As you build a content marketing pilot program, keep in mind that your goal is not to simply “create stuff.” It’s to determine whether content marketing can work for your organization and to learn how you can be as effective and efficient as possible.

In this post, we’ll take a look at how to figure out what’s possible – literally, what can you and your team reasonably accomplish in a defined timeframe?

[Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of posts on designing a content marketing pilot program. Read the basics in our first post, here, details of how to create persona profiles in this post, and how to set your objective here.]

This is about determining what you can reasonably accomplish that will be meaningful. It’s also about determining how you will execute. While you don’t need to have super-sophisticated workflows, you do need to figure out who’s doing what and what order they’re doing it in. In order to know what is possible, you need to understand how you’re going to get things done.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you prepare to embark on a content marketing pilot program.

What’s your content marketing budget?

Let’s start with perhaps the most important question. In figuring out your budget, you hopefully started with determining your overall approach to content marketing – the type of content you believe the audience wants, how you can create and how you will get it in front of their eyeballs. Your budget is your budget, whether it’s to be spent exclusively on internal resources or whether you can use someone outside your walls. Also, how much time do you have from these people – for instance, has the CMO agreed to allow you use three employees part-time? If so, you need to consider that.

Additionally, is paid distribution in the budget? More and more, it needs to be if you’re hoping to use social media as a distribution channel. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all throttling back on what people see organically.

Are you creating written content, or are you looking to do something a little resource-intensive, like heavily visual content or video? If you’re looking to create infographics or videos, it’s likely your budget won’t stretch as far. That doesn’t mean it’s the wrong approach, it’s merely something that must be considered.

Who will create the content?

In other words, how is this work getting done? Will your existing team be responsible for content creation and/or distribution, and do they have the requisite skills to help you succeed? Will you use freelancers or an agency?

How much access do you need to SMEs, and can you get it?

Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to be able to pick the brains of subject matter experts. You can’t simply assume that they’ll make all the time in the world for you; after all, they’re busy doing their jobs. Even if they are willing to accommodate you, they may not be able to do it on the schedule you want. If it’s going to take two weeks to have a 30-minute sit down with them, you should determine that going in so that you don’t overestimate how much you can get done in the timeframe you’ve set.

What other marketing initiatives will be running in parallel to content marketing?

There are at least two reasons to consider this. One, other organizational marketing efforts could compete with the content marketing pilot for attention with your audience. And two, it could impact the availability of the people you intend to have working on the pilot program. So, if your company is also conducting its annual user conference smack dab in the middle of your pilot program, people’s attention will be, at best, divided.

What are the technology opportunities and challenges?

Does your organization have a marketing automation platform that you can use? That can help you optimize and distribute content, but will also require someone to manage it.

Or, at the other end of the spectrum, does the company not have a blog? Or, if it does, is it not appropriate for you to publish content there?

A related question is what type of email lists the organization has and can access them to distribute the content?

While you’re likely very enthusiastic and brimming with big ideas as you launch this pilot, it’s important to understand what can get done in what is essentially a confined experiment. You want to have success, but you also want to be sure you come out of the pilot with learnings you can trust. That often begins with starting a little more slowly than you might envision.

If you want to speak to Scribewise about designing a content marketing pilot program, please contact us.