The building blocks of content strategy

The building blocks of content strategy

Having a content strategy is crucial to effective content marketing.

Without a well-developed and clearly defined strategy, your content marketing efforts will fall short of their objectives.

Content philosopher and founder of Gnostyx Research, Joe Gollner, is seriously ‘into’ content and is fascinated with content strategy. We were lucky to have Joe share his insights and experiences with contentgroup CEO David Pembroke in Episode Four of InTransition.

He describes content strategy as “putting in place the technical infrastructure that lets organisations do a good job of their content and reap the rewards.”

Content strategy not only allows you to protect the unique qualities of content, but also to amplify and make content more compelling and useful through technology.

As someone who loves creativity and sweet treats, I was delighted when Joe described content strategy as “It’s like a gelato or a delicious dessert, it’s got some layers to it.”

These layers, the individual building blocks of the infrastructure, are constant strategy, lifecycle stages of content, and the authoring environment of content.

Constant Strategy

The very top layer of content strategy, is constant strategy.

This is the overarching principle that guides the rest of the layers, where we focus on what content is going to be best in fulfilling our business objectives.

Lifecycle Stages of Content

The next layer down is the actual process, known as the lifecycle stages of content. This cycle is comprised of;

Content acquisition – How do you get your content? Where does it come from? This is usually through writing the content, converting something you already have into interesting content, or curating content that’s already out there.

Content delivery – How are you getting your content into the hands, eyes or ears of the people you want to share it with? Are you using blogs, podcasts or something else?

Content engagement – How do you get audiences to actively engage with and be involved in your content? You want your audience to not only see but understand your content, and often provide feedback.

Content management – What management infrastructure are you putting in place to facilitate all of the above?

This lifecycle layer is the centrepiece of all content strategy projects, and has the benefit of being agile and adaptable. Whilst this life cycle model appears quite modern, interestingly Joe explains this structure stretches all the way back to Hippocrates and the ancient Greeks;

“It’s actually very closely modelled on the four humours and the four elements of the sublunary world of the earth.”

Authoring Environment of Content

The next level down is quite technical. This level is the medium and format of the content, where we specifically look at the type of authoring environment we want to equip people with who are charged with creating the next generation of content.

The challenge here is looking at the multiple channels available and creating a different type of environment for each.  This challenge also provides great opportunities. Joe recalls;

“One of the reasons I got interested in this field, where the capability to have a single source and from that to generate things like a Braille edition, was to make sure that we were being genuinely accessible which of course is a central interest of governments everywhere.”

An important aspect of this layer in regards to its relationship with content marketing is to understand your audience, and take innovative approaches in your strategy to reach them.

“I’m seeing that on the technical side of organisations whether it’s Boeing or Slumber J, leading edge companies around the world where they say ‘We do very sophisticated things’. But in addition to trying to keep up with the pace of technical innovation about these systems we actually have to know more and more about our users, our customers, the communities in which we work”.

“This seems to feed straight into an interest in content marketing and building more vibrant relationships with an engaged audience.”

In Summary

In creating your content strategy, keep in mind these various layers to ensure you have a well-developed and effective strategy as you head into content marketing.

If there’s one key take-away from Joe’s approach it’s this:

“We are taking a customised, customer-first approach in how systems are built. We need to be fundamentally more agile and adaptable because we are suddenly expected to deliver software of physical systems that are highly customised to communities of customers.”

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Each week a staff member puts pen to paper to write about an aspect of content communication that speaks to them, and hopefully, informs you. This is a space where our passion for writing, learning and sharing information comes to shine.

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