Focus on Content Strategy Before Platforms

Most of the influential content strategy books and posts revolve around creating a better website experience. The mobile revolution is forcing websites to evolve quickly, but their importance will remain.

For those of us who do content strategy work, there’s a certain comfort in the constraints of websites. The boundaries are usually well-defined, the project deliverable is obvious, roles and phases are clear, and a launch date brings closure to the project (although the content work never ends).

The relationship between content strategy and social media, however, can quickly get murky. Instead of focusing on content strategy considerations – communication goals, audiences, messaging, workflow and editorial planning, among other areas – it’s easy to become consumed with the intricacies of the social channels.

Without question, organizations must understand the strengths and nuances of each channel. But your social presence must be grounded in solid content strategy.

In Every Brand Will Need A Content Strategy, David Armano wrote:

 

Content strategy often is the starting point before getting into the nuts and bolts activities which support it, like developing a content calendar, putting an editorial process in place or supporting content production with writers, producers and creative talent.

 

Meanwhile, Shel Holtz wonderfully articulated the shortcomings of a “Facebook strategy”:

Platforms come and go. They change. The audiences that embrace them are fickle and abandon them easily for something that better suits them….For communicators with a content strategy, adjusting to these changes is simple, just like a Mad Men-era advertiser sliding content into new or newly-popular TV series or publications.

It’s so tempting – and exciting – to dive into the latest social channels, particularly with the emergence of visual communications. As long as they’re viewed as new platforms for your core strategies, as Shel wrote, you’ll be better prepared to create compelling, sustainable content.

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