Visual cues have always resonated in a way that words on a black and white spreadsheet quite simply cannot. Offering a visual aid has a significant impact on the retention and recall of new information. This is just as true in the classroom as it is the boardroom.
Understanding how to harness the power of visuals in your favour is something all knowledge workers should be considering when building their strategies.
This includes content marketers.
There are complex components of content marketing strategies that are much easier to internalize visually. Being aware and executing a plan based around that idea can have a significant impact on the success of the strategy itself.
Identifying the Issue
Here’s a fun fact to kick things off: only 27% of B2B content marketers have a documented content strategy.
That can’t be true, right? Unfortunately, it is.
That’s not meant to terrify you, it’s meant to show you that there are some gaping organizational flaws in how content marketers have approached strategy in the past.
There are plenty of content marketers who simply do things at random. They’ll schedule a blog here and there or try to get an email newsletter out in a few short days. There’s no real rhyme or reason to their work pattern and that can be devastating in an industry where a strategic mindset is not only beneficial — it’s critical.
Research is Key
Now that you’ve identified this missed opportunity for content marketers, it’s time to do something about it.
This process should always begin with great content research. You need to be able to have a strong knowledge base for what will later make up your visual content strategy (spoiler alert). This includes personas to help better understand your target audience, SEO best practices, and distribution lists to push your content.
You also need to have a deep understanding of the market you’re in. Who are your main competitors? What are they doing that’s successful? What advantages might they have over you? How do your competitors frame themselves in the market based on content and tone?
These might seem like pretty obvious questions to answer, but having concrete evidence of what your competitors are doing can influence your next move in a major way.
Start at the Finish Line
Once you’ve put in the groundwork and collected all the necessary research, you need to set clearly defined goals.
Content marketers that don’t have these goals often find themselves in a perpetual scramble state. They’re not measuring their success properly and inadvertently ignoring how to reach those goals. Interestingly enough, the Content Marketing Institute found that a mere 30% of marketers say their organizations are effective at content marketing.
Starting with a visual outline of these goals is a great place to start. Lay out the entire growth strategy, essential metrics, and figure out how you want to show year-over-year growth.
It’s important to do this in an easily digestible format so that all team members can understand the exact goals in a clear manner.
There’s no use in having organizational goals if you don’t show your team how they can achieve them. Creating a roadmap is a great way to get everyone on the same page and working towards a common goal.
When road mapping a content marketing project, make sure that you have all of the people you need onboard: content strategists, writers, graphic designers, marketers, legal personnel, developers, and so on. This can obviously vary from company to company, depending on who needs to be involved.
Whoever is necessary to that particular project should be addressed in the visual representation of the roadmap so that it’s easy for everyone to follow what tasks each department has ownership of.
Break down what needs to be done into quarters, months or weeks (whatever time measurement you choose) so that the individual team members can see clear deadlines. This also promotes employee engagement and makes the strategy a more collaborative process all around.
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