You have probably heard the term “content playbook” or “content marketing playbook” before, but may be wondering exactly what it is. And whether your organization needs one.
Well, wonder no more. In this article, we’ll walk through the content playbook essentials. (Hint: Chances are by the end you’ll find a content playbook to be essential.)
Well, hopefully by now you know what content is, so let’s focus on playbook. Merriam-Webster defines playbook in 3 ways:
I find all 3 definitions are quite apt for content.
SO…with all that in mind I like to define a content playbook like this:
A content playbook is a script for content methods, techniques, and processes that successfully execute a content strategy.
Sound good, but maybe a bit overwhelming? Let’s look at why it’s worth tackling.
Challenges! Remember that unprecedented demand I mentioned? Our content operations research has consequently and repeatedly found that content leaders and their teams face no shortage of challenges. A content playbook helps overcome most of the top challenges by bridging strategy and execution. Take a closer look here…
Content strategy not standard? A content playbook can help!
Struggling to evaluate content impact or value? A content playbook can define how!
Content created and managed on the fly? A content playbook can help with that, too!
You get the idea…
So, you need a content playbook when you are settled on overarching content strategy and are transitioning to wider implementation. If you work for a large organization and are trying to scale your content strategy, a content playbook is essential to aligning everyone involved…from in-house teams to outside agencies or content creators.
There are two basic elements of a content playbook. Let’s walk through each of them.
This is a succinct summary of the vision or strategy that your content playbook is executing. It’s the answer to the question, “What is the future state we want to achieve?” This statement also might outline key content pillars or principles guiding execution. It serves as a north star when you, your stakeholders, and your teams start your journey to make the strategy happen.
If you have already created a content strategy brief, then probably all you need to do is pull sections from it and edit. (Content repurposing for the win!) Keep all of this short and, ideally, visual. It’s a reminder, not comprehensive documentation of your strategy and the analysis that led to it.
These plays should have all the information your team (staff, partners, etc.) need to execute. A play or set of plays can cover items such as
The exact plays you need will depend on the purpose of your content playbook. These are a few possible categories and types of plays you might include.
You might find you need more than one content playbook instead of one ginormous document or set of plays, and that’s okay if each playbook has a clear purpose. You might separate a playbook for content creation from a playbook for content evaluation, for instance.
So, that’s my quick take on what a content playbook is and how it can help your organization overcome the many, many challenges on the way to content success. For a deeper dive, including video and worksheets, check out the Content Playbook Resource Center. And we’ll share another article soon for tips to make your content playbook a winning one.
Last Updated: June 11, 2021
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