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Great Custom Content

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Great Custom Content

  1. 1. 610.883.7988 thinkpennypacker.com A Guide to Great CUstom Content
  2. 2. 610.883.7988 thinkpennypacker.com Contents » What is Custom Content? 3 » Why Create Custom Content? 4 » Five Steps to Great Custom Content! 5 » Explore 6 » Plan 7 » Create » Custom Content Strategy 8 » Writing & Editing 9 » Print Design & Production 10 » Online Design & Production 11 » Deliver 12 » Measure 13 © 2013 Pennypacker & Associates, LLC. Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Pennypacker & Associates helps businesses and associations create compelling content. Whatever your publishing needs — white papers, magazines, newsletters, books — we can help you create content that’s engaging, thought- provoking, educational, persuasive, and meets your goals. We can assist you by enhancing content you’ve written in-house, or we can write content for you. Jim Pennypacker President 2
  3. 3. 610.883.7988 thinkpennypacker.com What is custom content? Using custom content is a marketing technique for attracting and engaging an audience with valuable, relevant information that addresses their needs. You use custom content to move your audience through the buying cycle: » build awareness of your firm and generate qualified leads » demonstrate that you clearly understand your prospects’ needs » help your prospects evaluate your firm and make a choice » support the purchase decision and implementation stage » foster customer loyalty and drive repeat business. Custom content—white papers, newsletters, books, websites— allows you to earn trust and build credibility and recognition. And because your audience trusts you, they turn to you for help. Various forms of custom content DIGITAL » White papers & articles » e-Books & magazines » Social media & blogs » e-Newsletters » Websites & microsites » e-Mail marketing » Research reports » Case studies PRINT » White papers & articles » Books & newsletters » Magazines & journals » Research reports » Case studies » Event materials » Direct mail 3
  4. 4. 610.883.7988 thinkpennypacker.com Why create custom content? A poll conducted by Roper Public Affairs on behalf of the Custom Content Council showed that custom content influences purchases. » More than two-thirds of respondents say that companies that provide information about their products and services help them make better purchasing decisions. » Overall, custom content is a preferred source of information with nearly three- quarters of respondents agreeing that getting information about companies from an interesting collection of articles is more appealing than getting information from advertisements. » 78% say that custom content indicates that companies are interested in building good relationships with them and most feel better about a company when they are reading content the company has provided. » 70% like custom content because the content provides information targeted to the reader’s specific interests. SOURCE: “Americans’ Relationship with Custom Publications and the Companies That Provide Them,” Roper Public Affairs and Media, April 2009. Benefits of custom content » Generate sales leads » Nurture leads & support sales efforts » Foster customer loyalty » Establish a thought leadership position » Open new markets » Build awareness & credibility » Use as an SEO tactic » Differentiate yourself from the competition » Gain visibility with analysts/influencers 4
  5. 5. 610.883.7988 thinkpennypacker.com 5steps to great custom content! How can you implement a custom content program? A complex process, publishing content requires serious expertise to do well (and is absolutely worth it). We’ve identified 5 steps that you need to clearly understand to implement an effective custom content program: Explore, Plan, Create, Deliver, and Measure. For each of these steps we’ve identified questions that you need to be able to answer to demonstrate that you have the depth of knowledge you’ll need to succeed — from clearly understanding why you are developing custom content to how you go about determining whether or not you’ve met your custom content goals. How should you begin? Keep reading. Five steps to creating a great custom content program » Explore » Plan » Create » Deliver » Measure 5
  6. 6. 610.883.7988 thinkpennypacker.com » Why are you considering producing content?  What are you trying to accomplish — what are your specific goals and objectives? » Who is your audience? Are you targeting a specific audience? Have you identified them? » What are the informational needs of your audience? What do they need to know? » What are the underlying goals of your audience? What business issues keep them awake at night? » What do you want your audience to do? What actions do you need them to take to reach your custom content goals? » Are you using content to differentiate your company from your competition? If not, how can you? » Do you understand your content’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? » Have you formally documented a custom content strategy? Do you have buy-in from executive management for your strategy? » Is your custom content strategy aligned with your overall marketing and corporate strategies? » How will you know whether you’ve met your custom content goals and objectives? Explore Custom content begins with the question Why? 6
  7. 7. 610.883.7988 thinkpennypacker.com » Who’s responsible for managing the overall custom content program, making sure that everything is planned for and seeing that everything gets done according to plan? » What exactly needs to be done, and what is the schedule for accomplishing each task? » Who will work on what, and are they available when needed? Who is responsible for scheduling and managing these people? » What will the work cost, how will it be paid for, and have adequate budgets been allocated to complete all the work? » If you need to rely on sources outside your organization, how will you select them? Who will manage them? » How is the quality of ongoing work evaluated? If not acceptable, how will you deal with it? » What decisions need to be made and who will make them? » Are there plans in place describing how you would respond to any risks to your plans? » Are you able to collect data on the progress of your program? Are you getting the information you need to make good decisions? » Are there processes and procedures in place to help you continuously improve your custom content program? Plan Now that you have your custom content strategy developed, how will you implement it? 7
  8. 8. 610.883.7988 thinkpennypacker.com » Have you assessed your current content to determine what you need to add, update, or replace? » How will your custom content help your audience fulfill their needs and help you meet your objectives? » What should your content say — how will you use content to position your company in the marketplace? » What content must you have to fulfill the needs of your audience at each of the five phases of the buying cycle — awareness, knowledge, evaluation, purchase, loyalty. » What kinds of content forms are possible — newsletter, magazine, white paper, book, blog … — and which should you use? » Are you planning an optimal content mix? If you have limited resources, how will you decide what to do first? » Do you have the capabilities and assets needed to create the content? If not, what will you do about it? » What risks are possible in creating your content (or in not creating it)? » Who in the organization do you need to involve in this content development? Who decides whether or not to develop the content? » Is all your content aligned — similar messaging, style, positioning — and focused on meeting your custom content goals? CreateCustom Content Strategy Now that you’ve developed your custom content plan, how will you determine what content you need? 8
