Successful content marketing is built on regular content drips. Ideally, you’ll want to be posting new material to your blog, and to your social media accounts, on a weekly basis at a minimum.
In the real world, though, that kind of schedule might not be easy to follow. The best content comes in the form of photos, case studies, and other results from successful projects. The cycle of new work started and completed within your firm might not match up with your content marketing needs. So, many of our clients ask how they can keep up with their marketing when there isn’t anything new to showcase.
This post will show you how to plan ahead and think creatively to maximize the value of your available content.
Start with a Project Calendar
This is way easier than it sounds: you’re going to be creating a simple list. Open a spreadsheet and fill in each project you’re currently working on, along with the estimated completion date. Next, reorder them by the time you expect them to wrap up.
If you keep this list updated regularly (every two weeks is ideal), you’ll always know how close you are to having new projects to feature. The flip side of this is that you’ll also know how long you’ll need to make your existing content work for you.
Think About Your Work in Terms of Content Creation
With your project list in place, start thinking about two things: the gaps in between different completions, and the types of content that can be created around each successful job.
For instance, if you know that one project will wrap up in January and there won’t be anything new for several months, then you’ll know the January job (or one that finishes before it) will need to carry your content marketing for a few months. With this knowledge, you can make sure you get progress photos, write case studies, capture walkthroughs, and have the finished project professionally photographed so you have enough assets to work with. Too many times clients have finished a project with no assets of their own and only one or two photos from the client that don’t showcase the architectural achievements. This is avoidable if you start at the beginning of the project.
Documenting the life of the projects is especially important if the project marks your entry into a new type of work. To show prospective clients that you can successfully execute this type of architecture, you’ll want to create a case study and blog posts that reflect your firm’s capabilities. Having photos and information collected throughout the life of the project will make it easier to create the assets you need to show off your bona fides.
As soon as a new project comes into the firm, create a milestone checklist of marketing items that could be collected at different stages. For a milestone of “groundbreaking,” you might schedule photography for the groundbreaking (that could be used on social media, on your blog, on your website, or in case studies) and a blog post (or possibly a press release).
Start Grouping and Planning Your Content Assets
With your editorial schedule in place, you can plan for asset creation and start to group materials you already have.
For most architectural marketers, this is going to include organizing photos and tagging them by date, project, and keyword. As you go through this process and start to plan which photos or videos will be released on which dates, make sure you aren’t facing any restrictions with your visuals. Specifically, double-check that you have the rights to any photos you plan on sharing, and that your clients won’t be upset by anything posted online.
To make the best use of your written content, think about how each piece of content could be used in different ways. One blog post could spawn social media posts, an info graphic, and a slide deck. The point is to avoid having to start from scratch for every piece of content on every channel. Is there an existing case study that includes the use of a novel process? That can be expanded upon and turned into a new blog post. Do clients routinely ask similar questions about the work you do? That could be the basis of a downloadable white paper — which can then be repurposed as a blog post, excerpted on social media, etc.
At the end of this step, you’ll have an editorial calendar that matches up with the work you’ll be completing. This will allow you to map out several months (or more) of regular blog posts and social updates. Then, you’ll never have gaps in your content marketing plan or have to deal with writer’s block.
Stretch Your Content with Informational Material
No matter how effectively you plan your content marketing, there will be gaps in your schedule that simply can’t be filled by highlighting completed work. The answer, then, is to dig a little bit deeper and populate your blog and social profiles with informational material.
These updates could include architect profiles, behind-the-scenes work, revisited projects, or even how-to articles. Anything that informs your audience, boosts your credibility, and sheds some light on your work and specialties can enhance your outreach and lead generation efforts.