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Marketing

How to Create a Marketing Playbook

Margo Ovsiienko
December 22, 2022

How to make your marketing team work more effectively to deliver results? Marketing managers and CMOs keep asking themselves this one-million-dollar question every day. 

There are many answers to these questions, but only a few are suitable. To get it right, you can start by creating a framework to work as a team and ensure they understand and execute it.

Marketing playbooks help combine your marketing standards and get your team to work as one organism. So what is it, and what benefits does it bring? Let’s check it out.

What is a marketing playbook?

A marketing playbook is a document where you plan how your marketing team should work together. This plan shows how you manage your marketing across the whole company and all activities involved in this process.

The document helps everyone (designers, marketers, growth hackers, SEO specialists, and copywriters) stay on one page regarding your marketing campaign goals and execution. Marketing playbooks are also great tools for new employee mentoring and onboarding.

Thanks to a marketing playbook, your team follows a specific process to launch campaigns and can track their results. 

With a controlled process in place, there’s much less chaos and confusion. Everyone knows what they do, and their next steps once they complete their job, and understands the reasons behind their actions.

Why do you need a marketing playbook?

Spending hours documenting your content marketing processes will quickly pay off. Here are the benefits that playbooks bring.

  • Identifying your target audience. Identifying your target persona is an integral part of every marketing playbook. When your team learns about who you sell to, they’ll create content to relate to your persona’s problems and challenges. Here’s an example to illustrate this learning process.

Source: Persona.QCRI.org

  • Create the right content. Not all content works well with your target audience. Knowledge about your persona’s content preferences can help curate the right content and use the proper channels for its distribution.  
  • Produce content faster and more effectively. Your content marketing playbook describes all content and product marketing workflows. Thanks to it, your team can learn about their roles and responsibilities and how they relate to other team members. In addition, knowing what to work on yourself and what tasks could benefit from marketing automation will help you manage time and resources. 
  • Onboard new hires. Onboarding new employees are accessible with a marketing playbook. You don’t have to spend hours onboarding. Instead, get new employees to read your playbook first and ask follow-up questions.

What does a marketing playbook include? 

So now you know what a marketing playbook is. Now, let’s explore what information you should include in your marketing playbook to make it a success.

1. Marketing strategy

In your content marketing playbook, you have to describe your goals and objectives for every campaign and the types of digital media you are planning to use. In addition, your team must understand why they do what they do and how their actions contribute to the campaign’s overall success. 

It’s easier to achieve critical goals and objectives with an understanding of the strong sides of your product. Therefore, your marketing playbook should also explain how your product stands out in the market and its value proposition.

2. Content creation

This part helps your team members understand their roles and responsibilities in the content creation workflow

They learn about content types, channels for content distribution, and goals. They understand what media they can use for content distribution and the purposes they have to achieve. It also shows some standards they have to meet.


Source: Narrato

3. Marketing channels

In your content marketing playbook, you can explain content marketing channels your team can use to achieve a campaign goal. Here are just some examples of the media that you list.

  • Webinars
  • Email marketing
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Influencer marketing
  • Referrals
  • Blog

Your team should also find information on the type of content they can post on each channel, the timeframe for it, and workflows.

4. Success metrics

When creating your playbook, don’t forget to cover the success metrics for each campaign. You can list all your KPIs and explain their importance. Also, don’t forget to mention all the tools used to measure your objectives that your team can use for data collection and analysis.

5. Execution

In the execution section of your marketing playbook, you can explain the tools your team can use during the project execution stage. 

You can also describe what they can and cannot do while creating and distributing content. Here you can include anything you believe is vital for your team’s success.

How to create a marketing playbook?

So here you go — you have a general idea of what the playbook should include. Now — let’s move to the nitty-gritty of writing one.

1. Describe your persona profile

Before your team gets to work, they should know your target persona by heart — the key characteristics, challenges, and pain points. Understanding your persona helps tailor engaging content that drives user action and will result in your campaign achieving its goal. 

That’s why it’s so important to be detailed in your persona description. You can use the following template.

Source: Mural.co

Don’t make things up about your target audience; rely on data. Using your CRM, try to visualize your ideal customer based on the data you manage to extract. Examples of company dashboards can provide insights into effective ways of presenting such data.

In your next step, you have to list their pain points, challenges, and jobs to be done. Finally, outline key decision-makers and people who might influence their behavior.

Various tools help you pull the information into one dashboard. 

2. List content assets

You can choose any means if they help you achieve your marketing goal. Blog posts, newsletters, and webinars are all examples of content assets. But what should your team do with them?

It’s also essential to define what goals these assets help achieve, distribution channels, and the funnel stage where a content asset fits in.

