Content Content Everywhere

Earlier this year I ramped up my Twitter follows and blog subscriptions for marketing-related topics. One of these topics that most consistently fills my screen and inbox is Content, with a capital C.

Having started my marketing career as a copywriter, I’m instantly drawn to content creation and the thought of digging in deep on various topics, leisurely researching each nook and cranny, turning out reams of paper (albeit digitally) that are full of pertinent information and deft turns of phrase that would leave my readers nodding in discerning approval.

But now that I’ve moved into the fast-paced world of digital marketing management I can appreciate how daunting it can be when you realise that, as a brand, you now have to produce timely, relevant content on a consistent basis that meets your company’s goals and your customers’ expectations.

Two quotes quickly:

Margot Bloomstein, in her book Content Strategy at Work, quotes Kristina Halvorson as saying, ‘The moment you launch a website, you’re a publisher. The moment you begin a blog, send an email, participate in social media, build a widget, even show up in search engine results…you are a publisher.”

Juliet Stott, Head of Content Marketing and PR at White Horse Digital and writing for eConsultancy, says, ‘The first rule in content marketing is that content needs a purpose: to stimulate, engage, convert and build a buzz around a brand. It’s got to be useful, visible, desirable, engaging and provide a platform to position the hotel as a socially-connected brand.”

Brands can’t afford not to be online and so must take up the role of publisher, but the pressure is on to ensure the content they’re publishing is of a high quality and a consistent nature so that customers have a reason to keep coming back for more. But we don’t have to go it alone. There are many brilliant and generous people who have navigated this path and are willing to share their experiences.

Content Strategy at Work by Margot Bloomstein proved to be a most interesting read. I really appreciated the engaging and conversational tone of voice and the in-depth case studies that showed practical examples of how content strategy at various organisations helped achieve business goals.

Especially helpful to me was the exercise on establishing a message architecture through something Margot calls ‘cardsorting’. By using cards labeled with a number of attributes and adjectives (such as ‘innovative’, ‘traditional’, ‘sexy’, ‘elite’, ‘aggressive’, etc), key stakeholders are able to determine the communication goals of their organisation.

Margot says, “Overall, the goal of this activity is achieving consensus and clarity around communication goals, the foundational elements that inform visual design, content strategy, editorial strategy, nomenclature and architecture.” I tried this exercise with a client of mine and was incredibly pleased with the results.

The book also provides examples and advice on incorporating content strategy into project management, creation and curation of content, search engine optimization and social media.

I highly recommend this book. It’s incredibly easy to read and I find myself going back to various pages where I’ve underlined and starred certain passages to help keep myself on track as I tackle this exciting and challenging task of content management.

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