What’s Your Core Content Strategy?

Many organizations may think they have a clear direction for content, yet few actually formalize it.

Similar to an organizational mission statement, your core content strategy should establish your long-term direction. In Content Strategy for the Web, Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach state that the “core strategy sets the long-term direction for all of your content-related initiatives—ensuring all activities, big or small, are working together toward the same magnificent future.” It helps you establish:

  • What you attend to accomplish
  • Who you need to reach and what you’ll create
  • Outcomes you want to achieve
  • Direction for content decisions and contributors

Joe Pulizzi advocates developing a mission statement for content marketing that revolves around your audiences, not your organization:

Remember, content marketing is not about “what you sell,” it’s about “what you stand for.” The informational needs of your customers and prospects come first…To work, your mission statement has to be all about the pain points of your readers and followers or it simply won’t work.

Core strategy statements are even an effective approach for individual tactics or channels. In their presentation at Confab Central, Amy Lavoie, Aura Seltzer and Sara Wachter-Boettcher shared their strategy statement for the Harvard University website redesign project. Similar to Pulizzi’s guidance, it’s highly audience-centric:

Turn talented, diverse prospects into confident applicants—and successful Harvard students—with content that makes Harvard feel within reach, creates a sense of belonging, and clarifies the path from application to graduation.

Taken a step further, your mission statement or strategy statement can be supported by a series of principles that create greater alignment and common ground. In digital circles, the gov.uk website has attracted attention for its openness and transparency, which includes a series of design principles:
1. Start with needs
2. Do less
3. Design with data
4. Do the hard work to make it simple
5. Iterate. Then iterate again.
6. Build for inclusion
7. Understand context
8. Build digital services, not websites
9. Be consistent, not uniform
10. Make things open: it makes things better

Only 35% of marketers have documented their content marketing strategy at all. When you take that step, be sure it’s grounded by a thoughtful purpose statement.

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