We hear all the time that "content is king," but when it comes to priorities a clear content strategy often takes the backseat in many organizations. I’ll be the first to admit that a well thought-out and executed content strategy can be a daunting exercise, but I assure you that it is worth it.
And with your strategy comes commitment. You can’t just create a content strategy and think you’ve crossed the finish line. A true content strategy evolves over time as you understand what is working and where you need to make changes.
How can you avoid some common pitfalls and set yourself up for success? Consider the following:
- Set your strategy. Using buyer personas. Then, determine what you would like to tell your audience, how you would like to connect with them and map out the critical pieces.
- Determine ownership. Is there a clear owner of this strategy or are there multiple parties contributing? While you can have multiple people contributing, you need to have a single owner. Singular ownership is key to delivering on your strategy. Far too often there are multiple owners of a content strategy causing confusion and ineffective communication.
- Governance. At the risk of sounding a bit harsh, you’ll need some governance in place to ensure adherence to your strategy. You will need someone to be the heavy and make sure that when a new piece of content is produced, that it maps to the strategy. If it does not align with the plan, that person needs to be able to reject the content and suggest that the creator modify it.
- Connect with your audience. We all know that content needs to be fresh, relevant and engaging. But make sure that your content addresses all phases of the buying cycle, such as awareness, discovery and validation. If you are selling a product or service, you’ll need to have proof points: What is this product or service going to do for your customers? How will what you are selling make their lives better, easier or more enjoyable?
- I see so many pieces of collateral that are literally information dumps that do not connect with the buyer. Understand your customers' pain points and connect with them. Know when your customers buy, and then align with their buying cycles. Make sure that you offer a mix of content such as videos, testimonials, white papers, infographics, etc.
- Conduct a content audit. Get a true picture of what assets you have. Rate each piece of existing content into one of two categories: repurpose or remove. Determine where you have gaps and what new assets will need to be created. You can go through this exercise yourself or have an outside third party do a content audit for you.
- Give yourself a grade to set a baseline and strive for improvements over time. When creating a content strategy you don’t always have to start from scratch. Once you review everything, you can see if anything can or should be repurposed. Often, you can make some small edits and get more traction out of an existing piece.