Content has become the centerpiece of many logistics marketing programs. The downside of that for logistics marketers is that creating good content takes a whole lot of time.
Logistics business aren’t exactly known for keeping large marketing staffs, so it’s important that your content creation process is as efficient as possible. Following are a few content marketing templates and processes I’ve developed to create great content in less time.
Content Marketing Brainstorming Ideas
If possible, I like to start content marketing efforts with a 3-hour workshop that includes the boss and key operations and sales executives. If content is central to your marketing strategy, you need buy-in and participation senior management. To open up the workshop, I spend a little time explaining how the buying process has changed and how this change magnifies the importance of good content to attract interested prospects. Then I’ll moderate a full-blown brainstorming session on topics to develop.
To trigger the brainstorming process, I’ll use this one-page template, which I keep on the screen during the session.
There is a lot of mundane content out there that adds little value. I find that this one-page content marketing template – Thought Starters – directs people toward new, more provocative thinking that may capture a reader’s attention.
Capture a Specific Idea
This is a simple tool, but it’s been helpful for me.
At the tail end of the content brainstorming, I ask participants to vote on the ideas suggested (by this time the walls should be papered with different ideas). We tally the votes and identify the strongest topics. As part of the exercise, I ask the group (or sub-groups if we have time) to complete a simple PREMISE for the paper we want to write. Here is the simple outline I provide.
in order to achieve….
Simple, right? The format may not work for every topic you come up with, but it should work for many. Here is an example of a Premise Statement completed by a client.
Today, smaller shippers who can’t fill a trailer feel they must use higher-cost, less reliable LTL carriers. Instead, these shippers can use 3PL partners to co-load freight with other shippers to build multi-vendor truckloads in order to gain cheaper, faster alternative to LTL shipments.
I find that, if I have a capsule version of exactly what the client wants to communicate, it makes the rest of the process easier and faster. I can ask questions and gather the details needed to make this precise argument.
Outline a specific idea for content marketing
Creating a good outline is 70% of the work of content creation – a real efficiency driver. Armed with the outline, you can spend your time writing, not staring at the screen trying to build a logic flow on the fly. Here’s an outline template I start with.
I actually adapt this template for each writing project prior to doing any interviews, adding questions appropriate to the topic.
I always try to tape record interviews so, rather than taking notes, I can spend my time listening closely and asking probing questions to content experts. If it’s a phone interview, taping is easy since most conference calling services can tape record calls. I’ll listen back later and capture salient points on the outline.
Content experts rarely provide input in exact accordance with an outline (the bastards). They may jump to the detailed benefits, even though it’s at the end of your outline. But I try to record their input in the appropriate place in the template. This makes it easier to build the outline later on.
Using Content Marketing Templates
As content marketers, we need to manage our time well. We all have unique methods that work for us. These content marketing templates work for me. Perhaps there are elements of the documents and the processes that may work with your approach.
During a phone discussion on marketing with the senior executive of a large, warehouse-based logistics firm, I shared my perspective that many such companies make salespeople work too hard to unearth sales opportunities. After a brief silence, the executive said, tersely, “That’s what I pay them for.”