Business goals, content objectives and audience identification.
A content strategy begins with established business goals and content objectives. Next, outline your audiences. Often, we break down prioritized audiences by intent or persona to help better understand their state of mind, their demographic, how they spend their time, where and how they entertain themselves and where and how they gather information or content. User journeys are often outlined to understand the steps they take. For digital content, opportunities are outlined for proper user experience (UX) and search equity (SEO) opportunities to help users and search engines find your content
Messaging framework and editorial planning.
From here, you go straight to the core of the content strategy: the messaging framework. This takes brand pillars and puts them into content-related themes. Preferred tone, messaging and voice are based on these themes and tied back to your audiences. A content audit should be conducted during this stage to identify existing content and marry it to the various user journeys that exist for your business. This will help you gauge the usable content to convey your message, and identify gaps that exist in the customer experience that need to be accounted for.
Editorial elements are then built around the messaging framework. This includes content housing, types, cadence and recommended topics. It also dictates who should be creating, reviewing and measuring the content.
This also allows for the creation of content from many different sources because they can all use the messaging framework and editorial plan as their checks-and-balances system; they can easily ensure brand guidelines, tone, messaging and voice, and audience needs are being met.
Content activation, distribution and governance planning.
The days of “build it and they will come” are long gone. To enable content visibility, we need to put the right content in front of the right people at the right time — usually where they spend their time online. For this reason, content activation plans are typically included to align what content should be disseminated within approved channels. Governance calendars are incorporated to create a culture of constant review and optimization to ensure content is always serving a purpose and is relevant to audiences.
To tie it all together, a successful content strategy would not be complete without a measurement framework to help identify performance and optimization tactics for ongoing content improvements.