By Peter Springett | @PeterSpringett
What’s your content strategy? This is a critical question every business needs to ask itself in 2017. In this article, I’ll explain the key activities and skills that are needed, and why they’re so important.
Firstly, content strategy is more than just production. If you have a start-to-end process for commissioning, editing and publishing articles, including blogs, videos and infographics, congratulations. You’re on the right road, but you’ve still got some way left to travel.
Break down the content silos
The real challenge today is that content no longer sits in one clearly defined silo. In the old days of digital publishing, websites were largely static with a seasonal refresh of static products pages services and contact details.
Fast forward to 2017 and notion of a static website is as redundant as the iPod Nano which Apple retired last week. In the same way that streaming services made a portable music storage device redundant, so the dominance of Google and search is forcing companies to reassess their web and wider content activities.
Today I’d argue that content strategy covers not only production, but embraces the following skills (with examples for each category):
SEO: Does your content lead fully understand the latest developments in Google’s search algorithms and how these should be applied to new content assets, and retrospectively to the content archive?
CMS: Beyond publishing a written article, does your head of content know how to really get ‘under the hood’ of your CMS? Are they familiar with HTML and CSS? Can they work comfortably with images and video to better target and serve an audience?
Social media: Can they write and publish to social? Will they ensure that every piece of content is ‘social friendly’. If they are former editors, are they prepared to balance witty headlines with more prosaic, pragmatic copy that sometimes engages more effectively on social?
Analytics: From web pages to social media (organic and paid), can your head of content uncover the measures that matter? More to the point, can they then apply them to the production cycle so that new content increases traction with your audience?
Building the perfect content team
Personality and experience also comes into the mix. Your head of content needs to have outstanding communication, leadership and team management skills. Even with the talents listed above, they will have to work closely with other departments, including media relations, digital marketing, HR and CSR to ensure that content strategy is a seamless, not siloed, practice across the organisation.
They should also enjoy building and coaching content teams. A successful content department will include many people with diverse skill-sets. Demonstrating empathy while inspiring people to realise their potential is fundamental to success in this position.
Finally, your head of content must be capable of communicating the value of content to senior executives. Employee advocacy is key at every level, so coaching the top people to participate with confidence in the production of content (eg blogs) and social is more important than ever.
Can your content team match all these expectations? If they can, good luck on your digital journey. But if they can’t you need to talk to us. Digital Leaders Associates are experts in all things content and social. We can both advise and manage your content strategy based on many years’ experience working with some of the biggest business names in financial services, technology, retail, healthcare and more.
To find out more contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org