Spend the first 30 minutes defining your audiences. The output should be two to four primary audiences that you can describe by demographics, content consumption habits, size of audience, your access points to them and any of their behavioral characteristics that can help you create personas. You will use the personas as a short hand to describe those key audiences and will reinvent them over time.
Spend the second 30 minutes defining your goals for each persona type. Set realistic as well as stretch goals that deliver value for your business. Capture benchmarks for those goals in advance of your program launch. Remember that it is not a goal unless it has an associated time frame and uses KPIs that you can reliably measure and trend.
Spend the third 30 minutes cataloging your resources for content creation, distribution and promotion. You may have agency partners or in-house resources but chances are no one source is expert in all areas of content creation, channel development, media buying and social community interaction. Aim to catalogue the true and complete cost of your content creation and dissemination so you can appropriately match the investment to your goals.
Spend the final 30 minutes creating a three month plan calendar. Start with some general creative direction that protects the brand voice and guides your team based on established marketing or business plans. The timeframe for the plan will vary but it should be long enough to benefit from some efficiencies in the content production process but short enough to encourage testing and optimization as you see what hurdles you encounter and what formats, messages and approaches successfully connect with your audience.
Done! In two hours you should have a clear understanding of who you are targeting, what outcomes you want to achieve, the resources you have at your disposal and a kick off plan to get you on your way.
If you approach content as a conversation and apply a simplified content planning outline it should get you to a solid and strategic starting point to begin creating, sharing and measuring the impact of your conversations.
The nature of your content strategy should be fluid — like a conversation — and will naturally evolve in productive directions if you know who you are talking to and take the time to listen.