Eight things a content strategy isn’t

There are so many great articles, books and posts that tell you what content strategy is and what it does, there’s no point in writing a blog post doing the same thing.

To be contrary, we’re going to share what a content strategy isn’t and what it won’t do.

In the process you’ll see how it should work with your company strategy, organisation charts and other plans. Plus, it should give you an idea of what you need before you start creating a content strategy of your own.

1 – Company strategy

If you’re looking for a vision and a mission to come out of your content strategy you won’t find it.

Content strategy matches an organisation’s goals with those of their audience with content that is sustainable.

If you don’t know your goals you can’t align your strategy to them. It’s a great idea to set these out before you start your content strategy project – that will make things much easier when you start.

2 – An outline of your audience

As mentioned above, you need to know what your audience (the people reading/watching/listening to your content) are expecting or, even better, need.

That’s more than just a random picture of a few people’s age, job descriptions and salary. You need to build a continually updated picture of what’s driving people to your organisation.

Take a look at Lauren’s post outlining creative solutions for better personas

And Dave’s post on data-driven personas

3 – Brand language

Your strategy won’t tell you how you should come across. It might inform some choices for your tone of voice and it’ll certainly help your messages but you’ll need a different project (and probably a different team) to sort these out.

4 – An organisational chart

It’s important to know who’s going to do what in your organisation. When you start putting your content strategy together you’ll need to be clear on people’s skills and the typical tasks they’ll undertake.

That’s also one of the best places to start with a project plan for content strategy.

5 – A marketing strategy

If you don’t have a way to get your content noticed, it’s just going to sit there waiting to be discovered. And I hate to break it to you but it won’t be.

Your content strategy will really help inform your marketing, so you’re already on the road to greatness. But keep them as two separate entities – married rather than twins.

6 – Online only

Don’t be fooled into thinking your content strategy won’t work for print. Magazine and newspaper editors have been doing content strategy for hundreds of years – it just wasn’t given a name back then.
Whether you’re thinking of brochures, prospectuses, magazines or any other ink-based content, print is a channel that needs your content strategy just as much as your website or social media.

7 – Just words

Content isn’t just words and neither is your strategy. Don’t leave out images, video, audio or any other formats just because you’re not comfortable with them.

As with print, these are channels for your content, so make sure they’re represented. You might need to incorporate slightly different strategies or plans if they need them but keep it all in one place.

8 – Magic

This is no silver bullet or cure-all. It isn’t going to immediately solve all of the problems in your organisation. But it might help you identify and overcome them.

Luckily, with the exception of magic, we can help you out with any of the strategies and plans outlined in this post. Get in touch here.