How many content strategies do you need?

How many content strategies do you need?

Originally published: 9 May 2012

by Diana Railton

Bowling_-_albury5-1024x682_150In the last few weeks I’ve seen a wider variety of references to content strategy than ever before.

Pinterest content strategy, Google+ content strategy, mobile content strategy, online newsroom content strategy, blogging content strategy, intranet content strategy, website content strategy, digital content strategy, social community content strategy, Twitter content strategy, search engine optimisation content strategy, video content strategy – and more.

Behind many is a strong understanding of content strategy as a developing discipline. But sometimes content strategy is only used as a buzzword – a catchy, glossy term to latch on to.

Spreading wide

Content strategy is also becoming topical in strategic communication management.

In a recent issue of Communication World, the magazine for communication management published by the International Association of Business Communicators, it stood out in two excellent articles on content curation.

One was by Ann Handley, co-author of Content Rules, and the other by Shel Holtz – a name familiar to many in corporate communications.

Under the heading ‘The rise of content strategy’, Shel eloquently introduced the concept of content marketing. He also explained why ‘every organisation needs to start thinking like a publisher’.

Several recent articles on new trends in PR and marketing echo this. ‘One of the most important things that publishers do is start with a content strategy and then focus on the mechanics and design of delivering that content’, wrote Business Mirror.

This theme is of course supported by three new books on content strategy: Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach, Content Strategy at Work by Margot Bloomstein and Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy by Ann Rockley and Charles Cooper.

Integrating strategies

As organisations keep up with rapid developments in digital communications, they are having to re-think methods of communication management. Teams working in silos often develop their own independent strategies – and this can be counterproductive.

A challenge for communication directors is to draw out new ideas, while integrating and dovetailing strategies to the organisation’s best advantage.

In their favour is that, as PR Week US observed, ‘the opportunities and complexities of content are forcing divisions together in efforts to avoid duplication, neglect, and conflict’. Many are now working more closely together through the rise of digital centres of excellence and digital boards.

An organisation usually has one business strategy, supported by one communications strategy – but each with several complementary components. Similarly, it needs one supportive and integrated content strategy.

Drawing together and communicating these strategies is a skilled, complex task. And one never to be underestimated. On it strongly depends an organisation’s direction, drive and results.

I will be talking about this at Confab 2012 in Minneapolis, USA.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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