achieved already? What do we want to achieve? How will we achieve our goals?
Conducting a thorough content audit is extremely important in any content development strategy. A content audit takes a closer look at existing content to see what’s working and what needs to be improved. To determine how successful certain content is, you’ll need to make sure you have at the minimum an analytics tool like Google Analytics in place. Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool that gives you a vast amount of insight as to how people get to your site, and what they do once they are there.
To get a fuller sense of what has been achieved requires not only looking at your own content but conducting competitive benchmarking and a gap analysis against your top competitors. Looking at your top competitors can help you identify gaps in your own content, areas needing improvement, as well as opportunities to stand out. We will dive further into this topic in a separate post, but for now, know that it’s important to get the full picture of all your content efforts in order to develop a plan to improve.
Developing content for the sake of developing content is not a good strategy, goal, or objective. At best it’s a waste of time and resources, at worst it could negatively impact people’s perceptions of your brand. Quality will always beat quantity when it comes to content, and that’s why your strategy needs to consider your overall business goals and objectives, when defining the goals and objectives for your content campaign.
Your website is your digital storefront, defining what you want to achieve through it, first, will help you prioritize your content needs. If your goal is to sell your products online, do you have an online store that functions properly? If your goal is to gather leads from your website, are you effectively gathering all the information you need to make meaningful follow ups? If your goal is to raise awareness of your brand for prospects doing category research, are you showing up in search results for relevant searches?
Whatever your content goals are, selecting relevant key performance indicators, will also help keep your campaign on track, and flag any potential issues. For example, if your goal is to double engaged traffic to the website in 6 months, a couple of relevant Google Analytics’ KPIs would be Time on Page (average time engaging with the content), and Bounce Rate (percentage leaving the site after that page).
Once the overall strategy is determined via content audits and goals setting, the specific tactics to execute that strategy should also be captured in the content playbook. This includes defined target personas, an editorial calendar, and workflow processes.
Target personas can be developed through consumer research, it’s important that these personas are fact-based. In the content playbook we dive deeper into the target personas, identifying their motivations and needs, so that we can make sure we are developing content for them first and foremost.
The editorial calendar is really the meat of the plan. It will lay out the frequency of posts, their topics, target keywords, due dates, and statuses. The editorial calendar is perhaps the only page in the playbook that will be regularly updated, as the campaign progresses.
Finally, making sure the workflow processes for developing new content are clearly defined can be incredibly helpful going forward, so that no matter who the individual writer or web developer is, there is a clear process the entire team can follow.
We’ve seen incredible returns on even our most modest content campaigns. However, most content campaigns don’t see major improvements until six or more months in, so it’s important to not give up and remember that consistent effort on a clarified strategy can yield major results!