What is Content Strategy? (+ Why You Need One)

What is content strategy and why do you need one?You’ve been cruising along with your business strategy and your marketing strategy.

But now the buzz is you need a content strategy.

You’re thinking: Wait, content is part of my marketing strategy. Now, content needs its own strategy? What’s next, I’m going to need a cat-wrangling strategy?

Honestly, I wouldn’t try wrangling cats without one – but that’s a futile task anyway.

Content strategies, however, are not futile.

Sorry to advocate yet another obnoxious strategy – but implementing a content strategy really will help you in the long run.

I know, I know. It’s like getting your cat vaccinated. It’s a pain wrangling her, getting her there and sustaining cat-wrangling-related injuries, but it saves you the hassle of dealing with rabies later.

What is Content Strategy?

Content strategy is a plan for the creation and implementation of your brand’s content.

Sure, your marketing strategy includes content creation and dissemination, but it doesn’t go into depth to clarify your content plan like a content strategy would.

Here are the elements of a content strategy:

  • Content Stages: You’ll want content at each stage of your buyer’s journey. You’ll want content that attracts potential buyers, content that informs their purchasing decision, content that makes the sale and content that delights your customers after they’ve purchased.
  • Audience: Identify your intended audience, the language they use, where and how they get their information and more. Create buyer personas to easily keep track of this information. These personas will influence all of your content.
  • Content Type: Based on your personas, what type of content does your audience like to consume? Here’s where you’ll determine the type of content you’ll produce and share on and off of your website. Will you write blog posts and guest posts, will you create video, will you produce podcasts, will you buy paid advertising?
  • Social Media: Social networks are also part of your marketing strategy, but you need to expand on them in your content strategy. What social networks does your audience use, what do they use it for and what type of content do they want to see on each social network? What brand voice do you use on each social network? Do you communicate with your LinkedIn audience in the same voice you use to communicate with your Twitter audience? You can see, this all goes back to your personas.
  • Content Calendar: Use your personas to determine the best time to communicate with your audience through your blog, email, social media, etc., and create a content calendar to keep track of content projects large and small.
  • Project Management: Now that you have a calendar with content projects on it, you need people to carry out those projects on time. Otherwise, you’re back to cat wrangling – especially if you work with guest bloggers! (Yup, been there.) Who will do the work? How will you keep track of content teams and deadlines within deadlines? Will you use a project management system?
  • SEO: How will you optimize your content so you audience can find it in search? Keep track of keywords, meta description, page titles, link-building strategy and more for each piece of content you create. For more information on SEO content, check out my post on SEO copywriting and why you need it.
  • Measurement: How will you measure the success of your content and report on your progress? Keep track of what works and what doesn’t work with your measurement tool and reports in order to refine your content for continually improved performance.

Why Do You Need Content Strategy?

After reading the elements of a content strategy, you should more clearly understand the importance of implementing one.

Basically, without a content strategy, there’s too much stuff to keep track of and too many cats to wrangle.

Without a content strategy, some content is bound to slip through the fence cracks.

Quality content is the most important factor in building your audience and determining search engine rankings.

Content is so important to the success of your business that it deserves a strategy of its own.

Create a Content Strategy

Now that you know what a content strategy is and why you need one, go create one of your own!

You can get a contractor to help you, but there’s nothing wrong with diving in yourself.

A strategy is better and no strategy. You can always get input from the rest of your team – they’ll appreciate it! Try putting something together, testing and refining.

You can also contact me for help creating a content strategy.

Are there any other elements of content strategy that should be included in the list? Share in the comments below!

Photo credit: Modified image thanks to Takashi Hososhima under a Creative Commons license.

Tracy McCarthy is the founder of Content Newsroom, a website dedicated to helping you get more customers through the quality content that your website visitors deserve and Google demands. A journalist turned Internet marketer, Tracy uses her writing and editing skills to help B2B and B2C businesses succeed with content marketing. She has done work for Content Marketing Institute, SuccessWorks SEO Copywriting, Brookstone and more, and has contributed to Kapost, ISOOSI and other industry-leading blogs.

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