Content strategy 2017

Here we are again – bang in the middle of the year, wondering how on earth we got here so quickly; I even saw a trailer the other day for a film “coming this Christmas”. Please can we have a decent summer first?

If nothing else, though, the mid-year point is a good time to assess your content marketing strategy – what’s working, what isn’t, and whether you’re on course to achieve those objectives you set out at the start of the year. You can then make adjustments to your strategy to ensure that, come the end of the year, you are delivering what you promised your content would deliver.

The Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi offers up some suggestions for where improvements might be made:

1. Stop forcing non-writers to write

Not everybody loves writing. In fact, those that do are probably in the minority. It’s patently obvious when somebody has written content with gritted teeth – it reads as though it’s been written hurriedly and without a care as to readability.

The trouble brands have, however, is that the people who know their business best, who have the greatest subject knowledge, are often experts who either don’t have the time or inclination to write.

However, instead of forcing these non-writers to write, you should use a professional writer to interview your experts. Professional writers will be able to do your experts’ extensive knowledge justice, while saving them time, effort and, quite often, agony.

2. Build your personal brands

If employees take the opportunity to speak at corporate events, it can be a great chance for them to establish their (and your brand’s) authority in the field. However, in order to be invited to speak, employees need a presence they can leverage. That’s why it’s important to build your personal brands.

It’s pretty difficult to present yourself as an expert speaker if there’s nothing online to back up that claim. You and your employees need to be regularly producing and publishing content on social media, so that event organisers can clearly see evidence of knowledge and authority. In an ideal world, they’ll be approaching you to speak at events.

3. Bring back print

We’ve long called print “dead”, but companies like Airbnb prove that it can still be used to impressive effect. Airbnbmag brings its readers “human stories from around the globe, infused with local flavour”. Published in partnership with Hearst Magazines, the print magazine is “something that people can hold in their hands, pack in their bags and talk about with people they meet,” says Chief Content Officer Joanna Coles.

It could prove an astute move if it means Airbnb can break through the clutter of digital information. It’s clear that it’s becoming harder for brands to get their digital content seen by their target audience, due to the sheer amount of it that is being sent out into the online world. Could a well-produced, free magazine be the answer?

4. Adopt a less-is-more mentality

Some brands still seem to think that creating lots of content is the answer – surely one piece will hit home with its intended audience, right? Quite often, they’re left wanting, unfortunately. As American academic Michael Porter once said: “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” That’s what you should have in your head when developing your content strategy – not “throw enough mud at the wall and some of it will stick.”

You should focus on what you do best and take the time to cultivate it into something special – that’s the only way you’re going to get results in 2017.

So, if you mid-year results aren’t quite what you thought they’d be, don’t despair – there’s still time to turn things around.

If you need help implementing any of the tactics outlined above, drop us a line.

Ben Hollom

July 4, 2017