Eight-time Mr. Olympia bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman is well-known for saying “Everybody wanna be a bodybuilder, but don’t nobody wanna lift no heavy-ass weight.” As a strength training and nutrition nut, I think of this bromide often, but not in regards to bodybuilding. I think of it in relation to anything in life that’s viewed as difficult but worthwhile.
We want it—whatever it is—but we don’t always want to put in the work required to attain it, even when the benefits are readily apparent.
This line of reasoning has been on my mind a lot of late, specifically as it relates to content strategy, two words that get thrown around so much it borders on abuse.
Everybody, it seems, wants to exhort the benefits of content strategy, but don’t nobody wanna do the heavy lifting required to make the discipline a success.
In fact, “content strategy” are two of the most batted around words in the field of content marketing, but there is in an inverse relationship between how often the words are spoken and how often the practice is truly employed.
Anything Worth Having Requires Significant Effort
Content marketers, the majority of whom have been slow to welcome the idea of employing content strategists or applying the principles of content strategy, can now be seen writing about the topics, which always makes me chuckle.
When I check these marketers’ websites or place a keen eye on their business model, I cannot for the life of me discern how content strategy is a viable part of what they do. It’s as though the discipline is used as a garnish to the main dishes of SEO, CRO and PPC.
Content strategy is anything but ornamental. It must form the very foundation of your business, if you desire long-term success.
The reasons are manifold:
- It comprises the core of the experience prospects, vendors and existing customers have in encountering you brand.
- It helps to guide all of your efforts, online and offline, from web design and information architecture to user experience, branding, PR, paid media and CRO.
- It provides a veritable roadmap for how you should conduct business at the customer level.
- It forces you to think about your product or service from the user's perspective.
- It helps you gain a holistic understanding of your business and the space it occupies in the mind's of consumers.
The field is anything but a ‘nice-to-have', an opinion continually shared by Kristina Halvorson, a pioneer in the field of content strategy and one of the discipline’s most vociferous champions.
“Content strategy, at the heart, is about asking smart questions about content from the start, and being persistent really early on about it…” says Halvorson, who heads Brain Traffic, the preeminent content strategy firm in the country.
Making A Commitment To Content Strategy is Making A Commitment to the Success of Your Business
Content strategy deserves a place in any and every businesses, so quit wondering if you need it. You do.
It’s not about a diagram or a set of guidelines. It’s about ensuring your business’s foundational elements are viable, meaningful, consistent and, maybe most important, in place.
In the video below, Halvorson shares some of her thoughts on content strategy and nicely sums up my thinking on how the adoption of content strategy principles creates a framework for how things should be done in business.
“The entire point is not jumping to tactics,” says Halvorson. “The entire point is to think about content as an entirety that involves both people and products.”
This is the first of a three-part series on content strategy. In the next post I’ll share several pitfalls associated with the half-hearted adoption of content strategy, and how your business can avoid them. In the third and final post I’ll break down how you can successfully and easily adopt a content strategy mindset.
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