Wednesday, 6 November 2013


A seasoned account manager once told me that he never scoped content strategy on a project because he “wouldn’t pay someone just to organize titles in a navigation.” Aside from exhibiting an apparent misunderstanding of what content strategists actually do, my colleague’s comment is indicative of the fact that many people at digital agencies don’t understand the value of content strategy, resulting in untold missed opportunities to capitalize on its capabilities. Let’s face it — if account managers don’t fully understand the importance of content strategy, you can bet that clients won’t invest in it either.
Although there are many reasons why content strategy is often misunderstood — the complexity of its deliverables, the long-term nature of its solutions, the mind-numbing nature of 1,000-row Excel documents — its core purpose is relatively simple. In short, the best content strategy interprets content (anything that communicates a message, such as text, images, videos, audio and social comments) as a product. And this product should be conceived, researched, tested, created, paid for, maintained and eventually retired like any other product, from a bottle of ketchup to a fighter jet.

Like condiments and defense contracts, the most important aspect of content (and this is what truly makes it a product) is that it’s worth something. People pay for ketchup because a) it makes food taste better and b) they realize that effort goes into making it. Content is worth paying for because it not only serves as an extension of a client’s brand, but also primes online interaction to operate at its greatest potential. In turn, this leads to positive outcomes like trust, loyalty, repeated user visits and, of course, conversion. Essentially, content strategy enables companies to achieve specific business goals.
For example, an online news website might rely on content strategy to make sure users from a specific demographic can easily find the news they’re looking for, or to show them related news coverage they might be interested in based on their preferences, history of content consumption and online reading behaviors. In the long term, this same content can be tracked and optimized based on quantifiable metrics. So, it’s not only the quality of content that matters, but the strategy of how it’s produced, organized, tracked and surfaced that keeps users coming back for days, weeks, months and more. And content strategy doesn’t have to be limited to long-form text. It could involve helping a hotel brand feature images and videos on its website to inspire bookings, while surfacing (and hiding) the correct content at strategic moments, as the user moves from exploration and discovery to action.

No comments:

Post a Comment