If you’ve been around the marketing world for a minute you’ve heard the phrase “content is king” bandied about by pretty much everyone. But what is content and what makes it reign supreme?
The short (and true) answer is, content is everything. It’s copy in a blog (hey, like this one!), video on a website, a podcast, infographics, photos on social, case studies — just about any creative piece can be a part of a solid content strategy.
The key word there, and we really cannot stress this enough, is strategy. All marketing content should be born from a core strategy.
Sure, you can have great content with no strategy behind it. But without a strategy driving the type of content you’re creating, who you’re creating it for, and where you’re sharing it, you probably won’t have great and effective content.
Data + Heart = Strategy
At CID, our content strategy work is informed by both quantitative and qualitative data.
Data, like information we get from keyword research, helps us determine things like what topics are of interest to certain audiences, and what phrases people are using to search for the info they want.
In our view, the two keys to a great content strategy are:
- Understanding the target audience
- Understanding the client’s goals
(A great budget and a client team willing to try new things never hurt either.)
We emphasize getting details about the target audience right and validated by research because sometimes what clients think is true about their target audience isn't quite on the mark. It's our job to uncover as much information as possible and lead our clients on the right path.
When we know specifically what we’re trying to accomplish and as much as possible about who we’re trying to reach, the likelihood the effort will succeed goes way up.
But data is only part of the story. There’s still a bit of “reading the room” that has to happen. After all, we’re trying to reach actual people with our content, not just appease the search algorithm overlords. In other words, content is only as good as its context.
Our content team pays attention to trends in our industry and our clients’ industries, along with news, art, pop culture, social justice...basically anything that helps us ensure the content we’re recommending in our strategy isn’t out of step with what people are thinking and feeling.
Strategy can be fluid
Something that tends to startle some of the more rule-focused types among us in the marketing world is that strategy, even the most well-researched, carefully crafted strategy, can change. We revisit it often throughout the creative process because it’s the framework for every piece of content we produce.
But, over time, as we learn new things about how audiences react to and interact with our content, we can make adjustments to the plan. Nothing is set in stone. The caveat is that any adjustments still need to serve the effort’s overarching goals and target audiences.
Eyes on the prize
When it comes down to it, using a content strategy to inform the types of content that ultimately get created is all about making the best use of a client’s time and resources in service of their goal.
That’s why when someone comes to us for a video or whitepaper or any other piece of content, the first thing our content team usually asks is “why” followed quickly by “who is it for, where will it live, and how is it being used?”
Taking a step back to really think about the purpose of the piece, and considering how it fits into part of an overall strategy, can ultimately save time, budget, and make the final product an effective part of your marketing plan.
Give your content a better chance to connect with help from our award-winning content strategy team. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.