5 things you must know for effective content strategy

NEW YORK–At the Huge meetup last February 23 in Dumbo, Brooklyn, Kevin Nichols, renowned author of Enterprise Content Strategy and UX for Dummies, left the crowd wanting more only because he touched a nerve among content strategists who find that it’s not easy to pitch a content strategy in any organization used to instant results.


“The problem lies not just in understanding content as to be respected (for doing it),” he said adding that not many Fortune 500 companies are doing enterprise content strategies.

Making use of data like metrics and analytics may give it some respect, helping vet and validate the importance of content, as abstract as it may be for naysayers.

“People reward companies that invest in expected content experiences,” he said, citing how 20 percent of companies that were surveyed using a strong omnichannel approach have 89 percent customer retention rate and how 80 percent of those who don’t have only 33 percent retention rate.”

As Nichols tried to cram his book into a one-hour talk, Nichols covered several subjects.

The emphasis, he said, must be on eight basic phases of work–plan, assess, define, design, build, publish, measure/optimize and govern. “Continually measuring the optimizing the performance of content is essential to keep content relevant to consumers.”

On developing content strategy for enterprise, he suggests these five key takeaways: the consumer is always first; consumer experience needs to cross channels with strategy; operations and governance must feed consumer need and external realities; performance is everything and content experience requires a holistic approach.

Enterprise content strategy sets up and positions all content and tracks the consumer at each touch point, but it’s also about how it relies on performance and how it positions all content as business asset worthy of governance. He explained that the governance model is by committee like a visual style guide (produced by a team).

“Governance should incorporate cross-functional areas across the enterprise,” he said. The governance team can be individuals part of the brand, product, social, analytics, legal and technology departments working with those in strategy, operations, marketing, publishing, taxonomy and again, technology.

“Enterprise content performance defines future content priorities,” he said.

This was a valuable point that  Nichols raised, as sustained content campaigns is hard to sell to companies.

To better structure content, he listed the workflow as follows: (get) inputs, (hold) meeting and (produce) outputs.

In getting inputs, determine business needs, new products, new company, marketing campaigns, make content assessment, dig deep into industry insights and competitive trends; check analytics and metrics as well as sales data; generate new ideas from content teams and others; get inputs from users from their behavior or data.

After making sense of all these inputs, hold meeting quarterly or monthly with governance and content strategy in place. The participants should be the executive sponsor, governance members and content strategist.

The last workflow calls for prioritizing content areas– new content creation or archival of content, ideally with strategic intent, goals and high-level objectives as well as the identification of content owners, sponsor and shareholders in addition to alerting planning teams of new focus areas.

Efforts should include setting up content for success at all customer touchpoints.

In thinking of channels, Nichols could not stress user research enough, especially in building persona. Customer lifecycle requires journey mapping before content needs can be determined.

Quoting from emarketer reports, he said 46 percent of customers would purchase more if experiences were personalized.

“Put your consumer at the center of all content decisions — in omnichannels,” he said.

Brands that position content as its domain, or make an investment in setting up an operational model to support a holistic focus are emerging as leaders, according to him.

Nichols cited studies: 73 percent of marketers rate the impact of cross-channel interactions on conversion as “major”; 58 percent state cross-channel engagement as improving retention and 55 percent state cross channel ensures advocacy.

Dennis Clemente

Shuttling between New York and other US cities, Dennis writes about tech meetups when he's not too busy working as a Web Developer/Producer + UX Writer and Digital Marketer.

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