What if this was the year you could get a handle on your content strategy? It can be, and maybe all you need is a little direction. In this post, I’ll share with you a simple roadmap that can take your content strategy from chaotic to organized in 2018.
This is high-level stuff, and I’ll briefly explain each area. But the blueprint I share with you today should be enough to get you thinking about what’s next for your content strategy this year.
Everything starts with a business goal in mind. Perhaps you want to increase revenue by X percent this year, or maybe you’re launching a new product or service. Whatever it is, every business has one—even if it’s not documented, it may be swirling around in your head.
The reason this is important to your content strategy is because business goals are what drive your marketing strategy, and your content strategy stems from that.
Your marketing goals should lead with the sole purpose of supporting the business goals you have laid out. In many cases, it might look very similar to the business goal. Helping a company bring a new product to market, for example, is a goal marketing can help the business fulfill.
If you’re feeling stuck in this step, don’t worry. You can always just use the business goals as a driver. Remember that marketing may not bear the entire weight of supporting all the business goals, so it’s worth exploring some specifics here on the desired results marketing wants to achieve for the business.
This is an important step that’s often overlooked. Even though you may have a sense of what your brand is, everything needs to be fleshed out and documented.
This is because it will set the tone for all the content you create in your content strategy—the experience you want to produce, the voice you use and the quality, look and feel of your content. Your content creators will refer back to this as they create content.
Here, you want to spend some time fleshing out things like your value proposition, your brand identity, your key messaging, your communications style and so on. (It doesn’t hurt building this into a larger editorial style guide, which I can dive further into in a later post.)
Here’s where we get into the really good stuff. Understanding your target audience is going to help set the stage for your entire content strategy. Not spending time and effort on this step can lead to disjointed efforts across the organization and its content creation.
And I’m not just talking about having an idea in your head about who your audience is. Because who you believe it is could differ from your teammates or vary across the company. Spending the time to create buyer personas that are informed with research can really bring to life where you need to go next in your content strategy.
When you don’t do this, you could be marketing in the wrong places with the wrong messaging.
Channel Strategies and Content Assets
With your goals in mind, brand experience outlined and audience defined, you’re ready to dive into creating strategies for the various channels that your audience is at.
The key here is letting the goals and the audience drive the channel strategies. When I say “channel,” I mean any medium where your content will reach your audience. And much of that is defined by knowing where your audience is.
It could be a social media channel, a conference event, an industry publication or more.
Let’s take the website as a channel example from the image above. First, you would define a strategy for it—and actually, you’ll probably have several different strategies tied your website.
The strategy would then define the content assets that you need to create.
For example, you’ll have an SEO strategy to drive organic search traffic, and that might consist of analyzing the information architecture of your site, reorganizing content and links, creating new web pages, optimizing your pages and building a healthy blog with a consistent schedule so that the search engines come back to index that fresh content.
You might also have an email marketing strategy stem from the website channel, since the website is the start of where you’ll collect emails, and you’ll want to make sure the website is doing a good job of that. The content assets to support that may include a lead magnet with some useful tips someone can download in exchange for an email. Then of course, the emails campaigns would be defined as well.
You might possibly have a PPC strategy to drive paid traffic to your site, and since you’ll want to convert those leads, you might create specific landing pages geared towards conversions. So you’ll define what those are next.
How your content strategy blueprint looks may differ from the chart I created above. While you’ll always lead with goals, audience and brand, your channels and their strategies may end up pointing in very different directions visually.
The takeaway here is to get organized. Taking a step-by-step approach, doing the research to lay the foundation, and then creating a blueprint for your content strategy will help tame the beast and is guaranteed to make your content more informed, more targeted to your audience, more consistent and overall, better quality.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.
Note: This post was updated in January 2018 from the 2017 edition.