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What’s Content Strategy?

Salsify Creative's strategy infographic :: For best results, dig deep

Date: Apr 23 - Comments: 0 - Category: content strategy, copywriting tips, digital content, digital copywriting, Google - By: Sally

I was recently asked this question during a (successful) pitch, which got me thinking. What is Content Strategy? Of course, in my own mind I know what Content Strategy is, but what does it mean to you and everyone else?

I’m talking about editorial Content Strategy (of course).

First things first, I’m a Writer, which means that I’m obviously primarily interested in throwing some wordy shapes on the creative stage, but guess what (shock horror); I also like to venture outside of my cosy copy cocoon and appreciate the other content elements involved in delivering digital dynamite. The information architecture, design and copy should all enjoy a close… closer… even closer…. okay, darn right incestuous (there, I said it) relationship to ensure they perform magnificently together.

From producing content production guidelines for a large-scale website refresh, to creating the irresistible proposition for an integrated campaign, or a spider-tastic SEO strategy for a new website – it’s all Content Strategy.

Behind every great website is a successful strategy.

My experience in digital has taught me that you should primarily write for humans – not robots – and that you need to think strategically in order to create successful digital content.

Creating engaging online copy is all about ensuring everything you create cements an underpinning content strategy which is 100% user-focussed. Since messaging – in any media – leads the user journey, it’s vital that the editorial content strategy is tuned-in every click of the way.

So how do you achieve online content that’s too HOT to extinguish?

The instantaneousness and endless availability of online content makes it ever-important to ensure your content is not just relevant to the user’s journey, but that it waves user benefits in the right place at the right time. And you will be rewarded by something very famous beginning with ‘G’, but I’ll tell you more about that in a minute.

Know your audience
Do I really need to say it? Yes actually, I do, because it will always be relevant. As a ritual to just about every commercially-savvy Writer on the planet, creating effective digital content is (you guessed it) down to your audience; who are you talking to? Where have they come from? What’s on their mind? How do you know all of this? Start with research to produce a perfect finish.

For best results, dig deep. But don’t forget to come up for air!

3+1 = 4 (more)
Digital creators don’t produce content in isolation. Or at least, we shouldn’t. Technicians architect the scope, designers gather their assets, copywriters create their messaging angles and they all feed into each other. As the message manager, the Copywriter acts as the creative confluence to ensure the messaging flows smoothly throughout the customer journey.

Engage with people, not robots.
As an acclaimed SEO Copywriter with proven SERP success stories to tell, I’m about to say something controversial. When creating an SEO strategy as part of your overall content strategy, forget about the search engines (well, not literally, Mr/s pedantic) but for the love of humanity and quality content, put people first. And this will naturally pave the path to SEO success by ensuring you attract and satisfy your target audience. Behind every successful SEO strategy is a user-focussed goal. Targeting key phrases and your target audience go hand-in-hand.

Don’t just take my word for it…

The Royal ‘C’ continues to reign.

It’s great to see Google continues to merit quality content in its algorithm; its recent Farmer and Panda updates further polishing the King Content crown. And quite rightly, too – quality content should shine above and beyond brash corner cutters and greedy content farmers. (Spoiler alert: A future blog on creative SEO copywriting.)

The core elements of Content Strategy

When I lead the editorial Content Strategy for a website project, here’s a summary of the typical stages I’ll go through:

 

• Research
• Plan
• Create
• Implement
• Test
• Perfect

 

Want to plan your own successful Content Strategy?

In my next blog on Content Strategy (coming soon), I’ll reveal the three main phases involved in developing the editorial strategy for a large-scale web project, such as a site-wide refresh, and the idyllic tasks to complete for each phase.

In the meantime, check out these 20 content strategy rules to live by.

Embrace Content Strategy, don’t fear it!

It amazes me when copywriters avoid calling themselves a Content Strategist for fear of being associated with such a ‘loaded’ term. Content Strategy shouldn’t be feared or made overly complicated. It should evolve as a natural discipline for any Digital Copywriter who wants to create tip-top online content. After all, designers, copywriters and technicians are all digital specialists on the same creative team wanting to achieve together, so push pride aside and embrace Content Strategy, because your campaign needs it!

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