Content strategy – why bother?

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Hand drawing Content flow chart on transparent wipe board.

Yes, I believe in them, and yes, I love to create them, and yes, it would be super good for us to get together and organise one over tea and Tim Tams, but no: a content strategy isn’t necessary for every business. Not all products and services demand one. Not all marketing hangs on the content scaffold. Not everyone gives a damn about content.

But if you’re wondering whether you should give a damn about content, or you do give a damn about content but aren’t sure why you should strategise it, then stay here with me a bit.

Content is hot. So hot, in fact, that there are people out there peddling the idea of “Content – any content, all the time”. These people are a little insane and a lot ignorant: the idea that you can put out three blog posts a day and this will somehow make you irresistible to your market is ridiculous. First, it doesn’t work that way. Second, it’s a big fat waste of time (and money, if you’re delegating to staff or outsourcing). And third, it just doesn’t work that way.

Content for content’s sake means nothing, and does nothing. In a world where the sheer volume of noise is enough to overwhelm us at any given moment, meaningless content is just more noise pollution. Content should mean something. And content that means something does things. Wonderful things. The best way to make sure it does these wonderful things is to strategise it.

Here’s why.

The first, most important reason is that at its most basic, a content strategy ensures the right content, for the right people, at the right time. You could be a brilliant content creator, or have brilliant content creators at your disposal, but what if the people you’re creating for don’t see, hear, or experience what you’ve created? Or what if they see it, but it’s not quite right for them, or it’s just not the right time? A strategy requires, first and foremost, for you to know your market like you know your best friend – the one who comes to mind when you see a pair of shoes and exclaim, with supreme confidence, “Jess would LOVE these!” This means, of course, creating personas, and then taking the time to see the world through their eyes. This gives you an insight into what your clients or customers need to know, and when. And just as importantly, how to convey it to them.

The second reason is that a great content marketing strategy needs a content strategy as its basis. I talked about this in my last blog, so I’ll make it quick: if you’re going to spend time and money on a content marketing strategy, it might as well be good, and it will only be good if a content strategy precedes it. End of.

The final reason is what I call the trust-communication cycle.

Many businesses believe that all they need is a great product or service and that will be enough. Newsflash: it isn’t any more. Great products and services are a base-level expectation for any developed market these days; that’s what the modern overcapacity and saturation of the markets have done. Unless you are the sole purveyor of coconuts on a desert island, you need much more: trust.

There are just a couple of strait and narrow ways to trust, and one of them is communication. Why? Because communication is connection; it’s transparency; it’s listening; it’s engagement; it’s relationships; it’s selfless service. When you view your content strategy as part of your communication, and all that communication stands to deliver to both you and your clients or customers, you realise that slapdash attempts at content simply won’t do. Trust is precious, and requires nothing less than the concerted, concentrated effort of a content strategy.

And that, my dears, is something worth giving a damn about.


 

I am currently taking on content strategy clients for May. If you would like a solid content strategy for your own business, please: get in touch.

 

Photo credit: © ivelin via DepositPhotos
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Comments

  1. Hi Violeta,
    You make a valid and valuable point – content has to be created and marketed not just for the sake of content, but for the purpose of drawing in and helping out your customers.
    I’d say that one of the hardest things about content creation is one of the things you wouldn’t initially think of: maintaining the pace you set. There’s a correlation between websites that are updated more frequently and the amount of leads and customers they entertain, but to give a single content creator the job of writing three posts per day is too much if the content is still going to have any kind of quality.
    I got to write an article on ways to source expertise for quality content recently. Want to check it out?
    http://www.more-business-online.com.au/blog/content-marketing-strategy-needs-more-than-one-creator

    Best,
    Brooke

    • violeta says:

      Thanks for popping in, Brooke. I’ll check it out.

      I wouldn’t advise three blog posts a day – someone else did that – but even getting content creators on hand to do it for you, you would have to be ready to test and measure: would those three posts a day have any kind of impact, even if they were value packed? So I guess that’s something that I omitted to say, that should be included: room to test and measure the strategy.

  2. Absolutely, Violeta,
    since the success of Inbound marketing is built on its ability to measure the return on investment, testing and measuring should come as part and parcel of building and improving our marketing strategies.
    It can get challenging when we look at raising the quantity of posts, often because the quality of said posts is the casualty. It’s one of the reasons why having multiple writers can help you maintain a higher volume output without sacrificing value for the reader.

    As for impact due to a higher volume output, I’d fully advocate testing to measure the effect. One of the concerns might be that a blog would just end up stating the same things over and over again, and that wouldn’t be good either. I suspect that if your website caters to different kinds of buyers, each with their own concerns at each stage of the decision-making process, it wouldn’t take too long to build a considerable list of valuable post topics.

    Thanks for raising those thoughts though – it’s helping me think through more of the why and how on blogging as well.