Building a content strategy can be time-consuming, especially considering how much it ties in with the future of your brand and how your company wants to grow. But putting in the time and effort can have huge payoffs.
Without a pressure-tested content strategy, you have no way of aligning individual pieces of content to your larger brand goals. While you might set distinct goals for each blog, video, or social media post, they should also all roll up to what your brand stands for. For instance, what does your audience want to see more of? And how do you want them to interact with your content and brand? In what areas of your business do you want to drive more engagement? And beyond marketing communications, how do you want your employees to perceive your brand through internal comms?
When building a content strategy, you need to answer all of these questions and more. So let’s take a look at a few frequently asked questions about how to develop a successful content strategy — and why it’s worth your time.
Wait — Internal Communications Are Part of My Content Strategy?
Yes! According to the Content Marketing Institute, “content strategy often goes beyond the scope of a content marketing strategy, as it helps businesses manage all of the content they have.” The content you produce for your employees, whether HR and corporate training handbooks, event flyers, virtual conferences and seminars, or anything else, should also follow a detailed plan and adhere to brand standards.
This is particularly important in large organizations with offices across multiple states or countries. Why? In separate offices, communication can easily fall into silos, resulting in inconsistent messaging or branding. So if your internal communications aren’t a strong representation of your brand, you’re missing out on opportunities to demonstrate proper branding to your team.
How Do I Handle New Initiatives When Building a Content Strategy?
Maybe you have a new product or service, or an upcoming event with its own distinct presence in your industry. How can you use your content strategy to plan for these unique cases? By outlining your full content strategy ahead of time, you can start planning right away. And often, the best way to set the tone for these new initiatives is to build exclusive visual languages for each.
A visual language is similar to a set of brand guidelines, but crafted for a specific campaign. Visual languages typically draw from your company’s brand guidelines and may include some recognizable elements like signature colors or fonts, but also tend to introduce new unique elements to help the campaign stand out. In this way, you have a reference point for creating content for your new product, service, or event. And, it’s one that’s just as consistent as your other branded content — but with its own strategic spin.
How Do I Stay on Target with My Content Strategy?
It’s one thing to plan. But it’s quite another to successfully follow that plan. Digital governance is the way that teams plan, execute upon, and monitor their content strategy to stay the course. It determines who the decision-makers will be, streamlining processes by avoiding too much disparate input. When building a content strategy, consider who has the final say in what types of decisions, as well as when to evaluate your governance along the way. You may find that the original plan for approvals isn’t working and would be better shifted to a different person or team. In this way you’ll know what the default plan is, but remain agile to ultimately support your content and audience.
What Are the Key Drivers of Success for My Brand’s Content Strategy?
Every brand and initiative has unique goals, but they should all focus around:
- Established goals
- Visual and messaging consistency
- Expert quality
To start, building a content strategy involves assessing and documenting your goals. Meanwhile, your visual and messaging consistency stem from your brand book and any visual languages you’ve built for unique initiatives. (Jump back to the last section if you’re not sure what a visual language is!). But what about expert quality?
Depending on its size and skillset, your in-house team — which may consist of writers, designers, animators, and/or developers — might lack the capacity or the expertise to deliver on your full suite of content. Let’s say your content calendar is heavy on engagement-driving visual content such as infographics, data visualization, motion graphics, interactive content, and more. If that’s the case — and it should be! — you need to rely on a team with not only graphic design, animation, and/or code expertise, but also visual communication expertise.
So what’s visual communication? It’s a graphical representation of information to efficiently and effectively create meaning. (For a complete guide to visual communication for marketers and brands, check out Killer CEO Amy Balliett’s new book!) Essentially, a team with visual communication skills knows how to create something beautiful, but they take it a step further by ensuring that beautiful design conveys information in a clear, engaging way. By tapping into a team with this unique skillset, you further the accuracy, efficacy, and impact of your content.
Your content strategy will ultimately be as unique as your brand. So use these steps as a foundation upon which to build the right approach for your audience, and enlist content strategy teams who can help execute your vision. Want to learn more? Check out our Strategic Content Summit, with sessions every Tuesday!