|Amy Nicholson: the clichés do work|
1. Rome wasn't built in a dayContent is a long game. You can have Harry Potter content in your pocket, but if you don't have the people, resources and time to back it up, you might as well not bother.
Know your limits, be realistic about what you can achieve, and get going where you can. As publishers you already appreciate content, editorial, publishing systems and workflow. You are in a stronger position. You really need a managing editor for content marketing, someone who is a master of your entire universe. Practical steps you can take include:
- Maintain an editorial calendar
- Create content departments and give them owners
- Cultivate subject matter experts and other content sources
- Brainstorm ideas regularly
- Develop guidelines: style guide, tone of voice, format guidelines
- Put in place an editorial board to review content effectiveness
2. Don't reinvent the wheelOld habits die hard. Follow the inverted pyramid format that news rooms have used for years. Get to the point clearly for a 'stop the press' story. You should be able to edit paragraphs from bottom to the top of the story without losing understanding. Front load your content, use plain language, use style guides, consistent use of what you say and how you say it.
3. Waste not, want notLook at your calendar and re-purpose or redistribute again and again. Think about whether or not you can write once and publish everywhere. Find a way to write for all those different channels in one go so you only have to get sign-off once: can a headline can be used for an email subject line as well?
4. All that glitters isn't goldEver been asked if you're on Pinterest? Ever been told you need an app (but without a good reason why)? It has to be about content first and foremost. (And content comes from what your community need or want).
5. The longest journey starts with a single stepDon't become paralysed by trying to perfect something before you get started. Try doing something and see how it goes. Your customers are an ever changing group. Digital is not a degradation of good copy. It enables you to edit live so you can feed back and optimise over and over again.
Your content toolbox should include...
- Briefing forms
- Writers' guidelines
- Content inventory
- Editorial calendar
- Copy formats
- A persuasive manner
Amy Nicholson is Managing Editor for Sticky Content. She spoke at the ALPSP seminar Content Marketing - using your publishing assets?