How do you define content strategy?

At ContentEd 2018, those of us who went along to the ‘Buy In’ challenge session had the chance to formulate our own definitions of content strategy.

Our attempts fell into three categories.

1. Content strategy is a tool

Some participants focused on the benefits that content strategy can bring to an organisation and, in particular, to us as content creators and wranglers. These types of definitions can be particularly helpful in persuading internal stakeholders of the benefits of your project.

For example:

“Content strategy enables us to produce content that meets the needs of our audiences so that we can contribute to the university’s strategic goals. ”

“Content strategy helps us to make the best decisions in the process of creating and distributing effective messages to our key target audiences.”

2. Content strategy is a system

One set of definitions centred on content strategy as an overarching system, helping us to consider content throughout its lifecycle. These definitions focused on the ‘people’ aspects of the classic Brain Traffic quad, thinking about workflow in particular. Here’s one:

“Content strategy is a joined-up approach to create and deliver quality content to a range of audience across appropriate channels in order to provide information or engage audiences.”

This definition prioritised the way in which content strategy encourages us to work, overlooking silos to bring people together. I also loved this version:

“Content strategy is a flexible structure of creative outputs, workflows, and systems that build collectively in an efficient way towards achieving our strategic aims.”

‘Flexible structure’ is a great phrase to encapsulate the way in which content strategy is highly organised (think content audit spreadsheets and well-defined workflows), but is also fluid in allowing for creativity. Similarly content strategists are those rare human beings who are both highly organised and highly creative. What a wonderful bunch to spend a few days with at ContentEd!

3. Content strategy is… cake

Some participants really demonstrated their creative flair in using metaphors to explore the benefits of content strategy.

ContentEd speaker Dana Rock had already impressed the crowd with her own definition of content as cake, meaning that:

“Content strategy is the recipe for creating delicious and nutritious cake.”

What’s not to love? Other participants also used metaphors to describe how content strategy brings together different needs and helps us to navigate the complex process of content creation and dissemination:

“Content strategy is the bridge between your audience’s needs and your organisation’s strategic goals.”

“Content strategy is a compass to help you map how best to originate and locate places of interest in the best way for visiting explorers.”

Now it’s your turn

How do you define content strategy? If you’ve not thought about it before, why not use these three approaches to help you get started?

  • If content strategy is a tool, what does it help you to do and how?
  • If content strategy is a system, how would you describe it?
  • What metaphor best fits with your understand of content strategy?

There’s more inspiration available over on the Pickle Jar Communications blog too.

We’d love to know how you get on. Let us know what you come up with by commenting below or joining the conversation on Twitter using @ContentEdLive and #ContentEd18.

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