Are you working on your content marketing plan? Use these 25 questions to figure out what your plan should include:
1. What is your business strategy?
2. What products do you want to focus on?
3. What markets do you want to reach out to, including prospects, employees, investors, influencers?
4. What brand strengths should you highlight?
5. How can you align your marketing to your industry?
6. What trends in your industry should you incorporate that fit with your business?
7. What industry events are you participating in?
8. Don't neglect your customer's industry – what trends, developments, or events can you participate in?
9. What holidays or seasonal occurrences should you incorporate?
10. What are your goals for the year?
11. Is your focus on branding, revenue, or profitability?
12. How many new customers or leads?
13. What aspects of your brand do you have to keep in mind when designing campaigns and processes?
14. What channels should you focus on? For example, are you a contemporary brand targeting young people – should you do Google Hangouts or white papers?
15. What kind of editorial process do you need: are you comfortable having employees post on the company blog on the fly in response to current events, or do you need a 30-day lead time for editing blog posts?
16. Does your messaging match your intended brand personality?
17. Does your messaging match your brand reputation – or at least not ridiculously contradict it?
18. Based on all of the above, make a 'dream plan'. What would you accomplish in an ideal world where you have all the resources you want, including an unlimited budget?
Once you have your dream plan, it's time to make it realistic:
19. What are your constraints?
20. What is your marketing budget for the year?
21. Now can you have some of the business units pay for some marketing activities out of their budgets? If so, you now have a bigger budget!
22. What are your strengths as a marketing organization – what skills do you have?
23. What skills can you get – by hiring employees, contractors, or agencies?
24. Can you get the level of cooperation you need from other functions and business units?
Now use your constraints to cut your dream plan down to size, with one last question:
25. For #1 through #17, what are your priorities?
One last question: what did I miss? Tell me in the comments!
Unmana is the co-founder of Markitty, a tool that recommends actions to improve your online marketing. She writes about marketing for startups and small businesses on the Markitty blog and can be found on Twitter @Unmana.