THE KEY POINTS
- Audio version available at the bottom of the page.
- Making content and slinging it out there with no plan behind it, hoping magic happens, is silly.
- The “right” content strategy is the one that will be most effective for you as you become a brand content producer.
- Do not feel bad. Even enterprise level organizations are operating with no coherent content plan or infrastructure.
- Content strategy is about having as many of the pertinent questions answered as you can.
Guess what. There’s no definitive right or wrong way to do a content strategy. There’s no industry standard. There’s really only what will guide and work most effectively for you as you mature into a brand content producer. The only way you can really get it wrong is to not plan what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it from a brand perspective at all.
Guess what else. Numerous even enterprise-sized businesses are operating content with no plan, no strategy, ad hoc, out of disconnected silos, using disparate agencies, totally winging it and hoping somehow something will work. Never feel like you aren’t ready for a content strategy. If you do one at all, that will put you ahead of most of your competitors and even a lot of the big boys and girls.
Here’s what content strategy means, at its root. Whatever business goal you’re trying to achieve, it’s building a media-driven communications plan around it that will help you achieve it. That’s pretty much it.
The more answers you have, the more confidence you’ll have and the more robust your brand content operation will be.
That oversimplification will probably make many content strategy consultants and technology vendors squirm, but it’s where you start. It’s not where you stop though.
You don’t need to know the answers to all the questions below to start creating content, but it will give you a solid idea of everything a legit content strategy can help you nail down. Be they in-house or consultant, you’ll need a content strategist to run this process competently. The “How to Know if a Content Strategist is Legit” post in the Content Marketing for the Very Busy series can help you know how to find the competent ones.
The more answers you have, the more inner peace and confidence you’re going to have, the easier it will be to plan, and the more robust your brand content operation will be.
What business goal will this content strategy address? What does this audience care about? What needs to get made, in order of top priority?
Content Strategy Questions:
- Who is the content lead inside our organization?
- What kind of internal team or resources does our content lead have?
- Do we need outside content strategy consulting?
- What business goal(s) will this content strategy address?
- What is our overall brand story?
- What is our key messaging; our value proposition for this content?
- What tone or personality should our brand’s content consistently have?
- What graphic representations should be universal across all our brand’s content?
- Who do we want to get our message?
- What does this audience care about, want and need?
- Where do they typically go for the kind of info that we want to provide them?
- What format do they typically like to get this info in; article, blog post, infographic, video, white paper, podcast, tweet, deck?
- How do we map content for different personas and for every step of the buyer journey?
- What content do we already have that we can reuse or repurpose?
- What kind of content is our competition giving the people we want to talk to?
- What are the different content distribution channels we have set up?
- How often do we need to put something out in each of these channels?
- How will we create and operate an editorial calendar?
- How do we budget for content?
- How do we specifically craft multiple versions of our content so it’s appropriate and performs best for each channel?
- What needs to get made, in order of priority?
- Now that we know what we need to make, who’s going to make it? What outside creative resources do we need to supplement our internal resources?
- Will we A/B test?
- Who’s going to have the final word in what gets made and published?
- How will these content assets be stored, managed and utilized internally?
- How do we ensure these content assets positively effect SEO and SEM?
- What marketing technology platforms do we have and how will we use them?
- Is there a marketing technology platform or tool that we need but don’t have?
- How will we promote our content to increase the chances of it getting seen by the right audience?
- Who are the influencers in this topic and how do we leverage their help in promoting our content?
- What do we want users to do after they’ve consumed our content?
- What are the metrics by which the content’s success will be judged?
- How will we measure these success metrics?
- How do we manage our expectations for content performance?
- How do we learn and make changes based on audience feedback and behavior?
Once you’ve gone through the series and feel like you’re ready to talk about what sensible next steps can be taken, we’d love to talk shop with you, no commitment. Just fill out the easy form, or email Stiles, or we hear sometimes people still actually use the phone! Feel free to do that to.