When it comes to drafting a content strategy, it can be quite overwhelming understanding where to start and how to know if you're headed in the right direction once you have. With the challenge of creating a custom strategy that will connect with your target audience and ultimately drive ROI through attributable new business, it's certainly not an easy feat to start, let alone build out and manage after the fact.
With that in mind, I figured that I would share a few of the questions that I ask myself at the very beginning of a new campaign that help me find my way as I build out a custom, connected strategy.
In the early days of drafting the conceptual content strategy, it's important for you to look both inward and outward to understand what resources and information you have available to you that will ultimately help you define the borders of the bigger picture. Plenty of additional research will be required for you to actually build out your content marketing strategy, but in the beginning, the below questions are a great start to help you find your direction.
4 Questions to Help You Draft a Content Strategy
Why are you starting a content campaign?
This is pretty high-level, but it's important for you to clearly define your "why" when it comes to utilizing content marketing as a strategy for growth and success in any form. Are you looking to generate new business through the education of your prospects? Are you looking to support your sales or customer service team with content meant to move people quickly down their respective funnels? Understanding the ultimate goal of this campaign will help you better define what's most important for the overall strategy and each individual piece of content.
Do you know who your audience is?
It's a simple question that many people can answer at a high level, but it's meant to make you think past the obvious answer of role or "decision maker." Do you know what type of information is most important to that person? Do you know how they interact with vendors and their content? Do you know what type of content they consume the most? Understanding some of this more detailed information (or setting up next steps to help you uncover it) will be important so that you can then establish the clear connections between both your organization and your new content strategy to them.
Do you know enough about SEO to be successful?
This question may be connected to your answer from the first question above - why are you starting a content campaign? For many, content is created online so that it can be found through search engines. If that's the case for you, understanding how SEO works and the best practices needed to form and execute a content campaign is critical to your overall success. If you're not feeling as confident as you should be or are just looking for a refresher on the most up to date best practices (because they're always changing), then look to free online resources like MOZ and HubSpot to get you up to speed and set up for success moving into the strategy creation process.
Do you have the time and resources to allow you to execute at the level necessary to succeed?
Contrary to popular belief, content marketing campaigns are not easy or cheap to implement. Whether you're creating all of your content in house (both written, video, and other forms) or outsourcing it to professionals, there's both a direct cost for the tools and vendors needed to execute and indirect cost for your time that your organization will incur. Do you understand just how much this will cost and the amount of time needed to see results? Does your organization and/or manager understand? Are the both of you willing to make that investment and support it as it gets stood up? If not, you may just stop right here and not even worry about wasting your time building out a strategy.
Building a content strategy is hard enough on its own, let alone when you do it without getting in the right mindset to allow you to move through it with direction and confidence. Before you go about building a long, detailed strategy document showcasing the specifics of what you want to do and how, ask yourself these questions to ensure you're focused on the right things from the beginning.