Imagine you’ve left your team alone in the forest, and they have to reach a destination point to see you by night. You have to mark the right directions on the map, so they stay visible. 

Defining your content assets and showing where they must be published is similar to the forest walk with only a map in your hand.

Source: Open Asset

3. Define your guidelines

People can have many touch points with your brand — they can first learn about you through a Facebook post. Then, they’ll read your blog article and see your geolocation advertising on Google. On average, before buying a product, people can have eight touchpoints.

When interacting with different content types and channels, your audience should feel consistency in everything — your graphics, web copy, brand voice, and style. Otherwise, selling to such an audience will be challenging, and your brand can quickly become less memorable. 

It happens because many people usually work on your content, brand, and marketing strategy. As a result, it leads to discrepancies in how your employees perceive and communicate your brand. Remember that they might use different styles and narratives.

Standardizing your guidelines based on brand identity, typography, and editorial guidelines aims to achieve a customer’s positive experience with your brand.

Help your team establish one tone of voice when creating content — be it a social media post or blog article. Make sure you add a link to your stylebook, corporate identity files, and any templates your team can find helpful.

4. Outline critical roles and responsibilities

Your team should know what everyone does. Otherwise, they’ll start pulling the rope in many different directions and won’t function properly as a team.

To avoid this scenario, you have to describe each team member’s responsibilities and ensure everyone knows what to do. You should also explain how team responsibilities are connected. That’s especially important regarding task management and task takeover. 

You can automate task workflows using project management platforms like the one below.

Source: Asana

Compare the best free project management tools if you’re on a tight budget.

Tips on pulling your playbook together

The amount of information you have to include in your playbook can exceed 100 pages. But let’s not go that far! 

Remember that your playbook should be easy to read and engaging — you don’t want to bore your team to death! So here are some final tips that can help you get your team to read your playbook from A to Z.

1. Keep sentences and paragraphs short

People tend to scan and skim text when reading online, especially on social media. Guess what — your team won’t be printing out the whole playbook, so you have to adjust your writing to their digital reading preferences. So how should you do it? 

Just be concise in these two aspects — sentences and paragraphs. As a rule of thumb, your passages shouldn’t exceed two lines. Your paragraphs, in turn, shouldn’t exceed three lines.

2. Don’t be too formal

You can ask this question — what tone of voice should you choose when writing your marketing playbook? 

It’s a formal document that describes company procedures, but should you be formal? It’s boring to read complex sentences. Add humor and examples to illustrate your point like you would do with social media posts. It’s easier to read a document when there’s a pinch of entertainment. 

3. Highlight the most important parts

There are always some crucial aspects in your marketing activity. It can be using your brand guidelines or sending something to you for approval before publishing online. 

Make sure you point these facts out — you can put the most important sentences or phrases in bold or underline them.

Source: Collab

You can also use highlighted boxes that’ll help your text stand out.

5. Use images and screenshots

Reading walls of text is often dull and can quickly discourage a reader from proceeding with your marketing playbook. That’s why don’t hesitate to illustrate some parts with infographics, images, or even screenshots. 

But don’t go too far — make them relevant, and to the point. For example, if you don’t have any suitable ideas for a graphic element in the text, just skip it.

6. Include a table of content

Make it easy for readers to navigate online documents. Including a table of content that can quickly direct users to the right part of the book can be a good idea. Also, ensure you include links that can bring users to the right page with a click.

7. Involve your team

Your playbook will mention the importance of following your stylebook and editorial guidelines. Be a good example for others and stick to it. A good idea here would be to make your playbook look professional and in line with your standards. 

But it’s not easy to do it on your own, especially when you have to ensure that it’s not just a document in Word with basic formatting. Involve your graphic designer and copywriter in the process. Graphic design and copywriting will make your guidelines easier to consume and professionalize your brand.

Source: Southern Computer Co

8. Evaluate your team’s knowledge

Making your playbook available doesn’t necessarily mean everyone will read it. Here’s how you can make sure that everyone prioritizes it.

Inform your team that they’ll have to take a small test to check their knowledge. In your examination, include the questions to check for the most critical aspects of your playbook. Then, if they make a mistake, they’ll learn from it.

Final notes

So that’s it — now, you know what a marketing playbook is, why it’s important, and how to make one. But remember — it won’t write on its own. 

Pulling all the information together in one place takes time and effort, but you should know that your effort will pay off. You’ll spend less time explaining basic things to your team — you can quickly direct them to the playbook for details. You can also onboard new hires quicker. 

Your job will suddenly become much less stressful as a marketing manager. So go for it!

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