I’ve been wanting to write about content strategy for a while now, but I’ve been put off by not knowing how to make it relevant to the readers of this blog (that’s you). It struck me that my desire to provide material that is relevant, interesting and informative is exactly the problem that having a content strategy is meant to solve. Let me explain…
Content strategy is about trying to develop a coherent package of information for your audience. It’s about planning and managing information. I think of it as information wrangling, with the audience in mind. The term content strategy is most commonly used in relation to website development and was coined by Rachel Lovinger. Lots of people think that content strategy is just a new term for having an editorial policy, but it’s much more than that.
The role of the content strategist is to develop material that is readable, understandable, findable, useable and able to be shared. This requires a deep understanding of what people want and need to know, and how people consume information. These days, anyone who develops information needs to appreciate that if the audience finds the material useful, they will probably want to share it with other people. You need to make it easy for people to do this. On a website, this involves using sharing buttons, such as the ones at the bottom of this page. For bigger companies, it means making information downloadable and accessible.
Foremost, it requires you to develop material that is readable and understandable.
So how does this relate to the work you do on an everyday basis? The more I read about content strategy, the more it appeals to me. When I look at overcrowded documents, or cluttered websites, I think about how much better they would be if only someone stopped to think about who would be reading the document, who would be visiting the website and what do they want to know? Imagine if you could produce presentations that were clear and relevant, and really focussed on the audience – wouldn’t that be great?
So next time you are asked to write a report or develop a presentation, ask yourself:
- who is this for?
- what might their interests be?
- what do they need to know?
- how might they want to share this information?
This leads me to the dilemma I outlined at the beginning of this post – how do I know what is relevant, interesting and informative for you? Without some feedback from you, I’m really only guessing, so feel free to ask a question or share an idea. I’ve love to provide more of what you are interested in, so do let me know.