Why content without strategy is doomed to fail
It's smart, strategic, long-term thinking, rather than jumping on the latest trends, that will really make your content stand out from the crowd.
Most companies’ approach to content can be compared to a house of cards. Except, not all the cards are from the same deck. Some aren’t even cards – there’s an old beer coaster, a bit of a cardboard box with a crude ‘K♦️’ scrawled on it, and the instruction manual to an Ikea bookshelf propping up one corner. And it’s outside on a windy day.
The point is, a lot of companies are mixing and matching a bunch of different content types, formats, messages, channels and designs, without considering the environment, the rules of engagement or sorting a consistent, structured framework to help them succeed. If we were building a house – not with cards, but a real one, with bricks and stuff – we’d have architectural designs and blueprints, before even beginning to level the ground and install solid foundations, let alone buying a fancy new sofa. Same thinking, different context.
Because the content we create matters. It’s a massive reputational asset. It is part of our central narrative – who we are, what we do, and why people should care – and therefore deserves respect. So put a strategy in place to make it work for, not against, you.
Cutting through the noise
The approach taken by most – across a multitude of channels, owned by a dozen different internal stakeholders for as many different audiences – is rarely treated as a part of something larger. There isn’t the operational consideration or governance to manage it strategically or cohesively. And content without strategy is just noise.
We need consistency, so content can build recognition and cumulative value over time, and measurement, so we understand the value of the content we put out and how our audiences respond to it. We’re fighting a losing battle against a proliferation of content, both digital and analogue, bombarding audiences every second. Attention spans are down, most content is incredibly disposable and indifference reigns supreme.
That’s why we do content strategy. It’s considered, its foundational, it’s long term and – most importantly – it’ll mean our content cuts through. It makes all the hard work and investment worthwhile.
Scalable, strategic problem-solving
So, let’s talk foundations. When it comes to content, we need a strategy that empowers us to ensure great content for both individual channels, and in time, wider ecosystems. It’s just a matter of scale.
A strategy should have three parts:
- A diagnosis of the problem we want to solve
- A strategic approach that solves the problem
- A plan of action to carry out the strategy
Sounds simple right? But it means a big change in institutionalised behaviour. It means we need to move away from thinking of content as the end of the journey. Replacing questions like ‘what content do we need for our website’ with questions that get to the heart of the challenges.
Questions that ask how content can help us to: sell more products, be more competitive, attract and retain top talent, connect with key audiences, and even increase our valuation.
Done correctly, content strategy is a long-term approach to building deep and lasting connections with your audiences. In alliance with business strategy, it can bring purpose to communications and an always-on mindset to creating content.
What it isn’t is just reactionary tactics or jumping on the latest viral bandwagon. It’s not about complexity or buzzwords that might make us seem clever, but confuse our audience – while that cool trend we saw on TikTok, but is wholly inappropriate for a public company, will just make people curl their toes in second-hand embarrassment.
The science behind the art
At Emperor, we’ve developed a framework for our approach to content strategy. Across six pillars, it takes us through defining the best route and planning activation, before into moving into deployment and the art of content itself. This approach – alongside a discussion of AI tools – also happens to form the core of our event on 17 May,‘Beyond the hype: leveraging content strategy for better business’. Check it out.
So put the cards away – it turns out you were supposed to be playing blackjack anyway – and let’s build something that gives your content the home it really deserves.
If you’re in the business of communicating to corporate or B2B audiences, and want an operational content strategy in your business, driving measurable, reputational change, then register for our event ‘Beyond the hype: leveraging content strategy for better business’.