The Science of Strong Content Strategy
Content is king. It’s a mantra that has been touted in marketing meetings for a good long while now. In fact, if you’re following marketing trends at any level, you might be yawning and thinking to yourself, that’s not news. And, if that’s what you are thinking, you’re correct. It’s not new. The importance of content is, however, more poignant more than it ever has been.
FUN FACT: Content is king was originally a quote from an essay written by Bill Gates in 1996 in which he was describing the future of the Internet as a marketplace for content.
Why good content strategy matters now more than ever than before?
“Now more than ever.” “These are unprecedented times.” “Times like these call for…”
The phrases about how to operate your business during the 2020 landscape go on and on, to the point of exhaustion. I have tried to carefully stay away from jumping on that bandwagon, but the truth is “more than ever before,” content is the ruling marketing initiative. There’s really no other way to describe it.
Here’s the rub, the content has to be world-class.
Is there a science behind content strategy?
Funny, you should ask…
That’s the whole point of this piece of content. There’s a prevailing marketing misstep that even the most well-informed and well-intended business leaders make. It’s about quantity versus quality.
The issue goes even deeper than that to mislead us at times to believe that we are producing quality over quantity because we ignore the science behind creating good content strategy. So, yes, You’re probably one step ahead of me guessing that we’re about to drill down on that science.
Let’s do this!
Pro Level Tips For Mastering Your Communication Strategy
Let’s just go out on a limb and say this: your brand is secondary.
There. I said it: Your brand isn’t the most important piece of your content strategy.
Of course, your brand should be recognizable and prevalent throughout all your communications, but the primary objective of your content is not to reinforce your brand. The primary objective of any communication should start with a purpose and then be created in a clear, purpose-driven, channel-specific, professional manner. Let’s explore those principles a bit deeper.
1. Clarity – Just because you created it does not mean your message is clear.
Every piece of content you push out has to be clear, first and foremost.
While this might sound like an obvious statement, it actually is one of the most common content strategy mistakes I see businesses make. The headline is good, and it draws me in, but the body has no clear navigation. If, as a marketing consultant, I can’t grasp what the point is quickly, imagine how a less captive audience might find it.
2. Purpose – Your communication should serve a purpose.
It’s a more common scenario than you might imagine. A high-level decision-maker comes to the marketing lead and says, “We need to put something out about X.”
A current event, a trending topic or a yearly holiday does not automatically mean a piece of communication must be created around it. Just because everyone else is doing it, does not mean it has a purpose for your business and your audience.
Draw a hard line between pushing content out that does not have a tangible purpose behind it.
3. Digestible – War and Peace is a great novel. (Keyword: novel!)
Even if the topic is perfectly on point for your audience, it has to be formatted for the quick skim. Readers’ eyes are programmed for quick reads, formatted for reading even on their phone in digestible segments.
The use of headers and visuals to break up and reinforce your text will increase engagement. It’s also important for SEO, but that’s another topic for another day.
4. Targeted + Timed – The who, what, how and when matters.
As popular as Instagram might be if your customers are predominantly found on Facebook, your content should be mostly focused on that channel.
Understanding your audience is the key to creating content that will resonate with them.
Technology and data can help get to insights of who they are, what they want, when they want it and how they want it. Overlooking these pieces of the puzzle is akin to wasting your time. (And, who has time to waste these days?)
5. Polished – Pros offer the skills needed to get you there.
It’s tempting to think anyone can curate all the components needed for world-class content.
The strategy, the execution, the editing iterations, the brand reinforcement, the measurement – it’s all a bit more complicated than the finished product reveals.
The truth is, it’s more than likely that you need a pro to help you. The truth is, the work is a science.
Creating a content strategy can be the special sauce that you need to navigate “these unprecedented times” during the global pandemic, as well as during the normal hyper-competitive landscapes that we face on a daily basis. This is why content is king, but it has to be good to hold that throne.