The Simplest Content Strategy on Earth

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Are you supposed to be developing a content strategy for your organization?  Or even worse, were you just tasked with “organizing your content workflows” with a bunch of tools, calendars or Excel spreadsheets?

I’ve been in your shoes before.  Yikes!  You’ve probably got a gob of content all spread out across your company and nobody is on the same page.  And your IT area is insisting you configure Sharepoint to do everything for you.  If you already have a working content strategy, great!  Keep reading if you really want to.  If you don’t and are neck deep in looking at tools, this post may be for you.

I just attended a Social Media Club breakfast in Kansas City.  Divvy HQ was there talking about Building Your Internal Publishing Company.  If you haven’t followed @DivvyHQ yet, go do it real fast.  In their presentation, they spoke about content strategy.  And they gave some great starters on simplifying the science of content strategy.

Step 1.  Focus on five aspects of your content strategy.  

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. What are you going to say (that matters)?
  3. Where will you say it?
  4. How often?
  5. Is it working?

Pretty simple, right?   You can’t create a content strategy by yourself.  Don’t even think about writing a 20 page strategy white paper yet.  Instead, think about these five aspects across all your content, talk to people around your company, then setup a meeting to have a conversation with your boss.  Most importantly, have a good answer for what isn’t working.  A sustainable content strategy focuses on the good, the bad and the ugly.

Step 2.  Your content strategy needs an output.

Talk is cheap and strategy always needs an output.  Start by creating a Whopper (or WOPR) Editorial Brief.   Do you remember “War Games” and the War Operation Plan Response (WOPR) super computer?  It’s like that, but I promise it won’t try to take over the world.   What is a Whopper (WOPR) Editorial Brief?  It’s a one page (or less) document that inventories your primary content workflows against four categories.

  1. What? or “W”
  2. How Often? or “O”
  3. Persona Targeted? or “P”
  4. Desired Result? or “R”  (hopefully in alignment to business goals)

When you’re done it should look something like this.  Here’s a free download we created if you don’t want to start from scratch.

Creating a simple content strategy doesn’t need to be complicated.  Remember, tools won’t solve your problems.  Some simple conversations about what you’re doing will go much farther instead.

Where do you go next?  That’s up to you.  But always remember that change happens through people first, then process and technology last.  Get the right people together, and on the same page, and content miracles can happen.

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