How to Set Content and Other Creative Marketing Priorities
Is your content and marketing material development process a little out of control?
It’s a common issue with businesses.
The demand for content and marketing materials is huge, but the resources to create it haven’t increased to keep pace. Marketing teams also don’t have people or systems to get and stay organized. Content and creative marketing professionals are getting stretched to the limit.
Believe it or not, the remedy for getting your development crisis under control is through a simple form. It will help you more confidently respond to content and marketing creation requests and set priorities. It may even give you the information you need to eliminate unnecessary or duplicative work. In this article, we explain how to set up an intake form and implement its use. It will help your marketing team provide better service to the people in your organization, bring order out of chaos and prioritize the projects that will benefit the business the most.
Get Started: Create a Request Form
Often, people who need content or other marketing and sales support materials only have a vague idea of what their actual needs are when they put in requests.
A well constructed request form will help them figure it out. It will go a long way to preventing:
Creating content and materials that miss the mark
Developing duplicative pieces
Misunderstandings and disconnects
Costly and time-consuming rework
Producing content in the wrong format.
An intake form will also help you understand essential content and marketing material needs and allow you to figure out how you can incorporate new requests into your ongoing development process.
A form will facilitate communicating about content deliverables, allowing you to create pieces that are more targeted, appropriate, and likely to produce the business results the requestor expects—putting things in writing forces people to think them through.
Your request form should be complete, but it’s smart to keep it as short as possible. People won’t want to fill it out if it takes too long. Start out with a reasonable length questionnaire that gets you the information you need. You can adjust it over time based on the feedback you get from stakeholders or information gaps and redundancies you identify after you start using it.
Here are some questions that content and creative marketers typically include on request forms and some additional information related to each question.
What is your idea or need? Don’t define a final deliverable. Simply explain what type of content or material you want and what you want it to do.
It’s important for creative marketers to understand why they’re creating something, not necessarily what needs to be created.
What do you know about the topic already? List sources of information that should be leveraged to develop the content or piece of marketing material, along with ones to avoid. Include specific links wherever possible. Also, provide any key points and data that must be included in the piece and the rationale for requiring it.
Content and creative marketers need experts in different subject areas to guide them to good sources of information.
Should anyone be interviewed? This could include key stakeholders, internal experts, or external thought leaders.
It’s often a good idea to conduct interviews early in the development process because stakeholders and other experts may have a point of view that will shape the deliverable.
What’s your deadline? Also, explain what’s driving it. Does the piece have to be delivered at a specific time for a specific reason? What is the impact to the business if it’s late?
Having this information will help start the negotiations around deadlines and understand how to prioritize work projects from different stakeholders.
What are your business goals for the project? Include specific numbers-based goals (key performance indicators) that the marketing effort is expected to generate.
The answers will help ensure the appropriate type of piece is developed that will get the expected results and to benchmark project success over the long term.
What is your budget? Explain how many dollars are allocated to development and how it should be applied to different parts of the project, for example, long-form content development versus social media.
Understanding this early on will help guide marketers to find the most efficient way to use budget dollars for content and material creation and to prevent waste.
What should the tone be? It’s important to know in advance whether content should be humorous, conversational, authoritative, educational or any other type of tone.
This explains to developers how to position their content.
Where in the sales funnel does it fit? Explain how and when the deliverable will be used.
Content early in the marketing process typically includes very different types of information than material used to close the deal.
What is the impact if the content doesn’t get produced? This helps marketers understand the ultimate value of the piece and how to prioritize its development.
In the end, is it really worth taking on a project that won’t be missed if it never gets produced?
How do you expect to maximize distribution? Do you plan to use social media, email, advertising, and other strategies?
This helps marketers understand if the material they develop is going to be leveraged to its fullest.
You may have other questions that you’ll want to include on your form, but we’ve found that these are the ones most marketers we work with find valuable. They help them bring order out of chaos and control workflow.
Getting Stakeholders to Use Your Request Form
Ensure that everyone who uses your content and marketing services fills out your form, no exceptions. Letting a single project slip through the cracks could seriously muck up your content and marketing material development system.
Work together with requestors when they fill out your form for the first time. Help them understand why you’re asking them to complete it, and identify where and how it will be used. Make it clear that the extra time it takes to fill it out at the beginning of a project will help it run more smoothly through the entire development process. Finally, explain the significance and value of each question.
Consistently reference the form throughout the material development process to ensure everything is completed in a timely manner and that the piece doesn’t unintentionally shift into the wrong direction as it’s developed.
Finally, if you get new direction on a content development project from a stakeholder, ensure they document the change on the intake form. It will make certain everyone associated with the project is aware of it and help ensure that they are working under the new direction.
It may seem too easy to be true, but we’ve seen it work countless times. Simply asking people to fill out a form to launch the content and marketing materials creation process can be all it takes to make it a smooth and efficient one.