In marketing, a “content strategy” is currently something of a buzz word. Marketers all around the world are trying to determine how they can build a content strategy for their business, and importantly, how this actually relates to driving customers to buy their goods or services. Thinking like a master content strategist is important to being a thought leader and to being able to do this well.
Thinking like a master content strategist is someone that anyone who understands content can learn to do. At the start it is important to understand what a content strategy actually is, in the eyes of master content strategists. On this note, writing for Forbes (2012, Michael Bremner defines a content strategy as being the:
“Mind set, culture and approach to delivering your customer’s information needs in all the places they are searching for it, across each stage of the buying process”.
In the eyes of Bremner, having a content strategy means being able to see how content can be managed with a view to being able to quantify its return on investment. After all, if you are posting content and it does not have a return on investment then this is a very poor strategy. Content strategists have the role of deciding what content will be published, when and why (Bremner, 2012). The content strategist works out what type of content will be most helpful in trying to sell the organisation’s goods. Interestingly, Bremner explains that this does not necessarily mean as simplistic an approach as simply using content to promote the company’s products and services. Rather, content is used to show that the organisation is ahead of the game and is customer focused. It shows how the brand is relevant. A lot of this is rather more subtle than a half-baked attempt to disguise an advert via content, otherwise known as an “advertorial”.Implementation Strategies.Intelligenthq
Jayson DeMers (2014) has some insightful opinions about how to think in the way that a master content strategist does. DeMers argues that one of the most important parts of doing this is understanding the audience. Of course this is true of any content – news, film, academic research, and so on. That makes it somewhat of a surprise that it is a surprise to some that to think like a master strategist you have to get into the minds of the audience you are seeking to attract. Think about that for a minute. What is your audience really looking to see from your content? Do they want to be told (yet again) blatantly how great your product is? Probably not. They’ve heard that all before and they are savvy. They can make their own minds up.
So what does your content need to provide your audience? Well, DeMers opines that creating a “persona” can help. This is an age-old marketing technique that looks to develop an understanding of your typical customers. You look at stuff like how old they are, where they live, where and how they buy your product and what their income is. Then, once you have your persona or personas in place you can really start to empathise with your customers by asking yourself why these people buy these products from you. You need to get to the bottom of what issues you are overcoming for them with your product. This can help you shape your content towards them, especially if you start looking at trends that might be affecting them or your industry. Customers like to see that you are taking the lead, and master content strategists make sure to work this into their master plan.
Master content strategists also understand about writing for the web. They know that customers’ attention needs to be grabbed quickly and effectively. This means that using tactics such as enticing titles like “5 reasons why you need to…” are more helpful for customers than long, endless analysis. Short and punchy is the way it should go in writing. DeMers recommends strategies like taking important news stories and relating that to your business, as another example of what master content strategists do.
Finally, master content strategists know that it’s not just all about writing. There are many other types of content too. Do your personas like photos and videos? Likely, yes. That means that you should not limit yourself to traditional blog posting but also look at other ways that content can attract their attention too. Then your master strategy will be well-rounded and engaging.
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.