What is Content Strategy?

What is Content Strategy?
October 4, 2015 Joe Vernon

Content Strategy Is Not A Blog

Content strategy is often talked about in terms of tactics, such as how one may use content strategy with SEO, or content strategy with a blog. Content strategy is more than tactics. It is more than SEO and it definitely not a blog. Content strategy is a plan with a set of goals and way to measure.

What is Content Strategy?

Content strategy is an achievable plan for the future, inspired and based on business goals. There are a couple of important elements in this sentence: achievable and business goals.

When you are developing a strategy, you must understand the current capabilities of developing and promoting content. Without understanding this, the strategy may be unattainable and seen as a failure by the business. When you create an achievable plan, top executives should see a positive ROI of content and continue to approve content strategy within the business. Measuring whether the strategy was achieved depends on the business’s goals.

The Content Strategy Process

  • Research
  • Strategy
  • Publish & Analyze
  • Report

Research

During this phase, the content strategist’s chief goal is to understand where the business currently is. This is accomplished by asking many questions. Questions to understand include the following:

  • the business’s sales cycle
  • goals of content and means used to measure content
  • culture
  • differentiators
  • pain points and needs of the clients
  • liked and disliked content
  • events

After understanding where the business currently is, research the clients and create personas. Keep the number of personas to a minimum, maybe two to three that represent the largest, most important audience groups. Use these as a reference throughout the strategy and build off them.

Perform a content audit of the current site or a content gap analysis to understand where content needs to guide your audience through the stages of the buying cycle. You may also use tools like Google Keyword Planner or Search Console to identify keyword opportunities.

Strategy

The primary goal of this phase is to gather all assets needed to create and publish content. Establish crucial themes and messages for the content. Write a style guide for the voice, tone, and SEO and a linking policy for the content.

Identify where the content should live on the website. Determine which taxonomies should be included or which pages this resource should live on. Identify what channels the content should be published on as well.

Put together and recommend content governance for the business to follow, identifying the process needed to create and publish the content. Use all this to help build the editorial or content calendar.

Published & Analyze

This phase’s chief goal is to help clarify what worked and what didn’t. This is done after having published and promoted the content on the identified channels for a set period. Record, review, and analyze the performance metrics of the content and use this information to plan for the future.

Reporting

This is quite possibly the most important phase of content strategy—reporting. The goal is to report the ROI from the content strategy. During the research phase, metrics to measure should have been identified. Oftentimes, these metrics are related to business goals and more commonly an increase in revenue or leads. Effectively reporting the results from content strategy will increase the opportunity for continued funding of content strategy within a business.

TL;DR

Content strategy is an achievable plan for the future that is inspired and based on business goals. It is more than a blog, SEO, or social promotion. It is a plan that requires research, strategy, publishing and analyzing, and reporting the successes or failures. Reporting is quite possibly the most important aspect of content strategy. What do you use to report the successes or failures of content strategy? Please share your thoughts with us on social media.