What is content strategy?

What’s the latest buzzword in the communications field? Content marketing! It’s great that this approach has gained recognition, but not great that the term is overused and misused. With that said, a related and evolving approach that doesn’t seem to have generated as much buzz is increasingly piquing my interest: content strategy.

In a general sense, what does content strategy mean for an organization, whether it is for- or non-profit?

In brief, an organization’s content strategy is a blueprint that lays out exactly how its content will be used to accomplish organizational goals. A strong content strategy will help organizations communicate to people what they want and need to know, in ways that are credible, trustworthy, transparent and engaging. This can start or enhance ‘conversations’ with stakeholders inside and outside an organization, boosting the organization’s reputation and impact.

For communications practitioners, ‘content’ refers to the information and experience(s) directed towards an end-user or audience. This can be delivered through various methods and channels, including through words, print products, pictures, video, events, and social and mobile media. Good content strategists know how to use these methods and channels to interact with their most important constituents, with trustworthy, actionable information that the audience values and will use. Strategic content produced by practitioners helps enhance users’ lives, while deepening their understanding of and engagement with organizations.

What should a content strategy include?

As Greg Secrist explains for Search Engine Journal, a good content strategy answers any and all content usage questions, including:

  • Why should the content be published?
  • Where are we going to publish this content?
  • When should we roll out this content to viewers?
  • Who do we want to see it?
  • What reaction are we hoping to receive from the content?
  • What in the world do we do with the content after we’ve published it?
  • What types of content do your multiple audiences need or want?
  • How should you organize and structure your content?
  • Who is posting and maintaining your content?
  • How often is content being published?
  • How does your audience find and interact with your content?

Great stuff – but how does this differ from content marketing? And how is this linked to a communications strategy? Look out for my next post, in which I’ll start looking into these nuances and subtleties. In the meantime, check out this useful template for building a content strategy.

Photo credit: Damian Gadal

15 comments on “What is content strategy?

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  4. Good read, it’s nice to remember the basics. One of the biggest things I try to remember and tell my clients is that Content Strategy is like an engine, and the content are the individual pieces/gears. It’s easy to get hyped about the overall project while forgetting about each component.

    Following those key questions you outlined will help companies stay on track and not waste a bunch of money!


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