No marketer needs to be told about the importance of content (it’s king, remember?)—but the role of a stellar content strategy still needs stressing.
The numbers alone attest to the power a content strategy brings. According to recent statistics published by the Content Marketing Institute, 62 percent of B2B businesses report an increased pay-off from their content marketing efforts, with 72 percent of those attributing their success to the implementation of a comprehensive content strategy.
The difference between content marketing and content strategy is clear, but many brands are still struggling to hone their strategies in a way that can govern and guide their content to even greater success.
The Challenges of Crafting a Great Content Strategy
Creating an organization-wide content strategy takes a lot of planning as the strategy should be aligned to serve the goals of various departments or teams.
Content strategy is largely concerned with the planning, development, management, distribution, and governance of content. It defines the guidelines for creation and distribution of content, as well as specifies the roles and responsibilities of employees directly or indirectly involved in content creation. Acquiring the right technology tools for management and distribution of content is also a part of the content strategy.
Content strategies that have proved to be successful in the long run share some common traits. We have identified the five most notable hallmarks of an excellent and efficient content strategy.
#1 It’s Accessible
Many well-planned strategies have failed because of uncoordinated execution. So your content strategy needs to be understood and followed by all team members.
You can save your content strategy from falling apart by documenting it in detail and ensuring that it is easily accessible to all team members, for example, on a shared Google doc or on the organization's intranet site.
#2 It’s Inclusive
Everybody should have the ability to produce content in line with the content strategy, and the only way to assure that inclusivity is through training and documentation.
As previously mentioned, the documentation should be accessible to all team members, and it should clearly define the technical aspects behind creating and delivering content in line with the rest of the content strategy.
However, laying down the rules doesn’t guarantee compliance, so it’s a good idea to conduct training sessions to get all team members acquainted with their role. And of course, this kind of training will only help build a content-creation culture.
#3 It Has Clearly Defined Workflows
A good content strategy tells you what needs to be done and when, but a great strategy goes a step further and defines exactly how something needs to be done. By defining processes and workflows in detail, execution will be easier and more efficient.
For example, the message and format of your content should be determined by who you are targeting and through which platform your audience will access it. Once that is defined, content writers should know how to pass their work off to editors, while editors should know when to publish content (hello, Editorial Calendar!).
A well-defined process should help identify target keywords, topics, and audiences, and it should help determine which channel content should be funneled through. The more detail provided, the better chance your marketing efforts have of bearing fruit.
#4 It’s Measurable
Content strategists stress the importance of having a goal-driven strategy. However, it makes more sense to have goals that are realistic and achievable.
For example, if you are just beginning to roll out content that targets a niche dominated by content marketing leaders, it may not be realistic to aim for 10 thousand unique visits per month by the end of the second quarter. Also, it is important to define parameters that indicate how the strategy is performing with respect to each goal.
Furthermore, marketing goals change over time and you may have to redefine and introduce new goals into your content strategy along the way, so it helps to have a process in place for re-evaluating goals and performance parameters at regular intervals.
#5 It’s Future-proof
Technology is to a content strategy what a kitchen is to a chef. Just as a chef with all the ingredients she needs is lost without a kitchen, so too is your strategy without the technology to implement it—it’s just a bunch of ideas on the drawing board.
A traditional content management system (CMS) will give you the basics required to bring a content strategy together; such as authoring tools, analytics tools, workflow management, and so forth.
But as we move through the era of IoT, Amazon Echo, smartwatches, virtual-reality headsets, and in-car interfaces, content strategists need to think about the ever-growing list of channels that consumers are using.
While a traditional CMS will have all the basics we mentioned above, only a headless CMS will be able to future-proof your content strategy against emerging channels and devices.
That’s because a headless CMS disassociates content from design and sends raw content to any channel, leaving it free to be presented in any way on any device. This gives marketers better control over how content is presented on the front end. Learn more about headless CMS.
It's All in the Strategy
A sound content strategy can be the difference between your content marketing campaigns failing and succeeding. The hallmarks above should all be visible in your strategy, as they all ensure that your marketing team has access to the strategy, knowledge of their role within it, and the ability to deliver it to consumers via the most relevant channels, helping to mold your content strategy into shape.
Feel free to share your own content strategy tips in the comments below!
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