Content Strategy is the New Black
We’ve all heard that Content is King (sounds a little misogynistic if you ask me), so the practice (art, really) of planning, developing and managing your royal highness is the knight in shining armor.
Can You Use it in a Sentence?
So, what exactly is Content Strategy, anyway? If you Google “Content Strategy” you’re sure to find a plethora of definitions and will probably fall down a Wikipedia rabbit hole, so we’ll do the hard work for you. In an interview with UX Matters, esteemed content strategist, Brain Traffic founder and Content Strategy for the Web author, Kristina Halvorson, describes it as “planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content.” Sounds simple enough...right?
In the exponentially emerging arena that is User Experience, user engagement continues to be the crucial end game. In order to achieve and maintain a healthy level of engagement with your designated target audience, consistently producing relevant, relatable content is essential, which is where our friend Content Strategy comes into play. The idea of Content Strategy isn’t really all that new, but with the process recently moving to the forefront of marketing trends, many companies have become increasingly aware of its influence and are reaping the benefits.
So why should you hop on the Content Strategy bandwagon if you’ve been doing “just fine” without it throughout the years? Just as the mobile revolution shaped the responsive future of web design, social media is forcing marketers to come up with ways to constantly produce meaningful content that forges a connection with their target audience. Enacting a Content Strategy ensures that the information being shared by your organization stays on-brand while communicating a captivating story to your target audience. Because without customer engagement, brand awareness and market growth would be next to impossible.
It’s a Process.
A Content Strategy is relatively cheap to enact with a measurable ROI, which is probably what makes it so popular among small and large organizations alike. It isn’t an exact science, making the process entirely customizable to your project, team and business objectives.
When it comes to Content Strategy, implementing an agile methodology is important because of its collaborative and constantly evolving nature. Since there’s no right or wrong amount or composition of steps, we’ll share an infographic with a basic process highlighted for some inspiration:
Before kicking off the process, it’s imperative to establish and understand your main business objectives, which makes connecting content to your goals much easier. The research stage would include conducting stakeholder interviews, competitor analysis, workflow reviews and a current content audit. The next leg of the Content Strategy journey houses the gap and workflow analysis and creation of user personas. The planning step in the process is usually where the magic happens and is typically comprised of defining your tone and voice, and developing style guides and editorial calendars. Moving right along, the measurement phase will tell you what is and is not working toward your business goals. User testing, social media monitoring and A/B Testing are typically enacted at this point in the game. Once your team has analyzed the findings from the metrics stage, you will be able to bolster your successful endeavors and cut off or update wasteful efforts.
This is clearly just a basic overview and really only exposes the tip of the proverbial iceberg, so if you’re interested in delving further into the depths of Content Marketing do yourself a favor and check out The Content Marketing Institute for up-to-date articles, training and guides!
Unlike your girlfriend’s crop tops, Content Strategy is a trend that is here to stay...proving your financial advisor right, once again, that a little planning goes a long way.