First things first…
“Content Strategy” is not a dirty term.
Sure, it carries with it some corporatespeak baggage, but let’s look past that. Let’s look at what the term actually means and why it’s so important for you to have some thoughts of your own on this issue.
Content: What you create.
Strategy: Your plan of action.
In other words, how will you use your creative work (your content) to move you toward your goals? Answer that question and boom, you’ve got yourself a content strategy.
Now, for many folks, they don’t want or need a content strategy. For them, there is no goal beyond just doing the work. The art in and of itself is the goal. And that’s great! I love it. That’s how I am with my photography — it’s a creative outlet and that’s the extent of it. Thus, there is no content strategy with my photography.
But with my writing, it’s different…
I write for a living.
Thus, my writing serves a goal beyond the art of prose and beyond the joy of doing the work.
I write to teach and to sell. These are my two goals.
And in order to do that, there needs to be a strategy for my content; a goal for my writing.
When thinking about your content strategy, it can be easy to get caught up in the metrics of sales, conversions, etc. Now, yes, those things matter, and I’ll explain why in a bit. But I hope they aren’t your driving force behind your creative work.
First and foremost: your content strategy should be focused on serving your audience.
Does your content strategy have only the best in mind for your audience?
Consider if your content strategy does the following…?
- Does it provide value at all times…?
- Is it relevant at the readers’ time of need…?
- Does it serve your business goals…?
Your content strategy can’t serve your business goals if you don’t know what those goals are. What type of business are you trying to build? What level of income do you need to sustain your creative pursuits? Where do you want to be in 5 years time? How is your content strategy moving you in that direction?
As you build a better content marketing strategy, it’s important to balance what works and what feels right for your brand and your voice.
For me, my goal is to build a creative business based on long-term relationship equity. So while there are many email tactics out there that may work, not all of them are things I personally want to do. I want to incorporate what feels right for my brand and my voice.
In order to do build a creative business based on long-term relational equity, it requires trust.
Trust that is built on feedback loops, delivering on my promises, serving others, pursuing generosity, and more. (See my notes here about taking your personal project full-time.)
I avoid selfishness and tricks. I don’t try to squeeze out short-term profits that end up hurting the long-term quality of my brand and voice.
Now, this doesn’t mean selling is bad. The problems only arise when we become indifferent toward our readership, stop caring about providing value, and instead just become greedy for the sale.
* * *
Simply put, if you’re struggling to provide value at every single interaction, then (a) you’re not trying hard enough or (b) you’re over thinking it.
It’s more simple to provide value than you may think.
A valuable interaction can be a helpful tip, an interesting or entertaining story, a tutorial, an educational case study, a behind-the-scenes look at something cool, and more.
Focus on providing value at all times. If that is your goal, then you’ll come out ahead.
In the next article, I dive into the second aspect, which is being relevant to the readers. Click here to read about how I now do this using email automation in my article.