I mean honestly. Does anyone actually know what they mean when they say it? From a client to a content strategist — everyone has a different idea on what it means. When dealing with clients, sometimes I find that they think it’s social media posts and blogs only or it’s just ads on social but it can be so much more than that.
Content strategy is all about creating a common thread to carry out through your channels. I’m talking your social media channels, your website, your ads, your TV spots, your radio ads and your overall advertising strategy. Content marketing focuses on the planning, creation, execution and optimization of content. While content strategy is the guideline and vision for the content for your brand/business. Creating a content strategy is all about ensuring that you have useful and usable content, that is well structured, and easily found that tells a story or speaks to your audiences. It’s a vital part in user experience.
A content strategy is the high-level vision that guides future content development to deliver against a specific business objective. It’s a piece of your overall marketing plan that helps your brand create content – written, visual, downloadable, etc. – that ladders up to a larger business goal or objective. I’ve been in the practice of creating audience personas and content pillars for a few years now to help define the audiences for brands and then the best style/theme of content to reach them but also to lead them through the path to conversion (whatever that may be).
Why’s it so important?
Content creation without a strategy, plan or pillar behind it can often lead to confusing your target audience and negatively impact your brand. More than that, a lack of strategy can lead to generic content without purpose or a clear CTA. Generic content doesn’t get shared and doesn’t engage people making it unlikely to deliver against your wider marketing objectives. If you skip the strategy and head straight to delivery you’re in danger of creating content which could either confuse or alienate your audience, or fail to reach them at all.
Here are some top-line steps on how to create a content strategy for your brand or business:
1- Define your goal or goals. (see Smart Goals post)
2- Conduct persona/audience research. (Because what good is a strategy that doesn’t actually meet your true audience?)
3- Run a content audit. (What are your competitors doing? Where are you posting? What have you been creating in the way of content lately?)
4- Brainstorm content ideas! (Content strategy isn’t a one person show! Involve the larger team on ideas of what themes or “pillars” you want to create content under.)
5- Determine the style of content you want to create. (Blogs? Social posts? Ads? Ebooks? Whitepapers? Infographics? Templates? Videos? Podcasts? External content? The possibilities are endless!)
6-Create and Execute!
7- Publish and manage your content. (Make sure you are keep track of cadence, who’s engaging and trends in your analytics to improve future content decisions.)
8- Report! (KNOW WHAT IS PERFORMING!!!! – This is often a big miss for alot of brands.)
Note that when creating and using a content strategy for your brand or business, make sure that you have a business case for what you are creating. Make sure your content is well researched, your audiences are well defined and you have a goal at the backbone of all of your content creation.
And because I’m a visual person, this breaks down the difference between Content Strategy and Content Marketing, from Moz.
Party on. Ambushed.