Creating a Content Strategy

Ahhh…content strategies.  Many people don’t get them, and many people don’t see why more than just the marketing department needs to be on board with the overall content strategy.  In some instances, when marketing and its PR or content partner are the only ones creating content, then sure.  But, if you’re in a situation where there are other departments creating case studies, white papers, blog posts, lab notes…essentially anything that is shared, then every one of those people need to be on the same page.

What do I mean the same page?  When planning out your high level content strategy for the year, you more than likely have an idea of what you’d like to focus on and when.  There are buying times to contend with, key event times, special interest stories for publications, the list can go on.  Having taken all of those things into account, you know…more or less…the kinds of topics you’ll need to cover and when.  However, when others know nothing about this strategy, or think they can march to the beat of their own drum then you might be in a bit of a pickle due to misaligned content, or a lack of resources to create the kind of content you need.

Here are some of my tips for the preliminary steps of a content strategy:

  1. Know who you are going to be targeting with your content
  2. Understand your key audience(s) needs
  3. Know when to focus on those audiences
  4. Know where the audience(s) you are trying to reach consumes its content
  5. Know what you want to get out of the audience consuming your content – Is it back links to the website? Is it filling out an embedded form? Is it to grow brand awareness? Is it to push a product & help sales?

When you have the 5 things above figured out then look internally, or externally, as to who will be creating the right content, at the right time, for the right audience.  You also need to make sure that you have some kind of KPI tied to this so that you can explain to upper management the need & the results for this kind of new thinking.

But, most importantly, step number 5 will dictate the kind of content you want to write…engaging, to the point, “buy now”, teaser, general info/thought leadership, etc.

Good luck…but don’t take my word for what I’ve written above.  Here are some additional resources for you to peruse:

Developing a Content Strategy

The Discipline of Content Strategy –>This is an older article, circa 2008, but a good one none the less

Content Strategy Basics

Content Marketing Strategy Checklist, A Big Fat Roll Up Your Sleeves Guide for B2B Marketers

And last but not least, here is a place where you can get 17 Content Marketing Templates & Checklists

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