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.

Let’s consider the four most influential fields: editorial work, curatorial work, marketing and persuasion, and information science. – Erin Kissane, “The Elements of Content Strategy

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.

This Content Intelligence layer transforms the unstructured content into valuable and action-oriented information by applying meaning and context in the form of metadata. – Dataversity

1997: Anecdotal evidence that content strategy is being used as a term among early content professionals. – Firehead

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.”

Optimizing the customer experience, targeting and personalization, data-driven marketing, optimizing workflows, and creating cross-team approach are the most likely to be prioritized during 2016. – eConsultancy

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.

As a content strategist working in customer service and support, your challenge is to insure that the right content is available at the right time—and in the right format. – The Desk

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.

Those who document their strategy are more effective in nearly all areas of content marketing, yet fewer B2B marketers have a documented strategy than in 2015. – Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs

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.

Digital capabilities are now a prerequisite to compete in the long term. Yet many companies seeking to go digital are still unclear about the best way to set up their IT organizations and develop the tools and talent required to manage digital information and establish and maintain online services and automated processes. – McKinsey

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.

60% say that for the next 12 months, their number one goal is to implement a “digital marketing makeover” across platforms, programs, and staff. – CMO Council’s State of Marketing Study 2014

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.

You can sense the frayed nerves and the frustration at a newsroom [The New York Times] that is, for all its digital successes, still in many ways oriented toward an old model. ­ – Neiman Lab about the leaked New York Times innovation report

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.

The Author

Content Science is a growing content strategy and intelligence company and the publisher of Content Science Review. We empower digital enterprises for the content era by taking their content approach to the next level. Customers of our professional services and one-of-a-kind products (such as ContentWRX and Content Science Academy) include the Fortune 50, the world’s largest nonprofits, and the most trusted government agencies.

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[…] Evolving from a buzzword to an essential quickly, content strategy provides a foundation for organizations to better harness content as a business asset.  […]

 
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