Strategy is a term that means different things to different people. Within the world of content marketing many seem to believe that if they have a content framework and content calendar, they automatically have a content strategy. Here are a number of reasons why that may not be the case:
1. The content pillars are generic
Unless you operate in a niche market, then your content pillars are probably shared by 50 competitors. If you’re a gym chain and your content pillars are exercise, nutrition and lifestyle then, whilst this may all be relevant, you’ve done absolutely nothing to differentiate yourself from the rest of the market. I’m not saying you shouldn’t talk about these things, but you must do so in a way that is unique to you, which depends on very clear brand positioning.
2. The strategy isn’t aligned to the commercial goals of the business
The goal of any business is to sell stuff, and yet too often content strategies are designed entirely around maximising reach and engagement. As David Ogilvy once said “If it doesn’t sell then it isn’t creative”.
3. It isn’t measured
You cannot call something strategic without it being measured in quantitate terms. The performance of every single piece of content that is produced/promoted needs reviewing. I would suggest doing so weekly so that you are iterating as rapidly as possible.
4. It isn’t building an asset
One of the most common mistakes I see with content marketing is that the content isn’t building anything. Each piece in isolation may achieve a few likes or shares, but then it vanishes as if it never happened.
Examples of content assets with compound value include:
– Building an email database
– Enhancing the authority of your website domain (particularly as a consequence of attracting links)
– A brand story – an ongoing content piece that your brand becomes famous for
5. If it is building an asset, it’s probably one that you don’t own!
Unfortunately when people do build assets they usually focus on large social audiences, but here’s the problem – you don’t own those. If Twitter tanks in 2018, then where has all that hard work building your following got you? If Facebook rise the price of advertising to a prohibitive degree, what are you going to do about it? You’ll have no choice but to cough up.
6. There is far too much emphasis on content production, and not enough on content promotion
Brands and agencies spend hours, even days, creating amazing pieces of content, and then don’t bother to put the £30 behind it that it needs to actually achieve something of value. When you consider that a days work is likely to be valued for most agencies at around £600, this is a ridiculous distribution of resources, but one we’ve all been guilty of making.