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If it is taking your company more than 4-6 weeks to devise an initial content marketing strategy, there may be broader issues lurking.

Many companies are excited about the opportunities that an effective content marketing program can provide for their businesses. However, many companies get bogged down developing their strategy. Ultimately, it ends up unnecessarily delaying the launch of their program.

What causes content marketing strategy development to take too long?

There are many reasons why a company may take too long in developing their content marketing strategy:

effective content marketing programInternal stakeholder alignment

One of the biggest holdups is aligning the internal stakeholders on a common set of goals.

Marketing wants to achieve brand awareness. Sales wants to drive leads. The executive office wants to establish thought leadership. Engineering wants a solution that’s easy to implement and requires little time to maintain.

When you try to get all these parties to come together, you end up with a challenge. Oftentimes, content marketing programs will fragment and become diluted. This is when the content marketing program’s executive sponsor needs to step in and make the decision.

Broad content strategy

Another mistake many companies make is trying to go too broad with their content marketing program as opposed to starting off small, specific and actionable. When you get too broad with your content marketing program, you’re diluting your efforts across many areas. More specifically, you’re positioning yourself to compete against much larger competitors that are more established with their content marketing programs than you are.

content marketing strategy developmentWhen you get started, pick a narrow objective and focus on your long-tail keywords from an SEO perspective. Additionally, make sure that your resources and budget dollars are sufficient to meet those goals.

Content marketing litmus test

If you’re spending more than 4-6 weeks developing your strategy, you’re most likely running into conflict internally between establishing competing objectives, securing a budget and identifying internal resources.

Executive sponsor leadership

Finally, your executive sponsor(s) needs to step in and take charge within the C-suite. This ensures that the content marketing program pushes forward after strategy acceptance.

How much time should we spend on developing an initial content marketing strategy?

developing an initial content marketing strategyWhen you’re setting up your first content marketing program, set a timeline of 4-6 weeks to establish:

  • Your specific program objectives.
  • The metrics that you’re going to use to measure those objectives.
  • Your budget, resources and timeline.
  • Your content marketing strategy.
  • An actionable, tactical execution plan.

What is the impact of delaying the implementation of a content marketing strategy?

Every month that you delay your content marketing program is another month that your competitors are building up and becoming more entrenched within keyword phrases where you would like to rank.

Take an example

You’re in the manufacturing space and produce a widget. There are three competitors that also produce widgets. If they get their content marketing programs started and running before yours, they get the first-move advantage.

get your content marketing program goingThey will be able to secure search engine spots on critical, converting keyword phrases. Now, you’re stuck in a position where you will have to dislodge them. That likely means you’ll have to spend more money and time than it took them to initially take those positions.

The longer they’re able to keep building up their content marketing program, the greater a barrier they’re creating for you to dislodge them. If that goes on too long, it’s going to be nearly impossible to remove them from certain search queries.

As a result, that organic traffic is now lost to you. Essentially, what your competitors ended up doing was achieving a sustainable competitive advantage over your company.

So, delaying for the sake of making sure your initial content marketing strategy is perfect is not a good answer. No content marketing strategy is going to be flawless from the get-go.

If you spend more than 4-6 weeks developing a content marketing strategy, you’re taking too long.That’s why you need to revisit it every three to six months to ensure that the program continues to align with strategic objectives. This periodic review also allows you to adequately adjust based on new market realities.

In summary

If you spend more than 4-6 weeks developing an initial content marketing strategy, you’re taking too long. Go back, refocus and get your content marketing program going.

Need content marketing help?

If you have a content marketing program or are planning one, download our ebook 100 Mistakes Businesses Make When Starting, Optimizing and Scaling Content Marketing Programs.

This ebook will walk you through the mistakes of hundreds of other companies and the challenges they faced in implementing their content marketing programs. To learn more about how Tempesta Media can help you streamline your content creation process and deliver quality content at scale, contact us today.

Michael Marchese is the founder and CEO of Tempesta Media. He is responsible for corporate strategy, executive team leadership and overall business operations across all the company’s segments.

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