Opinion

Strategy is like a Sat Nav

The evolution of the internet has changed the world immeasurably and the businesses which have continued to thrive have done so because of their ability to adapt. Without having a clear strategy in place to drive direction and determine the key steps required to reach a solution, these businesses would have struggled.

Content should be treated no differently and it is just as important for us as content marketers to identify the challenge, agree the strategy and plan our route. 

There are three pillars of good content strategy:

  1. Clear understanding of the problem                          (Where is ‘X’)
  2. Coherent solution to the problem                              (Best way to get to ‘X’)
  3. Comprehensive steps to reach the solution               (Steps to get to ‘X’)

Just as you would reach for your Sat Nav to get you from A to B, you also have to understand how a business is currently structured and the environment in which they are positioned to successfully start plotting a course towards your end goal. Strategy cannot exist without there first being a problem to solve. And without direction, strategy is not strategy.

At iProspect, we place great emphasis on strategy as the backbone of content marketing. We work from the position that before any action can be taken it is fundamental to have a clear focus on understanding the problem and its root cause. Finding the root cause will help to distil the problem into a simple but solvable definition.

Essentially, content marketers need to think from the bottom up, in direct contrast to the way consumers tend to think. This means:

  1. What are we convincing the target audience to do?
  2. What do we want the target audience to understand?
  3. What will get the target audience to take notice?

One thing to bear in mind, however, is that as marketers it is not uncommon to receive client business problems in the form of a brief which incorrectly defines the goal as a ‘problem’, for example, “We want to increase online sales by 20%”.

A client’s ‘goal’ is not a ‘business problem’ – I cannot emphasise this enough.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of treating the client ‘goals’ as the ‘problem’ and find your team working backwards to output a logical route for achieving them. However, this rarely yields the desired results. You cannot score without knowing where the goal posts are. Without parameters to guide your decision-making, your strategy becomes one based more on luck than judgment.

Therefore, any content marketing efforts need to be aligned with your strategy to ensure they are coherent and measurable in terms of your strategic solution. To help illustrate this, below I have put together a content marketing framework:

No.

Framework

Aim

Metric Type

1.

Notice

Target audience noticed the content

Interaction

2.

Understand

Target audience understood the content

Reaction

3.

Convince

Target audience convinced to do something

Action

Ultimately, when forming your content marketing strategy you need to ask yourself: ‘if the audience doesn’t notice my content, what chance do they have of understanding it and doing something as a result of it?’ The answer will help you to create focus in content marketing strategy to ensure your content really stands out and adds value, helping you to win in the digital economy.

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First published on the CMA website

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