By Annie Ellicott

I could have titled this blog post “it’s all about the relationship” because when it comes down to it, that little statement just says it all.

A content strategy is useless if it is not relevant, timely and targeted. Think of what your close friends come to you for and why. Trusted information which is useful (relevant), answers their question/solves a problem/engages their interest and through the act of sharing, builds your relationship.


The 5 “Do’s” In Building A Content Strategy:

  1. Be Relevant, NOW (and it’s not just all about you). The pace of content creation and the speed of information absorption is increasing (exponentially) not decreasing. Because of this content strategists must create content which resonates ever more strongly with their audiences. And as we all know, quality, valuable content which is highly focused towards a niche audience is always more successful. Stop talking about your company, brand and product. Start talking about specific topics your customers are sharing, asking questions about and commenting on.
  2. Stay on your diet (bite-size portions). Blurbs not paragraphs. Images not words. Alerts not emails. Feeds not pushes. It’s not a trend. It is a structural change. Get used to it. Less is more.
  3. Semantic + Social = SEO. The search engine algorithms are shifting again. This time it’s towards semantic (e.g. close but not exact associations with a search term) indexing  nd social cues to value. So research your semantics (hint use the ~ when evaluating keywords to optimize around) and make sure you are encouraging “share this”, “add this” with your content consumers.
  4. Make it wearable and shareable. quote
  5.  Make it habit forming. When I was CMO of, we used to have a Tip of the Day on the homepage. You have NO IDEA how many women came back every day, just to get that one tip. Make them hungry for more. Tease them then please them. Sorry, but it works every time.


And then there are a few things to avoid when finetuning your content strategy:

  1. Overpromoting. Nothing turns a consumer in a social world off more than hearing one more sales pitch. If you become the go-to editorial voice, your products will sell themselves. See Cabelas outdoor articles as a great example of value-added content.
  2. A scattershot approach. The key to any good strategy is making sure it is integrated successfully into your everyday operations. A little here, a little there does not work. Burying it in one person’s job description doesn’t work. Forgetting to cross promote your content doesn’t work. So make sure it fits within your organization and its already established flow. Make it part of everyone’s job. Promote your content (as well as your promotions), consistently. Develop a system that works for you and feed the engine.
  3. Not leveraging the power of a simple story. Disney gets it. Bloggers get it. Film buffs get it. One example is worth 1,000 (or maybe 250) words.
  4. Forgetting about conversion points. Who cares if they read Chapter 1 but you have no way to alert them that Chapter 2 is now available? You need something (a fan, a follower or an email) if you want to leverage the inbound marketing world we live in.
  5. Not taking the time to check your metrics. What you think resonates may be slightly different than what your audience thinks. Numbers don’t lie. Check your metrics. Stop spending time developing content your audience doesn’t care about and start spending time on what they view as highly valuable and shareable.

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