A brand with a clearly defined content strategy can connect with their target audience using stories and experiences that feel authentically rooted in the brand purpose and values of that organization.
Developing a focused content strategy has become increasingly necessary over the last couple of years, fitting with a trend of first defining both a digital strategy and a social strategy. However, at Redwood we believe a brand’s content strategy is one of the most important plans a marketing team and agency partner can develop. This is because, fundamentally, it is the content that consumers value most, whether it be actively seeking it on a path to purchase or passively consuming it as entertainment. Regardless of them being on your company website, brand blog, social channels or any third-party spaces, it is the content they are engaged with, not the technology framework surrounding it.
Having developed content strategy for local and global clients, we believe it should ideally include a number of elements:
Objective, Purpose & Outcomes – Who are you trying to get whom to do, think, feel or even more simply, know, what. It sounds like an obvious thing to say as a part of a marketing plan, but audience definition and comprehension of their needs and wants, media consumption behaviours and channel activity is often missing from content plans. The Redwood process is intended to identify this information during the Discovery and Plan stages so all future content creation is aligned to expected business goals, be they a hard quantifiable ROI or a softer metric in the form of and NPS shift or brand attribution ROO.
Content Tone of Voice – how does the brand ‘talk’ and behave across different channels for different audiences? Any clearly defined brand document, such as a BVI tends to focus on use cases of brand logo, imagery, typographical treatments and colour palettes, but brand content needs to go deeper and wider than these mostly visual aspects. Content Tone of Voice will outline more of the characteristics of the brand or any proxies, methods for explaining products and services, as well as rules of engagement with real consumers.
‘Thread of Steel’ – at Redwood we create these as a rallying thought that runs through all the output. It is not usually an outward, audience facing piece of language, but it helps orient and direct all of the content against a brand, product, or service. For consistency of message we believe the time invested to develop a Thread of Steel is critical to ensuring the brand message resonates with your audiences across all the channels and content assets created over time.
Evaluation Framework – alongside the TOV and Thread of Steel, this is a guiding set of principles that helps everyone ensure that what they are producing is aligned to the brand, be this from social channel management to B2B sales force collateral in field.
Content Pillars – underpinning the content strategy itself are a set of themes that will ladder up to and support the total strategy, giving the Thread of Steel a series of subjects around which the brand can authentically operate and deliver content into channels. An example might be an ongoing commitment to deriving maximum enjoyment from the product line through tutorials, or it might be a way to commit to ongoing brand cause, but all of these would be outlined in a Content Calendars.
Content Calendars – a clear plan for deployment of content against Content Pillars. The value of an holistic calendar across departments, brands and services is to ensure that efficiencies are increased and over delivery of content into channels is reduced. This should deliver greater overall effectiveness of any marketing investments and resource allocations.
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