Content strategy: a definition

The War Room

How do you define ‘content strategy’?

At a recent meeting of the Brighton Content Strategy Meetup (BCSM) the assembled writers, editors and strategists discussed the meaning of ‘content strategy’.

The chat was fun, but I resolved to try to define content strategy myself, if only so I have a handy definition to offer anyone who asks. Here goes…

Content strategy is:

A process used by organisations to define and plan how words, pictures, audio and video (content) are used to achieve objectives (such as increased sales or a reduction in support calls).

A content strategy provides a framework for the creation, publication and curation of content, and aligns those activities with the organisation’s wider strategy.

But this is how I explain content strategy to clients…

Content strategy is a response to the challenges posed by website content. Words, sounds, pictures and videos are all expensive to produce, difficult to maintain and easy to get wrong.

The best way to produce useful content is by taking a structured, strategic approach to content production, publication and curation.

A structured approach to content creation means…

So rather than just writing copy for your website, we take the time to think about what you are trying to achieve and how your copy can help you achieve it. Rather than just sprucing your existing content, we audit your content so we can judge it. Rather than letting your website drift along, we plan for future updates and ongoing maintenance.

Content strategy takes away the pain of…

As a copywriter I’m compelled to relate content strategy back to the problems it solves. In my experience, content strategy helps organisations avoid:

  • wasting money on content that doesn’t do a job
  • wasting time on haphazard content creation processes (rather than planning and structuring the work)
  • wasting company time on the content sign-off process (which can be a highly political process)
  • letting a website fall into disrepair with outdated or irrelevant content
  • letting a website become a corporate dumping ground for information.

So that’s my take on what ‘content strategy’ means. What do you think of my definition? How would you change it or improve it? All suggestions are welcome!

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