What is Content Strategy?

First, what’s content?

It’s the stuff people come to you for, whether a part of your product or a part of your marketing efforts.

Here are some examples of content (inspired by Melanie Seibert):

  • Your account balance in your banking app

  • Words in your navigation menu

  • That movie on Netflix

  • A press release for your product announcement

  • Every error message you’ve ever gotten

Sounds like a lot? It is. But with the right frameworks, tools, and strategy, your entire team can learn to create cohesive content that grows with your business.

What’s the strategy part?

Your core content strategy defines what you will and won’t do. It drives the editorial and experience content you choose to create, and is built on the structure and processes your team needs to work effectively.

Kristina Halverson was one of the original content strategists on the web (she literally wrote the book), and made this useful graphic.

core-content-strategy.png

So, what’s content marketing?

You can also use content to reach and grow your audience, i.e. market to them. If your potential users want to know about how to knit a hat, write a hat-knitting tutorial designed for social, email, and/or Google search results. This content can be a direct conversion play (if you also want to sell knitting needles) or it can build your brand (if you want them to think of you when they host a knitting party).

So how do you find out what your potential users want to know? How do you write it effectively? How do you measure it? Those are the key components of a content marketing strategy that grows out of your business’s content strategy. Here are a few examples of what content might be used at different points in the marketing funnel and how they can be measured.

funnel-content-mapping.jpg

Why is content strategy important?

You want to treat users like people.

Audience, users, customers, prospects? What do you call someone who you want to buy or engage with your business? Every person who interacts with your product is a human who uses language to make sense of their world. With good content strategy, you can talk to them like people. And that’s all we all want anyway, right?

In the wise words of Michael J. Metts, content strategy is based on the belief that, “communication should be human, that language should build trust, and that we can use words to build better experiences and ultimately a better world.”

That’s a bit lofty, but a good place to aim.

Who needs a content strategist?

Most companies—even very small, young companies—start making and publishing content right away. Do you have a welcome email? An App Store description? An announcement about your product? You’re already distributing content. But you’re probably doing it without a strategy.

Mature companies often have a content repository, like a blog or customer service FAQs, that was built haphazardly over time and doesn’t reflect the company’s current goals.

A new project, like a redesign of your app or a new email series, also needs a content strategy to make sure it can best accomplish its goals.

Email me to talk about how content strategy can work for you.