For most, the effort far outweighs the rewards. If not for the need to justify a budget, many of them wouldn’t write a marketing plan at all.
One client summed up this sentiment at his company: “We write plans then tuck them away in a drawer until next year.”
I have a better idea. Repurpose the content for business blogging.
With a little imagination, you can reinvest the intellectual capital from your strategic planning into blog topics that fill up your editorial calendar.
At least one part of a standard issue marketing plan is a treasure trove of ideas for blog content. That is the tried-and-true SWOT analysis.
Here is how you can leverage your industry analysis work for content marketing.
A building block for blog content
Chances are pretty good you are doing some level of competitive analysis for your annual marketing plan. One of the best ways for doing this is using the SWOT analysis tool.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Following the SWOT process is an excellent way to frame your strategy and set priorities for the marketing activities that flow from it. That includes your business blog.
There are two parts to working the process.
The first is to take an internal view of your strengths and weaknesses. The best way to do this is to gather a team who can assess the cross-functional areas of your business. These areas might include Sales, Marketing, Operations, Product Development, HR, IT, Manufacturing and Distribution, Customer Service, etc.
Next, the team lists your strengths and weaknesses in critical areas of your business relative to your competitors and ranks them in order of importance TO YOUR CUSTOMERS. Key areas to consider include:
- Operations/organizational structure
- Staff/talent pool
- Technology – business systems effectiveness
- Product innovativeness/value proposition
- Customer services
- Sales and distribution
- Sales and marketing channels
- Points of differentiation
The second part of the process is to take an external view of the industry at large and list the opportunities and threats to your business. You also rank them in order of importance. Key areas that go into your thinking here include:
- The economy – key sectors and indicators
- Industry trends – consolidation, outsourcing, etc.
- Technological innovations that impact products, markets, services
- Regulatory dependencies – government/legislative activities
- Competitive activities
The primary objective of the SWOT exercise is to gain insight for setting goals and priorities for your organization. It is inward focused. But it is easy to see how a shift in focus can produce content ideas for your business blog.
Repurposing your strategy work for business blogging
You have already gathered and analyzed the information. You have ranked your strengths and weaknesses by their importance to your customers. And you have identified the critical external factors impacting their business.
One simple step will help you recast your data into topics for your blog.
Ask a few customer-focused questions. Here are a few to get started:
- Who are the key customers and industry players?
- What are their driving concerns?
- For each of the strengths and weakness you’ve identified, how will external factors affect their business?
- What solutions, expertise and advice can you give them?
It seems like such a simple way to leverage the brain work you’ve already done. But there is one more thing you must do. You must pull your marketing plan out of the desk drawer and hand it to your blog editor.