Having a content strategy answers some big questions like ‘where to post our content’ and ‘how much content should we produce,’ ‘what kind of tone and language should we use.’ But the big compelling reason for a content strategy is to drive more business acquired from your content efforts.

More on-target content = more business for your business.

Simply answer this: why the heck are we doing this? It costs money to create content, so spend your resources wisely. “I am writing this article because…?” (Believe me when I tell you that I am writing this post, because I can prove that it brings us business.)

I had the good fortune of sitting next to the über charming Dave Hazelhurst in Boston, Massachusetts at #Inbound13, which is compelling enough to guest blog for them, but Bussolati has a formal content that makes it clear that guest blogging is good for us. Very, very good. And our strategy outlines specific goals which I can measure for performance.

And that is a content strategy, people!

What, you missed it?

Well you’re not alone. Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute kicked off Content Marketing World ’13 sharing that most companies still don’t have a formalized content strategy. What a miss. A miss that is hard to measure the lack thereof – but it’s not hard to prove the advantages of working with a well-defined one.

What exactly is a Content Strategy?

A content strategy is sometimes called a digital strategy. There are many definitions of out there but my fav du jour is this one by Kevin Nichols of SapientNitro:
Getting the right content to the right user at the right time.

That definition indicates that you need the answers to these questions:
• Who are our customers?
• What do they want from us today?
• Where are they consuming content?
• When are they consuming content?

Developing a Content Strategy

It doesn’t take only an hour or just a half day, but it really isn’t complicated. So, here is a simplified approach in ye olde bullet points:

1 Identify your audience segments with data-driven accuracy
2 Set goals
3 Create useful content for each audience segment
4 Plan a desired action for each content asset consumer to take (download, read further, register for this free…)
5 Track and measure your content’s performance against your preset goals.
6 Adapt and plan to repeat your successes in making your audience happy

It’s so darn simple, so why do people skip this step? I think it is because they don’t do the tracking and measuring. I am not talking about just measuring the increase in followers, likes, or unique visitors. Really, that is not an end goal. Everyone knows that by now, right?

What you are tracking and measuring is the efficacy of the content asset as it pertains to your end goal. My end goal is to participate in a larger dialog with smart business people so I can gain insights to do better inbound marketing and content strategy work for our clients. And as a measure of efficacy I can look to increase in subscriptions to our free blog from this post or more UK followers who engage with our company on Twitter.

By Monica Bussolati

Originally posted on the Ph.Creative blog.

PS: My fav Ph.Creative blog post is this one. Why? Because it is memorable to see the personality behind the business. It helps us connect to them on a more personal and emotional level. I read many a posts about using content for businesses, but I’ll long remember the posts that humanize a business – and differentiating your business through personality is smart Content Strategy 101.