Content Strategy: Make Sure It Isn’t ‘Hey, I’m Talking To You!’

Content strategy is important. Why? Imagine entering a ballroom for a black-tie charity event. You’d like to start a conversation with an older wealthy donor. Do you:

  1. Run up to her and start showing her cat videos on your phone?
  2. Take the stage and call out her name over the microphone?
  3. Walk up and politely introduce yourself at a natural break in the conversation?

The answer should be obvious, and yet, we often pick the wrong answer when deciding how to use content marketing to attract new audiences. There’s no “one size fits all” content strategy, and what may work astonishingly well for one audience may fail equally well with another audience, or on another platform.

To determine whether your content strategy aligns your content, your channel, and your audience, think back to the matching games you may have played as a child: the straw hat goes with the farmer, not the cow, etc. There will always be exceptions, but generally speaking, you can analyze your content management strategy this way:

  • Who am I trying to reach? (Hint: the answer should never be “everyone.”)
  • How does that audience like to receive news? (On the evening news, on a podcast, on social media, in an actual newspaper, etc.)
  • How does that audience like to keep in touch with each other? (Phone calls, video chats, texts, letters, meet-ups)
  • What would the audience consider to be a pleasant level of sound and visuals? For some audiences, a loud concert or a busy street during a parade is still well within acceptable levels of visual and aural noise. For other audiences, the quieter, the better – for both sound and sight.
  • When does your audience tend to consume content? (After a hectic day, first thing in the morning, during the late afternoon)

The answers to these questions can, and should, inform the type of content you provide, the channels you use to distribute it, and the timing and frequency of your postings. If you’re getting stuck, use the dinner party analogy. What does your audience (party) look like, and what kind of guest is your content?

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