A few weeks ago, I stumbled across this post by Olivier Blanchard at Brandbuilder.com, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind ever since. Yes, it is a bit dated (posted in October 2010), but that doesn’t change the fact that I took offense to this particular paragraph:
2010’s Social Media experts, especially those who came to their impressive expertise by way of writing blogs about writing blogs, will magically transform themselves into “Content Strategists” (a term stolen from either the SEO world or that of content fulfillment firms keen on the fact that “content strategy” sounds a lot sexier than “content fulfillment”). Though for some, the transformation will take place sometime between the hours of 4am and 9am (GMT) on 1 January 2011, the vast majority of the metamorphoses will take place based on Social Media conferences’ need for Content Strategy speakers. Expect a deeper ‘content strategy’ track at SxSW, and a rapid addition of ‘content strategy’ to most failing digital agencies’ service offerings.
Ever since I laid eyes on that portion of the article, I have been mentally defending content strategy. Here are a few points I’d like to make in defense of content strategy:
- Content strategy is actually a communications strategy. Perhaps if we think of the way we deal with content in terms of the way we communicate to our friends/readers/visitors, it’s easier to understand how it works. To date, few people think about the usability of content on their website until it’s too late. All it takes is the implementation of a basic strategy to make your content do what you want it to do. I’m going to steal a phrase that Laura loves to quote from Ann Handley, and point out that everyone is a publisher. If you have a blog, Facebook page, Twitter account or even an email address, you create content every day. Content strategy is simply a buzzword for making that content work in a way that helps you reach your business goals.
- Content strategy is a system. Though content strategy can’t be explained in terms of a tangible item (for example, it’s not a pretty website that’s you can see and interact with), it is a system of its own. The term “content strategy” describes a system that nurtures and maximizes the capability of your content from the time it’s created until it becomes outdated or you remove it from your website.
- Content strategy is measurable. Maybe this is too easy, but in my opinion, if you can measure results of a service, it is real. Measuring the ROI on a content strategy starts by identifying your goal. Do you want more readers? Focus on page views and the average time spent on your website. Are you trying to generate more leads? A good content strategy will increase the quality of your leads and shorten your sales cycle. Of course, this isn’t going to happen overnight. But if you give us some time to use content to reach your goals, we can make it happen.
- Content Strategy effects change. If you don’t believe me, just read about how strategically-placed content related to tobacco cessation inspired me to nip my smoking habit for good.