  9. 9. 610.883.7988 thinkpennypacker.com » What, specifically, are you going to write about — what’s your editorial point of view? » What writing style is most appropriate to get the action you want from your audience? » Who is going to do the writing (you, a subject matter expert, an executive, a subcontractor)? How will you get them to write what you need and keep on schedule? » Can you aggregate content from multiple sources — content that’s been published for other purposes or content from a group of authors? » How should you structure your content for optimal results (short copy, long copy, keywords, well-spaced sub-heads, lists...)? » Do you know the difference between writing for print and online media? Are you prepared to write appropriately for different media? » Who’s going to check the writing for accuracy, consistency, copyright violations, grammar and spelling? » Do you need an editorial calendar? For how long a time period? Who develops and manages it? » Who in your organization needs to review and/or approve copy? How will you manage this review process? » Remember, all this work is constrained by a budget, a schedule, a scope of work, and a certain level of quality expected — who’s watching that you meet these constraints? CreateWriting & Editing Now that you’ve developed your custom content strategy, who’s actually going to write and edit the content? 9
  10. 10. 610.883.7988 thinkpennypacker.com » What’s the best content form for accomplishing your goals — newsletter, white paper, magazine, book …  other? » What combination of type, images, and page layout will lend itself to content that engages your audience? » Who’s going to provide the creative materials you need — designs, photography, illustrations …? Who will judge their quality? » Who’s going to put all this creative material together in the form you’ve chosen (you, in-house designers, subcontractors)? » Are there corporate style guidelines you need to follow? Do you need to create them so all your content is aligned visually? » What content design and production tools will you use? » How do you select the best printer for the print form you’ve chosen, one who offers you the quality you need for the least cost? » Do you know what print specifications are most appropriate for the form you’ve chosen, including paper and binding choices? Can you effectively communicate with your printer about these? » Who’s going to review and approve your print proofs? » How many publications will you need printed? What are the decisions you need to make regarding cost and quantity? How will you manage the inventory? CreatePrint Design & Production Now that you have the words you want, how will you use them in a print media format that will give you the results you desire? 10
  11. 11. 610.883.7988 thinkpennypacker.com » What’s the best content form to accomplish your goals — website, blog, ezine, e-newsletter, e-book, microsite ... other? » What combination of type, color, images, audio, video ... will lend itself to content that engages your audience? » How much interaction do you want with your audience? How do you design for that? » Who’s going to provide the creative materials you need — designs, images, audio, video …? Who will judge their quality? » Who’s going to put all this creative material together in the form you’ve chosen (you, in-house designers/programmers, subcontractors)? » What content development tools will you use? » What technical aspects of online publishing do you need to understand — html, seo, ftp, cms, css, php, flash, java, blogroll ... ? » Is all your content optimized for search engines? Who will maintain the content? How much effort will that entail? » If you have technical problems, who will you turn to for help? » How will you manage the production workflow, from writers/editors to design/production? Who will have final say on the finished product? CreateOnline Design & Production Now that you have the words you want, how will you use them in an online media format that will give you the results you desire? 11
  12. 12. 610.883.7988 thinkpennypacker.com » How does your audience know your content exists? How do you market your content? » Do you know what delivery channels are available to you and which ones your customers use? Do you actively leverage your content across multiple channels? » Do you target your audience (can you?) and possibly deliver different versions of your content to different targets? » Do you sell your content or do you give it away? If you sell it, at what price (money, email address, detailed contact information …)? How do you collect? How do you evaluate customer satisfaction? » Do you mail or e-mail it, send it by a delivery service, post it, share it, or just hand it out at trade shows or meetings? » How do you manage your audience list, keep it current and accurate? » Do you integrate the distribution of print media with your website (for example, offering the print publication if the online viewer provides information or money)? » Do you want to grow your circulation? If so, how will you do it? » How much will all this distribution cost? » How will you know which delivery method is best — in terms of image and delivering results as well as being cost effective? Deliver Now that you’ve published your custom content, how do you get your audience to see it? 12
  13. 13. 610.883.7988 thinkpennypacker.com » Did your audience actually see your content … and have they read it? » What do they think about it? » How has it changed the way they think about your organization? » How has it changed their behavior toward your organization? » How will you get the answers to these questions from your audience? » Have you built in ways for your audience to actively engage with you — using surveys, premiums, website integration? » Are you meeting your custom content goals? How do you know? What metrics will you use? » What else do you have to do to continue getting the results you need? » Do you have the data you need, in the format you need, to provide in- formation to others in your organization that shows the value of your custom content program? » Do you know how to improve your custom content program? Measure Now that your audience has seen your content, how do you determine whether or not it’s doing what you hoped it would do? 13
  14. 14. 610.883.7988 thinkpennypacker.com » Pennypacker & Associates helps businesses and associations create compelling content. Whatever your publishing needs — white papers, magazines, newsletters, books — we can help you create content that’s engaging, thought-provoking, educational, persuasive, and meets your goals. We can assist you by enhancing content you’ve written in-house, or we can write content for you.