With the focus of business related content transitioning to an audience first approach, there’s now a strong demand for content strategy. Business leaders understand that the purpose of content is always evolving. As customers become more savvy, your content becomes integral to the entire customer journey. This goes beyond content marketing. This is about understanding why and who you are creating content for in the first place.
When you take an audience first approach to your content strategy, you can apply it to both your internal and external communications. A content strategist ensures businesses create robust communications and marketing plans that support their business objectives.
What is a content strategy?
Before I get into what a content strategist does, let’s briefly explore what a content strategy is…
“Content strategy guides the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content” - Kristina Halvorson.
I use content strategy to prioritise content ideas that support my business goals and objectives. These could be for brand awareness, engagement or lead generation.
Why would you need a content strategy?
It’s quite simple really. A content strategy will connect your content to your business goals and objectives.
Consider all of your marketing and communications activities. How many have a quantifiable impact on your business? If you know the answer to this question, you are doing much better than your competitors. Chances are that you are conducting many activities, tactics, campaigns, promotions etc.
But, are you making the best use of your time? Your time and resources are precious. Don’t waste time creating content that doesn’t serve a purpose.
- Let’s assume you work for a large organisation.
- How many teams do you have publishing content?
- How much of this content has anything to do with your business goals and objectives?
- How much of this content is consistent with your brand?
- How much of this content is produced by ‘content professionals’?
When you have a disparate team of people producing and publishing content, it is inevitable that there will be a lack of accountability. With larger organisations, there is this belief (because you are large) that the effort is worth it. Do you measure the return on your effort?
But you can often make the same mistakes when you work for a small business.
Whether your business is large or small, how often can you attribute “success” (whatever that means) to your specific marketing efforts?
Can you quantify the value your work brings to your organisation?
Long term focus.
If your goal is to do better e.g. generate more sales or increase action, you must think long term. If you are constantly shifting the goalposts, your content will lack consistency and you’ll lack focus.
As soon as you change your mindset, you can become more efficient and better at what you do. And this is why you need a content strategist.
What is a content strategist?
Remember: “Content strategy guides the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content” - Kristina Halvorson.
A content strategist is the person you hire to align your business goals and user needs to your content. This person plans the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content.
What does a content strategist do?
Now you know the theory, but what about are the everyday tasks of a content strategist? I said above:
“A content strategist ensures businesses create robust communications and marketing plans that support their business objectives.”
Thus the core output will be a content strategy that supports your business goals and objectives. A content strategist will determine what type of content you need to create that best meets the needs of the user. Typically, a content strategist will oversee the project and manage the content deliverables.
What are content strategy deliverables?
What brand assets, values, attributes does your brand have? What is the brand’s value proposition?
Audience Research (Stakeholder analysis)
Who are you creating content for and why? What content do they need or want?
Define goals and objectives
A content strategist will determine measurable goals and objectives and a process for evaluating the content. This will ensure that all future content can be measured against KPIs.
Content Inventory, Audit and Gap Analysis
A content strategist will take an inventory of all existing content. The content audit will determine how valuable it is.
Is it performing as required? Does it meet a user need?
Empathy Mapping - to determine what your audience needs or wants. The content strategist will use a gap analysis to determine what content is missing.
A content strategist will determine what content you need to create. This is big picture stuff. ‘What content do we need to create to meet our business goals?’.
Your content strategist will be responsible for determining core content models. These are key messages or other information that must be included with the content.
This stage will also consider what taxonomies and metadata are required.
If you are repositioning your content, the content strategist will be responsible for the content migration exercise.
Your content strategist must provide you with an editorial calendar and a content creation plan. Depending on the scale of the project, content planning will also include campaign management and task management.
Content governance puts measures in place to ensure you can deliver the strategy.A content strategist will define clear content roles, processes and workflows.
This is a set of standards that ensures your organisation communicates in a consistent way across all of your channels. It encourages good practice and ensures you put the needs of the customer first. At the very least, the content strategist will incorporate your existing style guide into their strategy. If you don’t have a style guide, your content strategist can develop one for you.
Task your content strategist with determining where you should publish your content.Depending on your audience and your goals you may need to advertise your content on specific networks. Do you have a budget for this?
What is the operational impact of the content strategy to your business?
It’s inevitable that a business strategy will impact other parts of your business or organisation. Who is going to be impacted by your content strategy? A content strategist will find out and mitigate any perceived risk.
A content strategist can also manage the monetary aspect of content creation. For example, if parts of the content creation process need to be outsourced.
What skills do you need to be a content strategist?
Content strategists are as much business people (or senior managers) as they are content producers. They understand how content contributes to the business and they know where to focus their attention.
They will be:
- Excellent communicators
- Project Managers
- Problem Solvers
Content strategists will have a background in content marketing and digital marketing.
How could you use a content strategist?
There are many reasons you might need a content strategist. You might be looking to reposition your brand or trying to plan your content marketing campaigns. Other reasons include:
- Increase brand awareness
- Improve conversion rates
- To develop a product content strategy
- Review internal communications
- Coordinate external communications
- To create a content strategy framework
How will you use a content strategist?
It’s more important than ever to ensure that you are creating value for your audience and for your business. Give yourself a chance by creating a content strategy.
If you need help with your approach to content, find out how I can help.