Are you struggling to connect with your audience and stand out against competition? Are you looking for data driven insights to inform your content marketing strategy? Is the role of content well defined in your business and marketing plans?
What is content strategy?
Planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content.
– Kristina Halvorson
Content strategy is to copywriting as information architecture is to design.
– Rachel Lovinger
Content strategy deals with the planning aspects of managing content throughout its lifecycle, and includes aligning content to business goals, analysis, and modelling, and influences the development, production, presentation, evaluation, measurement, and sunsetting of content, including governance. What content strategy is not is the implementation side. The actual content development, management, and delivery is the tactical outcomes of the strategy that need to be carried out for the strategy to be effective.
– Rahel Bailie
Why do you need a content strategy?
Content drives every communication you have with a potential customer or client. A tweet is content, a product description is content, your images are content. Having a strategy in place allows you to consistently and effectively align your content with your brand values and messaging. A well researched, data informed strategy will help you differentiate yourself from your competitors, and build authority and trust with your audience. Newsflash: no one shares or cares about generic content.
What is my content strategy development process?
1. User Personas
The first thing I do is build detailed user personas, to better understand the audience and the type of content they will want to consume.
2. Content Inventory
The next step is to create an inventory of all content assets on the site, along with relevant performance data for each URL. Without this, we have nothing to analyse. Some people use the term ‘content inventory‘ interchangeably with ‘content audit‘. I don’t, and I’ll briefly explain why below.
3. Content Audit
Once all of the content and performance metrics are catalogued in an Excel or Google sheet, I can start with the qualitative analysis of the inventory. This makes up the ‘audit’. While this can often be a tedious, labour intensive process, the deliverable is so flexible and valuable, it’s worth the time and effort.
4. Gap Analysis
Now it’s time to map the gap. The content audit will open up a number of wonderful insights:
- Are any of your target user personas or customer segments being neglected?
- Are any “content buckets” looking a little thin?
- Is your editorial calendar being overpowered by one topic?
This is the stage where we identify opportunities.
5. Competitive Analysis
What fun would a content strategy be if you didn’t do any spying? Without wanting to imitate the competition (this is never a good strategy), this is another great way to spot opportunities, spark motivation, and give you an idea about what goals you should be measuring.
6. Strategy Document
This is the part that brings everything together. This phase will outline everything from what and how I collect the data, goals & metrics I think should be measured, tone of voice, best practices, and governance, but to name a few sections.
Contact me for an example of the contents of a content strategy deliverable.
Great content meets users’ needs and supports key business objectives. It engages and informs. It’s well written and intuitively organised.
- More efficient content workflow
- Improved user experiences
- More lasting website improvements
- Consistency in multi-platform content
- Better understanding of overall business goals
- New cross-team collaborations
Content strategy is not copywriting. Copywriting is granular. Content strategy is holistic. Copywriting is the execution of ideas. Content strategy is their organisation and measurement.
There are so many nebulous pieces of the content strategy puzzle that come into play depending on individual project needs. In fact, the core strategy is often somewhat intangible. However, there are various tangible deliverables that can make up the foundations of a content strategy:
- Content inventory and audit
- Stakeholder interviews
- User personas
- Content map
- Content gap analysis
- Editorial calendar
- Content models
- Style guide
This depends on the individual client needs and project scope. Typically, my content strategy projects start from £1200+vat for very small projects (which equates to 3x my standard day rate).
Smaller content strategy projects may take between 2-4 weeks. Larger projects requiring an extensive discovery and strategy period, as well as team training or workshops may span over several months or even years.