Have You Considered A Content Marketing Design Session?

09/17/2013 3 min read Written by Roman Kniahynyckyj

One of the larger challenges content and inbound marketing folks have is simply getting answers. Whether it's approval on content, strategy, or design - the path to completion usually involves a number of meetings, calls and iterative steps. 

An approach you may want to consider to streamline some of these activities is a marketing design session or event - especially at the start of a content marketing program. A design event or session is typically a half or whole day tightly facilitated meeting with very specific outcomes focused around your content plan and goals. It's a useful way to combine what tends to be a lot of individual calls and reviews into a larger session with key players and sponsors. 

Typically, the colleagues you would want to invite to a content design session would include your:

  • Executive program sponsor - could be your COO or CMO or even your CEO
  • Content Subject Matter Experts
  • Sales Department Sponsor
  • Legal Department Sponsor
  • Design Team
  • Additional marketing team members that will support your content efforts

The value of having all these decision makers in a room for a half or whole day is that you have the ability to achieve buy-in and do revisions and iterate the revisions all with real time feedback. Whether it's building a content calendar, identifying subject matter experts or defining a review process - completing these sort of activities individually can sometimes take weeks or even months. The potential downside of a one day design event, however, is that if you are not 110% prepared or your agenda is not tightly wrapped around desired content outcomes you run the real risk of alienating sponsors throughout your company. So be sure your event planning is air-tight and goal focused.

Some deliverables or outcomes you would look for in a content design event would be:

  • Confirmation/Validation of Content Marketing lead generation and/or overall revenue targets
  • Confirmation/Validation of Buyer Personas
  • Confirmation/Validation of Content Review Process
  • Build out of initial content calendar
  • Alignment and scheduling of subject matter experts with content review areas
  • Identification of key advanced content that needs to be created (i.e. ebooks, infographics, checklists)

This is not an exhaustive list and you may want to consider a series of design sessions as you ramp up and grow your content program. But remember, design events are your chance to shine and show your stuff with all the key people in the same room together. Here are some key success factors to think about when you are planning your design event. 

  • Know what you need from each attendee - validation, confirmation, time commitment etc. 
  • Let everyone know what is expected from them at the very beginning of session - each departmental sponsor should know the desired inputs required from them
  • Have an agenda and underneath that agenda know what you are going to spend every 15 minutes or so discussing or facilitating
  • Document, document, document - capture whiteboards, ideas and etc. Provide participants with a mapping of key decisions and next steps within a few days of the session. 

Come prepared, come with a plan, and know what outcomes you need and your one day content design session will reap rewards for months and weeks to come.

Photo Credit: Dru Bloomfield - At Home in Scottsdale via Compfight cc
By: Roman Kniahynyckyj

Roman has been helping clients develop and implement revenue enhancing inbound marketing strategies since 2009. Prior to becoming an inbound marketer, Roman was a management consultant with Ernst & Young, Booz Allen Hamilton, BearingPoint, and KPMG. Roman's relentless focus on client satisfaction and client results has garnered accolades from many clients and teams.

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