How to document your content strategy and why it matters
Deciding to document your content strategy is a strong marketing move. Why then do only 32% of marketers have a documented content strategy when nearly three times that number (88%) are engaging in some form of content marketing?
By creating just one master document with your brand’s content ideas and processes, your content production will become more streamlined. Everyone in your team will be able to refer back and use this document to help them participate in generating high-performance content.
What is a content strategy?
“Content strategy focuses on the planning, creation, delivery and governance of content.” Usability.gov
Content strategy, content marketing strategy and content plan often get mixed up. Here is a quick overview of each to make things clearer:
Content Marketing Strategy: An outline of the larger story an organisation tells through content marketing. The focus is on engaging the audience so they behave in a way that benefits the brand.
Content Strategy: A content strategy helps you manage content as a business asset. It focuses on the planning, creation, delivery and governance of content, but does not include the specifics of the individual pieces.
Content Plan: A content plan provides detail about each piece before it’s created.
The goal of a content strategy is to create meaningful, cohesive, engaging and sustainable content. It should help you identify what already exists, what should be created and why it should it be created.
Why you should document your content strategy:
According to the , marketers with a well-documented content strategy are:
- Far more likely to consider themselves effective at content marketing
- Far less challenged with every aspect of content marketing
- More likely to rate themselves as effective
- Able to justify a higher percentage of the marketing budget for content
In short, if you document your content strategy, it is likely that your team’s confidence will grow and you will see positive results from your efforts.
How to document your content strategy
Think of the purpose of this document. It’s a guide that manages the content creation process.
So, first thing’s first, outline what your content creation process is – from generating initial ideas to measuring your results. See if you can think of any improvements, missing steps, or areas that could be streamlined.
Then think of your content requirements – how often will you publish and in what medium?
Represent this in a way that everyone you work with can understand. Whether this is visual or text-based, your entire team needs to be able to reference this document.
However, at this stage your content strategy is just a “glorified production line for content nobody really needs or wants”. Careful consideration needs to be given to:
- Content purpose – what goal does it ultimately need to accomplish? (e.g. generate leads, inform, entertain?)
- Key themes and messages
- Recommended topics
- SEO practices – how will you give each piece of content its best chance in the SERPs?
These elements must be specific to your brand and be driven by purpose, not a need for content to fill gaps in the diary.
How difficult is it to document a content strategy?
Documenting your content strategy doesn’t need to be complicated. A small number of pages within Microsoft Word will do for most brands.
Here are our top 4 things to remember when documenting your content strategy:
- Think ‘why’ before ‘what’ – think of the purpose of your content, then the format that fits
- Make it accessible – anyone should be able to pick up your content strategy, understand it and act on it
- Include practical elements – as with normal copywriting, your readers will crave actionable guidance
- Let it evolve – ask for your team’s feedback, and see how well the strategy works in practice, then improve as needed
What about a content strategy template?
There’s no such thing as a standard content strategy template, because each strategy is unique to the brand that creates it.
However, that hasn’t stopped some marketers from trying to create universal templates. Here are a few of our favourites which you could use for inspiration:
Don’t worry if none of these look right for you. Creating your own template is just fine – the important thing is to get your content strategy out of your head and onto paper so the whole team can help you implement it.