What is Content Strategy? (For Online Communities)

Content Strategy gets defined in various ways but the easiest way to think about it is to imagine how the internet got started.

Imagine a world of people excited about the opportunity to connect and share their ideas with people they’ve never met in person. Back in the day, this was a revolutionary idea.

But before long, there was too much data.

It was time to get organized and get purposeful.

The businesses that realized the power of combining content creation with strategic deployment became masters of staying top of mind for their ideal customers.

In many ways, it’s a match made in heaven.

The customer gets what they need, exactly when they need it. And the company gets to share their message in measurable, repeatable, and profitable ways.

So there you have it:

Content strategy is the process of creating a plan that aligns customer-facing content with business goals.

You can use that plan to achieve a number of outcomes including helping customers:

  • Become aware of your solution
  • Consider their options
  • Get through the buying process
  • Purchase repeatedly

Done well, you can use your content plan as the main way you achieve your business goals. This limits your reliance on advertising. The ultimate goal would be to use your content plan to drive sales… for free.

But the reality is, you’ll likely use some of your content to support your paid outreach as well.

Here are a couple quick tips for you to think about:

  • Content strategy is a process. It’s an ongoing thing that will need revising as the company grows. But I caution you to give the strategy some room to breathe. Put something together that you like. Test it. Tweak as necessary. But don’t necessarily start completely over at the first sign of trouble.
  • A content plan is the “map” that comes from the strategy. You can give this map to your content writer and let them create the magic. (I can tell you from experience, they’ll be thrilled you put so much thought into making sure their work is used strategically.)
  • Imagine the content is so good that it drives your business. This is the dream. Your customers recognize your content, they enjoy it, they buy from it, and they even share it with their friends. To make your content that effective, it has to be high quality and it has to be deployed purposefully. 
  • Make sure the content serves the strategy. Without a strategy, it almost doesn’t matter how brilliant the content is. I wish it wasn’t true but mediocre content strategically deployed will perform better than gorgeous content deployed randomly.
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