Creating content without a sound strategy is about as effective as entering into a feather throwing competition. No matter how hard you try and how sure you are you have the right methodology, everyone will still pretty much end up in the same place. Success and failure will be determined by things outside of your control.
Brands no longer simply have websites: they have an online presence. This is an important realization because at every point of that presence there is content. Even if there isn’t a company blog or a Twitter account, someone is probably writing and tweeting about them. Online, content is your product and how effective it is depends on the strategy.
Jeremy Baldwin breaks down a more holistic definition of content strategy into three parts:
- Editorial Strategy (themes and topics),
- Content Strategy (organizing and managing), and
- Content Marketing (drive conversation and engagement).
These require a cohesive group of people with different skill sets to guide and monitor the message at every point of presence. Think of your content as being the narrative of your brand. There must be a cohesive synergy between all platforms including interacting with people on social channels. There must be a consistent story or message being told at every step.
Janet Aronica has a great write-up on tracking metrics analyzing this narrative, as does our own Matt Chandler regarding Social Center. Feedback from these services will help answer the ultimate question of online content: are you giving the audience what they want? This isn’t a yes or no question. The answer must be to what degree is it effective and what can be done to make it better?
One thing that can greatly affect how far content goes is the medium by which it is presented. People can learn the same information in very different ways. If your posts aren’t seeing the traffic you think they deserve, try getting the message out in a different way. Try a short video or podcast, or turn it into a diagram. Don’t tie the message down to a single distribution method; it has to be free to move and grow through different venues.
It is a good sign that the industry as a whole is seeing how much value and time are lost when content is just thrown aimlessly around, hoping that it magically “goes viral,” and have instead embraced sound content strategy as a workflow. The more quality content being produced the better, and the better strategy there is for following and tracking the more people will learn from the bevy of knowledge being produced. This also means that the time for a comprehensive strategy is now, as more brands are implementing these ideas all the time.