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Michael Brenner is senior director of global marketing for SAP. He is also author of the B2B Marketing Insider blog and cofounder of social news site Business 2 Community. Michael is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 100 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

8 Questions To Help You Define Your Content Strategy

06.09.2013
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According to the latest research from IDC, the amount of information we are all creating and sharing has grown 9 times in the last 5 years.

The latest research from the Content Marketing Institute showed us that everyone is creating content and yet only about a third of us have a document content strategy. We’re struggling to rise above the marketplace noise and we need a plan to get there.

So, we have all have a content problem, whether we have accepted it or not. We need to create more of the kind of content our customers are looking for and less of the stuff no one reads, or acts upon.

Are you looking to define your content strategy?

Before you start, it’s important to identify the questions you need to ask before you can really get started? In my latest presentation, I outline the questions you need to ask before you can define your content strategy. I have embedded the slides here and also will provide a high-level overview of the main points.

Defining Your Content Marketing “Why?”

Before you can get started, I suggest defining exactly why you need a content strategy. What gap in your marketing performance is lacking? How much content do you produce along each stage of the buyer journey? How much of your content is used, downloaded, viewed – whatever metrics you can get. Are you ranking on the highest volume keywords used by your customers when it comes to your primary product or solution? And if you’re really good, what is your market “share of conversations” of your solution area?

Define “Content Strategy”

For me content strategy is the combination of an editorial approach and a business strategy: how do you publish content that meets your customer needs, incites them to act and drives additional business for your company.

What is the objective of your content marketing strategy?

Or as Joe Pulizzi calls it, what is your “Content Marketing Mission Statement” that defines your target market and what you want to help them achieve. For example, for the SAP Business Innovation site, I defined our mission as: To become a destination of insights for business professionals looking to understand how technology and innovation can help them grow their business, out-perform their competition and advance their careers.

What is your design objective?

Are there visual standards you want to emulate? Who is already doing content well in your space? What does it look like? It makes a lot of sense to look at the examples of the content marketers who have come before you and look at the different elements of their site. Identify which ones you like and don’t and build those design specifications into your strategy.

Branding?

How prominent do you want to make your company brand? If this sounds like a crazy question, consider your objectives and how likely you are to achieve them if your readers are aware that ultimately you are trying to sell to them. If you are looking to establish trust with your readers before entering into a deeper relationship, you may want to consider toning down the size of your logo and the amount of promotion.

What Keywords Are Important?

The answer to the question needs to be driven through lots of analytical research. Take the Google Keyword tool out for a spin. Look at your own web analytics and check and see how you rank for the key terms. Once you identify the gaps, you can define a set of targeted keywords to build into your content production efforts.

What is your Editorial Approach?

What topics, authors and content types can best help you deliver on your strategy? Will content curation and syndication play into the mix. There is a budgeting aspect to all this as well and if you are managing your content as an asset, you need to consider what will provide the most editorial bang for the buck. Can you create an editorial board across your key content constituents.

What Will Drive Conversion?

Think about the buyer or customer journey. What is an “appropriate next step” from the articles on your site. Your buyers are probably not going to go from early stage content to a product demo. So think about additional thought leadership offers. Think about subscription.

How Will You Report On Results?

If you’ve defined your mission and objectives, then the next step is to make sure you track the metrics that relate to each objective. Create a report, update it monthly and share it widely.

Here are the slides. Let me know what you think?

Published at DZone with permission of Michael Brenner, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)