I’ve heard it said, by people I respect despite their saying this, that today, every business is (or should be) a publisher.
People, take a good, hard look at the publishing industry. Like what you see? Even if you can find silver linings to the clouds, are “publishers” really the right role models for your business?
Yeah, yeah, I get it. The real intention behind the admonition, “be a publisher,” is not to suggest that companies become like Houghton-Mifflin, but to encourage businesses to create their own streams of branded content.
But my point remains valid: publishing content for the sake of publishing content is NOT a rational business move. Publishing content makes sense ONLY when there is clear connection between content creation AND clearly defined business goals, activities and operations.
That business-to-content connection is called a “content strategy.” A meaningful content strategy must include the following components, each of which will be further articulated in subsequent blog posts:
- Business goals: Think of this as the reason why – what’s the business point or purpose to creating content? It could be a variety of things, from lead-generation to thought-leadership, but whatever it is, you need to clearly define it. Your ultimate objective will determine what kinds of content you create, where you distribute it, and how you will measure its performance.
- Turf: You’ve seen blogs that meander from subject to subject? Right, you’ve seen them, but you’ll rarely read them consistently over time. Regardless of tactic or form, you need a “turf,” a subject matter area in which you have a distinctive perspective of interest to your targeted content consumers.
- Tactics: This is where too many businesses begin (“Let’s start a blog! We gotta’ be on Pinterest!”) and because they began with tactics instead of strategy, this is where their content ends as well. But once you’ve clarified your goals and turf, you can identify the specific tactics (content formats) most favorably matched to your audience’s needs and your organization’s capabilities.
- Operational plan: This is the nitty-gritty, the point at which your will gets translated into a way – a practical, timely and economically appropriate plan for consistently creating and distributing content: who does what, when will it be created, where will it be distributed, how will performance be measured?
I’ll cover every one of these strategy areas at the Content Marketing 101: Getting Started workshop at Content Marketing World in September. More importantly, you’ll determine them for yourself when you participate.