Too many companies do not have content strategies. But they are essential for any brand hoping to rely on the things they say and do in public contributing in a meaningful way to the acquisition of new customers.
The good news is content strategies aren’t that hard to put together. As long as you’re willing to do the research, and you know what you’re trying to achieve, it’s fairly easy. It’s possible to get bogged down in lots of detail, but there are three really important subheads that you need to bear in mind.
If you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, how will you know if you’ve done it?
The first thing to do is to get a decent understanding of what the organisation was looking to achieve in the course of the next year or two. Ideally, you’d have had sight of the primary objectives detailed in the overall corporate strategy and you’d have read the marketing docs that are going to be feeding into it.
If you understand where the company is going and what marketing’s contribution is likely to be, your content objectives should almost write themselves. How will your content measurably contribute towards the objectives mapped out in the other documents?
Aim for three or four key objectives. Keep them concise and focused. And if you’re looking to secure buy-in from other departments make sure you’re plotting content’s contribution to the wider business. No one is interested in content for content’s sake.
(This is the most important of the three)
If you don’t understand who you’re targeting, how will you know what to produce?
The internet is not short of people and companies offering their opinions. Tossing your hat into the ring, without first really understanding the motivations of the people you’re hoping to engage is a surefire way to fail.
If you can’t answer the following questions, you need to do more research.
Who is your audience?
What do they care about?
What are their challenges?
What are they hoping to achieve?
How old are they?
Where do they consume content?
Who else is trying to speak to them?
If you don’t know how well you’re doing, how will you be able improve?
Setting out the appropriate measures, metrics and KPIs by which your content strategy’s contribution is to be quantified is important for several reasons. Obviously it allows you and other interested parties to measure how well you’re doing versus your intended outcomes, and it means that you’ll be able to celebrate success when it materialises.
But measurement is not only concerned with end results. If you closely monitor your content’s performance you will be able to learn valuable lessons regarding what is and is not working in terms of subject focuses, publishing channels, messaging and conversion. If you see positive trends emerging, it means you’re probably doing the right things. But - more importantly - if you’re not seeing the success you’d like in certain areas, it means you’re able to learn and stop repeating mistakes.
It’s important to include strategic (longer term) measures, as well as more granular tactical ones. Paying attention the the latter should make it that much easier for you to meet the former.