Roadmap to content strategy success, part 1
Content strategy – that is, creating content in a strategic way so it helps your organization reach its business goals by meeting your users’ needs – almost always requires change. It is a journey that takes careful planning and management.
Content strategy for any digital presence, whether an intranet or an external-facing online channel, requires a roadmap that details where to start and what the steps are to create a meaningful, sustainable way of creating, publishing, promoting, and managing content.
Here are the first 5 steps of the roadmap. Every organization needs to adapt the contents of each step based on its goals, culture, and the specific channels it is addressing — but the steps themselves are universal.
My workshop at the JBoye conference in Philadelphia covers each step in more depth, and includes collaborative hands-on exercises to bring the roadmap to life.
This is the “learn by drinking from the firehose” step of the project. During this step, the content strategist reviews everything about the organization’s current content and its goals: strategic plans, guidelines, policies, metrics, recommendations, member surveys, etc. The content strategist also gathers first-hand information about existing business processes, challenges, and goals from both internal stakeholders and members of the key audiences through interviews and surveys.
2. Content audit and assessment
The strategist studies the content that exists and assesses it based on what he or she learned during the discovery process. The strategist determines its quality, usability, task/goal suitability, and structure, and identifies any gaps. This content audit is what content strategists are most well known for, but it is only one aspect of content strategy.
3. Comparative content analysis
This step of the project is a look at what other organizations are doing with their content. It could be competitors, similar organizations in the same industry, or comparable organizations in other industries.
4. Empathy-based audience personas and customer journey map
During this step, the content strategist helps the organization develop a deep understanding of who their audience is – not just the tasks they look to accomplish, but the whole person who is seeking to accomplish those tasks. The strategist leads the organization in identifying the highest-priority audience segments, identifying key contextual information about them, and articulating the strategic opportunities to serve them.
5. Develop guidelines for content creation and publishing
This is the “how” part of content strategy. During this step, the strategist helps the organization articulate its brand attributes, which translate into its voice and tone; identify appropriate editorial style guidelines, and adapt publishing best practices to its specific content and channels.
Download the complete Content Strategy Roadmap (MS Word, 39k)