You know the adage, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” Neither does content. Planning a successful content strategy doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it takes a great deal of preparation and foresight.
Preparing a content strategy is so important for many reasons. When developing a clean and concise content strategy, creators need to:
- Identify the purpose and goals of the content
- Understand who the audience is
- Content costs money to make, and it’s essential to budget funds for content production.
- Develop a trustworthy and diverse team
- Get everyone on the same page, and flush out any potential negative outcomes
- Maintain a timeline of events
- Communicate benchmarks, shortfalls, and achievements to the team.
- Execute the final strategy.
Without following these guidelines, a project is destined to fail.
Take, for example, DiGiorno. The pizza company launched a “#whyIstayed hashtag campaign on social media. Unbeknownst to the company, the hashtag was also being used simultaneously during a push by domestic abuse survivors highlighting their reasons for staying with their abusive partner. It was a terrible gaff for DiGiorno and ended up costing the company embarrassment, alienating customers, and ultimately loss of money to correct.
Kickstarting a Content Project
As a real-world example, I personally have just completed a content strategy for my documentary film project ‘Restart 2020.’
I recently wanted to create a documentary film about the artists participating in making New Bedford, Massachusetts a better place to live. The goal of this project was to tell a positive story of a place I love. I also wanted to prove to people that this is actually an amazing place. The film would cost me some money to create, and I needed to come up with a strategy.
I turned to Kickstarter.com, a crowdfunding website designed to help fund creative projects reach their goals. Kickstarter funds a product only if the project reaches 100% of its goal. If it doesn’t reach the goal, the project fails, and the creator receives nothing.
Identifying the Audience
My campaign strategy followed the guidelines mentioned earlier. My planning started 1 year before I launched the campaign. Creating an audience became the most important aspect of my content marketing strategy. I knew I had to create an audience that would support the film, champion my cause, and help me fund the film.
I spent a lot of time identifying my audience and really spent a ton of time figuring out who they were. I knew there was a large population of New Bedford who loves being in this city. I also knew many people are tired of the negative headlines often associated with New Bedford.
I also made a database of people that I thought would be interested in this project and sought out active people with their own audience. I emailed each person and introduced myself, and told them about my project.
At the same time, I needed to expand my social media presence and solidify my project convictions. I posted a new post every 2 days on Instagram, mostly related to New Bedford, art, and a sense of community. I used hashtags relevant to the project and began following other people posting similar content. I found myself genuinely interested in what others were posting of the city, and tried to create content that was genuine to the project. In 6 months, I was able to grow my audience from 400 followers to 864. Many of these new followers became backers for the project.
I credit my success to the months of planning this project. I also am so grateful to the assistance everyone gave me to make this happen.
A week before the campaign was launched I posted a preview to my social media channels. I also sent out press releases to local newspapers, TV stations, and personalized email messages to friends, family, and everyone in my researched database.
During my planning time, I also planned a 30 day content calendar, releasing specific content that helped tell the film’s story, the characters, the motivation behind the film, and ensuring people I was the right person for this project.
Once the campaign was live, I posted daily, at various times based on the data gathered from my audience on Instagram. The local newspaper published an article about the film, a local TV station ran a story about the film, and I developed a partnership with a local arts group who invited me to promote the film during an Instagram Live.
Before I knew it, I achieved my goal a week before the deadline! The campaign was a major success! I would highly recommend anyone planning a creative project to think about using Kickstarter.com. However, I would caution, it does take a great deal of planning to be successful. If you’re interested in starting a Kickstarter campaign and would love to learn more, I’d love to give you more insight on the process!
The film is slated to be released this Friday, February 5, 2020 at 7:00pm.