The ABCs of Content Strategy

In 1996 Bill Gates famously declared, “Content is king,” predicting that the breadth of information on the Internet would grow to enormous proportions. He also anticipated that many companies would jump into content production with both feet.

Nineteen years later, Gates has been proven right on both counts. There is no limit to the amount of information that can be found on the Internet, and companies are putting more resources towards creating and marketing content, which raises the question, “To what end?”

In a recent Fast Company article, Rebecca Lieb, formerly of Altimeter and now Vice President of Content Marketing at Teradata Marketing Systems noted, “Seventy percent of companies are operating blindly, without a documented content strategy to guide them. They are throwing stuff on Facebook, creating videos and white papers because all the cool kids are doing it.”

Creating content can be a great business strategy setting a company apart as a thought leader and reinforcing its core brand. But is also has to be tethered to concrete business objectives and to the overarching brand strategy. That’s where a lot of today’s businesses are failing.

Think about it. Companies think strategically when developing both their business plans and their brand strategy – carefully evaluating them against key metrics and making sure they work in concert together. Yet, content is often created on an ad hoc basis in response to a single event or a trending topic.

content marketing goals infographic

A well thought out content strategy helps bring a brand to life. To ensure that the content you create is reflective of your brand and reinforces your business goals objectives, keep these ABCs in mind:

  • Always plan! Don’t be guilty of churning out content for the sake of churning out content.
    • Just as for any other business strategy, determine the objectives for your content and how you will measure success.
    • Keep your audience in mind. Always be able to answer these questions: How will this content be most useful to the reader? What data and insights does it provide them?
    • Make sure your content positions you as a leader in your area of expertise.
  • Brand it! Make sure your content reinforces your brand.
    • Ensure that all images and graphics match your branding.
    • Incorporate key organizational messages.
    • Think about how the content reflects your brand to differentiate you from others in the same space.
  • Choose channels wisely! Where you publish is just as important to strengthening your brand as what you publish.
    • Consider where your target audience hangs out online.
    • Determine the leading online information hubs for your industry and/or areas of expertise.
    • Monitor metrics to track how effectively your content meets defined goals and objectives.

Don’t create content reactively. Think it through and sync it to your overall business and brand strategy.