Blogging. Email marketing. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Companies devote individuals, departments and specialist agencies to managing the nuances of a single content channel.
With the number of channels available and the amount of content that customers expect, marketers often divide to conquer. But customers also expect a consistent journey — and that’s why a myopic focus on channels can hurt a brand.
The best antidote for this tunnel vision is a solid content strategy. As a relatively new discipline designed to make sense of many channels, content strategy starts with a business goal and determines the best way to reach that goal using content.
According to content strategy expert Kristina Halvorson, “The content strategist must work to define not only which content will be published, but why we’re publishing it in the first place. Otherwise, content strategy isn’t strategy at all: it’s just a glorified production line for content nobody really needs or wants.”
To reach any business goal — whether it be lead generation, brand awareness or thought leadership — content needs to meet unique audiences at the right time and place with the right information. Without a content strategy that addresses each factor, content can easily miss the mark. A strategic content plan maps out each audience (buyer persona), time (buying cycle), place (content channel) and relevant information (content topics).
At the most basic level, content strategy is planning — which means it has to come first. By building a content strategy to guide content development and distribution, a brand is much more likely to reach its marketing goals.