Quickly evolving from a buzzword to a business essential in just a few years, content strategy provides a foundation for organizations to better harness content as a strategic business asset. A strong content strategy will take any of your siloed content successes and help you scale those content efforts into a sustainable, thriving part of your organization.
The many website redesigns, the sometimes desperate search engine optimization efforts, and the voluminous amounts of content production by many organizations show that someone is paying attention to how content looks and how people find it. But when organizations focus on the wrong end of the content telescope, so to speak, they limit their long-term business growth. A limited view of content’s strategic importance restricts an organization’s ability to compete, maximize content investments, and positively impact the entire customer experience.
Currently, we observe content dabblers and content doers. Content doers, equipped with content strategies, will outpace the dabblers in 2016. These facts and statistics demonstrate that the time to create or improve your content strategy is now, especially as our industry moves toward content intelligence and dives deeper into content analytics.
According to Kissane, these four disciplines should all inform and influence an overall content strategy. While every client, project, or product will have differing content strategies, Kissane’s book highlights the basic principles that are universal. Her insights about good content include ensuring your content is appropriate, useful, user-centered, clear, consistent, concise, and supported. While there is no magic formula, there is, as the term implies, a strategy to good content, and it requires moving from big data to intelligent data and utilizing metadata among other factors.
In the almost two decades since the term was coined, content strategy’s growth in everyday vernacular has rapidly evolved. With the implementation of practice, platforms, and an explosion in places for content to live, the concept of a content strategy today is mainstream. In 2016, content strategy is a common term within many industries, used in a similar vein to a business plan when launching a company or department. However, this makes it more important than ever that organizations shift their focus beyond content production to content intelligence. As IBM shares, “It’s estimated that 80% of the world’s data is unstructured, but businesses are only able to gain visibility into a portion of that data.”
The only way to tackle these priorities with long-term, sustainable success is with a data-informed, user first content strategy. Organizations usually trip up when the complexity of personalization and content optimization reaches unprecedented nuance, and many efforts usually collapse or become siloed and restricted to certain teams or departments. A content strategy provides the right editorial, architecture, and governance foundation for achieving these important and increasingly required marketing goals.
In addition, the role of a content strategist has evolved and also requires “a deep understanding of the needs, wants, and desires of your target audience so that he or she can create an ongoing narrative that addresses these issues through content. Companies should view the role of a content strategist much like the editor of a magazine or newspaper,” explains SalesEngine.
Having support content for content’s sake isn’t the end goal. Within a content strategy, it is constantly evolving and updated with new information. Content strategy’s importance to support customer service can be attained through researched and well-written content that is easily accessible, reusable, and adaptable. A content marketing strategy should be approached with content being written metaphorically in pencil, not permanent ink.
In the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 B2B Content Marketing Trends—North America report, we see that the “most effective marketers allocate 42% [of their budget to content marketing], on average, whereas the most sophisticated/mature allocate 46% and on average B2B marketers only allocate 28% of their total marketing budget.” We find that content marketing budgets provide a good indicator of whether or not organizations understand the value of a content strategy. It’s simple. When organizations invest less in content, they are less effective. Budget often correlates to business mindset. If you’re serious about content, you need to back up your seriousness with the time, resources, and budget to create or add muscle to your content strategy.
Content strategies not only encompass the messaging and editorial side of content but also delve into the technical capabilities needed for content to truly scale and sustain itself. Many enterprises develop great content strategies after rigorous planning, but it all collapses when IT is not on the same page, does not understand how to translate the content strategy into technical requirements, or uses ill-fitting CMSs, marketing automation software, or other tools that cripple a content strategy before it even starts to walk. Content strategy helps create the technical foundation for discoverable, reusable, reconfigurable, and adaptive content—especially for different users using different devices. Content engineering within a content strategy specifically helps address the management, relational, process, delivery, and technology aspects of content that McKinsey rightly notes are essential.
In 2016, the common theme in content strategy is to overhaul digital. By crafting a more effective digital strategy, or embracing it for the first time, branded content, particularly, is possible. To do this, many companies are amping up mobile video and adding robust CMS platforms. Regardless of technology, the tricky balance within a digital content strategy is the resolve that the implementation is spot on.
News media is struggling to catch up with content strategy. However, some media companies are finding that successful content strategy begins with tiny real estate – the headline. Upworthy CEO Eli Pariser said, “The ethos behind the 25 headlines is you can have the best piece of content and make the best point ever. But if no one looks at it, the article is a waste. A good headline can be the difference between 1,000 people and 1,000,000 people reading something.”
These facts and statistics reinforce the need of becoming a “content doer.” That “doing” begins with a content strategy. A content strategy forms the foundation of customer experience, which leads to long-term maximization of your content investments and the highest impact on your bottom line throughout the entire customer lifecycle.
Your content approach makes or breaks your digital transformation. Learn why intelligent content strategy + engineering are critical to your success.
Your content is integral to your product. You might have piloted content strategy and seen promising results. Now what? It’s time to get more strategic so you can sustain and scale. This whitepaper will help you start.
Does your content work? It's a simple question, but getting a clear answer from content analytics or ROI formulas is often anything but easy. This ebook by Colleen Jones will help you overcome the challenges.