In content marketing, it’s easy to focus in on content creation like a myopic media maniac, completely ignoring the need for a content strategy. Content and content strategy, however, are two very different things. Content is an integral part of content strategy and content marketing, but it’s not everything. Without the rest of the strategy or marketing plan, content is just words, pictures, recordings, or videos with no place to go and no one to see.
So, what is content strategy, if it’s not 100% content?
10 Things Content Strategy Covers When It’s Not Covering Content
1. In-House Team Structure and Management
Maybe it’s just you. Maybe it’s you plus 50 helpers that comprise your content marketing team. However many people you have at your disposal, be sure everyone’s aware of their roles and responsibilities on the team and within your content strategy’s workflow. Documenting the plan and giving everyone access to the plan will ensure smooth sailing on the seas of content marketing strategy.
2. Outsourced People
If you’ll be working with outsourced freelancers, include policies and procedures for working with them in your content marketing strategy. Determine what your expectations are for outsourced talent and what you need to provide them (branding materials, resources, and communication) to reach those goals.
3. Brand Profile
In order to create killer content and execute a successful content strategy, you’ve got to deliver a consistent message and voice across platforms and media. To do this, you have to know your brand and make sure everyone on your team (freelancers and outsourced creatives included) also understands your brand. Create a thorough brand profile and personality that describes your brand as if it were a person. What voice do you use? What’s your company’s message architecture? What does your brand value?
4. Customer Journey Maps
Your content strategy should include customer journey maps and personas that outline the sort of content that’s useful, educational, valuable, and inspiring to different customers at different points in your sales funnel. Make a plan that describes how you’ll deliver customer-specific content and what type of content is best suited where.
Your content strategy should describe the workflow, or each bit of content’s lifecycle. What’s your content creation process look like? Who on your content marketing team is responsible for which part of each stage of your content’s lifecycle — from idea to publication to recycling?
6. Content Schedule
A content strategy should document how often you plan to publish content, where and when (down to the time of day) you’ll post, which topics your content will cover, and the types of content to publish. Base your content schedule around your larger marketing campaigns, frequently searched questions, current events, popular topics, and even seasonal interests.
7. Publication or Distribution Plan
This beast is best tackled using a digital publication tool, like Hubspot or Hootsuite. However you go about publishing and distributing content, be sure your content strategy documents your plan in detail.
You content strategy should outline the channels you plan to use for distributing and promoting your content. Whether they be social media or email, choose channels according based on where your brand and audience fit and be sure to customize your content for each channel.
9. Setting Goals
At number nine, this is low on the list, but setting goals actually one of the first things you should do when making a content strategy. Setting goals gives you and your content marketing a purpose. Set overarching goals, like reaching 10,000 followers, increasing click-through rates, or attracting more subscribers. Make sure your content strategy goals align with your company’s larger goals and mission.
10. Measuring Performance
A content strategy is basically useless without a way to measure its success. Determine which metrics are most useful to you — whether in Google Analytics or within your social media. Then gather the necessary tools for measuring and tracking your progress. Pay special attention to what content works and what doesn’t, so you can improve your strategy in the future.
How to Handle Content Creation Like a Boss
Feeling overwhelmed by your workflow? You can still content market and pull off your comprehensive content strategy like a pro with the help of outsourced talent. Hire a team of tried and true writers, editors, and strategists on WriterAccess to assist you with your content marketing strategy, so you can focus on whatever else it is you do best for your business.
Jennifer G is a full-time freelance writer and editor with a B.A. in creative writing from the University of Montana. She enjoys researching and writing creative content to engage readers and developing professional voices for clients across all industries. She specializes in medical, health, veterinary, and financial writing. Having worked nearly thirteen years in finance, Jennifer applies her experience in the banking industry (marketing, social media management, consumer and commercial lending, customer service, accounts, and bookkeeping) to her writing work within the industry.