Brilliant Reads: focusing in on content strategy

Welcome to Brilliant Reads. This week we’re taking a look at all things content strategy. How do you define your content strategy? What are the common pitfalls? How do you build a strategy-focused culture? We share our insights on these points and more below.

Defining your content strategy

There are countless articles discussing what a content strategy is and what it does. Yet by looking at what a content strategy isn’t can be all the more productive in refining your own. Below we discuss the eight things that a content strategy won’t do, giving you a clear idea of what you need before starting your own.

1 – Company strategy: your content strategy is not your project goals. Set your goals at the start so you can align your content strategy with them.

2 – An outline of your audience: you need to know your audience so you can cater your content to them. There are several ways of doing this that we discuss here.

3 – Brand language: your strategy isn’t your tone of voice. You should establish this through a different project.

4 – A project plan: when you’re starting to put your content strategy together you should be clear on people’s roles from the start, not discover them along the way.

5 – A marketing strategy: you can write the greatest content in the world, but it’s pointless if no one sees it. A content strategy can inform the marketing but it shouldn’t define it.

6 – Online only: don’t neglect physical media. Magazine and newspaper editors have been doing content strategy for hundreds of years – it just wasn’t given a name back then.

7 – Just words: reading an endless page or screen with no breaks is tiring. Be sure to incorporate images or video into your content. After all, an image is worth a thousand words.

8 – Magic: your content strategy won’t be bulletproof. There’s no magical perfect plan. 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.

Eight things a content strategy isn’t
Brilliant Noise, 3 mins

Giving strategy time to breathe

Strategic thinking is undoubtedly important to an organisation’s success. Yet 96% of leaders say they lack the time for strategic thinking. So why isn’t it being prioritised? What’s the reason behind this mismatch of goals and actions? It boils down to two barriers.

The first is cultural, being seen working long hours is tied to the thinking of loyalty and productivity in our modern economy. Yet slavishly devoting endless hours to your desk is actually found to be a hindrance on productivity. What seems to power creative thinking is breaking up your day with short walks, preferably outside. Despite this behaviour often being frowned upon in corporate offices. The second is the illusion of ‘busyness’. By seeming busy and under pressure this displays to peers that we are important, this breeds an incentive to take on a lot of work.

So how do we tackle these mindsets? As stated a short walk outside can make a massive difference. Log where your time is going, you may discover you can combine or outsource tasks to free up more time in your week. Step back – with more free time, you give yourself the chance to enter into the flow state of considering the big-picture strategy.

If Strategy Is So Important, Why Don’t We Make Time for It?
Harvard Business Review, 5 mins

Maximising content marketing ROI

All marketing leaders want to know that their content marketing will have a return on investment (ROI). So how do you ensure this? It all begins with the basics. ROI for content marketing is a long-term goal. You will need to invest at the beginning, on tasks like a content strategy and content production, to gain financial rewards further down the line. But how do you work out your content ROI? ROI = Revenue – Cost of content marketing activity. This is an oversimplified formula but it’s a good place to start. Now for the big question.

How can content marketing contribute to revenue? It all begins with your target audience. Study your data analytics to identify what pieces of content are resonating with your audience, thus driving revenue. Once you know what content is driving sales for your business, you can then build this into a wider content strategy – informed by your data-led personas and brand proposition. From here it’s about constant measurement to ensure your strategy is optimised. With these steps you can secure additional investment all by providing value in revenue.

How content marketing can return on your investment
Brilliant Noise, 4 mins

Building thought leadership into strategy

Content is the key focus for many brands today. With a focus on strategies that push prospectives along to the next phase of a proverbial buyer journey. But there is no one-size-fits-all strategy or content type, so what should be the content you aim for? Thought leadership is looking to be the most powerful type of content for every stage of the journey.

The power of thought leadership comes from its meaningful conversation around an industry topic. With high topic relevance, tone and context you generate the highest audience engagement. With this context in mind all content formats have equal value, the power comes from the message. By being someone who people like to learn from your content will stand tall as an effective contribution and position you as a leader in your industry. When you approach content in a thoughtful, relevant way you can embody your company’s personality and core values.

How To Make Thought Leadership The Best Part Of Your Marketing Strategy
Forbes, 4 mins

The customer focus

We are flooded with articles, thought pieces and headlines touting that digital is the future of marketing. Yet that is it, just another headline. Before this the headline was TV versus print. These are merely the top layers of marketing as a whole, once peeled away you see what the future has always been: the customer.

Yes the customer is always changing, trends come and go. But the main goal has always been to understand them, learn from them and gain their perspective to drive our companies forward. The biggest challenge marketers have always faced is being that connection between the brand and the market. This makes understanding customers and letting that influence your organisation’s decision making essential.

It may be tempting to become enthralled with whatever the next big headline may be (automation / chatbots / etc) but don’t lose sight of your marketings focus: the customer.

Understanding customers is marketers’ most misunderstood mission
Marketing Week, 5 mins

Thanks for reading. If you have any feedback, or suggestions for future editions, get in touch.