Is Your Content Strategy Really a Strategy?

Is Your Content Strategy Really a Strategy?

Here are three tips for creating a content strategy that will help advance your business goals.

If we’re adamant about one thing at Fronetics, it’s creating a documented content strategy. But, as a recent Harvard Business Review article suggests, many strategies fail because they are not actually strategies.

This begs the question: what constitutes a real strategy? According to Freek Vermeulen, associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the London Business School, “A real strategy involves a clear set of choices that define what the firm is going to do and what it’s not going to do.” The keyword here is “clear.”

Here are three strategy-creation tips to help you create a clear content strategy that aligns with and furthers your business goals.

3 content strategy tips

1) Show your work.

Just like in high school math class, arriving at the right answer isn’t enough — you need to communicate the logic for how you got there. As you create or refine your strategy, take a step back and examine the reasoning behind each choice.

Says Sly Bailey of the UK publisher Trinity Mirror, “If there is one thing I have learned about communicating choices, it is that we always focus on what the choices are. I now realize you have to spend at least as much time on explaining the logic behind the choices.”

Understanding the reasoning behind each of your choices allows you and your team to fully believe in your strategy, and ensures you carry it out optimally.

2) Trickle down doesn’t work.

Many implementation efforts fail because executives see strategy creation as a top-down process. On this topic, Stanford Professor Robert Burgelman writes, “Successful firms are characterized by maintaining bottom-up internal experimentation and selection processes while simultaneously maintaining top-driven strategic intent.”

In other words, while you need top-down strategic direction, this will only be effective if you simultaneously empower your employees to create bottom-up initiatives that meet the strategic intent.  

3) Flexibility is key.

Another source of failure for implementation efforts is the institutional unwillingness to change habits. “People are often not even aware that they are doing things in a particular way and that there might be different ways to run the same process,” says Vermeulen.

It’s important to identify and effectively work against the bad habits that hamper your strategy’s effectiveness. As Vermeulen describes in his book, Breaking Bad Habits, “There are various practices you can build into your organization to make it work.” This often involves identifying key processes, and asking, “Why are we doing it this way?” If the logic isn’t clear (see above), this process is likely a good candidate for change.

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