The world is spinning faster and faster, information is disseminated, interpreted and refuted in real time on numerous channels, there are more filter bubbles than neutral platforms, every attitude is guaranteed to be confirmed somewhere and everyone wants to make their opinion known on every topic. In short: the (digital) world is bursting with content. If you want to make yourself heard in this environment in the long term, you have to proceed in a targeted manner. Simply publishing content without context no longer works. In this case, only a well thought-out content strategy will help.
A content strategy defines all content that is shared across all channels. The strategy specifies the topics, the channels, the accompanying media and the frequency. Regardless of the size of the company, the content strategy, starting from the marketing department, must take up all areas of the company and their topics and form them into a unified content block. On the one hand, this ensures that every area of the company is represented and, on the other hand, prevents individual topics from being forgotten. The content strategy thus combines the planning, creation and distribution of all content and brand messages defined in the marketing concept.
A profound and comprehensive content strategy contains numerous advantages that can significantly optimise a company's communication. First and foremost, the strategy provides planning security. It determines which content should appear on which channels at what time. This means that every content manager or marketing employee knows when which tasks are due. The relevant information can therefore be obtained and prepared well in advance. Supporting graphic elements such as videos, pictures or infographics can also be prepared. Since all departments are consulted regarding the content, it is ensured at the same time that no topic is underrepresented or even forgotten. All contents that play a role in the context of corporate communication are taken into account.
Such a procedure ensures and at the same time increases the efficiency of communication. If all content is published strictly according to plan, the result is a much more uniform picture than if it is published completely spontaneously. This explicitly does not speak against sharing individual contents spontaneously - however, this procedure should be carried out in addition to regular publication. A combination of strategically planned contributions including spontaneous publications ensures an excellent communication mix and provides the necessary breadth to adequately address all relevant target groups. The absolute plannability naturally results in excellent measurability. Individual contents and topics can be observed and analysed, so that it quickly becomes apparent which contents on which platform or with which target group achieve the communication goal and which contents fail. Based on constant analysis, decisions can and must be made regularly about the relevance of the content. Monitoring can be carried out either by interactions in social media, by website hits or by other, self-defined KPIs.
Finally, constant communication through predefined content results in increased customer loyalty. If high-quality Content is regularly disseminated, the target groups can adjust to it and build up an expectation. The better this expectation is served, the more rewarding the communication is for the target groups and the stronger the image gain of the company and the loyalty of the target groups. More and more companies are becoming aware of this, which at the same time also intensifies competition.
Statista - Investment volume in content marketing in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in selected years from 2010 to 2020(in billion euros)
Basically, the content strategy, like any strategy, always reflects the company for which it was created. There are therefore no definitive blueprints for successful strategies. Nevertheless, certain elements can and must be present to guarantee the greatest possible success.
The basis of any strategy is the definition of the objectives to be achieved by following the actions set out in the strategy. A strategy without one or more objectives is meaningless. Therefore, communication goals must be defined that benefit the company and are measurable at the same time. These goals can be related to the image of the company, e.g. to establish itself as an expert in a certain field. Topics from the areas of search engine optimisation or social media marketing are also conceivable, such as increasing visibility for certain search terms or a significant and qualitative increase in followers. Of course, objectives from the field of e-commerce are also conceivable, such as increasing the sales of a certain product line.
The target definition has a direct impact on the target group analysis. In order to be able to define goals realistically, one should first make sure who comes into question as target groups and what these target groups expect. Only if you know for whom you are communicating can you build the content accordingly.
Once the target groups have been defined, all channels on which the target groups are located must inevitably be identified. This concerns social networks as well as blogs or websites, but also offline media such as magazines or TV programmes. Depending on the size of the company, by no means all channels can or must be served. Nevertheless, it is necessary to make sure where and how the target groups can be addressed.
After the target groups and the corresponding channels have been identified, the topic analysis is the supreme discipline of the strategy. What content needs to be shared on which channels with which groups? Does this content already exist in part, so that it only needs to be prepared? Or is it always necessary to create completely new content on individual topics? Based on this analysis, it quickly becomes apparent how complex the content creation and adherence to the content strategy will be. Content may have to be created in advance, before the visible implementation of the strategy begins.
An editorial plan is a useful and almost indispensable element in complying with communication measures. In the editorial plan, topic content, publication times, areas of responsibility, supporting media and topic suggestions can be prepared in such a way that implementation can be taken over by a complete team, regardless of the level of knowledge of the individual team members. The editorial plan defines which content is shared at which time with which commentary on which channels. Precise and complete maintenance of the editorial plan is decisive for the successful implementation of communication and prevents complete chaos.
Finally, controlling must also be taken into account in the strategy. Only if a permanent and comprehensive analysis of all communication measures is carried out can errors in content selection be identified and optimised. For this purpose, it is necessary to define realistic communication goals and to permanently check and, if necessary, adjust them. For whom is a content strategy relevant? In principle, a content strategy is relevant for every company, regardless of size and industry. As soon as a company decides to communicate externally in a marketing sense, a content strategy makes sense. Of course, the strategy changes depending on the size of the company, but the principles remain the same.
Especially in very large companies, a content strategy also plays a major role in internal communication. Here, too, it is necessary to play out the right content via intranet or other internal communication measures. This is another way for companies to sharpen their image and strengthen the loyalty of their employees.
Content is being shared faster and faster across more and more channels. A strategic approach is crucial to stand out from the crowd instead of getting lost in it. High quality content will always win out over unplanned, spontaneous content in the long run. However, in order to be able to constantly produce high-quality content, the creation and implementation of a content strategy is indispensable.
As a digital agency, we are happy to help you with questions about your content strategy!