Going to London for the IDM’s Content Strategy course, I was expecting to learn a lot. My first foray into the IDM’s courses, the experience was enjoyable and eye-opening in many ways. Led by Andy Letting, the course offered me loads to think about and kept me interested throughout the day. Here’s some of the insights from the day about how to create better, more strategic content.
Digital marketing comes in where ‘how we’ve always done it’ meets 'how we need to do it' Click To Tweet

Don’t think content channels – think content strategy instead

Thinking of content in terms of channels is restrictive. You should lead with strategy instead.

  • Channel-led thinking won’t help you build strategy and it won’t help you score big with users
  • The main problem with channel-led thinking is that it doesn’t give you the real information you need for success
  • The best content is created to work across multiple channels and is adaptive, not reactive

Working in silos is destructive

Seeing content in restrictive silos like 'social' and 'ads' is not good for strategy Click To Tweet
  • In many organisations content is created by departments that don’t talk to each other
  • Different content teams are assigned tasks and then aren’t encouraged to collaborate

Working in silos means that your content won’t ever reach maturity and that you’ll struggle to create content that is joined-up. Working in silos is the enemy of useful and consistent content.

Turning silo systems off is particularly hard for larger organisations and legacy brands. Map out your content knowledge gaps as an organisation or team, and see where you need to be more joined up. Does social media need to talk to sales a bit more? Does legal need to spend some time with the web team?

Be strategic, not creative

Content strategy is not about indulging your creative ego. It’s about content that delivers and brings results.

As a creative, it can be very tempting to go down the route of praising creative ideas and forgetting the strategic and commercial goals behind content. Don’t make this mistake.

Leave tactics, embrace strategy

Thinking tactically is short term and doesn’t lay decent content foundations. A tactic wears off, whereas a strategy is more solid and permanent.

Don’t get too caught up in the latest fad or tactic, focus on the overall strategy instead.

Use data to plan content and justify change

Use inbound data to create outbound content Click To Tweet

Customers are telling us so much about their behaviours; it’s our job as content marketers to listen up and pay attention.

Use metrics to justify new content avenues and approaches. Sometimes metrics might confirm your ‘hunch’, but make sure you actually take the time to check and test your beliefs. You might not know your audience as well as you think.

Brand loyalty hinges on online usability

People are brand loyal to brands they can use online Click To Tweet

Brands that aren’t leading with online usability are going to struggle. These days companies need seamless 24/7 online operations in order to interact with their customers.

  • How are you going to meet your customers’ needs on mobile and on social?

Content success may be down to agility

Being able to produce good content hinges on how agile your organisation is. To be able to produce highly relevant content at speed you will need:

  • The right content culture
  • The right content opportunities
  • Content delivery agility (team and personal)

Being agile means creating more system-led content that isn’t solely dependent on human intervention. But you’ll also need to be ready with a a backup plan if a campaign turns negative and starts damaging your brand.

Content success means right content, person, place & time

All the stars need to align for content success. Your content needs to be the right kind of content, to be seen by the right people, in the right place, and at the right time.  Sometimes a campaign may fail because one of these elements isn’t quite right.

It's not just about great content, it's also about audience, timing and placement Click To Tweet

Content builds rapport

Content marketing is about building rapport with your customer Click To Tweet

Brands and businesses need to move away from a purely acquisition focus when it comes to content and use it to build relationships.

Use content to build loyalty, trust and expertise. With personalisation, targeting and customer insights you can create a real rapport with your customers that is based on data and understanding, not guesswork and selling.

In content, focus on data, KPIs & relationships, not guesswork & selling Click To Tweet

Downing tools is important

It’s important to have rests and breaks within your content cycle to down your tools and get some perspective. It’s easy to get into the habit of always being busy, but you need to stop and think too.

Sometimes less is more.

Do less, but do more impactful stuff Click To Tweet