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How content plans, core pillars, key topics and elevating your narrative all drive successful content Marketing

This outtake focused on content marketing strategy – plans, pillars and expanding the narrative to ensure greater success with content is taken from an hour of discussion recorded exclusively for our Pivotal Marketer Community on Facebook sees Geraint Holliman, marketing consultant, MSc in Digital Marketing trainer and published author and MMC’s Rene Power.

It’s the second part of a series of serialisations on content marketing strategy and implementation.

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Rene Power:

So we’re thinking about a process, we’re thinking about approaching this from the inside out.

So what are the things that is in my head and whenever I’m talking to particularly B2B clients, particularly in manufacturing, engineering, industrial, who are normally, I have to say, lagging behind some of the best practise, in these things?

I say, “Look, you’ve got to have an editorial plan. You’ve got to have a process for being very clear on what you’re producing, who you’re producing it for, what you want it to affect, what do you want it to do. And within that, have some pillars and themes”.

So maybe if we talk a little bit around some of these things. I know you’re a big exponent of the editorial plan as well.

Editorial plans and content creation

Geraint Holliman:

Absolutely, yeah. The editorial plan is about literally how you kind of schedule your content creation and execution over a period of time, six to about 12, 24 months.

So the editorial part is, I always say if you think of yourself, doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, think of yourself as the editor of the magazine for well, whatever industry you’re in.

You’re a sock manufacturer, you’re the sock manufacturer weekly editor, what would be interesting to people who buy sock manufacturing machines?

And if you think about it in those terms, I mean, if you can’t think [inaudible 00:18:08], think about something you’re interested in. I’m interested in gardening.

If I was the head of BBC Gardening Magazine, what would people be interested in this time of year? They’re interested in those things, this kind of advice, those kinds of tips, that kind of help, blah, blah, blah.

So we write about that. So you’re thinking of yourself as a publisher, right? And I think you said this at the beginning of the call.

Rene Power:

Yeah, 100%. I think all companies that are serious about attracting a certain type of customer, you need to be thinking like a publisher. You need to be putting yourself out there in the best possible light, that is going to be relatable and have resonance to the people that you’re looking to attract, yeah.

Geraint Holliman:

Now, on that very point, and a lot of people buy into that, well, in my experience, they do kind of, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. We should be publishers of Sock Machine Manufacturer Monthly.” And I say, yeah, but if you’re thinking about that, what kind of content, therefore, would be interesting to those customers? Is it always going to be about you and your machines? If I’ve filled sock.

Oh God, I hope this isn’t a real magazine. If I filled-

Rene Power:

Great machines and we can do loads of different socks in different materials.

Geraint Holliman:

Absolutely, brilliant, excellent. But what are the other interesting things that happen in the sock manufacturing world?

Changes in consumer behaviour, new materials, renewables, how much waste your manufacturing process creates.

These are other interesting things that the sock machine buyer is interested in. And if you have a point of view on that kind of stuff, yeah, these are the kind of the pillars of your content architecture.

Content pillars

So I would say, have three or four things that you are interested in and are interested about, that are relevant to the customer.

Yeah, okay, one of them is about machines because you make machines. But there are things like, as I said, materials, consumer behaviour, environmental aspirations. So those are your pillars.

And within these sort of pillars you would have topics, which would effectively be the titles of pieces of content.

So you build yourself this nice framework of the kinds of things that we create content on. That’s not to say you would never create content about something that didn’t fit your pillars and topics.

But it just gives you a lot more focus. And it also means that, over time, you become known for consumer behaviour, understanding materials, yeah and you build up your reputation.

Rene Power:

Yeah, if you find those topics, we’re going to call them pillars. So you think of a piece of paper, you’ve got four columns, if you like, at the top of those columns, you’ve got the big overriding themes that you want to be associated with. And then underneath that is all the stuff related to those themes that you want to be, either talki