Short notice at the beginning: This is the very first blog article we had to write in one of the content strategy seminars. So I chose to write about what’s a content strategy and why you should never start without one. The content strategy is always the basis of every further activity.
In September 2017, I had the honor to be part of the jury of the digital communications award. The whole day was packed with inspirational presentations. One part of our work as a jury member was, to have a closer look at the strategy of the projects. And one thing that really annoyed and at the same time shocked me, was the lack of strategy behind some of the projects. Even in the category “strategy of the year”, the strategy behind was missing. Don’t get me wrong, the presentations and projects were really innovative, but either they wanted to show off with their work, or they wanted to hide the fact that the results weren’t that amazing. Now I am wondering, why did so many of this communication experts fail to get the basics right?
Collect, audit and analyze your content
Content strategy is the repeatable system that governs the management of content throughout the entire lifecycle. So far so good. But what does this mean for me and my work? For starters, to create a content strategy, it is important, to begin with an analysis of your existing content. Start with an “inventory” and have a closer look across all your channels and published pieces. Gather everything together and review and audit the content you have. During this step, it should be possible to answer the following questions:
- Which content is working and which isn’t?
- What does the target group want to read, see or hear?
Next step is to focus on the target group itself. It is important to actually know who the audience is and to try to understand what their needs are, which platforms they use, what their habits are, etc.
Team, responsibilities, and tasks
After you figured out which content and target group to focus on, the next step would be, to define who is part of the content team and determine the responsibilities of content creation, production, distribution, measurement, and revision. And not to forget the selection of the right tools, platforms and so on. In the content lifecycle management, this is called “Governance”.
To sum it up: The content strategy is always the basis of every further activity. Back to the initial story: Some of my communications colleagues – I included – would be advised to focus a bit more on the content strategy part and don’t get carried away with other things only because they sound so cool, or they show quick results. I know it is much more fun to start with the cool stuff, instead of revising content and do some research about the target groups – But this is a necessary part of our work.