Research by Content Marketing Institute (and partners) shows that only 32% B2B businesses in 2016 had a documented content strategy. And at the same time, 48% businesses cited a documented content marketing strategy as the reason for their overall improvement in content effectiveness. The best way to predict the future is indeed to create it. If you’re at a point in your business where you’re doing things without a documented content strategy, you need to read this! Even for more mature brands, these notes will help you evaluate your existing strategy and make improvements. Let’s get started…
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Questions to Ask When You Document Your Content Strategy
1. Why is a documented content strategy important?
As already described before, you are more likely to be successful with a documented strategy. But let’s specify the top three reasons to see how this works:
- Your plans will feel tangible as you draw them out on paper. It will make you question everything and get the big picture view.
- You will be able to share your plans with your team, allowing for a smooth communications flow. This will also empower teams as they would know the common goals and innovate to reach them
- You will be able to justify your spending, ROI and work on budgeting for your content strategy as you see it in action. It requires you to sit down and do the numbers and share them as a documented plan (no surprises later!)
2. What changes are you trying to create with your content strategy?
This is not just for a content strategy but for any sort of business planning. You need to know WHY you’re choosing channel, working with a certain tool or method and basically be able to know the rationale. Here’s how answering this question will help you:
- You will be able to define a dream outcome of your content strategy that your brand is looking for. This can be a part of your overall content and brand vision
- You will be able to define the how-tos and sketch out the steps with which you will create the changes you wish for as an organization
- You will be able to know the requirements both in terms of resources and tools. You will also be able to map out risks that will come up should your changes not work out.
3. What does our niche look like?
Before you start any new business plan or a content strategy, you will need to do the basic research on the market you’re a part of. Defining this will help you in the following ways:
- You will know who your competitors are and how they’re working in the market. This is something to learn from to find latent opportunities and also identify need-gaps.
- You will understand how big your niche is to adjust your plans and strategies. Is the niche too small? Should you still work on this segment? Can you justify a business case? Adversely, is the market too large and can your content products be seen as mere commodities?
- You will know what brings value to your niche. By researching a niche community or market, you will understand unfulfilled demands within the market. This will help you tailor content according to the needs of those you serve, in other words, your customers.
4. Do you have a brand story?
Almost as a culmination or big picture view for all the questions listed above, it is critical to look inwards into your own brand personality and define who you are. Here’s how this helps:
- You will be able to define your brand UVP (unique value proposition)
- You will be able to create a brand story that resonates with your customers and audience by connecting the dots between why you’re the best positioned to serve them and how you get there. This will get reiterated in your content pieces which are a part of your content strategy.
- You will be able to aid top of mind customer recall by giving them a peak into what makes you a remarkable brand.
Do you have a documented content strategy? What challenges have you faced in creating your strategy? What questions did you begin with?
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