I'm passionate about copywriting, creative and content. And I've seen a lot of shit, which can be avoided with a tailored, targeted and well-thought out strategy... So, here it goes...
I've been working for huge FTSE corporations my entire (working) life. Some are better at strategy than others. Almost none are good at content strategy or know what it is, even. And when they do have one, it reads like it's been lifted from Slideshare, with vanilla ideas, no direction, objectives or research. Which is where I step in.
I recently went to a rather spiffing breakfast event at the Dorchester in London (what what) titled Content Marketing: Every Brand A Publisher. Its attendees and speakers read like the who's who of the marketing glitterati. What I learnt was nearly everyone was in the same boat; sailing from a traditional marketing environment to a publishing one without an experienced captain.
It's quite rare that someone experienced in publishing is also a qualified and experienced marketer and creative. All good news for me.
But hopefully, with these pointers, you'll be able to understand the publishing, marketing and creative process to build a robust content strategy.
What's this content business?
Isn't that bloody well obvious, I hear you cry? We know the definition of content is:
Information made available by a website or other electronic medium -
So that covers websites and apps, right? What about social media, emails, PPC, digital posters, text messages, TV ads...? As you can see, it can be defined as everything apart from print. But this doesn't mean your strategy should cover everything.
Define what your remit is. If it's websites and apps, where you can build product pages, buying journeys and supporting articles, then say so. Don't bite off more than you can chew by using the textbook definition and find yourself pissing people off and not having the right skills or knowledge to deliver your strategy.
Unless you're working for a startup or SME, it'll be neigh on impossible to deliver an omnichannel content strategy. In an ideal world, it should be but start by making incremental changes where you have permission. Don't try to boil the ocean. Once your strategy starts to deliver, other teams will follow suit, but it's important to make sure they're always informed.
Why are we doing it?
Once you've defined what content actually is and the channels it impacts, you need to talk about what sort of content you'll be producing, the problem it's solving and what it'll achieve.
The main thing to remember is it needs to dovetail into the company's overall strategy. So if the company's main focus is retention or transformation, your strategy needs to support it with clear, measurable KPIs that help keep shareholders happy.
How do we deliver it?
Once you've defined the why, this should inform the how. If you decide your content is just about quick, reactive zeitgeist content, then you need to put together a steering committee who will be responsible and accountable for devising, producing and distributing content faster than Usain Bolt circa 2016.
However you approach it, it's essential to take your people with you. Make sure you get their input, so you know what the challenges and opportunities are. A strategy should be just as much bottom-up, as top-down.
If people are part of the process - either in helping you put it together or being there to feedback when you take it on a roadshow around the business - they'll take ownership of it and make sure it's not only delivered, but it's done well.