What's Missing From Your Content Strategy?

By Frank Emanuele

Content. Anybody who's anybody in social media and marketing is talking about the importance of quality content these days. "Content is king," they say. I was lucky enough to attend the WOMM-U conference earlier this month, where content strategy was an event at the center of a keynote by Brain Traffic CEO Kristina Halvorson.  And yet, with so many marketing professionals paying lip service to King Content, so many brands are completely missing the boat when it comes to a fully integrated and functional content strategy. There are four basic elements, and if any one of them is missing, your content strategy won't be all that it can be. Does your organization have all the pieces in place?

Substance Ask yourself: "what content do we need?" Using what you know about your community, determine what they will respond to best. What are they expecting from you? Is it a series of well-thought-out blog posts? Is it fun infographics? Maybe they just want to see quick status updates about your product or service. Think hard about this one! Develop a solid set of criteria and guidelines that your organization can enforce.

Structure Ask yourself: "How is this all organized?" Structure is essential. It dictates how people will perceive and digest the messages you deliver to them. It impacts the way they respond and choose to engage with you. Think about the user experience at all times. Are you expecting too much of them? Will they be willing to click through 2 or 3 times to access a basic "About Us" page on your website?Can you make it available through a single click? What about your mobile app? Does it deliver information in the quickest, simplest, most elegant way possible? Most importantly, does the content in all of these places match the "Substance" you agreed upon earlier? Structure your content in a way that immediately makes sense to newcomers and makes it easy for them to dive right in.

Workflow Ask yourself: "How are we maintaining and updating our content?" Here's a universal truth: if a task is too hard to do repeatedly, no one is going to do it. Don't turn the maintenance of your content into a chore. Maintaining and updating your content certainly takes discipline, but it's essential. Think about the way you feel when you stumble upon an outdated corporate website. You immediately think less of an organization that doesn't maintain its web presence. When you're stuck in the trenches, it can seem impossible to find the time to keep your old content up-to-date when you're so busy generating new content. So make it easy on yourself! Use a Content Management System like Wordpress or Blogger for your website. Use scheduling tools like Buffer or Hootsuite for managing your social media. These timesavers will let you focus less on how, where, and when things get posted and spend more time thinking about who, why, what, and where.

Governance Ask yourself: "How do we keep everything in line without total chaos?" People within your organization will always come to you with new ideas about what your website or social media profiles should look like, or what they should be saying. Sometimes, they'll have great insights you never would have considered. Other times, they'll be off-track. Know when to say "no." It comes back to Substance and Structure. Consider whether their suggestions make sense within the content guidelines you've set up for the company. Can they be tweaked to fit? More importantly, should they be? Have a system in place that allows for this kind of vetting to occur. Make the content guidelines readily available to anyone interested, and empower a member of your team to enforce those rules. More content is not always a good thing if it doesn't align with your overall strategy.

Content is indeed King! Treat it with some respect! Take the time to develop a practical, scalable content strategy and put it into action within your organization. Once you and your staff see the bigger picture, it's much easier to create relevant content that really makes your brand shine!

Have you ever considered the elements of your content strategy? What does yours look like? Tell me in the comments below!