Does my business need a content strategy or a content plan? Which one is best?
This is a question that I’ve been asked often by business and brand owners. Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to attract new customers, build brand awareness, and promote products and services. But for the business owner who wants to leverage content marketing for growth, is it best to have a strategy or a plan?
Content strategy is the foundation of any successful online marketing campaign. It’s the skeleton upon which your content efforts are built. If you want to create a content plan that drives traffic, leads and sales, you need to have a content strategy first. This is where you outline the process for creating and managing your content in order to achieve your business goals.
What’s Included in a Content Strategy?
Every content strategy is unique based on the specific business, but the process for creating a strategy is on your answers to some challenging questions.
- What do you want to achieve in your business?
- What are the brand style guidelines? What makes your business different from competitors? What are the unique attributes? What is the brand promise?
- How does content marketing fit into the plan for achieving your business objectives?
- Who are the people you intend to reach and what do they do online?
- What content do you have already have that aligns with your target audience? What’s missing?
- What additional tools, support and/or resources do you need?
The content plan picks up where the strategy leaves off by identifying the marketing activities and functions needed to achieve the goals outlined in the content strategy. In your content plan you’ll identify what you’re going to do, where and when you’re going to do it. Getting clear on your answers to these questions is a great start:
- Which platforms will you use to distribute your content?
- What type of content will you create?
- How often will you publish?
If you want to be a consistent content marketer, having a content strategy AND a content plan is important. In a nutshell, your strategy defines your WHY and your plan outlines your HOW. If you already have a content plan but don’t have a higher-level strategy to guide it, consider if this could be a reason why you may not be getting the results you want. I choose to focus my work on content strategy as a key component in marketing being clear on the strategy level filters down to all levels of online marketing. In an ideal situation every business with an online presence would have both in place.
During my Content Strategy Laser Session I work with clients on defining their high-level strategy items along with their day-to-day planning steps so they can consistently build awareness, credibility and create sales opportunities.
Having a plan is nice. Having a strategy that provides structure for your plan is even better.