Content Strategy: What the &$@^ is it… and Why?

Over the past year or so, you may have felt a slow, creeping sensation that you need a Content Strategy. Maybe you first heard the phrase uttered in a conference center bathroom sometime in 2012. Maybe since then, you’ve started experiencing an unexplained urge to blog more. When the specter of Content Strategy is raised at your meetings, you vigorously agree. You know you need it. You’re withering without it — that succulent, life-giving Content.

And yet, in your deepest heart of hearts…You have no idea what it is, or why.

Hint: This is content →

This is good. The first step in understanding Content Strategy is admitting you have no goddamn clue what it is. So in this post, I will explain it to you as if you just returned from a 5-year-long yoga retreat on an obscure island with no wifi. First of all, you look great.

Now let’s start with the basics.

What is content? CON-tent is digital media that people can interact with in some way.

Weathered scrolls are NOT content.

Interaction includes viewing, but more importantly sharing, commenting, downloading, or accessing in exchange for info — like email addresses or other basic data— that helps you to better reach your audience.

You know…Internet stuff. That you consume on your phones, tablets, computers or possibly television via an HDMI connection.

FYI: Instagram is a photo sharing application on our super-advanced Internet phones

So…like, a blog? Yes, sure. But not just that. Content can encompass anything from video and ebooks and newsletters to infographics and Tumblr and Instagram feeds and silly pictures like the one you see above.

That sounds like a lot of work. Don’t worry. Unless you’re, say, the President, Salesforce, or Lana del Ray, you probably don’t need ALL of those things. The point is to develop a plan for making content that helps achieve your specific business goals.

Oh. *Eyes glaze over*. Oh, yes. That’s the point of content: Content is digital media tailored to your specific business objectives.

This is not an ad for Shoedazzle

Can I go now? No.

You see, those objectives might be simply building your social reach. Those might be improving your SEO or tying keywords to your brand. Those might be fostering trust with your audience. Those might be gathering data for your marketing collateral. Those might be driving sign-ups for your website. The good thing is, you make the rules and define if, and how, those goals are quantified.

Insert random stock photo of a businesswoman

Is this optional? If you want to remain competitive, it is not. Your God (Google) will punish you mightily if you don’t have good content tied to your business. Not even joking: Content will make it far easier for customers to find you and to connect with what you offer.

So where does a Content Strategist come in? A Content Strategist will work with you on the following things:

  1. Determining what business goals can be addressed with content
  2. Planning the content
  3. Building and publishing the content

Okay, but what does this actually mean? This actually means a blend of editorial planning (calendar stuff), content management (CMS or publishing stuff), writing (a lot) and dealing with social media (someone has to do it).

Is this a full-time thing? That entirely depends on your needs, the size of your business, and your existing personnel. For you, hypothetical yoga retreat guy, probably not. But for many companies out there—content strategy is critical right now.

So you mean to tell me that a Content Strategist is just a fancy name for someone who understands how to create and distribute different forms of multimedia in a shrewd and purposeful way on the Internet?

Because no content strategy blog can be complete without a Will Ferrell reference.

Yes.

You are excused. If you have any further questions, you can holler at me, and happy strategerizing.